Doug Reynolds and Don Perdue: Wayne bond issue merits voters' support
We are sure the last thing most readers want to hear about is another election. However, the school bond election on Dec. 15 may be more important for the children of Wayne County than the federal and state elections that we heard countless hours of political ads about over the last several months.
While we spend a lot of time in Charleston talking about making the state business friendly, a key ingredient to this plan is to improve our state's schools. In our modern economy, businesses can locate or expand in nearly any location. While we all say we shouldn't judge a book by its cover, many corporate business executives visiting our community will look at the quality of our educational facilities and gauge our commitment to improving our schools. It may be unfair, but it is a simple fact of life.
More important than any seeming mercurial basis to support the bond levy is our collective reasoning to ensure that we offer modern and safe facilities for our children. This bond issue will be used to build new, modern schools for Crum and a combined Ceredo-Kenova Elementary. It will also be used to upgrade athletic and auxiliary facilities at Lavallette Elementary as well as Wayne, Tolsia and Spring Valley high schools. Numerous studies show that athletic and other extra-curricular activities lead to higher levels of school completion and academic performance as well as lower incidences of substance abuse and other delinquent behaviors.
The West Virginia School Building Authority has committed $20 million toward the roughly $53 million needed for the expansions, once the bond passes. So what does that mean about the cost for me and you? For the owner of a home with a market value of $70,000 and a homestead exemption, this would mean $3.63 a month in property taxes. This is a great investment when one considers that the bonds will be paid off in 15 years, but the benefits to our children will last a lifetime.
Like most opportunities in life, this window will close if we don't vote yes on Dec. 15. Many other counties are in line behind us for our $20 million if we say "no." Furthermore, if anyone has looked at what they earn on their savings at the bank, you are well aware that interest rates are at generational lows; that means we issue bonds and build new schools with record low interest costs. Finally, these projects will provide prevailing wage construction jobs for our friends and families.
The choice is yours and we hope you will join us in voting yes. Early voting has already started and runs through Dec. 12.
Doug Reynolds and Don Perdue are West Virginia delegates representing the 16th and 17th Districts, respectively.