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Ennis Daily News

Bond just makes sense

Ennis Independent School District administrators have been even busier than usual lately making the rounds of civic clubs and other local groups, laying out the facts surrounding the current $48.9 million proposed bond election.
Readers of this paper should already be familiar with most aspects of the bond, but you can be sure we’ll continue publishing articles and information about this important measure.
It remains to be seen which way the vote will go in the May 10 election. Passage of the bond is far from a sure thing. After all, nobody likes paying taxes and there will be some local folks whose knee-jerk reaction is to oppose the bond in order to maintain the status quo.
But the status quo isn’t good for our children, our community or our pocket books in the long run. A more long-term view reveals that a “no” vote today will likely mean even higher costs to district taxpayers later, due to increased construction prices. The current facilities simply aren’t adequate to properly house the students we have now, much less the new ones who will inevitably enter our school system in the future. Adding more portable buildings isn’t cheap and doesn’t provide the ideal learning environment for our kids.
Another cause for concern relates to the old Intermediate School, which is now in the process of being demolished. That facility’s structural problems are a big part of what led to the current bond proposal and there will be some in our community who vote against the bond because of past mistakes associated with that building’s construction.
That’s a perfect example of cutting off your nose to spite your face. I believe important lessons have been learned from the mistakes made in the construction of the old EIS building, and those lessons should not include ignoring facility needs and halting construction of new schools.
Those who argue that we should just build a new intermediate school and nothing more, need to consider the fact that other campuses, such as the Early Childhood Center, are already at or above capacity. It makes much more sense to build what we need now, instead of coming back to voters every couple of years as construction prices increase each year. As proposed, the current bond is expected to provide for our facilities needs until 2017 and possibly beyond.
Property taxes would increase by 8 cents per $100 valuation, which equates to $71 a year for the district’s average priced home of $88,860. That’s not an outrageous price to pay for the schools we need and it should also be noted that residents over 65 whose homestead taxes are frozen won’t pay a penny more as a result of this bond.
By any reasonable measure, our school district is a good one. We are blessed with fiscally responsible leadership and dedicated teachers and staff. Student test scores and school ratings support this. Is it perfect? Of course not. But it’s a system we can be proud of and one that serves our community and our children well.
We, the voters in the district, will ultimately decide the fate of this bond and that’s a serious responsibility. We need to enter the voting booth with a heavy dose of pragmatism and all of the facts. If you have questions about the proposed bond, get them answered. We’ve been covering the issue extensively and will continue to do so and the district administrators and school board members are available to answer the public’s questions.
In my opinion, the thing that poses the largest obstacle to the passage of this bond is a voter who makes up his mind based on misinformation or preconceived notions and then decides to sull up and vote “no” without making an effort to get the facts, or at least ask questions.
That’s a tough obstacle to overcome and it doesn’t do anyone any good. If you happen to know anyone who might fit that description, please help our community by getting them the facts behind this bond election. The facts speak for themselves and they support the need for these new facilities.
Ben Brooks is publisher of the Ennis Daily News and can be reached at ben@ennisdailynews.com

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Posted by on Apr 23 2008. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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