Big Lie deployed against District 5 referendum

OK, we screwed up, as we acknowledged in Saturday’s paper. Here’s the correction we ran:

If Lexington-Richland District 5 voters approve a $256.5 million bond issue Tuesday, the owner of a home with an assessed value of $100,000 would pay an estimated $39.60 annually over 20 years to pay back that loan. The amount a homeowner would pay was wrong in a Friday editorial.

What we had said was that the annual cost to that theoretical homeowner would be $235.60, so we’re talking big difference. Our position had been that even if the cost HAD been that much, the acute need in the district would have been worth it. As it happens, the actual cost was so small as to be hardly noticed on most folks’ bills.

We felt bad about the embarrassing mistake, as we do about any error. In fact, when a reader wrote to us to suggest…

You guys really should address this "correction" in a more meaningful way given the gravity of the misinformation.

… I asked my colleagues for ideas on how we might go about doing that. You’ll see the result of that discussion on tomorrow’s editorial page.

We were spurred to take this extra corrective measure by the fact that some of the anti-district forces had done a pretty disgusting thing. Despite our correction, they conducted an e-mail campaign that repeated our error as though it were fact. Under the bizarrely punctuated heading, "Vote No on November, 6th!", this faction said …

As you are probably aware District 5’s $256.5 million tax increase referendum is
just 4 days away and the momentum is clearly on our side!   There is much to
report in today’s edition of The
;  It was reported what the true size of the debt service tax
increase will be – $235.60 annually
for the next 20 years and that’s just on a $100,000


This is something the developers and builders pushing
this referendum do NOT want you to know!

That’s right — they don’t want you to "know" something that is a big, fat lie.

Anyway, this will be addressed on tomorrow’s page. Beyond that, all we can do is hope that it’s just as big a lie when the anti-school forces say the momentum is on their side.

There is probably no school board as well stocked with spending skeptics as the District 5 board, which has been bitterly divided in the past over bond referenda. That board is unanimously and enthusiastically supporting this bond proposal. There’s really nothing else that an objective observer needs to know about this issue. If there were anything wrong with this plan, one of those folks would have been against it.

There’s only one way to go on this — Vote YES.

13 thoughts on “Big Lie deployed against District 5 referendum

  1. Doug Ross

    How about doing some fact checking on the letter to the editor you published this weekend from one of the board members who claimed the cost of a school had risen due from about $55M to $80M in the past few years due to increases in construction costs and THE RISE IN THE COST OF GASOLINE.
    What a load of garbage… the cost of the schools goes up because the school construction companies basically decide how much money they want to gouge the community for… there is no way that construction costs have increased 50% in a few years. A rise of that size would result in a massive depression in the construction business and inflation.
    The biggest scam going in the school districts is the way school construction is handled. It’s a cash cow that relies on the weeping cries of “it’s for the children”.
    It’s also amazing that you can write that EVEN IF IT WAS THAT MUCH, IT WOULD BE WORTH IT. There really is no limit to the amount of taxes you’re willing to push onto the citizens, is there?? I know, it’s for the children. For the children… for the children…

  2. Michelle MacDonald

    Thank you for telling the truth-not for ‘our side’ or ‘their side’, but for our children. You have set a positive example for the children in our district-you made a mistake and you have tried to make it right-you did not lie and try to cover it up. The opposition to the bond referendum has told lie after lie through all of this-I only hope that the voting public will see through their ‘tales’ and make the right decision. Every vote will count in this and I hope that our voters will go to the polls armed with the truth. The one point the the opposition seems to overlook is that the children that they don’t care about now, will one day be running this country and community. What goes around comes around and maybe there will be tight purse strings when the time comes for grandparents and parents to be taken care of! This group calls itself putting students first-ha ha, I have not a funnier joke in a long time-the only thing first in this groups eyes is their pockets! VOTE YES YES YES ON NOV. 6-FOR THE BEST REASON THERE IS-EDUCATING CHILDREN!!!!!!

  3. Bernice

    I am not surprised to see these tactics utilized. This is just ONE example of how the opponents have lied. I could share so many more.

  4. Regina Falangee

    I don’t understand why there are so many selfish people living in this district. You all moved here for a reason. I know I moved here because of the community and schools. There is nothing but the best for my family, no matter who it is “for” or how much it costs. Those of you who are bashing those children that all of this is “for” should be ashamed of yourselves! It is for the children! And how dare you put your money, morals and beliefs before anyone’s child. These children, the schools and the teachers are our future. I want this district to go on for many years as “The Best” and I am willing to pay for the right to live in The Best District!

  5. Brad Warthen

    Doug, you’ll enjoy the irony in this: I was about to tell you that it had been a long time since I had heard anyone other than school spending opponents use the phrase, "It’s for the children," and then with a heavy, sneering dose of scorn. And I was going to say, where does that emotion come from — the impulse to sneer at "for the children" being a justification. In other words, the libertarian impulse.

