Boise Elevated, a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of Boise City through business and community involvement, strongly encourages Boise voters to approve the Boise School District (BSD) school bond on March 14th.
The value that our community derives from the district goes well beyond the cost of the proposed bond. When assessing Boise as a great place to live, prospective residents evaluate the quality of our schools and this relates directly to our ability to attract a quality workforce.
Boise School District bonds have enjoyed solid support in the past, but of late there has been a small opposition group raising concerns about the scope of the improvements the BSD intends to make with the proposed bond. This group offers no specific financial numbers as to what they think is an acceptable level of infrastructure spending for the BSD nor do they offer insight into what neighborhoods they think should continue to suffer from decade’s old school infrastructure. The group suggests that an overall decline in student enrollment of 1000 spread across 48 schools justifies less infrastructure investment on the district’s aging buildings. One wonders which group of the district’s 25000 remaining students the opposition is at peace with attending school in a broken building?
Unfortunately, this opposition appears to be simple delaying tactics to achieve a lower tax rate when the current bond expires, unsupported by the facts or a reasonable counter proposal. More than half of the Boise schools are over 60 years old and with the rapid pace of technological change Band-Aids on old buildings won’t suffice for the long term. If opposition to this current bond proposal at a very reasonable interest rate of 2.76% is successful, it will ultimately raise the cost to all taxpayers for improving our schools as bond market conditions change and construction costs are certain to rise.
Not everyone has students in our public schools, but there is a direct relationship between the quality of neighborhood schools and property values. On the long term, the success our students achieve is directly related to an expanding tax base and a low crime rate. We all have a vested interest in our public schools and the modest tax rate that we pay to maintain our schools is returned to our community many times over.
While some are understandably concerned about the burden of taxation at all levels of government, the BSD has been a responsible steward of our tax dollars and they have performed their due diligence in proposing a bond that maintains the school infrastructure that our students rely upon, while leaving our tax rate unchanged. The Idaho Statesman supports this bond measure, because they trust the district and recognize that they have been good stewards of our tax dollars. We agree.
Boise Elevated strongly encourages voters to consider the importance of first class schools to the overall health and economic vitality of our community in voting yes for the Boise School District bond.
Paul Desaulniers is a retired naval officer, operations manager in the telecom industry and a board member of Boise Elevated, a 501(c)(6) non-profit organization.