Cuts are made; please pass Arlington school bonds this time

  • Saturday, January 19, 2019 1:30am
  • Opinion

Arlington voters will receive their mail-in ballots Jan. 24. We, and the Arlington Public Schools, are asking them to approve the school bond measure.

While we also supported passing the previous two measures, this reduced budget certainly deserves support. What makes this especially nice for taxpayers is the previous bonds are expiring. That means that $1.37 you were paying per $1,000 valuation will no longer be there. If you pass these $96 million in bonds, you would pay $1.42 per thousand. On a $350,000 home, that amounts to just $17 more a year.

If you add in what the state charges for schools, it really is a bargain. Instead of $4.68 per $1,000, it’s $2.92 per $1,000.

This is not the same $107.5 million bond measure you voted down twice last year. Look at all that was cut.

•At Arlington High School: synthetic turf infields at baseball fields, covered batting cages and covered waiting area at bus dropoff.

•Haller Middle: boiler and furnace replacement, stadium grandstand structural improvements, stadium running track replacement, security fencing.

•Eagle Creek Elementary: replace interior carpeting, replace gym flooring, classroom audio systems, improve playfield drainage.

•Kent Prairie: replace interior carpeting, replace gym flooring, classroom audio systems, improve playfield drainage.

•Presidents: classroom audio systems.

•Pioneer: classroom audio systems, baseball field drainage improvements, improve playground equipment.

•Transportation Center: add bus wash, repave bus yard, improve bus yard lighting. That’s a lot. Even though the district felt those were important, they cut them to reduce it to a number voters would approve.

The bond request still calls for replacement of Post Middle School, eight new classroomsat AHS, technology and arts workshops, safety and security improvements at every school, and smaller projects. The district is even taking things a step further, establishing an oversight committee that would make sure the district is spending the money the way it’s supposed to. That panel should foster community trust, ensuring that the district is transparent and held accountable. The biggest problem in passing the bond is it takes a 60 percent supermajority. It’s hard to get our country to agree on anything 60 percent. But we know Arlington is not as split as the rest of the country. It’s still small enough that 60 percent can agree on supporting their schools. Please vote for the school bond Feb. 12.

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