Answers concern about bond use

COURTESY TO THE BELLINGHAM HERALDOctober 25, 2013 

I am responding to a recent letter titled "Concerned bond won't help students." In the letter, the writer states that the prospective bond money won't be used to reduce class sizes or hire more teachers. She's right, but for the wrong reasons.

The reason the bond won't pay for reduced class size or teacher salaries is because bonds monies are always specifically designated for capital expenses. Bond funds pay to build new buildings and fix old buildings. Teacher salaries and day-to-day classroom operations come from levy funds. Bond and levy funds cannot be mixed. We cannot use levy funds to improve a building. We cannot use bond funds to pay for teachers or curriculum enrichment.

We are not voting on a levy in November; we are voting on a bond. I urge voters to learn about the difference between levies and bonds so they understand how the funds can be used. Keep mind that the funds saved on lower utility bills resulting from an efficient building (for example, a new Sehome) can be used to pay for additional teachers. Utility bills are part of the operating budget, and money saved on heat bills can directly benefit our kids in the classroom. Please educate yourself on how school funding works to understand what you're voting on. Our kids depend on it.

Joanna Nesbit

Bellingham

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