This is not a bond campaign, because the CCSD trustees are going to propose a pay-as-you-go plan. As Trustee Carolyn Edwards noted, this is a capital program campaign.
I’ll address some of the arguments being used by the trustees — equity, that money is necessary for reform and letting the voters decide — in the future. For now, here’s seven points of context to remember when listening to individuals talk about the need for more tax dollars.spending on buildings
2. The average school building in the United States is 50 years old80 years old 22 years old
3. Citizens and especially parents should be aware of the size of this bond. The 1998 bond
The total desired amount, although the board is only seeking $669 million this fall, is $5.3 billionless than five percent
That’s $4.9 billion in 1998 to accommodate a 50 percent increase in student enrollment, compared to $5.3 billion for a five percent increase in student enrollment. While inflation means those numbers aren’t directly comparable, that number is a stunning extravagance.
4. Even though the school board is not asking for $5.3 billion initially, the tax rate is being set for the $5.3 billion ask in upcoming years. And as we’ve seen with the “temporary” tax increases at the state level
5. According to a CCSD presentation on the bond
Now, digital learning is a great tool
There are less than 350,000 students and fulltime employees in CCSD. If CCSD was to give every student and employee an iPad 2, it would only cost less than $200 million.
The $500 million figure doesn’t even touch on the $475 million sought for “equipment.” Combining the monies sought for technology and equipment, that’s over $2.7 million for every one of CCSD’s 357 schools.
6. CCSD is also requesting $3.425 billion for renovation and replacement. That’s almost $10 million per school in a district where the average school is 22 years old.
7. Construction costs from the 1998 bond rose rapidly over the course of the bond
Like with virtually all government projects, things get more and more expensive. Imagine how expensive things will get with $5.3 billion laying around and only a five percent growth in student population.
8. Charter schools receive no capital funds. Putting a $5.3 billion slush fund into the hands of the district will further entrench the status quo, instead of spurring the accountability and reforms that only come to government agencies when there’s no other option left. The Las Vegas Review-Journal also had an excellent editorial on this issue this morning
At today’s meeting, trustees hope to have answers from staff on exactly where the money would go. The fact that the district wasn’t able to provide those answers last week makes the proposal seem like a request for a blank check.
At the meeting this morning, staff produced an updated listing of projects