I am voting yes – Editorial

For information on the bond please visit the USD 109 website – www.usd109.org

Viewpoint Deb Hadacheck    

There are people passionately in favor of the proposed USD 109 school bond at any cost.

There are people adamantly opposed, no matter the cost.

Then there are the rest of us. The Republic County Clerk’s office will mail ballots to registered voters next week that are due back in the clerk’s office by noon, February 20.

I will vote yes on the bond issue.

I have not arrived at that decision without a good deal of soul searching and thought. No one should take any decision lightly that involves education, or that involves $16 million. My decision is not based on coffee shop chatter, but strictly on what I hear and learn, the pros and cons debated, and the questions I’ve asked at multiple meetings over the past several years.

The scope of improvements makes sense to me. Like everyone, including the USD 109 board, I wish it didn’t cost $16 million.

Here are a couple of the personal issues that I’ve wrestled with:

• The argument is often made that the district should have made better use of Hillcrest and West Elementary.

Even if the district still owned those buildings, they would cost money to operate and still need maintenance. Regardless if those buildings were available, the Republic County High School would still have a 56-year-old science lab and need electrical and HVAC updates. None of the buildings would have adequate emergency shelters or security.

It’s a Catch-22 that there has not been a bond issue in the original USD 427 district since the high school was built. That means the district used capital outlay to address what the district could afford.

There are still large needs to address. Thirty-seven percent of the total cost is for work that isn’t sexy: a new roof and electrical and HVAC at the high school, security and safety at both buildings.

I counted the cost of how this bond issue will increase my own taxes.

• For my husband and I, it could amount to $800 or $1,000 a year. That’s around $80 a month for the next 25 years.

While it’s no amount to sneeze at, I also know I easily spend much more than that every month, without batting an eye, on many things that aren’t necessities.

Under the new tax reform law passed by Congress, the business deduction continues for real estate and personal property taxes on farm business assets (source: American Farm Bureau Federation).

We are fortunate to own land. We knew paying the property taxes to support schools and other public government functions were part of that deal when we acquired the land.

At the end of my life, I won’t remember the money I spent on entertainment or a new pair of shoes or the latest version of a smartphone or upgrading my television package.

I want to remember that my money was spent giving students the tools they need to live and work in the 21st century.


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