Friday, February 13, 2009
Ballots will be mailed to Sunnyside School District patrons next week. Local voters are being asked to approve an $11.4 million bond.
Coupled with a projected $35 million in state matching monies, assuming Sunnyside residents approve this bond issue, the school district will be able to expand and modernize Sunnyside High School, as well as construct a cafeteria/multi-purpose room at Sun Valley Elementary School.
Why, some might ask, would we Sunnyside residents approve a school bond issue in these perilous economic times and assess ourselves another tax? Simply put, thanks to some creative financing on the part of Schools Superintendent Rick Cole and the Sunnyside School Board, approval of this measure will not cost local taxpayers a single dime. All of this money, $46.4 million total, will come with no tax increase to the local community. The current tax rate will remain the same, whether the bond is approved or not.
Sunnyside presently enjoys the second lowest tax rate of all communities in Yakima County. Voting for the $11.4 million bond on the ballots that will be arriving in your mailboxes next week will not change that rate. It doesn't take much soul-searching to realize that a YES vote is the only way to go, considering Sunnyside schools will end up with a $46.4 million windfall, without raising our tax rates.
This is made possible with the $35 million in state matching funds that are earmarked for Sunnyside when local voters approve this bond issue. The school district uses those excess general fund monies to pay back the existing debt of other levies and bonds, enough so to keep the current rate of $1.26 per $1,000 of assessed valuation the same.
There is also a nifty side-benefit that comes with voters approving the bond. The new construction and remodeling at Sunnyside High School and Sun Valley Elementary School will generate more than half a million dollars for the city of Sunnyside, by way of permit and construction fees.
The bottom line is that Sunnyside High School is over-crowded, and is beginning to show its age. When the school district constructed Sun Valley Elementary School last year, plans were made at that time to add on a cafeteria/multi-purpose room in the very near future.
That future is here. Considering the bargain we Sunnyside School District patrons will be getting for our YES votes, there really is only one choice to make when it's time to mark our ballots. It's simple...just vote YES!