One score and one year ago, the Seymour R-II Board of Education placed a bond issue on the ballot.
For those of you not familiar with Abraham Lincoln math, that was 21 years ago in the summer of 1998, when patrons of the Seymour R-II School District were asked to approve a 90-cent levy that would have, among other things, built a new middle school and gymnasium.
The issue failed by 10 votes.
Since that time, two more school-tax issues have graced the ballots of district patrons.
Both failed. One was a narrow defeat, the other not so narrow.
We’ll not debate the merits of any of these three tax issues; doing so is an exercise in futility.
This November, the district’s fourth plea to voters in just over two decades will arrive in the form of a 75-cent increase to the school’s operating levy.
We’ve never done this before, but we’re asking you to vote for it.
Increasing your property taxes never is easy.
Taxes today come in all shapes and sizes — sales taxes, income taxes, capital gains ... the list seemingly never ends. Taxing entities also abound, ranging from cities to states, local government to the federal government.
This tax is local.
This tax benefi ts our children.
We’ll pay it just like you. This business pays property tax at the highest rate, commercial, to our local school district.
And if voters on Nov. 5 approve the 75-cent levy hike, we’ll gladly pay it when the county collector sends the bill.
The levy increase will generate between $400,000 and $425,000 annually. It won’t be spent on frivolous things; it will be spent on necessities.
It will ensure our certified staff (teachers) stay. It will ensure our non-certified staff make a livable wage.
It will pay for school supplies, an annual cost of between $50 to $75 per student for parents.It will provide money for needed facility repairs.
It will allow the district to fully fund its present programs.
Perhaps new Superintendent Steve Richards said it best when he said the levy isn’t a “want.” It’s a genuine “need.”
Neighboring school patrons have seen similar needs and provided for their children.
Over the past five years, levy increases have passed in Fordland, Mansfield and Marshfield.
All three school districts border ours.
We’ll provide a comparison.
If you own a $100,000 home, your property taxes will increase $141 a year, less than $12 a month.
The cost for the owner of a $50,000 home is about $70 annually or just under $6 monthly.
If you are the parent of two children at the elementary school, you spend more than $100 a year on school supplies.
If the levy passes, it will save parents $50 to $75 per child because the district will provide supplies parents now have to buy.
We realize there are many Seymour taxpayers who don’t have children in school and may not see the benefit of approving a 75-cent levy increase.
We understand that mindset.
Chances are that they do have grandchildren or even great-grandchildren who attend the local school. Perhaps a niece or nephew attend. Maybe they are alumni.
It’s also likely they attended a public school that was properly funded.
Fact is, ours isn’t.
Our patrons are paying the state minimum of $2.75 per $100 of assessed valuation.
That’s the minimum amount required to receive state aid. And there will be a day when the state mandates a higher rate.
Patrons of the Seymour R-II School District would be better served by having a levy increase on their terms versus the alternative.
We’ve never endorsed a school-tax increase.
We’re doing it now.
Like you, we dislike tax hikes.
But there are times when they are warranted for the betterment of the community.
This is one of those times.