Grandparents OnlyMar 09, 2023 12:27PM ● By Dotty Evanson
So, Grandma Dot is going to get a little political. I want to address three issues in reference to the bond for a new elementary school in our community. The issues are: 1) The building is old, same age as me, and in much worse shape. 2) We can build a new school for our kids without a tax increase. 3) Emotionally, we all need to take a deep breath and do what is right for the community.
Issue #1: It’s a fact that remodeling the old elementary would cost millions. And, when it is finished we would still have an old building that isn’t earthquake safe. While remodeling there would be no place to educate the students. Also, if the building had architectural significance, it may be worth the output and the risk, but it doesn’t. It is a box full of big cracks, cracks that appeared after earthquakes.
Issue #2: We have tried to pass bonds for a new school before and barely missed the super majority Idaho requires. In hindsight, the opposition has been a blessing because we find ourselves in a situation now where the school can be built with no increase in tax dollars. That situation could change down the road. The timing is perfect right now. Raising taxes was the problem for many who voted ‘no’ before. That is not a problem now. Taxes will not go up because the state has provided an equalization formula to help counties that are poor. We are poor and qualify for that help if we pass the bond. It is the law. Yet, there are still some who do not want to provide an up-to-date facility for our children. I find myself wondering why?
Issue #3: When we first started looking at building a new school, I was the principal of Malad Elementary, and I was not on board to knock it down. I wanted to remodel. I loved the space. I loved the building. However, a local person who had a lot of experience in constructing schools took the time to explain the futility of remodeling my beloved box. He convinced me that even with remodeling, the school wasn’t a good option for our community based on the cost of the remodel and the end-product we would have. I listened and I learned. Now, to be honest, I must say this same construction guy was against passing the bond when we finally got quotes for what a new school would cost. He felt the tax increase would be a burden to the property owners. That is now a moot point. When faced with the facts, my emotional attachment to the building had to be abandoned in favor of what is best for our kids and our community. If I can leave the box behind, anyone can. I’m pretty sure the county nor the city could afford to “inherit” a building that needs as much work as Malad Elementary needs. (I would have to pay a fortune to play pickleball there.)
In summary, the Good Life often requires change. I hope we can all take a deep breath, evaluate honestly, and do what is right for our kids and our community. I trust the people who have researched, worked, and planned to help us move forward. One of the primary rules of good decision making is to check your source. Be wise. Let’s pass this bond with a 90% majority. We’re reasonable folk who love the Good Life and our kids!
Dotty Evanson is a columnist with the Enterprise. Her views do not necessarily reflect those of the paper itself, or Loyal Perch Media.