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WO-S bond issue is about more than turf

October 9, 2018

If you live in the West Orange-Stark CISD and want your football, baseball and softball fields to have artificial turf, you ought to support the bond issue on the Nov. 6 ballot. If you don’t think high school sports should have that upgrade, you probably should still vote for the bond issue.

Why? Because the turf is a minor component of something much larger.

The bond issue totals $25.75 million and would provide various improvements to the district. The artificial turf makes up only $1.1 million. Clearly, that’s about 1/25th of the entire proposal.

Folks in West Orange-Stark like their football, which has produced state championships in recent years, so the turf component is going to get a lot of attention. If that gets some of them in the voting booth on Nov. 6, or during the early voting period from Oct. 22 to Nov. 2, that’s OK.

But the focus here should remain on the main elements of the bond issue, which are:

Safety and security upgrades for several campuses.

HVAC, roofs and other infrastructure repair or replacement.

Technology upgrades.

Classroom furniture, equipment and Career Technology Programs.

Improvements for fine arts programs.

A new transportation center on higher ground that would help district vehicles survive floods.

A community events center for the high school

Oh, and artificial turf for three sports fields.

A Citizens Advisory Committee studies the district’s needs and came up with this list. As with most bond issues, it doesn’t represent everything that could be done, just the things that are most important.

The district hasn’t had a bond issue in some time, and no one likes to raise his or her taxes. In this case, the district tax rate would increase by 8 cents per $100 valuation.

But that estimate is based on no increase in the district’s property valuation, which is unlikely. If the total valuation increases as expected, the actual tax increase for the bond issue would be smaller in future years. West-Orange Stark is also one of the few school districts still giving residents a 20 percent homestead exemption, and that also reduces the overall tax bill for homeowners.

In public education, as with so many things, you get what you pay for. If this bond issue is approved, WO-S residents will get more.

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