Those who fervently support spending $10 million for a new Walla Walla High School science building are those who are not property owners and pay no property taxes; those who are financially well off and can afford higher taxes; and those who have something to personally gain, such as contractors, parents of students, and employees of the education system.
Look around Walla Walla and you see a city that is barely sustaining itself. Living-wage jobs are hard to find. Businesses open, then close. This is not a thriving economy.
Many homeowners are barely able to pay their mortgages, insurance and property taxes. Remodeling and other home improvements are unthinkable.
I bought my modest home 12 years ago for $115,000. Today, I pay almost $2,000 in taxes each year.
Much of that money goes to the school district. Every time I find a bigger, better home for sale, the property taxes scare me off from buying it.
Those of us who are against this bond believe this may be only the tip of the iceberg. Once it is approved, then what?
What about Lincoln High School? What about other needs at Wa-Hi and at other district schools?
What about the Memorial Pool?
Is this really the highest priority project right now? Are there not millions of high school students across rural America and in inner cities who don’t even have a science building? Yet these kids go on to college and most of them seem to do just fine.
College Place recently approved a huge school bond, and the property owners have already seen frightening increases to their property taxes. No wonder there is suddenly an abundance of homes for sale in College Place. Who can really afford to pay $3,000 ir $4 thousand a year, year after year, for property taxes?
Many of us simply cannot. That’s why we oppose this bond.
Spread that $10 million out, and fix the existing science building, make other needed improvements at Wa-Hi, and use the rest to start a renovation project at Lincoln High School.
That’s what at least 45 percent of the voters in Walla Walla want.
This bond is going to fail to get 60 percent of the voters to approve it, because the school board has failed to show any compassion or consideration for the struggles of the medium- and low-income homeowners. That’s why a large voter turnout spells defeat.
Jeffery C. Bickle