The Big Vote

Here it comes. After years and years of debate, spending millions of dollars and making all the necessary preparations, the vote on the school building program is about here.

June 27th is the planned date of the county commission's big votes not only on the building program but also the county's budget and the school board's budget.

The school board has worked for three years to develop the current Phase I building plan that includes a new school at Greenback, a new middle school in Loudon and the expansion of the cafeteria at Philadelphia. The commission has approved and the board has spent more than two million dollars on all the plans and drawings for the three projects.

What makes the school building program such a big deal is that it will require a property tax increase to fund it and it's no secret that almost no one wants to pay higher taxes. Unfortunately, higher taxes are coming either to fund the building program or just maintain the status quo. For instance, if the building program doesn't pass, the board will need to spend more than four hundred thousand dollars on the Greenback roof right now.

No doubt about it, commissioners are in a tough spot. They know no one wants higher taxes but they also know the consequences of doing nothing will have high costs also.