Citizens Advocating Reasonable Taxation (CART) supports UA’s schools but urges voters to vote “no” on Issue 43, a combined 38-year bond issue, totaling $230 million plus a 3.75-mill permanent operating tax levy.
Issue 43 represents an overly ambitious plan to tear down and replace half of UA’s schools, while continuing to attempt to provide a quality education to UA’s students. It’s too much money to spend in the short construction phase with payment stretched over an excessive 38-year financing period.
Issue 43 will increase the average annual household costs by $1,250 (average UA property value $400,000.)
The proposed increase amounts to a 14 percent overall property tax increase and a 21 percent school-related property tax increase.
UA operates eight school buildings (five elementaries, two middle schools and one high school). Issue 43 supporters propose to tear half of them down (Greensview, Wickliffe, Windermere and the high school).
Yet, UA taxpayers have over five years left to pay on the 1995 school bond issue where funds were borrowed to build additions on Greensview, Wickliffe and Windermere.
Grandview and Bexley high schools were originally constructed in 1923 and 1932. UA’s high school was originally constructed in 1956. Nevertheless, Grandview and Bexley are “neck and neck” with UA on school testing.
UA residents were just subjected to a 13.6 percent Franklin County property tax revaluation increase.
UA’s schools have not been good stewards of taxpayers’ dollars. They have paid themselves first. According to information on the websites of the Buckeye Institute (buckeyeinstitute.org) and the Ohio Treasurer’s Office (tos.ohio.gov), one gym teacher makes almost $94,000 annually and has received recent salary increases exceeding 7 percent a year.
Enlightening information is available on the state treasurer’s office website.
Should Issue 43 pass, some concerns being expressed by UA residents include:
• A single working mom who rents: How much rent increase will she have to absorb?
• A retired couple on fixed income: They wonder whether they will be forced to sell their home and move out of Upper Arlington.
UA residents are concerned that their children and grandchildren will be saddled with unnecessary debt, given the 38-year financing of this issue.
And a second bond issue will probably be required in 10 years for the schools (Hastings, Jones and Burbank) not covered by Issue 43.
With the advance of technology, why is education so expensive? A least-cost option for renovating UA’s school buildings should be more than adequate for a progressive community.
Do the taxpayers get a refund if all of the Issue 43 money is not really needed? What happens to the extra money?
Why are the proposed sports facilities so expensive?
The high school auditorium is one of best and biggest in Ohio and should not be torn down.
Support our schools but say “no” to Levy 43.
Mindy Lambert, Ph.D., is a spokesperson for CART and is a retired biochemist. She and her husband moved to UA in 1986. Two of their sons are graduates of Upper Arlington High School.