How They Plan to Spend $110 Million of Our Money

We have almost reached the point of no return:

A former coach at DHS told me that he thought the district would be nuts to spend $110 million and not build a football stadium. He wondered how any idiot could oppose the idea. This idiot told him that promises are important and the district and the Renew Our Schools referendum committee unequivocally made that promise.

I do agree that they would be nuts to spend $110 million. My opinion is data driven.

The debt repayment plan, pre-referendum (when promises are made), assumed $20 million in new construction EAV ($60 million total) to be added each year for the duration of the debt bonds (around 20 years). Data clearly shows that new construction has tanked and few if any forecasters indicate a rebound to the level of DeKalb County’s highest decade of new construction in history anytime soon. The district’s new housing start projections are based on that historic period of growth and not the current economy. Assumptions on new construction played a key role in determining the advertised repayment amount.

Right. We were told that the owners of a $200,000 home would pay about $270 per year in additional property taxes. That is going to happen this year but not on the total $110 million amount, only on the $30 million bond issue they’ve made so far. So what happens when they issue the rest of the bonds? It is important that they don’t. A good start would be to downsize the the school. Why should we build a core for 3,000 high school students and initial classrooms for 2,500 when the latest projections tell us we won’t hit 2,000 for at least 10 years, the way it stands now? And is now the time to allocate $20 million for sports facilities?

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