We’d like to thank Dr. Tucker and staff for the informative presentation on bond and mill levy override scenarios at the last meeting. What resonated with us was Dr. Tucker’s phrase: “Reasonable asks at reasonable intervals”. We fully agree. Where we might differ, however, is that we believe a larger bond and MLO is a reasonable request of the community right now. It has been a very long time since we last asked the taxpayers of Douglas County to provide local funds for our school district. We have aging buildings in need of repair, teachers that are being paid nearly 20,000 dollars less than neighboring districts according to the CDE, and large inequities between many schools in the same district. In short, our kids need this money and they need it quickly. Kids don’t get a second chance at their education, and we’d like to see the best opportunities made available to our 68,000 students.
We have heard from many members in the community about how they would like to see MLO funds used. We have heard that parents would like school fees to be minimized, supply lists shortened, bus fees eliminated, a return of activity busses for after school activities, and more comprehensive programming. Additionally, there is a pressing need for more instructional support and better pay for the support staff. This cannot all be done with a small MLO. With the list of needs and wants so large, it seems that a 50 million dollar MLO would be a great start.
If the community is telling us they would be willing to vote for a larger amount of money while knowing the monthly cost it would bring, we think this is a great reason to not only vote yes tonight to put a bond and MLO on the ballot, but to also vote yes on an amount that could make the biggest impact in our students’ lives. We once heard the Long Range Planning Committee say that if we had a billion dollars, we could spend it all and still not address every need in the district.
Professional polling shows many in the community are ready to vote ‘yes’ to a local funding initiative this fall. The poll results also show a willingness to vote for a larger bond. 59% of respondents said they would vote yes to a 392 million dollar bond, whereas 56% of those polled said they would vote yes for a 292 million dollar bond.
Thank you for considering the inclusion of a bond and MLO on this November’s ballot. We fully support both and will do everything we can to reach the community about this important ballot measure. If you do vote yes tonight, we respectfully ask you to consider asking for a larger amount. Our kids have waited so long, it is time to make it right for them.
We will leave you with one last thought: the last time we received local funding the class of 2019, our current seniors, had just started kindergarten.