The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Opinion

July 19, 2012

Reader: Save East Central

SABULA — As the saga continues between the factions of Easton Valley, which is not a legal certified school district at this time, and East Central, which is a state-certified legal school district, on the merits of merging with Preston or staying as EC, I would like to make some comments.

I have been told by several people that they were told by EV supporters who put a “We Support Easton Valley” sign in their yard that if they did not vote “yes” for the merger their taxes would increase.

That is not true.

The truth is the EC taxes would not increase and would probably decrease in time. As a matter of fact EC’s unspent balance is increasing since we started Whole Grade Sharing with  Northeast.

The Preston board has decreased their school taxes the last two years in preparation for the vote. Before that they were the highest in the county for many years — a lot higher than EC’s ever were. Don’t you think they lowered them to help get a “yes” vote on the merger?

The EV group has told EC people that their taxes will increase if they merge with NE because the NE tax surcharge will be absorbed by EC.

That, as well, is not true.

The only way the EC taxpayer would have to absorb the surcharge tax is if EC and NE merged and then it would have to be voted on and passed by both districts. At the present time we are “Whole Grade Sharing” with NE and the surcharge doesn’t apply. Ask the NE taxpayers and they will tell you the surcharge only amounts to an average of  half of one percent more on their taxes. The whole tax surcharge thing has been grossly misstated and blown out of proportion by the EV group. Many letters to the editor in several local newspapers have been written by EV supporters. There have been countless email and facebook exchanges between EC and EV supporters. Much of the information being put out by EV is not factual, it is skewed to benefit EV and some is just not true. When we stay EC we have our own identity and control our own destiny. We control our own taxes, keep our kids (pre-k through sixth grade) in a fine learning institution and send them on to NE in the seventh through 12th grades.

We send them on with a forward looking administration, better and more curriculum choices, newer and better facilities with many, many more options and opportunities. This is the kind of learning atmosphere that is best for the kids. I support a continued WGS program with NE like Delmar has had with Maquoketa for the last 20 plus years and they have 4 plus million dollars in the bank.

EV could never offer the curriculum, infrastructure and learning opportunities for our kids that NE does without building a new school, hiring more staff and offering more classes. NE already has the staff (many of them former EC teachers) the classes and the infrastructure to facilitate a learning atmosphere.

And by the way a new school is already being discussed in the EV circles and on their web site. Then watch your taxes increase. Why would a new school be the way to go when all that is needed is already at NE? Could it be just to save Preston and put another high school just seven miles from the NE facility? Yes, Preston wants to keep their own school too, but why should the EC taxpayers have to help them do that? We can keep our own pre-k through sixth school, pay our own taxes, have some control over our own destiny and the kids can continue to have better opportunities at NE when they enter the seventh through 12th grades.

And finally, why would anyone want to give their tax dollars to save a failing, declining school district when there is a perfectly good, proven one at NE. I don’t like the fact that the Preston district needs us now when they didn’t need us back in the late 1990s when EC tried to merge with them.

I believe my tax dollars are much better spent for the betterment of our kids if we stay EC and continue to WGS with NE. That in my opinion is the best “bang for our buck.”

So what are you thinking? Vote no on the merger with Preston and keep East Central and our own identity. The future of our kids lies in WGS. Our kids deserve the best. And the best is not EV. Get the facts from the website (opt4 EC.com). Vote no on Sept. 11.

Dan Miller,

Sabula

Dan Miller is a past East Central School Board member.

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