Part of the Democratic Party and union sales pitch for the tax increase is to fund a higher number of teachers in relation to the number of students. This is politically spun as “classroom size reduction.” If you have been following the history of the Democrat-led school board claims in recent memory, they claimed that we would have enough school buildings if we voted for a 1998 bond, which passed. Now you hear that they must have more classroom size reduction to help this failed education system. What will be the outcome if they do reduce classroom sizes?
Examine an example of an elementary school that was sized to hold 720 students using classroom sizes averaging 24 students in a classroom.
If the classroom size is reduced to 16 students per teacher and classroom, then how many classrooms short of enough to support the student body are we? At 24 students we needed 30 classrooms. At 16 students we would need 45 classrooms. So the school district would need to increase the number of schools or school buildings by one third.
One doesn’t need to do meticulous math to figure out how fast the costs will climb. Right now the school district has about 300 schools.
The technical high schools cost about $80-90 million each and elementary schools cost about $20-24 million to build. So say that an average school will (very optimistically) cost $40 million average for EACH school. If our utilization is designed to run at 33 percent as noted above, then we will need a round number of 100 schools at $40
million each. Expect to incur $4 billion in school construction and land costs.
Is the public ready to fund another $4 billion in bond sales? Definitely not according to the failure of the 2012 school district construction tax increase vote. However, a lesson from the school district bond election of 1998 is a good example. During that election voters commonly believed that they had voted for about $2.5 billion in
bond sales. However, since then the district has sold over $5.8 billion in bonds without additional voter approval. This was done by “Legal interpretation” of the wording voted on as opposed to asking the voters. So if history is our guide, a vote for $4 billion would likely result in it doubling by the time the bureaucracy gets its teeth into it again.
Voters who aren’t willing to get hit with the one-two punch of a margin tax running off new business, followed by a property tax increase to fund another $4 billion in bond sales, should review the math on this idea and vote no on the margin tax. School district insiders know of dozens of major things that can be done to fix our broken educational system but they won’t have to do them if we keep pouring money into the unrepaired system. Most of those fixes would reduce taxes or allow money to be redistributed to better the educational system.