Once again in the interest of full disclosure, all of us need to understand what the total cost of a “yes” vote on the Feb.26 school tax referendum will be. It will not be $198 million but over $300 million with the bond interest that will have to be paid. As we have said before, this affects everyone who owns or rents a piece of property in the Florence One Schools district.

But the magnitude of the economic impact on our community is only one of the issues in this vote. Taxes are a part of life. What concerns and sometimes infuriates taxpayers is what federal, state and local entities do with our tax money.

When we look at the state of our educational system, we don’t like the results we see. The answer is always let’s throw some more money at it. We always hear if we had some new schools, “things” would be better.

One of the biggest fallacies regarding schools in our society is that standardized test scores are the measure of effectiveness for our educational system. Even if you agree with this (and most people that have taken the time to study this issue do not agree), I wonder how test scores have increased for students in our newest schools. Our district office should have this data, and we challenge them to make it available.

The facilities in our school district certainly need to be addressed. But tearing down our schools and building new ones is not the total answer. It is not even a good first step.

JAMES E. SMITH

Citizens for Full Disclosure

Florence

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