To the Editor:
The desire for a new Lebanon High School and the issue of a wheel tax or no wheel tax has become so emotional I am afraid that reason and the need to look at the facts have been completely overlooked.
The Wilson County Commission has taken the blame for most of this. I don’t mind sharing the responsibility for problems in our county but, I wish the Lebanon daily newspaper and some of their letter writers would look at the facts before resorting to name-calling and jumping off the emotional deep-end.
What are the facts? First, Thursday’s letter writer says that every time Education gets a nickel ahead the county takes a quarter away. Well the fact is, by State law, once we put money into the education budget, we cannot, ever, take it back. Additionally, last year Education received $6.5 million above their budget from the county, and $1.5 of that we took away from the landfill budget.
The writer also says that we have chosen not to provide an adequate education for our children. The fact is test scores across the county are above the national average. Do we need a new LHS and other capital projects? Yes. Is the quality of education suffering? No.
Secondly, the County Commission has worked over a decade or more to build two new high schools, a couple of elementary schools, remodeled other schools and provided for other capital needs. All without fanfare or tax increases.
Now, I hate to bore you with more facts, but bear with me. Here are two sets of numbers I think are important.
This first set of numbers is the amount of tax money provided by property tax payers for education.
2005-2006 -- $19,401,4842006-2007 -- $21,863,2052007-2008 -- $23,271,2942008-2009 -- $31,017,0582009-2010 -- $37,967,400
This next set of numbers is the total budget for Education (Federal, State and Local).
2005-2006 -- $92,591,5152006-2007 -- $101,491,2792007-2008 -- $114,822,9512008-2009 -- $123,514,3452009-2010 -- $129,685,185
The most often heard argument for a new LHS is Mt. Juliet has one, we want one, too. Well this sounds like the argument I used to hear from my children when they were 4 years old.
The real reason we need a new LHS is because the old one is overcrowded with all the problems that brings on. The County Commission sees the need for a new school, however, we must be responsible and respect the property tax payer, who by the way took a 21-cent tax hit last year (for education).
As I have tried to point out before, we are still in a recession and real people are still hurting. Waiting until we can afford it is responsible and the adult thing to do.
I don’t usually quote Democrats, but, as former President Bill Clinton said in his first campaign, “It’s the Economy, Stupid.”
Bernie Ash, District 23,Wilson County Commissioner,Lebanon
Letters to the Editor should be no more than 200 words in length and will be subject to editing for grammar, spelling and issues related to libel. Letters must be signed and include appropriate address information or telephone numbers to verfiy authentication. Addresses and telephone numbers will not be published. Matters involving personal disputes and ongoing civil procedures are discouraged in letters submitted for publication.
Letters should be sent to:
The Wilson PostP.O. Box 857Lebanon, TN 37088
or be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org and must also include the writer's name address and phone number.