School board back for your money

To the Editor

The Rockford School Board was told “no” last February for 28.5 million and now wants $27 million in November. The list of projects is virtually identical.

This referendum isn’t about closing down the middle school, laying off teachers or offering our kids a less than competitive education as suggested by the Board. This referendum is about school district finances and how poorly they are managed.

Just once I’d like to hear a plan concerning financial management of a school district that doesn’t involve a threat. I have taken the facility tour. I would agree that we should be maintaining our schools better. But we need to focus on the “needs” and not the “wants.” I’ve been to almost every school board meeting and workshop the last six months. The amount of time discussing the schools financial problems has been minimal with very few questions by the Board. You’d think by the depth of discussion we were talking about $27 not $27 million.

Please contemplate the following:

• Over $10 million to replace the steam boilers with hot water boilers when other options are available at much lower costs

• The tax impact on a $250,000 house as projected by the Board will be $167. That’s for the first year only. The later years will have a much higher rate.

• Over $4.5 million for site improvements to the athletic fields. This includes $900,000 for a synthetic turf football field-which has a life expectancy of 8-10 years!

• If this referendum passes, the school district debt will increase to over $80 million and the projected tax rate will be the fourth highest in the state!

Until we see a more rational financial plan we should continue to vote against the easy solution of just asking for more money.


Tom Cook