Thursday, March 12, 2015
Schools must make facilities priority before asking for more
MIKE MILLER had the following letter printed in the March 11 Dispatch/Rock Island Argus. "Yes, again the school facilities tax referendum has found its way on the ballot. Proponents probably believe the proposal has a better chance in an off-year election when only those motivated to approve the tax are likely to come to the polls. I hope they are not correct and we will not allow those behind the referendum to burden us with another tax. ..... If school officials want to make facilities a priority, most would probably agree that addressing past negligence is a good idea. I doubt many would complain if facilities became the top priority of boards when they spend from current revenue sources. ..... Then, if there is a shortfall, they can bring a referendum. They can ask for a separate new sales tax to support wages, benefits and tens of millions of dollars in other spending currently prioritized above spending on facilities. ..... This referendum would lack the emotional punch of facilities for the children, (or more dramatically, facility upgrades for the safety of the children), but it would demonstrate that facilities have finally become a priority and not just something that will get done if there is extra money provided by a separate tax designed to eliminate tough decisions concerning other less popular spending. ..... I will vote against giving schools a separate fund. It will simply allow them to continue making facilities an afterthought while making wages and benefits their real priority. Hopefully, the overwhelming numbers which opposed the tax last time will again go to the polls. Maybe another resounding "No" will put an end to this unnecessary tax referendum".