I picked up an edition of The Bulletin and to my dismay, I read on the front page that the Bend-La Pine school district is going to ask for yet another bond. This time it wants $98 million.
My wife and I are seniors, living on several thousand dollars less than what is now redefined as middle class. Although we have been saving all year, we are wondering where we will get several hundred more dollars to pay our property tax this month. Our property tax is more than 10 percent of our income and now they want more. Our income is fixed, yet our cost of living (food, gas, utilities, Medicare, Medicare supplement, prescriptions and insurance) continues to rise on a daily basis.
People who are not property owners, such as students, the unemployed and people who rent housing, will vote to increase my property tax because the cost does not affect them. People who choose to have several children will vote to raise my property tax because they want their children to attend fancy schools.
Building permits should not be issued if schools, fire, police, water, etc., are not already sufficient to support the increased population. How many elementary, middle and high schools does a city the size of Bend need? Based on capacity and class size, it seems that the class sizes are no different now then they were 50 years ago and we all got a good education.
Seniors should not be burdened to support an increased population with people who choose to have several children. We have, by now, paid for several generations’ education. While we struggle to pay property taxes, the city chooses to issue more building permits. Increased needed capacity should be borne by the people who make that need necessary.
I paid property taxes to support schools while I chose to pay to send my son to private school. We wanted a better education for our child than the public school system offered. If a good education requires more money, find ways to cut costs or pass the burden on to the parents who chose to have children.
The buildings do not need to be state of the art like Summit High School, with extravagant athletic facilities and performing arts centers that put the Tower Theatre to shame. If and when we “need” to build new schools, the schools should be of the same design, only altered by size for need. This would decrease design costs and construction costs because the same formula could be used for each school and the design could be done on a functionality basis and not an artistic one.
Instead of a tax deduction, taxes should increase for each child in a family because they are using the facilities more at that time in their lives. Maybe then, parents would choose to have as many children as they can support and pay more attention to the waste of money within our school system. Maybe then they would question the need for schools, more and more schools.
Eventually we all become seniors. Our system needs to consider the burden on their income and their peace of mind after they have raised their children and contributed to their communities and are no longer able to earn enough to keep up with the cost of living.