The school district took another run at a bond and it failed again. Why did it fail? The same reason as last time: too expensive! Not only was the main bond the same amount of money, $61 million, but they added another $24 million at the last minute for a new school, which judging by the bond results the vast majority of the community understands we don’t need.
So how do we move forward? I am confident a bond will pass if it fixes the necessities and quits trying to push through all the wants. I have been a part of the community team that helped develop the bond and I can say without a doubt the DLR Group architecture firm pushes the group to add endless items to the bond. You know, it’s for the children, and if you don’t agree you just want our children to suffer and potentially be hurt! I will also say the second community team absolutely didn’t have anything to do with adding a new grade school to the bond, that was 100% the decision of the school board.
This is why your vote matters in the upcoming election. Your decision on who our community leaders should be most directly impacts our children, taxes, amenities, etc. Right now you have a school board with a majority of left leaning, big government, statists. I have always written and believed that the less government involvement in our lives the better we are. We need a civil society with rules but we don’t need to be ruled. With that in mind look hard at the school board and city commission candidates and ask them, do they believe money will solve all problems? When it comes to education more money doesn’t equal better results! USD 373 spends over $14,000 per student per year and yet the private schools that will educate for $7,000 per student per year tend to outperform it year after year.
We are committed to a third try at the bond or have to pay DLR group a large fee for their efforts. This is on top of the countless thousands already spent on the past elections, surveys, informational mailers, staff time, etc. The new board will decide how to proceed with development of the next bond. They will also have to replace the retiring superintendent. These are very critical things for our community for the next decade or more and we want board members who look at things like adults, not kids who just scream ‘more more more!’
In my opinion, something in the $20 million range will do a tremendous amount of good for the district with good management. We have been told since the beginning that the student population was going to grow at a 1-2% rate yet 4 years later the student population has declined. Why do they constantly want to add more buildings? Could it be to pad the pockets of the architecture firm? Just remember every time they talk about adding square footage that turns into more maintenance costs for the future, stretching even further the already limited budget. I also believe this amount would easily pass in an election.
Get involved, talk to candidates, find the ones who most believe in limited government and lower taxes and help them campaign. Talk to your neighbors, talk to your friends and remind them this is the largest piece of our property tax bill and the most direct affect of our children’s future! This also applies to the city commission candidates. We have a commission who stood fast this year without a mill levy increase but if there is a shift to less responsible commissioners there might be a large tax increase on the horizon!
— Jason Mitchell is a member of the leadership team of the Harvey County Republican Party. He can be reached at email@example.com.