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GSL sets 2 more building bond forums

Glencoe-Silver Lake (GSL) Superintendent Chris Sonju announced Monday night that two more public forums on the district’s proposed $24 million building bond have been set: one for April 23 at 7:30 p.m. at the Helen Baker School, the other for May 7 at the high school.
The district’s first forum, in March, was poorly attended — three district residents, a reporter and two school board members showed up.
This is a huge issue, folks. We’re talking a $24 million bond issue for a project that will, hopefully, address our district’s building needs for the next couple of generations.
The proposed project is a scaled-down version of one that was proposed (twice) in 2011. Although it will provide less square footage than the 2011 proposal, the cost is estimated at about $6 million more than that project.
It just shows two things that the school district had predicted in 2011 are true: that the building needs of the district will not go away, and that the cost will grow with inflation. This will not change if voters again turn down the bond.
We suspect that if the May 12 bond fails, the district will spend a nearly equivalent amount to update the Helen Baker building, as well as its other buildings, without gaining an additional square inch of space to accommodate the changing needs of education, nor any additional enrollment if this area experiences a population growth spurt.
We know that many feel that there is an unfair distribution of the cost to property taxpayers, with agricultural land and commercial property bearing a larger burden than residential property.
While there are proposals to reform those tax laws before the Legislature, that probably will not happen in the current session.
We all need to remember that this is not a referendum on property tax reform, but a school issue. We, as voters, must first decide if this is a good project that will better the education of our students and, then, secondly, if we can afford it.
But neither of those decision can be made without solid, accurate information. Please attend the forums, read the mailings regarding the upcoming vote, and then make your decision. Our students deserve no less.