Daily News editorial

In February 2017, the TDN editorial board wrote an editorial in support of the Toledo School District’s proposed $14.2 million bond. The bond vote failed by about 60 votes and now the district is back proposing a slightly cheaper alternative.

We support this newer bond proposal totaling $12.9 million, and urge Toledo School District voters to support it as well.

Toledo High School is a mess – plain and simple. The high school either needs to be updated or plans need to be made to merge the high school with another school district, which would mean busing kids somewhere else to attend classes.

We would like to see Toledo High School updated.

As we chronicled last February, the school is in dire need. The roof leaks in so many spots it’s hard to count. The movable walls may have been a good idea in the mid-1970s, but in reality they are a safety hazard and impair learning by making classrooms too loud.

Every aspect of Toledo High School needs an overhaul, including locker rooms, bathrooms, the kitchen, classrooms, walls, the intercom system, the shop, the running track and just about anywhere else you want to look.

Last February, Toledo voters said, “No” to the $14.2 million bond. We heard many folks voice concern that building maintenance was not kept up to par for years, thus the school fell into disrepair.

This argument has some truth to it according to Superintendent Chris Rust. Regardless, let’s look at this in terms of the home you live in. If you didn’t make any significant updates to your home for 25 years wouldn’t it be in need?

You bet it would.

People don’t seem to dispute the school needs updating. The reality seems to center around paying more in taxes. Toledo voters clearly don’t want to pay higher property taxes.

Well, we agree – higher property taxes are not popular. The TDN editorial board is typically against any increase in taxes, rates or fees.

But in some cases we support paying more – and think you should, too.

According to Rust, the School Facilities Committee looked at numerous options before settling on another bond offering. Among them, the committee looked at closing THS and moving the students to the middle school. This solution isn’t feasible because there is not enough room at the middle school to house all the students.

We asked Rust about merging the Toledo School District with a neighbor – perhaps Castle Rock. Neighboring districts don’t have enough room for the Toledo High School students, and if they did, Toledo residents could end up paying for levies from other districts, too.

Some people think the new school funding legislation which passed will reduce property taxes, but that’s not necessarily true. Once the levy swap goes into place, Toledo taxpayers will have higher taxes in 2018, then school related taxes will go back down to about 2017 levels in the year 2019.

If a capital bond levy is passed this year, by 2019, taxpayers will pay more than they pay now.

The biggest problem is there are no good alternatives to passing the bond. If the bond is voted down, the school could end up being condemned and students shipped elsewhere. Homeowners will wind up paying increased property taxes for busing and other costs for the students to attend high school in a different school district.

If the bond doesn’t pass now, but passes a year or two from now, it will cost more. Rust loosely figures each additional year costs another $1 million or so of additional cost as the building continues to deteriorate.

Other aspects of this bond measure are pride and community. The situation regarding the high school has gone on far too long. When we visited the school last year, it was clear the kids desperately wanted to see their school get a makeover.

The entire area is proud of the school and its rich history. The community would never be the same if the high school closed – it just wouldn’t. While some folks don’t want to pay higher taxes, we’re sure they still support the school.

Another reason to get the bond passed is financing rates are very low right now. This proposed bond would be paid off in about 20 years, but with great financing rates currently available, the bond possibly could be paid off much sooner.

Both the Longview and Kelso School districts recently announced their existing bonds were refinanced at historically low rates of about 1.49 percent, saving taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The TDN editorial board urges you to vote “Yes” on the Toledo School bond.

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