To the Gazette:
We are writing this letter in support of the Augusta School Bond Issue that will be voted on this spring. We moved to Augusta in June of 1968 and I worked for the Augusta School District for 34 years as a teacher, coach, and administrator. We care deeply about our school system.
The USD Growth Committee, comprised of citizens of Augusta, studied extensively the facility needs of the district. The original assessment of needs totaled approximately 70 million and was trimmed to the current 48 million by the Board of Education and Growth Committee. Of that amount the state will pay 46 percent. The projected interest rate is 4.47 percent which is the lowest interest rate in recent years. The bond will be for 25 years and would amount to 6.59 mills added to the bond and interest mill levy.
The owner of a $100,000 home would pay $6.32 per month, $75.79 per year and a total of $1,894.75. The owner of a $150,000 home would pay $9.47 per month, $113.68 per year and a total of $2,842.00 over 25 years. The total mill levy for bond and interest would be 14.40 which is below that of several area school districts. These are the facts as we know them.
It is inevitable that the facility needs of the district will have to be addressed. The longer we wait the more it will cost. Our elementary buildings have no storm shelters.
You need look no further than Greensburg to see what could have been the result if school had been in session when the tornado struck that city last May. We are running out of classrooms because of a variety of factors listed by the Garfield principal, Kim Christner, in the April 14 issue of the Gazette.
Several area schools have built new facilities and the longer Augusta waits to address our facility needs the further behind we will be. I cannot count the number of times that parents have visited our school buildings before deciding whether to move here with their families. The entire community will benefit in the long run by the passage of this bond issue.
The financial sacrifice is a small price to pay for the benefit received by the children of Augusta. This bond issue, as well as those of the past in Augusta, is very affordable.
Our own children benefited from the financial sacrifices made by the citizens of Augusta in years past and we feel that we need to provide for the children of the future.
We intend to vote YES on the 2008 school bond issue.
Armand and Barbara Hillier