By Samuel Strait, Reporter at Large – June 9, 2021
As predicted, the Del Norte Unified School District can not refrain from
joining the parade of government looking to extract even more money from
the tax payers here locally. In a recent school board meeting, members
on the school board are looking at 2022 to encumber property owners with
a further $47,000,000 bond proposal only two years after running through
the previous 2008 bond of $25,000,000. Has anyone heard a peep out of
the citizen’s advisory group that was formed following the passage of
the 2008 bond measure? No surprise there, not a peep. Of course the
locals in Smith River might be happy after that school received the
benefit of a new school gymnasium, but other than a few shiny new
windows at Crescent Elk, it appears the rest of the district’s schools
are in dire need of $47,000,000 in new gratuitous spending.
This of course begs the question, what happen to the educational
component in all this grandiose spending? Continuous decline in over
all quality of education seems to be the answer to that question.
Naturally the blame will be laid at the door step of the “pandemic”, yet
the decline in quality of education had been going on well before the
“pandemic” took center stage. The past year has been less than the
great success in learning, so why not distract the public with the
commencement of the pleading for more money……”for the children”.
Enough voters bought into the last round of propaganda by the school
district that the money would be well spent, and a citizens advisory
group would insure that was the case. Some how they were appointed,
never to be heard from again. Who knows just how $25,000,000, closer to
$50,000,000, was spent? Perhaps before asking for another round of
bonds the district might just want to enlighten the public exactly how
it was expended.
Most property owners are already paying for believing in the local
school district and will be paying for many more years to come. It can
add dollars to a tax bill that many in the community can no longer
afford. Any new bond proposed and passed will only add to that burden.
Say you rent, no problem, won’t affect me. Hold on, it will when the
landlord raises your rent to pay his tax increase. $47,000,000
translates to near $100,000,000 in obligation bond cost to the property
owners. How is that you might ask? Bonds are in affect debt with
interest attached. Over the life time of the bond, interest paid to the
bond holders can effectively double the over all cost of the bond. A
responsible school board will know this and explain to the public what
it means to the community in real dollars. Talking about facility
improvements is all well and good, but how does that expenditure stack
up against the abysmal failure at our local schools to provide a quality
The local school board, in their considerations, might look beyond just
the district’s facility needs and get to know their community. As of
the last census, Del Norte County’s population had begun to decline.
Locals are relocating elsewhere. The current governor is talking
closing prisons. Pelican Bay State Prison has already seen a dramatic
change in prison population. Beyond those employed by government, the
private sector has also shrunk. Public education no longer retains the
trust of many parents who look beyond simply warehousing their children
during the day and expect their children to actually learn something
while in the custody of their local school. As the Federal government
spends money like a house on fire, followed closely by State and local
governments, many household budgets have reached their limit.
California as a whole has not been kind to its residents for some time.
Local government has followed in suit. The continuous look to the tax
payer that produces nothing in return except for further calls for yet
more money will continue the flood of tax payers to the exits. Will the
school district insist on making that exodus even greater? Looks like it.