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What is Wrong With the Park Record’s Editorial on the School District Bond

In Saturday’s Park Record, the Editorial Staff expounded on the Park City School District’s desire to create a $56 million bond for upgrades to its facilities. It was a good editorial that explained history of school bonds in Park City, what a bond would cost an average Park City taxpayer, and what the School District wanted built. Yet, the finish left a little to be desired. It said:

Think about this. Plenty of us think nothing of paying $10 to $15 a month for discretionary frills like Netflix and HBO. The school district bond would cost the average homeowner about the same amount ($10 a month) and benefit nearly every student in the district.Park Record

Yet, please pull out your property tax statement you recently received from Summit County. If you are the person with a $600,000 home (the average home price in the school district), you are already paying $1,100 a month.

So, it’s not as if the average person is only going to pay $10 a month for schools, if they vote for this bond issue. They are already paying $1100 a year (or almost a $100 per month). This adds $10-$15 to that each month (or 10%-15%). If you are a second home owner, you are probably paying quite a bit more.

The implication of the Park Record Editorial’s last paragraph was that this school bond is only $10 a month. They imply for $10 a month you could have either better schools or HBO. Yet, in reality, taxpayers are already paying substantial amounts to fund our better-than-average schools.

Let’s say you could spend that extra $10 per month on schools. Will it make our schools significantly better? Will this $10 up your property values. Will it change the lives of our underserved kids? Will it increase the percentage of our kids going to college from 94% to 95%? Is it worth it?

Keep in mind, that we could spend that $56 million on anything. We could work to make our transportation system better. We could give it to Basin Rec, for better athletic facilities, trails, and open space. We could give it to non profits that are making strides in our community. We could invest it in economic incentives, so that our kids may be able to work here when they get out of college. We could build a massive amount of affordable housing.

$56 million is a lot of money. Unlike what the Park Record insinuated, it’s just not just HBO money. It’s money that could be used to really make our community better.

The question is whether the schools, at this point, are the best use of these funds. Or, is there a better place to use that money.

 

 

Comments

2 Comments

Erma Gerd

I don’t see how saying “The school district bond would cost the average homeowner about the same amount ($10 a month) and benefit nearly every student in the district.” is saying that this is the only amount of money each of us is putting towards schools in our taxes. It’s just saying that THIS BOND would cost about $10 a month.

Also, you’re saying that “$56 million is a lot of money….It’s money that could be used to really make our community better.” Are you insinuating that investing this money in our schools would NOT make our community better? But that putting it into affordable housing or recreation WOULD? Sounds like your article is making some implications.

By the way, did you know that the Wasatch County School District just approved a special election for a $62 million bond? I wonder if they’re trying to improve their community…
http://www.wasatch.edu/cms/lib/UT01000315/Centricity/Domain/1298/Board%20Bond%20Resolution081815.pdf

Parkrag

Erma-

Thanks for the comment.

I think it is important for us all to understand how much we are currently paying for schools. While many people may realize that part of their property tax bill goes to schools, I’m note sure if you asked the average person on the street with the “average $639,000” home how much they pay for schools per year, they would say $1100+.

The question I believe we need to be asking is what do we get by investing $66 million ($56 million in bonds) into our schools versus how else could that money be used. When the Park Record says, It’s only $10 and benefits almost every student, I don’t feel that represents the scope we really need to be looking at.

Next year, it is likely Summit County will attempt to issue bonds for helping transportation. In about 2 years from now there will be another teacher contract, which I have heard may be very contentious (over money). Basin Rec will likely bond for a new fieldhouse in Silver Creek in the next few years. If history is any guide, the school district will likely raise taxes again in the next year or two. There are also a couple of other bonds that rumored to be considered by local governments next year.

At some point, people will tire of these bonds and taxes. They will feel that have spent enough. Some will feel they CAN’T spend more. At that point, some of these initiatives are going likely going to fail.

So, to me, it’s not whether I can afford to spend another $10 a month for schools. I already spend $100 a month. It’s whether this is the best use of our money … and perhaps better said… our citizens’ goodwill.

Some may feel completely differently. They may feel that this is the most important use of our money. Or they may feel that people will continue to support every tax increase and bond initiative. They could be right.

I just worry that if we buy this now, we may not be able to buy something more important later. To me, there are many initiatives that I believe would have a more positive impact than this.

Of course, that’s just my opinion.


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