Numbers REFLECT NEW NOVEMBER BOND #6-166. They are based on a 25 year bond and are estimates only.
WHY US... NOT THEM?
WHY NOT PAY WITH MARIJUANA TAX REVENUE? The state received $85 million this year as a result of taxes on marijuana. Of that, 40% or $34 million will go to the State School Fund. When that $34 million is divided by school districts, the portion to Coos Bay Schools will be around $100,000. That is not an insignificant amount. However, when it costs $60 million to replace and renovate our failing, overcrowded structures, you can see that relying on marijuana tax revenue is simply not the answer.
WHY NOT WAIT FOR JORDAN COVE ENERGY PROJECT TO COME, AND USE THEIR FUNDS TO BUILD THE SCHOOLS? SHORT ANSWER: Here’s the BEST news; after its third year in operation, Jordan Cove Energy Project will begin paying roughly 2/3 the cost of any bonds, reducing the cost for all other tax-payers to roughly 1/3 of what it would otherwise be. Here’s the challenge; waiting until after that 3rd year of operation to begin. If we wait for that money to start coming in, we must first wait through the final approval of Jordan Cove, the bidding and construction of their facility, and then 3 full years of running. It is at THAT point we could begin the design and bid process of our schools, and finally build them. There is no doubt that waiting that much longer will increase the cost significantly, meanwhile we will continue to spend $3 million/year on upkeeping these outdated buildings. It just doesn’t make sense to prolong our dire situation of overcrowding and inadequate structures for this unknown and extended amount of time. If we start now, the taxpayers will contribute their average estimated $27/month until those Jordan Cove payments start to kick in. At that point, Jordan Cove will start to pick-up 2/3 of the cost. Meanwhile, we get hundreds of kiddos in schools where they are comfortable, safe, and can focus on their job of learning.
LONG ANSWER (GET OUT YOUR THINKING CAPS!): Passing a school bond now will allow the Coos Bay School District to get the most out of the Jordan Cove Energy Project. JCEP, if built, will dramatically increase the property tax base in the District. As a result, JCEP will pay much of the cost of any bond, and all other tax-payers will pay less.
The north spit and JCEP are in the Coos Bay School District, even though that land is not connected to the rest of the District. Once completed, JCEP will likely triple the District's property tax base.
The north spit is also in an 'enterprise zone,' created many years ago. This means that JCEP is entitled to a property tax exemption for the last two years of construction and the first three years of operation. If nothing else happens, then Jordan Cove would become like any other property tax-payer after the third year of operation and begin making its share of payments on any Coos Bay School District bonds. Because the value of Jordan Cove would make up so much of the tax base, this would reduce everyone else's rate to about 1/3 of what it would be without Jordan Cove. (The north spit is also an urban renewal district, but it is a 'reduced rate' district, so it does not affect bond taxes.)
However, Jordan Cove and the enterprise zone sponsors have proposed a Community Enhancement Plan. Under this plan, JCEP would make annual Community Service Fee payments for about 20 years (depending on construction) instead of conventional property taxes. The total amount of the Community Service Fees will be equal to the total value of what JCEP would have paid in property taxes over the added years.
The Community Enhancement Plan also provides that JCEP’s Community Service Fees will be increased by the amount JCEP would have paid in taxes on any bonds issued by Coos Bay Schools, or any other taxing District. These payments would go directly to the District and start after the initial five-year exemption period. The District would put this money directly toward the bonds.
In other words, whichever arrangement is in place—5-year tax exemption or Community Enhancement Plan--Jordan Cove will begin paying its fair share toward the bonds after its third year of operation. This should cover roughly 2/3 the cost of the bonds from that point forward.
Some people have suggested that the District should 'wait for Jordan Cove' rather than pass a bond now. These people may be thinking about money from the other parts of the Community Enhancement Plan. Under the proposed Plan, half of Jordan Cove's payments would go to the South Coast Community Foundation for the benefit of local school districts. Over time, this will be a lot of money. But, the South Coast Community Foundation is likely to set aside at least 50% to build an endowment for future years. The remaining money would be divided among all of the Coos County school districts, plus Reedsport.
This could mean as much as $1 million/year for the Coos Bay School District, rising over time. That's important, and it would allow the District to keep class sizes reasonable, add technology, expand fine arts and career programs, and more. But it doesn't come close to enough to make a dent in the building needs that would be fixed through Measure 6-166. Nor would it be fair to Coos Bay students if the Coos Bay School District has to use that money to continue to try to keep ancient buildings operational, while kids in neighboring districts benefit from expanded programs because voters in those districts have already chosen to invest in their buildings. Finally, every year we 'wait for Jordan Cove' means another year of students in inadequate buildings and another year of rising construction costs and additional repairs.
Voting yes on Measure 6-166 now is the smart move to be sure our community gets the most out of Jordan Cove.
This information was compiled by James Martin and has been fact-checked
For more detailed information building by building, click the link for the specific building below: