School bond issues

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Voters in two area school districts, Jackson and Kelly in Benton, will vote on bond issues April 5 that would raise taxes for construction projects in those districts.

Both proposals require a four-sevenths supermajority, or 57.14 percent, for approval. And both districts have proposed similar bond measures in the past without success. But they're trying again.

In Jackson, voters will decide if the school district should spend $27 million to build new facilities and renovate space first constructed in the 1920s. The owner of a $100,000 home would pay $128 more a year in property taxes. The issue failed by only a few votes last November.

Kelly voters will consider that district's bond proposal for the seventh time in eight years. The last time the issue was on the ballot was in April 2002.

At that time, the proposal required a tax increase, but not this year. The new plan includes building a high school with 15 classrooms and a library for $2.6 million. Another $900,000 would go toward a new multipurpose gym and cafeteria. The district's $3.17 tax would remain the same through 2008. If the issue passes, a 42-cent bond that is expiring would be extended for another 20 years.

Nobody likes to pay more taxes, and school board members know that when considering bond proposals and increases in taxes. And most boards also know that the situation is already dire when they start talking about bond issue.

But these bond issues can be considered investments. Good schools are beneficial for the entire community.

School boards make tough decisions when they decide to ask voters to approve bond issues. Voters also will make tough decisions April 5.

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