To The Editor:
This is an incredibly difficult financial time for many people in our district, but given how our education funding works, voting no on the HUUSD bond could make it more financially challenging for taxpayers over time. I hope that each of you reading this will take the time to educate yourselves about the HUUSD bond proposal by reading the material presented at https://huusd.org/bond-plan. Here are the top reasons I have supported this bond from the beginning. Please consider them as you also do your own careful research.
- Our high school has at least $36 million worth of repairs needed. If we include them in our annual budgets over the next 20 years, we will most likely be over the state spending threshold in our budgets and be penalized. The way the state funding formula works, it is less expensive for taxpayers to fund repairs through a bond than to include them in our yearly budget over time.
- If we only do basic repairs, the structural problems of a building and facility built 50 years ago remain, making today’s teaching and learning challenging and outdated. If you haven’t yet voted, go visit our surrounding high schools of similar size. Look at U-32 and MMU and their gyms, fields, science labs and auditoriums. When people are choosing communities to live in, they will certainly look at other similar high schools and may choose to live closer to a modern high school. This will impact your property taxes too given the state funding formula.
- We can’t just “fix Harwood” without making a clear decision about our seventh and eighth graders as HUMS is housed in the high school and impacts space available. Harwood Middle School currently has 99 seventh/eighth graders, while CBMS has 160 seventh/eighth graders. Together, the two schools have the potential for a vibrant middle school community in our district’s beautiful stand-alone middle school, Crossett Brook. Bringing all of our students together starting in seventh grade will create a more cohesive community and more equitable learning opportunities. This bond allows for a better learning space for our middle schoolers, as well as more flexible space in the high school for additional learning opportunities and the central office.
- We fund multiple small elementary schools in our district. Our middle and high school kids deserve similar funding and consideration. Our merged district has a history of focusing on the needs of our elementary school kids at the expense of our high schoolers. They deserve more.
- Our community’s children need a better building and expanded learning opportunities. We have great teachers and co-curricular activities. We should have the infrastructure to properly support them. This is an investment in our community’s future. If you choose to vote no, please know your taxes will continue to go up and likely even more significantly and unpredictably. Voting yes gives us a predictable and thoughtful plan and investment in our schools.