By: Kathy Johnson
The Chardon School bond issue, Issue 21 – “The Plan”, would be a 5.3-mill increase over 37 years! The ballot issue facing voters on November 5 represents only the first phase of the facilities plan. Should voters approve the current bond issue to replace the middle and high schools with a building complex for grades 6-12, yet another bond issue will be forthcoming to replace the elementary schools with new building. The total cost of both phases of The Plan will eventually be 8-mills. Not only that, but according to the district’s budget projections, taxpayers will likely see yet another operating levy on the ballot in 3 to 4 years!
Our property taxes are already among the highest in the state when compared to income. Currently, 64.66% of my already substantial real estate tax in Chardon Township goes to the Chardon Schools; this significant tax increase would be an unwelcome burden. The Plan is an outrageous ask being presented to the residents of the Chardon School District! We can’t afford it!
The community is hearing a lot of dialogues. There is talk about substandard facilities, but many of these claims are due to maintenance issues that have long been neglected – this is self-inflicted disrepair. There is talk of overcrowding, but that problem is due to the district reconfiguring grade levels in an illogical and very unpopular manner and to the closing of facilities including Maple Elementary – this is self-inflicted overcrowding!
There are unnecessary dream provisions in The Plan – we don’t need a new sports area, a new 700 seat auditorium, a new transportation complex, or a new board of education building.
The arguments we are hearing about renovation versus replacement costs are inflated. One example is that residents are told that the leaking roof at the high school can’t be replaced correctly due to the extra cost of asbestos removal, but that same asbestos cleanup cost would also be incurred if the building were torn down! Another example is that low-energy LED lighting upgrades to existing buildings have already been paid for by the taxpayers; this sizeable investment would no longer be needed or utilized under The Plan. There are many examples.
One of the saddest things about The Plan is that it is never-ending in terms of the lives of the residents who will bear the burden of paying for it; many of us won’t live to see this plan fully paid for. And think about this – students who are in high school now would be paying for these bond issues over nearly their entire working careers!
Buying into The Plan would force people out of our community!
I am voting a guiltless NO on Issue 21!