Fairfield Ledger
http://fairfield-ia.villagesoup.com/p/978163

Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 19, 2014

School’s plan calls for ‘six basic needs’

By Ralph and Linda Messerli | Mar 21, 2013

To the editor:

As many people know by now, the Fairfield Community School District is placing before the public a $10 million bond issue to remodel and improve the high school facility to meet the needs of today’s educational program.

First, the facts about the plan. The plan calls for six basic needs. These include new science classrooms that would feature updated equipment and more classroom space, remodeled fine arts and music classrooms with more practice and storage space, the installation of air conditioning and better heating, increased accessibility for the handicapped that would feature a new elevator, an update on locker rooms and the wrestling facility, and better building security.

This bond issue will provide all of the above improvements, without an increase in the tax levy for the school district’s portion of your taxes. Superintendent Art Sathoff and business manager Kim Sheets of FCSD and the school board have lowered the tax rates of at least 2 different levies to offset the cost of the $10 million bond. Any additional costs associated with this project will be paid by the S.A.V.E. Fund, a state penny tax that brings in approximately $1.4 million a year to our district.

I’ve been asked the question, “Could my school taxes go up even with the levy going down?” Yes, the fact is they could, if the valuation of property goes up, which would affect all areas of taxation. However, once this bond issue passes, the tax levy for it cannot go up for the length of the bond issue, which is 20 years.

So, now you have the facts about the plan and how it will be financed. Next come the common sense. My wife and I have attended nearly every one of the meetings that dealt with this remodeling project. We listened and watched the school board hammer out the details over several months of “discussions.” There is no “fluff” in this project. The entire project is “what is needed — not what would be nice.” We have come to the conclusion that if this community can get $10 million worth of educational improvements through this remodeling project, and if we can get it at no increase in the school’s portion of the tax levy, then common sense tells us we need to support the bond issue and vote in favor of it on Tuesday, April 2.

Since all 6 of these basic needs must be accomplished with or without the bond issue, common sense says that since we can get it now for no school tax levy increase, then let’s do it now, because if we don’t pass the bond now, the school board still must do this project, and will undoubtedly have to increase the school tax levy to do so. It appears to be a sort of “vote for it and get it done now for no school tax levy increase,” or “vote it down and have to increase the tax levy to do it later.” Knowing that these basic plans need to be done to catch up and get ahead of the game in our quest for quality education for our students. Common sense tells us lets do it now. Please take the time to vote on Tuesday, April 2.

 

— Ralph and Linda Messerli, Fairfield

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