Goshen News, Goshen, IN

November 3, 2013

Project good for Goshen

Goshen News

---- — The Question:

“Shall Goshen Community Schools issue bonds or enter into a lease to finance the renovation of and construction of improvements to Goshen Middle School and Goshen High School, which includes site improvements, which is estimated to cost not more than $17,150,000 and is estimated to increase the property tax rate for debt service by a maximum of $.1098 per $100 of assessed valuation over the 20-year life of the bonds?”

AFTER CONSIDERING THIS QUESTION for the past several months, The Goshen News feels a “yes” vote during Tuesday’s special referendum would be in the best interest of the overall Goshen community. Therefore, we hope this project passes the scrutiny of voters within the boundaries of Goshen Community Schools and comes to fruition over the next couple years.

This proposed project — which includes a new pool, along with renovations and additions at Goshen High School and Goshen Middle School — is a positive and responsible step for both Goshen schools and Goshen as a whole. We believe the cost to the average property taxpayer (about $37.03 annually for a median-priced home of $101,500 over the 20-year life of the bond issue) is a reasonable amount to pay for the long-term benefits this project will provide.

WE UNDERSTAND WHY some people might not agree with us. It’s not unreasonable to question the soundness of such expenditures, no matter how noble they may seem. The fine people of Goshen who work hard and take pride in paying their bills can be sticklers about details, as well they should be. We too would feel better if we knew where the new pool would be built. We don’t yet. We too would feel better about writing a check for $17.15 million if the economy was a little stronger and the unemployment rate a little lower. Still, based on what we’ve learned during this process, we trust the school board and school administration are proceeding together in the best interests of the students and community they serve.

Some people see Tuesday’s referendum as a way of working around property tax caps written into Indiana’s Constitution several years ago. We don’t. We see the referendum as a way of working with property tax caps and using our collective voice as a community to determine what is important enough for us to invest in. Our schools should be. What this project represents to us is an investment in ourselves. It is not a frivolous tax-and-spend whim. Limited space in our schools has been a concern for years.

MAINTENANCE COSTS of our two aging pools have been bleeding the corporation budget for years (the high school pool turns 52 two days after the election). The estimated annual savings of maintaining one pool as opposed to the two we have is $125,000 a year.

We are proud of Goshen and we are proud of Goshen schools. Passage of this referendum will only make each one stronger. Therefore, we urge you to vote “yes” on Tuesday.