The Duncan Banner

September 11, 2011

LTE - 5 letters on bond issue

Staff Writer
The Duncan Banner


It is time to do something positive

To the Editor:

As the time to cast my vote for the bond issue fast approaches, I feel compelled to express myself.

I am voting yes in support of this bond, which is also a vote yes in support of our community. I am the mom of four children who attend Duncan Public Schools. I have to say that everything isn’t perfect, but as I see it, no school district is. As long as people are involved, there will be expectations that are not met, disappointments and even frustrations.

Having said that, however, I believe coming together as a community in support of the bond could go a long way toward helping ease some of those let downs. This is not the “end-all” answer to everything, but it is a great place to start.

I believe every child deserves to have a wonderful environment in which to learn. I believe that our community has given enough negatives and it is time to do something positive. Take action, vote yes, and be a part of something much bigger than what any individual can do.

I know this letter has some emotion in it, but I feel that most of the emotion shown so far as come from those who are against the bond. I would like to challenge those of you who are undecided or “thinking no” to stop and think again. Please don’t allow divisive words of fear and anger to manipulate your vote.

My children would like to ask you to vote yes. They are the ones who will be the recipients of your willingness to be a supporter, not a destroyer.

It has been said, “... without vision, the people will perish.” Won’t you join the vision to move Duncan forward?

Edie Stewart


Will this make students smarter?

To the Editor:

Chicken today and features tomorrow! I would like to begin by saying I have the utmost respect for the principal and teachers at our (Duncan) high school. They helped me when I didn’t know where else to turn and I will be forever grateful. I had the pleasure of talking to some people about the school bond election and I have to say they made some very good points. The statement was made that we have some bonds that are almost paid off and when they are paid our taxes will go down. That would truly be a blessing in these times.

A yes vote would keep taxes up or increase them. That would mean higher home payments and higher rent. In these times, that would not be a blessing.

I saw a picture of plans and they do make the school picture perfect, but I don’t understand how that will make our students smarter. Would it not be better to be less fancy on the redo and add more to the classrooms which is truly needed? Why do we need three gyms?

Also, I looked at the picture of the library with glass windows in the ceiling. Would we have to hire someone to clean them? Why are they necessary? Don’t kids have computers and very seldom use the library? I am all for the teachers having a beautiful lounge for breaks — they earned it!

I have decided that I will vote no because I figure I might have chicken on the 13th and I don’t know how long I can make the feathers last! Also, did you notice the 10 1/2 pages of delinquent taxes in The Banner 9/1/2011? Those who do pay must make up the difference.

Jana Lockhart


Playing the ‘save-the-children’ card

To the Editor

I received in my mail a 6x11-inch postcard which, according to the card, was “Paid for by Move Duncan Forward.” MDF insists we “must” come up with $41 million to “ensure” the future of our children. I have noticed the tax and spend crowd always plays the save-the-children card to justify expenditures which are not otherwise justifiable.

Previous promotions from MDF and others minimize the huge total by claiming it will only cost a fraction of a sent of property value and, by implication, state that anyone not willing to part with a few cents is a selfish scrooge.

This is the Salami Game: A little slice here, a little slice there and no one notices until the salami is gone.

This is how it’s played by MDF

• Recite that the “investment will be used to finance measures which will guarantee the wished-for future for those children. I have noticed “investment” is the code word for “tax and spend.”

• Tout several brick and mortar features — repairing facilities, constructing new class rooms, etc., which will “ensure” the wished-for result. Has it ever been show by anyone that brick and mortar will in fact ensure any future?

• Imply “touchy-feely” features — improving the student educational experience, giving students the best educational environment — will “ensure” the wished-for result.

• Assert the “investment” will impel business owners to come to town and bring money/ That is surely the most unfounded assumption of all.

Is any “investment” going to make “more” perfect the long list of students who have a grade point of 4.0? Are we now being asked to pay more to get the same result? What is the point of gilding the lily?

Thomas R. Weaver


Supporters minimize the increase

To the Editor:

It’s as if schools follow a script when trying to get a school bond passed. First, a crisis, and urgent need. Then there are testimonials.

Supporters push the millage using standard arguments: “It’s for the kids.” They minimize the increase. It’s equated to cups of coffee, doughnuts, whatever — a pittance. They find any possible way to characterize the proposal — it’s a renewal; and the extension is anything but an increase.

This bond is for $41,085,000. The minimization argument ignores the cumulative effect of one tax increase (23.92 mills to 25 mills) piled on top of another. Rather than a cup of coffee, why not cite something like a breath of air? Tax payers could give up one breath per day for the Sept. 13 vote and be all right. But by the time we give up more breaths for local, state and Federal taxes for this, we end up blue in the face.

If it is such a pittance, why can’t adjustments possible be made; maybe do without some of the “wish list.”

Tax payers are making adjustments and doing without things. If we tax payers are inclined to give Duncan Public Schools more money for remodeling and renovations, why not a pay-as-you-go sinking fund? When one bond ends and we tax payers owe zero (Duncan, 1998) and a new bond begins that is an increase. Paying 23.92 mills this year for the current bond and paying 23.92 mills for a new bond is an extension. This new bond will extend it to a higher amount, 25  mills — i.e., tax increase.

Also, the annual transportation expenditures do not further academic excellence, such as technology, additional teachers for advanced placement classes in English or government.

Jan Preece Gaddis


Why spend money we don’t have?

To the Editor:

Having an engineering background, I have to be very specific and not assume or take things for granted. On this upcoming Duncan bond issue, I have gotten my information from newspapers, TV, attending meetings and speaking with people who are for and against the bond.

I attended the school board meeting where the board approved using the McDonald Group. I was surprised when Mr. McDonald asked the board to vote on a $41.1 million bond, when the original figure was $33.4 million. After the meeting, I asked a supporter of the bond why the number changed.

I was told, “You know you can not borrow money for nothing.”

I said, “Yes, I know.”

Then I said, “Why wasn’t this number published in the paper?” I received no answer.

Some questions:

Why was it planned to move the transportation department to Lee school, then it was planned “not” to move the department to Lee?

Why spend money our people don’t have? Duncan has a 58 percent poverty level.

Is any bond money going to be used with the City of Champions group?

Why spend money on buildings, when we can not even buy books for our kids? But we can spend money demolishing a building or spending $100,000 “remodeling” a press box? One year, Duncan was short $14,000 and could not buy needed books, and this book shortage is happening other places.

Why has it taken so long for specifics of the bond to be known? It’s not enough just to say that $25 million is going for improvements to DHS.

I’ve substituted at Duncan and have six children who are graduates of DHS. I want the best for the district, but there are specifics missing in the information we’ve received.

George Lara