I recently voted in Pomona for the West Franklin USD 287 school board positions. As a loyal supporter of the current and sitting board members, I would like to say let’s move on with what they have worked on for at least two years! We have a school bond issue that needs to be addressed.

The passing of the bond issue in June would be a giant leap forward for our school district — meaning one campus, added technology, the ability to maintain and improve vocational agriculture and woods classes and the ability to play host to our own athletic tournaments. You might think some of these things are unimportant; but would you speak for the children of our district when making those decisions regarding what is important to them?

My fear about the bond issue not passing is something for which I cannot and will not be silent. The property tax increase is minimal to say the least, so what would be the reasoning behind voting no? Is it because two elementary schools would be closed or because of the pride involved in those schools being closed? One of the elementary schools is still in pretty good shape; the other, sadly, is in need of extreme maintenance, with portions not even being utilized at all. Nobody wants their schools to close. Nobody want their children bussed. A lot of children have been bussed from Pomona to Appanoose and Williamsburg since 2007, so that should not be an issue, as the roads go both ways.

It is our responsibility as patrons of this district to stand up and say, “I want a safe, healthful, technologically capable school for our children to attend, so they may move on to their futures and thrive!” What an opportunity for the children to go to school in kindergarten and stand with their classmates 12 years later, moving on to college or the workforce, knowing they were given that opportunity by the parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends of their district. Hopefully some will return to raise their own children in the district when they start their families, knowing of the terrific bonds they made with fellow students as they grew into adulthood.

If the bond fails, the school district will be strapped financially, to say the least, due to repairs and upgrades to buildings at all current locations.

Current cash reserves would be depleted to keep the buildings maintained. The State of Kansas funding will not likely be available after July 1, 2013. That is $6,843,032 or 25 percent in bond assistance that would be lost forever. Educational programs would have to be cut, as well as combining grades for elementary students due to continued declining enrollment.  

What will the school board’s planned bond issue really cost?

The formula for how much your taxes would increase is as follows:

Take the assessed valuation (not appraised value) and divide it by 1,000. Then take that number and multiply it by 9.5, which the amount the mill levey would increase. The amount left is the dollar amount your property taxes would increase for each year. You then, if wanted, could divide that number by 12 to see what the cost would be monthly.

As you will see, it would be a small price to pay to continue the great Blue Ribbon nationally nominated education that we would all like to remain.

Please, before you vote, become educated on this bond. It could very well be the most important thing you will ever do regarding the education of the children in the West Franklin school district. Don’t listen to rhetoric; listen to and read the facts.

Thank you.


— Carole Hopkins