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School Issues Presented As Voters Requested

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THERTC SEEMS to be confusión in the minds of some Ann Arbor School District residents over what will appear on Wednesday's ballot. It is due no doubt to the fact that two separate governmental units, both school districts, are presenting issues for decisión on the same ballot in Ann Arbor and the townships included in the Ann Arbor School District. The Ann Arbor public schools have three bonding propositions calling for separate decisions by property owners. The Washtenaw Intermedíate School District has two proposals on the ballot Wednesday. All registered voters of the county are eligible to vote on one, and the second is limited to property owners. The two county-wide proposals involve construction and operation of a vocational-technical education center on the campus of Washtenaw Community College, to be operated by the college. The cost to taxpayers of the county would be approximately one dollar per thousand of assessed valuation. The News endorsed this two-part proposal Sunday, and it has had almost universal backing. AT THE SAME TIME Ann Arbor School District voters will also be making decisions on three proposals, all involving bonding and i therefore limited by law to prop' erty owners. The three proposals were part of a larger, single package bond issue rejected last Janu! ary. At that time, voters indicated ■ they wanted an opportunity to set priorities on the building programs i and to voice opinions on plans for the third high school before costs had been established. The Board of Education agreed. ' Bonds to finance a third high school ' are not in Wednesday's program. They won't be voted until district residents have a chance to be heard on the planning. The rejected bonding proposition has been reduced from $15,525,000 to $9,505,000, and has been divided i into three parts. The first and by far the largest . proposal is for funds for a new junior high and an elementary school and for additions to and remodeling of numerous other I schools. The second proposal, separate on lithe ballot, is for a school services I building and an administrative I building, both on the Pioneer High I School site. The third proposal is for funds to erect, equip and maintain an addition to the public library, which in Ann Arbor is operated by the school district. WHILE there is no millage tax on the ballot for these three proposals, the school board points out that just slightly less than a mili (one dollar per thousand of assessed valuation) will be necessary for the next five' years to cover the three propositions. Thus if all five proposals were adopted, property taxes in the Ann Arbor School District on an "average" home ( assessed value $11,000, market value $22,000) would be increased about $22 a year. THIS is the point where a lot of readers will take another look at their winter tax statements, substantially increased over last year, , and throw 'up their hands. But what is the alternative? Everyone recognizes that the vocational school is a valuable extensión of I the community college, and no I one needs to be sold on that. The school not only offers new hope for the potential or actual high school dropout, but it would provide badly needed technical workers for scores of businesses, industries and professions in -the county. Many counties have already provided such facüities. If Ann Arbor School District voters vote "no" on the bonding proposals for new schools, additions and remodeling, they are only postponing, not rejecting, and they risk the probability that delays will mean higher construction costs. The Board of Education hasl tried to follow the wishes of thel electorate in presenting the pro-l posals separately and in delayingl the third high school bond issue.l There is no alternative to thel property tax for school financingl and the city's growth demanda continued plant expansión. TherJ is some slight hope of a decreasJ in enrollment pressures in the nexl decade here, but it isn't certain. I Sacrifices are responsible for] Ann Arbor's present outstandingj school system, and it will takel more sacrifices to hold it at that level. The News recommends that sacrifice, knowing that district residents must make individual decisions, based on their own circumstances. The Board of Education has met its responsibilities well in its method of presentation.


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