Provide a foundation for our schools
September 29, 2002
For most of the people who will be voting on a $3.75 million Carson City school bond in November, portable classrooms are a modern phenomenon.
The generations who own homes and pay most of the property taxes generally have fond memories of their school days in real buildings with real foundations.
Unless they have school-age children of their own, however, they may be surprised to learn an entire generation of Carson City students has grown up with portable classrooms, which have been used here in some form for close to 25 years. In fact, the district now uses 53 portables — they’ve become something of a fixture, so to speak, in school life.
The reason is simple. They’re a temporary addition to crowded, growing schools. They allow a school district to buy time before committing tax funds to construction of new schools. If enrollment slows, or shifts to another part of town, portables prove to be an efficient and cost-saving solution.
At Bordewich-Bray Elementary School, toxic mold was discovered earlier this year in five portable classrooms. Those buildings were ultimately destroyed.
Now comes the school district asking for $3.75 million to build a permanent 22,000-square-foot addition at Bordewich-Bray to replace the mold-infested portables. The bond issue would not raise taxes, although it would extend the current property-tax rate for a year, and then taxes would drop at a rate slower than if the bonds are not issued. For the owner of a $150,000 home, the cost would be $11.37 a year over the 20-year life of the bonds.
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This wholly unexpected problem — toxic mold in five portable classrooms — provides Carson City voters an opportunity to do something right for at least some of its schoolchildren: give them classrooms in a real school.
Residents should feel a tinge of guilt that they have sent a generation of students to be educated in what amounts to trailer parks on school grounds. If they want to congratulate school administrators for being innovate and cost-efficient, go right ahead. Those school administrators haven’t had much choice since a 1996 school bond, which would have built new schools, was defeated.
For a community to have superior schools, books and teachers will always be more important than buildings. But books and teachers don’t come out of the same pot of money as bricks-and-mortar buildings. That’s why the district is asking for bond money.
This question should be one of the easiest for Carson City voters to decide on the Nov. 5 ballot. Even if you care little about other questions or candidates, the Carson school bond is reason enough to get to the polls and vote yes. Help provide a foundation for our schools.
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