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April 2, 2004

A lot of stories, most of them unfounded, are swirling about as the day and hours approach for a decision on building bonds for a new Perry elementary school. One of these has to do with the amount of taxes to be paid on a house that was assessed for $300 this year. Some people have been informed that if the bonds pass, the taxation on that same house would be $1,000. School officials are hearing most of these tales. Our superintendent, Jack Parker, is doing his best to set everyone straight on this matter. There's no denying a tax increase will be necessary, but it will be more like 15 percent. If a house is taxed for $300 this year, the rate would be $450 next year, not $1,000. It's hard to straighten out all such stories, but that is one we all should know. Of course it costs money to provide suitable classrooms for our children and grandchildren. But, be sure you have all the facts before trekking to the polls next Tuesday.

Interest rates to be paid on the elementary school bonds are expected to be extremely favorable, lower than in the past several years. Chances are good that we will not see such rates again for a while. And that is just another reason we should be proceeding with the construction of a new elementary school.

Some of the buildings now in use at the present elementary school are literally falling apart. Mold is present in many areas. Walls are cracking and the splits are becoming worse each year. Facilities for music, art, media study and many other things are simply missing because there is no place to serve as a classroom. Rest rooms are an intolerable mess.

Traffic already is a problem. Many elementary students are delivered to the present school each morning by cars and many more arrive via school buses. The morning deliveries and the afternoon pickups are a major problem now. If the new elementary school is built, it will be beside the present Middle School on 15th street, where students in the fifth, sixth and seventh grades now are housed. What additional cares will have to be dealt with under the new school arrangement?

Again, school administrators have made plans for dealing with that problem. When the new school is built, it will provide separate delivery and pickup areas for automobiles and buses. The City of Perry already has set aside funds for an additional turning lane on 15th street to ease the problem for moms and dads who bring their youngsters to school or bring them home in the evening.

Maybe other questions are circulating in your mind. Mr. Parker and all the other Perry school officials urge you to make your concerns known because there probably is a ready answer to such matters. Don't rely on self-appointed experts. Go to the people who are trying to provide adequate space and facilities for the education of our boys and girls in the lowest grade levels, where building conditions are the worst. Most of all, be sure to vote next Tuesday. A 60 percent approval level is required for passage of the bond issue.