Is this the right time?
To the Editor:
I question the appropriateness and timing of the $23.5 million dollar bond initiative by the Big Sky School District. As we all have experienced, there has been a serious deleterious impact on the local Big Sky economy as a result of the COVID-19 virus. Many of our citizens, residents and businesses are experiencing significant losses in revenues.
My personal assessment of the items the BSSD School Board is asking for is that many of these things are not necessarily critical to the quality of education students are receiving. Further, the projected growth of the student body numbers by the board has no basis in accuracy. For a significant increase to occur, families must move to Big Sky, and with economy so negatively impacted for the foreseeable future, where will these families find work?
The bond request, if it passes, will raise individual property taxes and put a financial burden on us all. People who are renting or leasing their residence will also feel the result of the passage of this bond by ultimately seeing their rent or lease payments increase as property owners pass that increase on to their tenants.
I strongly suggest voting “no” on the issue. I further respectfully request that the school board reexamine their calculations and “wish-list” items and come back to the district with a more reasonable and economically feasible proposal that should be phased in over an extended period of time.
Dr. Alan Shaw
Timing wrong for BSSD school bond
To the Editor:
I am a big proponent of public education. However, now is not the time to pass a $23 million bond for Big Sky School District #72. The three areas outlined in the bond proposal are for programs including:
1) wood shop, art and music
2) expansion to increase student/teacher capacity over the next 10 years
3) after-hours adult education.
Although I fully support all these measures, now is simply not the time to increase the tax burden of Big Sky property owners.
According to a recent WalletHub study, Montana has the second-most affected tourism industry due to COVID-19 (Hawaii being No. 1), and these effects are clearly seen throughout our community since Big Sky Resort closed for business nearly a month earlier than planned. And we have no way of knowing what the longer-term affects will be six months from now, a year from now or longer.
With so much of our local economy dependent on tourism, I think it would be irresponsible to pass the $23 million bond at this time.