LETTERS

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN
The time is right to invest in Marion

Voters in Marion County USD 408 (Marion-Florence) will go to the polls to decide if this is the right time to make an investment to construct a new performing arts complex and a new physical education/sports and wellness complex in Marion.

The April 4 election requests the authority to issue $8 million in general obligation bonds to finance the majority of the proposed improvements. The balance of the estimated $9.1 million project will be paid from existing capital outlay funds of the district and from interest on the reinvestment of bond proceeds.

The Board of Education feels now is an advantageous time to consider these district improvements. A bond issue is a borrowing of funds by the district and the best time to borrow money is when interest rates are low. The long-term interest rates are near 40-year-low levels, making the cost of repayment more affordable than in many past years.

Low interest rates aren’t the only factor at this time. In order to assist local school districts to upgrade or expand their school facilities, the Kansas Legislature in 1992 enacted a law to provide additional state aid to help retire a voted bond issue.

Under this law, USD 408 is eligible for state aid which will pay 32 percent of both the principal and interest on the bonds. The state aid benefit is an estimated $3.95 million.

The City of Marion has also made a financial commitment to the school system and the proposed project.

In support of the project and with the understanding that the proposed facilities would be available for public use, the city has entered into an inter-local cooperation agreement and will provide $ 100,000 annually to help retire the proposed bonds.

USD 408 has existing bonds outstanding that are scheduled to be retired in 2007. These bonds required a mill levy of about 10.44 mills this year.

The plan of finance is to structure the required payments on the new bonds to dove-tail around the existing bonds, so that the proposed project does not result in any increase in present property-tax rates.

With today’s lower interest rates, the 32 percent state aid program, and the agreement by the City of Marion to help retire the bonds, USD 408 believes the cost of improving schools and education may never be more affordable than now.

Registered voters in USD 408 are encouraged to plan to vote on April 4 or to consider voting by advanced ballot at the Marion County Courthouse.

If you have any questions regarding the proposed facilities which have not yet been addressed, please contact me at 382-2117 or stop by the USD 408 district office at 101 N. Thorp.

Lee Leiker

USD 408 Superintendent

Marion

Marion bond issue is vote of confidence

The voters of USD 408 are about to make a most important decision for the future of the district and our community. This is, of course, the bond election to decide whether to upgrade and expand facilities which will serve all our citizens.

Two of the reasons such proposals often fail are that they will raise taxes and that there is no need for such improvements.

In this instance, the school board, its staff and city officials all agree these are some real and demonstrated needs, that taxes to provide these facilities will not increase and that such an opportunity as this will not likely present itself to the area again.

Whenever public improvements are considered, it is vital that the plan be the right one, for whatever is done will be with us for a long, long time.

This proposal, which addresses the educational, recreational and social needs of all of us, in my opinion, is exactly what should be done. It deals with current facility problems and deficiencies:

n an outdated and inadequate public swimming facility which will need to be replaced soon under any circumstances;

n modern and upgraded physical education and athletic facilities which everyone can use

n a community auditorium for school and public use.

All of these things are available year round 24/7 as public needs dictate. Schools should be used for much more than education and this proposal provides for that.

This entire area, including the county, the school district and surrounding cities will all benefit from these improvements. Our children, youth and senior citizens will especially find their lives enhanced by such facilities.

This proposition is much more than a simple bond issue, it is a vote of confidence in the future of our community and area. Please join me in voting “Yes” for this proposal April 4.

Don M. Jolley

Marion

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