The Echo School Board has decided to ask the community of Echo to support the school by putting a building bond levy on the March 11 ballot. Over the past three years, up to 30 community members have been involved in determining the options for the facilities at the district. Their conclusion was a new building was the most cost-effective solution.
The community of Echo has been very supportive of their school over the past 100 or so years. The great-grandparents and grandparents of the current students passed many operating levies to fund the education of the youth of Echo. As recently as 1990 the taxpayers of Echo authorized levies of more than $20 per thousand of assessed value to fund the operation of the schools. Along came measures 5 and 50, which limited the amount of tax levies to $5 per thousand and the control of school operating funds went to Salem.
For the last 10 years, the Echo School Board has been told by the State Department of Education how much money they have to fund the education of the district's students. The school board cannot levy any additional funds for operating expenses above $5 per $1,000 assessed value limit. The board must try to balance the choices of hiring teachers or repairing the furnace, purchasing textbooks or replacing carpet, upgrading computers or replacing pipes.
Every dollar spent to maintain aging buildings takes funding away from teachers and textbooks. With 100-year-old buildings, maintenance costs take huge bites out of the budget. New buildings are more energy-efficient, reducing on-going utility costs, freeing funds for educational programs.
By replacing the oldest buildings and upgrading the newer ones, the district can limit the high maintenance costs and dedicate the operating funds to continue educating the students of Echo. It's the only control the local community has over the district operations. Make an investment in the future of Echo, Vote Yes on the Bond.