Endorsement: Yes for Woodland District 50 tax increase
"I got by without it." That's a frequent argument against tax increase proposals like the one in Woodland Elementary District 50, where voters will decide April 7 whether to raise the property tax cap to 5 percent for one year to pay for a computer or tablet for every child, air conditioning at the primary school and other capital improvements. Yet, schools aren't at all like they were even a decade ago, with the pace, educational standards and demand for technology increasing all the time. Woodland's technology proposal would erase a disadvantage for Woodland graduates heading to Warren Township High School, which along with its other associated elementary district already has committed to one computing device per child. Leasing computers and related staff training would account for about half of the proposed tax increase, which would add $171 in property taxes to a $300,000 house in 2016. Another 30 percent would go for air conditioning at the primary school, a big expense, yet also a big help for the growing number of children with allergies and asthma. The board plans to use existing revenue to pay for air conditioning at the Gages Lake building that houses Woodland Elementary East and Elementary West. The rest of the money raised would go to other capital improvements, like new whiteboards and bathroom partitions and public address system upgrades. We urge voters to support the tax increase proposal, the school district's first since 1999. At the same time, of course, we ask the Woodland board and administration to keep costs as low as possible, realizing some taxpayers would be sacrificing to cover the added property taxes.