Tomorrow, Lexington School District 2-area voters have an opportunity to vote for a bond referendum that will bring much needed upgrades to deteriorating school facilities and necessary technology enhancements for our students. A “YES”vote on the School District Bond Referendum question will allow Lexington 2 to borrow $225 million dollars financed at a low, fixed interest rate to be repaid over the next twenty years.
This money will allow District 2 to rebuild five outdated elementary schools and make major expansions, safety enhancements, and renovations to other schools in the district. Significantly, improvements at certain schools will result in the ability to accommodate more students, thus resulting in the closing of three schools and a corresponding savings.
Moreover, the proceeds from the sale of these outdated facilities and property will be used to pay down on the bond indebtedness. These school improvements are an investment in the community as they will increase property values, improve the quality of the District’s neighborhoods, as well as provide a safer, more technologically advanced learning environment for our children.
A “NO” vote will force the School District to borrow approximately $20 million dollars each year at high interest rates to continue to make necessary “band-aids” to deteriorating schools, which average 56 years of age. Accordingly, a “NO” vote will result in a larger tax increase at an unpredictable, and higher rate! This ‘band aid” approach is not only unwise and fiscally imprudent, but will lead to the continued decline of Lexington 2 school facilities, a decline in property values, and a decline in the quality of education that can be afforded to our children.
It is axiomatic that residential real estate values are tied to the quality of neighborhood schools. Together with safety and crime considerations, schools are the principal factor in deciding where to purchase a home. As evidence of this paradigm, since the passage of the Lexington School District 1 bond referendum in 2006 that resulted in the construction of many new schools and technology enhancements, the District 1 attendance area has experienced massive growth in new home development and an increase in existing home value as home-buyers flock to that district for quality schools for their children. The Lexington School District 2 area, by comparison, which has schools averaging over 50 years of age and many without the ability to accommodate the latest technology, is experiencing stagnant, if not decreased population growth, with home values tracking this troubling trend. Local Realtors refer to Lexington School District 2 as a “drive-by district.” Potential home buyers take one look at the old, outdated schools and “drive-by” to purchase homes in other school districts with modern, updated, safe facilities for their children. These economic considerations, while compelling, should not overshadow or diminish the true need, which is a learning environment that is safe and conducive to effective teaching and learning. Portable classrooms without restroom facilities and adequate air conditioning and heating are not conducive to effective learning, nor are schools with antiquated electrical systems that cannot accommodate computers for risk of fire, or schools that have poor air quality due to the presence of water stagnation and mold from leaking roofs and walls. A YES vote on the Lexington School District 2 bond referendum makes sense and benefits our children, our quality of life, our property values, and ensures the future of our community for many years to come.
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