Ballot Includes Funding for Schools
Voters weigh repair projects, property tax impact
ANCHORAGE - The four bond propositions headed for Anchorage polls next week total more than $90 million and include renovation projects for local schools, parks and roads.
The largest of them, a $59 million education bond, would cover forty schools throughout the Anchorage School District.
Superintendent Carol Comeau said a large portion of the money would be matched by state grants, and the proposition represented a strong investment for the district.
Education projects included fire alarms and roof repairs, additional classrooms and gym space in Girdwood, and structural and mechanical repairs in schools across the municipality.
“It’s like your house,” Comeau said. “We need to invest in the infrastructure inside the building to keep it up to code and the current educational standards, and that’s really what this is all about.”
But the proposition is similar to Anchorage schools in more ways than one: Comeau said the bond’s impact on property taxes was a historically deciding factor for voters. All bonds on the 2012 Anchorage municipal ballot would be funded through local property tax revenues, while only thirty percent of Anchorage residents have a child enrolled in a district school.
“That works against us,” Comeau said.
For some voters casting their absentee ballots at Loussac Library Tuesday, it didn’t matter. After voting in favor of the school bond package, Samantha Emerson said she wasn’t thinking about the property tax impact when she cast her vote. The bond would add slightly more than $14.50 to the annual property tax bill of a $100,000 home, but as a student, Emerson said educational upkeep was more important to her.
David Schwantes, a retired educator, said he felt the same way.
A nearly $30 million road bond will be the second largest package on the ballot April 3, followed by $2.75 million for park renovations and accessibility projects and slightly more than $1.5 million for public transportation and emergency service upkeep.
For information on polling times and locations, click here.