To the Editor: Bond measure gives School Board too much discretion

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The wording of the proposed school bond gives far too much discretion to the Shoreline School Board. It is not clear whether the School Board intends to modernize or to replace one or both high schools. How will the School Board decide? There is a substantial difference in costs between modernization and replacement of one or both high schools. Does either school need replacement, or is this a make-work project of benefit to architects, engineers, contractors, etc.?

This bond also authorizes the School Board to "acquire land such as is necessary for such modernization or replacement." No justification for this is provided. Why is such land purchase necessary? Are sprawling school sites advisable? Does the School Board have a hidden agenda?

The final statement in this bond measure deserves very close scrutiny, since it calls for the School Board’s being able to levy annual excess property taxes to pay for this school bond. The actual cost of the school bond is $2.46/$1,000 assessed value (2010). What will this pay for? While both the levy which replaces expiring educational programs, maintenance and operations, and the levy for technology improvements deserve voter approval (at a cost of $2.83/$1,000 assessed value) the school bond asks too much from voters without giving clear information on what they will get.

Given the continuing loss of jobs and lowered incomes, many Shoreline folk will find it hard to pay for the two levies which should have voter approval. But the proposed school bond needs to be rewritten so that voters know what the School Board has in mind and what voters will get for their hard earned tax dollars.

Gini Paulsen

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