Archive for Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Interest must be included to get true cost of bond issue

October 10, 2007

To the editor:

Once again, voters in the Basehor-Linwood school district are presented with a school bond, but not presented with clear, complete and accurate information.

School board members and administrators attempt to convince voters the total coast of the proposed school bond is $39.9 million; this is only the project cost.

The true cost includes the estimated total amount of $31.93 million in interest to be paid on the bonds. This brings the total cost to taxpayers to $71.83 million.

Based upon a 20-year term, the projected annual principal and interest payment is about $3.6 million. The only place I believe this information has been made public is the public notice in The Sentinel, dated Sept. 13 and 21, and is provided because Kansas law requires it. Why haven't voters been given consistent information by the school board as to the true total cost of the bond?

Information from the Leavenworth County clerk places the district's level of bonded indebtedness at $14.125 million as of June 2007. If the proposed bond issue passes, it will place the district nearly $86 million in debt -- in a district with less than 2,000 students. There are those who will say "the state of Kansas" will pay part of the bond. Collectively we are all "the state of Kansas," and just because our tax money goes to Topeka first and then is sent back does not mean we didn't pay the bill.

The Tonganoxie school district recently built a new 650-student middle school for fifth through eighth grades at a project cost of $12.9 million. Basehor-Linwood's proposed new 700-student, sixth- through eighth-grade middle school has a price tag of $24.8 million.

Basehor-Linwood's proposed new middle school is directly beside a working dairy farm. There will be an inevitable odor problem that has been ignored by the school board.

The decision to vote for or against the school bond is yours, but I believe good decisions are made when those who make them have clear, complete and accurate information. It is clear, based on present and past bond issues, that we have not received nor can we expect to receive clear, complete and accurate information.

Elected officials should have integrity honesty, honor and ethics. We as voters should expect nothing more and accept less.

Dave Jons

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