Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Don't sign the petition. A letter to the editor of the Scott County News-Graphic

One of my 2017 resolutions was to write more letters, and I hope to publish some, along with their responses, here. The News-Graphic recently published a letter I wrote. Context: the local school board election in November was basically a referendum on building a second high school to relieve the very overcrowded -- and only-- high school in the fastest-growing county in Kentucky. The board is now pro-build, an architect has been hired (the second firm, actually; the project has been in the works for years) but a citizens group is again circulating a petition to force a special election on the property tax increase. The election would cost the district $30,000 or more and the citizens group seems to deny the actual need or to subscribe to "alternative facts."

To the Editor,

I would like to express my opposition to the petition circulating to force an expensive special election on the school district in an attempt to prevent or delay the construction of the new high school, and to urge my fellow citizens not to sign it. The Kentucky State Data Center at the University of Louisville projects that 1,000 more 15-19 year olds will live in Scott County in the year 2025 than did in 2015, and that there will be almost 5,500 total individuals in that age cohort by 2035. The county would do well to put together a long-range financial plan to build several schools, and not just the ones currently on the drawing board, to make room for the almost 8,000 additional school-age students projected to be here less than 20 years from today. I am sympathetic to wanting to keep overall taxes low, and I would support a petition to stop some of the poor tax policies our county and cities pursue. But a real crisis is upon us now; not doing what is immediately necessary to alleviate the rapidly growing burden on SCHS simply compounds the errors of the past and will make future choices even more painful.

Justin Tapp

Someone else wrote a letter that I liked enough to publish an excerpt here:

As I start this letter I am somewhat sad that some of our citizens are so “tight” with their money that they want to fight against providing our future citizens and leaders a decent place and environment in which to learn. Folks, the Scott County Education Board is not asking for much money. A $150,000 house would cost the owners about $.25 or a quarter a day more. This would be about $85.00 per year,  the amount you would spend on a night out or  maybe a UK basketball ticket.

In doing a little research, I discovered that Scott Co. has the lowest tax rate in Central  Kentucky. A $150,000 house is compared as follows:

         Scott Co.--------$1023/yr

         Woodford Co---$1101/yr

         Fayette Co------$1440/yr

         Franklin Co-----$1342/yr

         Grant Co--------$1225/yr

Even with the increase Scott Co. would be near the bottom when compared to our neighboring counties.

We need an educated community. We need to be a community that supports, values and should even covet a good education for all its citizens.

Charles Adams

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