There is a rather strange article in the Idaho Statesman today concerning the upcoming Boise school bond. The article follows the old formula of “providing both sides of the debate” through short quotes from voters. Bill Roberts, who wrote the article, frames the debate as: “Some residents see the need for new schools, others say no to raising property taxes.” Unfortunately, Roberts seems able to find only one citizen willing to explain why he was voting against the bond. Bill Hill, whose photo is prominently featured in the article, says he is voting against the bond because his property taxes have risen almost 400% in the last 16 years. Of course, passage of the bond won’t impact his property taxes. As he admits later in the interview, his property taxes went up because his property value increased. Well, duh!
After a number of comments from residents who favor the bond, Roberts comes back to Hill again to explain why he doesn’t agree with the District’s position that aging schools need to be renovated or replaced.
Hill does not buy the argument that old schools necessarily need to be replaced. “I went to school back East in one of the top prep schools in the country,” he said. “They touted their beautiful old buildings. I think there is no reason you can’t teach school in an old building.”
Gee, I suggest Hill take a tour of the schools scheduled for renovation and see how they compare with those “top prep schools” in the East.
To the Statesman’s credit, there is a sidebar to the article that gives some details as to what renovations are needed for the schools. In many cases (lack of access for disabled students, asbestos tile, athletic facilities that meet gender equity legislation) the district runs a legal risk in not making the repairs. In other cases (leaking roofs, unsafe and inadequate wiring, no parking lots, inadequate security), Boise adults are subjecting children to conditions that would be unacceptable in their own workplace.