Build new school now or pay more later

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Dr. Randy Bruce

I am writing to inform you, the taxpayer and the one responsible to pay for the addition of a new high school in Moses Lake. We know the public voted with a super majority of 60 percent to finance the construction of a second high school. The original high school was built in 1959 for about $2 million with the built-in seat for growth of about 500 seats. The vision for the future was correct and lasted until a remodel for about $10 million in 1996 to the current configuration. We lacked the vision we had in 1959 by cutting the gym down with 40 feet less on the east end, a decrease in the auditorium to 500 seats, and a smaller commons which the students use daily for lunch. We did not add classrooms and currently must use portable classrooms in an unsecured area for classes. We have exceeded the current capacity of the facility to provide a safe and effective learning environment and place our staff in a position to work and provide an effective service in a difficult situation. We failed as voters to build a high school in 2007 that would have cost $75 million and in 2018 that same school is costing $110 million and by waiting our money has lost over $35 million in buying power.

The current elected school board, knowing there is a $192 million cap on the maximum of outstanding bond debt, is now saying we will not build the school we voted, being deceptive with the public by not sharing that fact. Knowing we have a debt cap of $192 million, we would be unable to build a new high school if we did not do it now with the money we have voted to use until the cap was reduced enough to build the school, which is not until 2043. The district uses a figure of $5 million to $8 million per year of additional cost for each year we wait to build the school due to inflation of costs. The last 10 years we have had an additional cost of $35 million to build a high school from 2007 and by waiting until 2045 to build a school we could lose an additional $50 million in buying power for your tax dollars. This is about an additional $80 million dollars of cost or additional taxes you have to pay to have an additional high school without receiving anything for the additional cost. To put it in real terms, by not using the money to build the high school we will lose the amount of money in additional cost equal to a middle school and two elementary schools. With the debt cap we have in Moses Lake we will not be able to build a new high school until after 2045 and if we do not have cap room it may be until 2065 before we may be able to build an additional high school. Even then there is the chance the cost will exceed the bond cap and then we will never be able to build a new school.

As taxpayers you should be concerned and mad with the change on the board and what it will cost you as a taxpayer in the Moses Lake School District as your children grow up in Moses Lake. Letís work together to make Moses Lake the community we have grown to love and appreciate by being involved and not letting this travesty continue with our community. We still have a 20 to 30 percent dropout rate at Moses Lake High School and not looking to continue to add unsafe portable classrooms to our high school to continue to fix real problems with superficial fixes. Moses Lake school directors, it is time to do the right thing for our community and not work off your private agendas.

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