Rothsay bond referendum concerns [UPDATED]Published 9:30am Thursday, December 13, 2012 Updated 11:34am Thursday, December 13, 2012
One of the reasons for building a new school involves space for new technology. Thirty years, which is how long it would take to pay off the bond issue if it passes, is a long time when you think how fast technology changes. One of my major concerns is that this facility may be as obsolete as the former Fergus Falls State Hospital long before it is paid for.
There are already many courses being taught by means of the internet by high schools, colleges, universities, etc.
Some students get their degrees without ever having been in a classroom. In the future interactive teaching over the internet is going to become far more common.
It may be possible for many classes to be taught without hauling all the students to a central location. Some classes may still need to be taught in the traditional way but would probably require a much smaller facility.
Things are not clear as to what the state has told us we have to change, what they think we should change, and what is wanted by the administration.
I find it hard to believe that anyone would want a hard paved surface for kids to play on and that a paved parking lot is a must.
It has been mentioned in the minutes that the school has the power of eminent domain and that it is landlocked. Why not try to purchase property adjacent to what you already have like the block north of the school?
I attended school when enrollment was a hundred students higher and it is hard to imagine that much additional space being needed just to handle the present population. Then there is the issue of property taxes. What I am going to have to pay extra if the referendum passes will be multiplied many times for others.
This year my real estate taxes went up 66 percent. Next year they will go up another 14 percent if nothing changes. I was also told by the Otter Tail County assessor that land values for the year 2014 will go up at least 30 percent. The proposed bond issue would roughly double what I pay for the school district now.
Rothsay area is not growing much in population now and it is likely that it won’t grow enough in the future to justify a much larger school. Twenty four million dollars is an awful lot of money.
And there isn’t any guarantee that more operating funds won’t be needed in the future to pay the bills if the district doesn’t gain enough students.
Perhaps a business would choose to move to another town rather than pay the higher taxes. Tax rates are usually researched by people looking to buy real estate and our rates are already plenty high.
Hardly something to encourage people to move into the Rothsay School District.
I would hope that people would take more time to really think about this before going that far into debt. There have to be other solutions and we need to take more time to find them rather than being stampeded into the most expensive option.