Pass of bond issues important for community

Better schools could increase the value of surrounding houses



The money that comes from approved bonds can go to a variety of school improvements. They can pay for renovations, purchase new textbooks or even update computer labs.

BRUCE MULMAT, Former Evergreen opinion editor

Bond issues are important for the routine renovations of schools and other aspects of civic development. No matter where you come from and how you view education, think critically about how voting yes on bond issues for schools can do good for your community.

In early August, the Pullman School District spent $40,000 on beefing security in three schools. This money did not come from nowhere, it came from a bond issue, where voters must choose whether to raise taxes to benefit schools or not.

Shannon Focht, communications coordinator for Pullman Public Schools, believes bonds are important.

“We have two current bonds that are being paid off by taxpayers,” Focht said.

However, these two bonds could be replaced by new ones later this year. The primary purpose of these new bonds is to upgrade and expand Lincoln Middle School.

“The issue is that we have outgrown our space … If approved we would receive $15 million from our voters in the course of 20 years that would pay for the renovations of the middle school,” Focht said. “The expected lifespan of a school is about 30 years.”

Each of these bond issues are critical in keeping the students safe and continuing to provide children with the technology they need. This could range from new textbooks to updating computer labs with equipment from this decade.

Furthermore, the spending for any of these improvements is intended to not put any additional financial burden on the community.

“We are looking at 8 cents per 1,000 tax increase at the high end,” Focht said. “At the low end, no tax increase.”

Many people would understandably be a little worried about the idea of higher taxes, especially if they didn’t have kids. Yet schools are an important part of determining the price of a house when selling.

While there may be no direct benefit to those who do not want children, the money that they give to those schools because of bond issues may increase the property value of their house.

Schools aren’t around just to teach students and keep young children off the streets, they can provide a wealth of other activities.

“We also offer classes for parents to learn about student’s social media,” Focht said, “to help keep their kids safe.”

Think of the afterschool sports programs, online and driving safety seminars, and how much more could be done with more funding. There are ways bonds benefit the community, and they can affect more than someone’s education.

“The classes that we offer to families are taught by a communications or social media specialist from Spokane,” Focht said.

The community must also take advantage of these opportunities, so be proactive when going to afterschool programming.

“We don’t want to ask too much of our taxpayers each year.”

Obviously throwing money at schools won’t make them immediately better, and this is where community involvement really makes or breaks the success of implementing a bond issue.

“We have a very supportive community,” Focht said. “[But] it is still really important for us to communicate with the community to tell them what our needs are.”

People should be involved in local issues, especially when it can benefit your children or even the selling price of your house. Vote on everything, but also understand the pros and cons for each side. Education is important in voting, and bond issues must be voted on to pass.