Letters to the Editor, Feb. 19, 2020

Letters to the Editor, Feb. 19, 2020

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Vote no

Upon moving here, my family took hope in our state motto: “Under God, the people rule”. Sadly, the school bond proposal, has revealed the same failed tax policies at root in the demise of many cities up and down the sea coasts of our nation - a big city liberal agenda

It calls for some of the highest property tax rates with no checks and balances attached. Will the school district standardize the design of new schools, as done in Wyoming, to drastically lower costs? How about specific goals for improved academic performance? We are once again expected to hand money over to government with no requirements or constraints attached. This is not a responsible plan.

A vote No can be temporary until a more conservative spending plan is developed. A vote YES will allow high property tax rates and failing schools indefinitely. The school board has garnered powerful progressive allies to coerce passage of this massive tax increase. Nevertheless, reasonable citizens can vote No to save Rapid City from typical urban decline. I still hold out hope for us on February 25th. After all, we live in a republic, a Republic where: “Under God, the people rule”.

Matt Connor, Rapid City

Vote yes

To the editor,

The Feb. 25 school bond election is about our children’s and our community’s future. Most importantly, the vote will reflect how we perceive ourselves and how we are perceived.

Voting yes allows us to rebuild neglected schools, helping us create modern learning environments with the latest designs that will benefit students for decades. The effects of the election go well beyond the classroom. Millions of dollars will be injected into the local economy. By voting yes, the community sends a message to every organization thinking of relocating to our area that our civic behavior is aligned with our values.

The bond election is choice between hope and pessimism, between doing and dying, between growth and ossification. Opponents cloak their pessimism in specious arguments about fiscal responsibility when they are driven by greed and self-interest.

There is a true, distinct dividing line between the two sides: a yes vote equates to conviction and confidence—in our education system and each other; a no vote is a white flag, signaling narrow-mindedness, denial, and hypocrisy. By voting yes, we affirm our community is pro-active, vital, and visionary.

Bret Swanson, Hermosa

We need a better plan

To the editor,

School Board member Amy Policky insists that students at Rapid City High School won't be abandoned if the bond issue passes. She points out that our alternative high school only has 324 students and utilizes less than half of its building. The bond issue turns Rapid City High into an elementary school, and leaves us guessing as to its fate.

The current school administration hasn't been supportive of Rapid City High. Teaching positions have been eliminated. There's a cap on enrollment, and a long waiting list of students trying to get in. This is unfortunate, since Rapid City High is the one school whose graduation rate is improving and that has a decline in police calls.

The Pathways curriculum will soon be forced on our high school students, and some hope it will make our alternative high school unnecessary. It's weird that part of the bond issue is for "Pathways related updates," when bond issues usually raise money for construction, not curricular changes. Even if Pathways proves to be a success, it's not a reason to abandon Rapid City High. Typically, one size doesn't fit all.

Please vote "no" on the bond issue. Let's start over, with a better plan.

Jay Davis, Rapid City

Vote NO Now, Vote YES Later

To the editor,

I support spending on schools, and the property taxes that support our schools. The 85 mils property tax increase is a 10.75% tax increase on the school portion. The legally binding ballot language is weak. A YES vote means that RCAS can set the millage anywhere they need, above 85 mils if necessary. They can pay off the bonds sooner with the increased tax revenues, and then run a campaign for a new bond, sold as "vote YES, no tax increase", they can build 3 elementary schools instead of 4, in short they can spend the money anyway they want. After you vote YES, as a voter you lose all leverage, for 25 years. We should vote NO on this ballot measure and save our YES vote for a tightly worded ballot measure that commits to a specific millage, and states exactly what will be built. Before I moved to Rapid City, I served on the Citizens Oversight Committee (COC) for a $300 million school bond measure, one that failed 3 times at the ballot before the citizens voted "YES", when the school district finally presented a solid plan with matching ballot language.

Imre Pattantyus, Rapid City

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