I oppose the Upper Arlington schools' Issue 43 combined bond and operating levy.
1) The bond issue for capital expenditures should be presented and debated separately from the permanent operating levy which includes salaries and benefits. This allows UA residents to focus on how their taxes are best targeted for educating students.
2) Because of the relatively high value of its houses, UA collects proportionately more actual dollars than other communities with similar tax rates. Is the UA school district wisely spending taxpayer dollars?
3) The proponents of Issue 43 have not emphasized the least-cost option for each building. Can buildings scheduled for rebuild at $20 million be renovated for $3 million to $8 million on average? Further, the least-cost option probably provides a lower exposure for UA taxpayers and students when considering cost overruns, including add-ons, missed project deadlines, quality of installation and disruption to students' education.
4) With a bond payback of 38 years, taxpayers may be unreasonably burdened after 20 years; nominally, age-related repairs will increase operations and maintenance costs in addition to the taxes being consumed by this bond. Note that in 10 years, additional taxes will probably be requested for the Jones, Hastings and Burbank buildings.
In order to demonstrate that it represents the best interests of UA's taxpayers and students, the district will have to return to the drawing board and develop the least-cost option for each building.