Editorial: Hundreds of millions in new debt

Anyone who thinks that public schools are underfunded should take a look at the upcoming bond vote for Union Public Schools.

The proposal is for $128,600,000.00.

That’s one eighth of a billion (with a B) dollars.

The bond issue will pass, just like recent school bond issues in Tulsa and Broken Arrow have gone for hundreds of millions of dollars.

These giant loans (that what a bond vote really is) pass for several reasons. Even though it is illegal for school employees to promote passage, almost every teacher and virtually every administrator will quietly lobby for the passage. They want that money.

The timing of the elections is favorable to passage. Voters are not used to going to the polls in February and turnout will be painfully low if there is bad weather, especially snow or ice. The teacher’s union and the administrators bank on low turnout because they know that union members will all show up and vote.

Another reason for passage is the deception surrounding all of this tax increases. Yes, they are tax increases. But school boards and superintendents are notorious for saying they are “not tax increases.” They claim that since they are paying off old bond issues, these new loans are just maintaining the highest property taxes in the state.

If it is not a tax increase, why do we have to vote?

Pay-as-you-go is a lost concept in public education (and municipal government). The school districts are indirectly teaching students that you can borrow your way to prosperity.

And while school board spend millions on questionable priorities, they keep teacher salaries artificially low.

Please go vote February 13 and stop this cycle.