“Build it and they will come”. Not in Chewelah! The 19.7 million dollar School Board’s grand plan doesn’t make sense. The Board’s own figures show our student enrollment has fallen from 1,312 in 1997 to just 800 currently.
Look at the future. St. Joseph’s closed the maternity unit because few babies were born here last year. After the diminishing pool of existing students graduate where are the new students coming from to make this dream viable?
If the 9.9 million dollar bond issue passes, we hard pressed taxpayers will pay an additional $1.64 per thousand for the next 20 years for fewer and fewer students. The Board hasn’t mentioned it, but we already pay $2.28 per thousand, of assessed valuation per home, for our schools. When you add $1.64 we will be paying $3.92 per thousand. $3.92 doesn’t sound like much until you multiply it times the assessed valuation of the home. If you own or rent a home the assessor thinks is worth $150,000 the property tax bill will be $588 each year just for schools, in addition to the other property taxes we must pay.
Was $19.7 million dollars a take it or leave it deal? Couldn’t the School Board have settled for a more fitting amount? I have to wonder if the state had offered more matching dollars would we be asked to pay even higher taxes still.
“Yes for our kids”. Regretfully this time I must vote “No, for our taxpayers”.