$100,000,000 is a lot of money. Most of us can’t comprehend that amount of money and what it can do.

This is the amount of debt that USD 373 will have if the bond passes this November. As of July 2016, the debt stood at $38,000,000 and with another $61,000,000 on the bond it will be just shy of $100,000,000. Looking at it another way, that is $27,800 per student in the district today. Every kid born today will graduate with that burden around their neck and their wallet, if they decide to stay in the area. We would hope that this would be the end of it and solve all the district problems but the last $30,000,000 bond was only 10 years ago and still has not been paid. You can bet that the greedy statists will be back at it in 10 more years asking for another astronomical amount of money to fix the things that are just fine now.

And don’t forget what we owe as taxpayers in the rest of the area. As of December 2015 we owe $73,000,000 of debt at the city of Newton. The anemic by comparison county has only $12,000,000 in debt as of January 2017. All these numbers and the dates reported come from their websites and were the most recent values listed for the public to easily access. The city and county combined is only $85,000,000 of debt and they service over 30,000 people.

Would we be better off just buying each student a brand new pickup or very nicely equipped car? It is hard to believe that $61,000,000 of new debt is going to fix the problems we have at the district. The quality of the building is a very small part of the education happening inside, in my opinion. Even a couple of the hard core leftists on the school board couldn’t vote on it and they abstained. Is this an indication of how badly this was put together?

Another issue I have is the "locked in" architect for this bond. The DLR group specializes in school architecture and have a vested interest in seeing the bond as large as possible. They didn’t get paid for their work to the lead up to the bond and I was told by one of their staff during a planning committee meeting that they get paid on the back end by being the sole architect for the project. Why are we hooked to a single company? Shouldn’t the taxpayers be able to spend their money on the best company for the job, not just the one with the slickest advertizing program?

This is just one example of why your vote matters. You need to pay attention to the candidates running for all the elections during every election cycle. Don’t just vote for someone because they are a nice person, all the candidates running are very nice people. Vote for someone because they are going to be good stewards of your resources. When we become so apathetic about whom we elect that we put in statists who just want to build monuments to themselves, this is the result we get. Only this time it got so out of hand that even the school board had a hard time swallowing it.

We need people who want smaller government and less government interference in our lives, this includes less taxes sucked out of our wallets for monuments to their greatness.

— Jason Mitchell is a member of the leadership team of the Harvey County Republican Party. He can be reached via email at jsmitch73@hotmail.com.