    But before I got to it, as I was going through and approving comments, I saw that Michelle had broken the streak. I guess Michelle is one of those nice people who cares more about kids than she cares about having people sneer at her.

    Still, I have to wonder: Just how bitter to you have to be to sneer at that?

  6. Doug Ross

    I’m not bitter… I look at facts form an opinion… I don’t just have broad “feel good” irrationalism driving my decision making process. You “for the children” types have no concept of costs or how much waste, fraud, and abuse are in the school construction business. It’s for those precious children who need the best that other people’s money can buy.
    Kids don’t need $80M dollar schools. They need good teachers. Where are you going to find all the good teachers to populate these new schools? They don’t exist. You’ll find out in a couple years what we are finding in Richland 2 — the district is being forced to hire teachers who barely speak English to teach core science and math classes in high school.
    And keep ignoring the facts – where did the $80M figure come from? How could the cost of a school jump that much? How is the bidding for new school construction handled? How do we know that that’s the most cost effective solution?
    In Richland 2, one of the school construction companies actually is PAID to come up with the ten year plan for the schools. They set the price and include an inflation rate that is several times the current inflation rate. It’s a money machine for the construction companies.

  7. Cameron

    Doug, I was going to ask you: Have you ever been to lunch at Dutch Fork high school? I was going to suggest you attend one of the many lunches offered there and in the small amount of time that you have to eat, think about how safe you feel, how comfortable you are with nowhere to sit because of overcrowding. Before you start bashing “our” children and using “construction company scams” as an excuse you should experience the overcrowding for yourself. BUT, then I realized by your tone and your attitude you probably could care less about children or anyone for that matter. (Fact: packed rats don’t fair so well in that situation either.) I can only hope that you don’t have any of those “pesky children”. To you “who cares about the children” types it is only about money. I’ll bet when the District Five area home values start to decline and the crime rate rises you’ll be griping about that too. That is what happens when you don’t care about other people’s children. By the way, if you have a problem with the construction companies then how about spearheading a group about that instead of denying “our” children the education they deserve.

  8. Doug Ross

    Sorry, Cameron, but I’ve got three kids. Two of them are in Blythewood H.S. — which is already overcrowded after only being open three years. I’ve been there many times at lunchtime when you can barely make it up the stairs due to the crowd.
    They already have portables and are talking about adding another wing to the building. Teachers in math and science have been brought in from out of the country — and due to the language issues, the results have not been very good so far.
    How did we get to this point? Because nobody in a position of power will do anything to slow the growth that is destroying the quality of life in this area. The construction companies run the Midlands and will move on to somewhere else once the sprawl has peaked, leaving behind clogged roads, overcrowded schools, more crime, etc. It didn’t have to be this way. But the almighty dollar (and the associated property tax dollars) are all that matter.
    I’m not sure what “A Real Lexington 5 Citizen” was trying to prove by posting a link to a bio I wrote about myself for a fantasy baseball league five years ago. I’ve made it clear who I am and where I live. (I’m one of the few who isn’t afraid to put my name on my opinions unlike you). I’ve only been trying to warn you Lexington 5 people what’s coming down the road for you based on what I’ve seen happen in Richland 2. The infrastructure cannot support the growth. The ability to hire good teachers to staff all these new schools becomes less likely every day. It’s not going to get better no matter how many times you try to raise taxed.
    And, Cameron, you can try to pigeonhole me as much as you want, but you’ll be wrong every time. I do care about kids. I’ve been a coach, a Sunday School teacher, a PTO President, and more. What I don’t care about is politicians who believe they have a right to spend money in whatever way they feel like under the phony guise of being “for the children”. The entire system has been corrupted by greed.

  9. Brad Warthen

    Doug, a question: How does a libertarian justify calling upon government to control growth? I mean, it doesn’t hurt my conscience a bit to do so, because I don’t place my faith in the almighty market. But if I did, all I would ask government to do is keep up the infrastructure in response to what the market decides.

  10. Doug Ross

    Sorry, Brad, your logic is failed. The market didn’t create the infrastructure problem, the current government did.
    A libertarian government would have required impact fees prior to allowing all the development to occur. That alone is the only response your question needs.
    A libertarian government would not allow the construction companies to control and influence the school building process to their advantage at the expense of the taxpayer. There would be completely open bidding processes, not the buddy-buddy relationships that exist now. Any logical person can understand that the current process allows construction companies excessive profits at taxpayers expense.
    A libertarian government would make a rational, fact-based case for school construction, not a hand wringing “for the children” plea full of misinformation and calling opponents heartless kid haters.
    Make your case! Convince the voters/taxpayers on facts, not emotion.
    The people have spoken. The pro-bond referendum people did not make a compelling argument. They lost.

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