Let Us Work Together on a Better School Bond for the Community
Sometimes a little history is useful.
Rye is strongest when it works as a community.
In 2011 the Rye School Board proposed a $20,000,000 bond issue to finance the construction of the new science wing at the high school. The proposal also included a financial forecast which showed annual tax increases in the 5% range. At the time, the Rye School System had substantial reserves which were not being used to offset borrowings.
A group of taxpayers objected to the size of the projected annual tax increases and to the size of the bond given the existence of substantial reserves. That group prevailed in the ensuing election. At the invitation of the School Board and Administration, representatives then met with the Board, and in the course of a few meetings agreed to a compromise: the Science Wing was built with a $16,000,000 bond plus some of the reserves and the Board pledged to hold down the level of tax increases into the future.
The annual increases in taxes were kept within what soon became the tax cap for several years. But in 2014, the Rye School Board found they needed a one-time approval for a tax increase over the tax cap. They explained this to the public, pointing to their successful record in previous years. No objections were raised, and the override passed easily. Since then the Board has maintained increases within the tax cap.
Rye is strongest when it works as a community. The current non-school families, mostly long-term residents, financed the school system that brought many of the new parents to town. They will finance the school system for many years to come; hopefully so will the current school parents. Let us work to find a solution which satisfies the interests of both groups.
In the light of this successful history, it is unfortunate that the Rye School Board has decided to re-contest the vote it lost in March by re-presenting a flawed $80,000,000 bond.
Rye is strongest when it works as a community. Surely there is room here for a successful compromise, and a strong community. Let’s find a compromise and bring our community together.
- Edward B. Dunn and Peter Larr