If the school doesn't sell these bonds, it will cost the school
extra funds in excess of $500,000 to do the same amount of work,
spreading it out over three or more years, and could lead to a
property tax increase.
Our situation is this:
From reactive to responsible work
The Chester-East Lincoln School Board has been planning over the
past year and a half, making a five-year building and grounds road
map to make necessary health, life, safety repairs and facility
upgrades that had previously been put off, without plans to
implement. This body of work was identified by a HLS review and a
needs assessment from 2008, covering facilities and equipment
that in some cases are 30-60 years old, including a severely
aging and inefficient boiler, asbestos tile and window insulation
materials, and original single-pane aluminum windows in the
1950 and 1957 additions.
The board has approved the HLS amendment and the expenses for it,
and we are now legally obligated to do these upgrades in the next
When the good people of Logan County passed the 1-cent school
facility sales tax, it allowed the school districts in Logan County
to receive much-needed income to make necessary repairs and upgrades
to their facilities without raising property taxes. We have a
financially responsible plan to supplement the current property tax
dollars with the 1-cent tax to get this work done for our students
The preferred option of paying for our facility upgrades would be
to use cash for doing the needed repairs, but since these repairs
have been put off for so many years, replacing several of
these items at once makes good business sense and is a necessity.
We are issuing bonds because:
We need the cash
to do several major projects simultaneously.
Borrowing is at
all-time lows, reducing our future total cost of ownership to
school once for several of these projects saves us needed funds
And most important, the funding plan we
have selected prevents the increase of property taxes.
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These bonds will not raise taxes, but by using our resources
wisely, will prevent tax rates from needing to be raised in
continuing support of our rapidly aging facilities.
The bonds are designed to be paid off in 20 years. While many
schools are in the news recently for issuing bonds to support their
general funding, like payroll, benefits and continuation of programs
and services, CEL is not in that position. We have approved a
balanced budget and have a healthy savings account with a full
year's operation funds on hand.
Yet, we have district residents who have not been a part of this
year-and-a-half-long planning process who think we are being
irresponsible in issuing bonds to pay for this long-overdue work.
Possibility of referendum
A petition is being circulated that would require CEL to put the
sale of the bonds before the voters in a referendum.
Our current board has spent more time working with our families
and community in meetings to explain and communicate our designs and
plans than any other board in our district's history, yet we are
continually criticized for not being transparent. We ask you to
please be informed and seriously consider what you want for our
district if it were your children and grandchildren. Think about
what our district could become if you and your neighbors sign the
petitions requiring a referendum on the bond issue.
As elected officials, taxpayers and citizens of CEL, we all want
the same thing: fiscal responsibility. That is what we are trying to
If you have any questions, you may call the district office or
email me at email@example.com.
[By KENNY GOLDEN, CEL board member]
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