Just over a year ago the voters of Unified School District 250 shot down a $67 million school bond project.
There were good and sufficient reasons for having done so — voters were looking at a total increase of 12 mills (a mill is defined as $1 per $1,000 of assessed property value) for a project which would also have seen an iconic Pittsburg landmark torn down.
However, the USD 250 Board of Education took a look at what was needed and has come back — as they should have — with a more reasonable proposal.
What is proposed is a roughly $31 million project which will touch every building in the district, enhance student safety by creating storm shelters in every school and create a better learning environment for the students by increasing the number of classrooms or renovating existing ones.
And it will do all this for an increase of just 1 mill — a cost of roughly $11 a year for a $100,000 home or $25 per $100,000 of assessed value on a business.
We were unable to reach a decision on the previous bond issue and so took no position. We feel however, that this proposal meets the immediate requirements of the district at a cost which will not unduly burden the taxpayers.
To make this possible the district has done a good job of restructuring debt and leveraging additional state capital outlay funds made possible by the settlement of a school finance lawsuit. Indeed the current mill levy, at 48, is at an historic low and Superintendent Destry Brown said that with the refinancing of previous debt he expects it to continue to drop as bonds are retired.
After meeting with Brown for nearly an hour last week, we feel we can wholeheartedly endorse this project and encourage voters to approve the bond on March 14.