The Preble Shawnee School Board voted to again place the school bond/income tax issue on the ballot, promising two new buildings for which the state will pay 56 percent of the cost.
Claims that the state will pay 65 percent ignore the fact that the board added $6.1 million dollars in extras to the state-sanctioned construction cost. None of the $12 million already paid into the district’s “rainy day fund” is to be applied to the taxpayers’ obligation.
This means that, not only have PS residents already funded a $12 million surplus, they are expected to pay that $12 million again, along with the rest of the 37 years’ payments and interest for that entire period of time. The monthly household obligation is not the issue; the total amount and the length of time for repayment show bad business sense, as Preble Shawnee voters indicated on Nov. 8.
Unarguably, Camden Elementary needs attention. In the name of fiscal responsibility, the already renovated section of the building should not be demolished; new construction should be added onto it. The board already announced plans to move some Camden students to West Elkton Elementary and other students to unused rooms in the high school during construction. To do so while delaying plans for a new high school building averts the need for modular units during Camden construction, thereby eliminating much monetary waste. Meanwhile, necessary upgrades to the high school, which have been willfully ignored by the administration, past or present — may be addressed. After completion of the elementary project, I invite the board to approach the public to finance a new high school building. In the meantime, I request that current district leadership let go of the $12 million stash and spend it wisely for the good of Preble Shawnee students and for the good of the district’s loyal supporters.