LETTER: Don’t be confused school bond election

To the Editor:

Look at the facts of this Capital Bond referendum. The Vote Yes Committee shows apples on their signs, but oranges in their website and handouts. Why is that?

This referendum is a Capital Bond referendum, not to be confused with an operating levy. This capital bond covers buildings, infrastructure, grounds only. An operating levy covers teachers’ salaries, books, computers, maintenance, things that allow the school to operate and teach.

Don’t confuse the two. This bond will increase our capital debt to $80,488,202. If this passes, our projected tax rate of 41.73% will rank us around the 4th highest in the state! Highest of any school in our conference! The Vote Yes website confuses the two. They say, “Click on the link to see that Rockford is listed 267th LOWEST of the 296 districts with referendums.” This refers to the OPERATING LEVY (and they point you to many charts supporting that), not the capital bond levy you will be voting on. Is this intended to confuse you? Where do they disclose that we will be among the highest on the tax rate?

This bond should be $8,000,000 to fix needs, like the Middle School roof, drainage issues and track. Roughly a $10,000,000 boiler conversion (with a 167 year payback) or a $900,000 artificial turf stadium plus another $3,500,000 for an athletic complex does not make quality education that improves our property values. High taxes destroy our property values.

They take money out of their operating levy that should have been used for maintenance for expensive programs like STEM. I thought they were turning out engineers. Come to find out its an environmental program. They should be teaching basics, high level math, reading, etc.

Parents move into districts that have quality schools. That means “learning” quality, not “building” quality.

Come back with a reasonable capital bond referendum, you can then reasonably increase your operating levy without another major property tax impact. Then kids will have the tools to learn and improve their test scores. That’s what makes a “good school”.

Stop confusing the issues. Vote NO.

Sue Kavanaugh