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State Rep. Jason Murphey: “Guthrie District is once again at the crossroads”

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State Rep. Jason Murphey released a statement to Guthrie News Page after a failed $2.4 million bond election for Guthrie Public Schools on Tuesday evening.

State Represenstative Jason Murphey

State Represenstative Jason Murphey

“The Guthrie District is once again at the crossroads at which it has found itself time and again in the past,” Murphey said.

“On previous occasions the District has repeated the mistake of attempting to push through a traditional bond issuance without the application of outside-the-box innovation which would allow it to address core real property needs while still respecting the unique political make up of the district’s constituency which contains a significant distaste for large property tax hikes based on a series of historical issues and demographic factors. I strongly believe that the two are not mutually exclusive. It’s incumbent upon school officials to provide a laser-like focus on addressing real property needs while respecting the voters’ desire to maintain a low tax environment. I am committed to doing what I can to assist school officials in this endeavor.

The $2.4 million bond would have been spread out over 24 months through property taxes within the school district’s boundaries.”

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  1. November 5, 2014 at 10:51 pm

    Hello Mr. Murphey. I am a parent of 2 children in the Guthrie School system. I am curious, have you been to our schools or made any attempt to completely grasp the things we need in our district? Your comment is not clear- what suggestions do you have? How do you propose we make the essential repairs that are needed? You are very quick to condemn the contents of the bond that was just voted on- you lack empathy for our kids, for our community. At least make an attempt, make an effort of some sort to show concern. I assure you, we as parents are going to make every attempt to rise above this sad outcome. Your comment was full of empty thoughts that serve zero purpose or validity.

  2. November 6, 2014 at 10:10 am

    Murphey has reached out here. Murphey was elected and by that appointment, we can infer he has a skill set regarding voter desires and behavior that is relevant in electoral matters. His feedback is a gift, and for this we thank him. After reading the Superintendent’s “pity us” comments, I tend to concur with Mr. Murphey that (at least in part) the district probably does not “get it.” The Superintendent may be a good manager, but maybe he is not the gregarious leader to rally the community around an educational vision. I don’t know what that vision is or should be, but apparently, neither does a super-majority of Guthrie voters. Unlike Murphey, I am not convinced the bond was rejected simply due to taxpayer cost and I firmly believe a larger, more appropriate bond could pass. Guthrie citizens must see the vision and be convinced it is a good “solution” for THEIR district. The district has just learned a valuable lesson, let’s see if we can apply what has been learned. Rather than trying to shame those who rejected the bond, reach out to the outspoken critics and ask them to help craft a solution. A bi-partisan effort may teach both sides a thing or two and pick up the relatively small additional percentage needed to approve a bond without alienating existing supporters. The district needs to share the gospel of good education and develop a vision the community will support. “Better schools, higher pay, nicer stuff”…these are not a vision, these are only things. Voters vote with their hearts and justify with their minds.

  3. November 6, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    Here’s the problem. What guarantee is there that after 24 months property taxes will return to their prior levels? Once taxes go up, they rarely come down. There is a great distrust of government at all levels right now so anything that costs people money is going to face an uphill battle to pass without assurances that the taxes will be returned to where they were once the proposed improvements are paid for. I am sure nobody is against improving the schools per se, they just aren’t prepared to live with a tax hike that may go well beyond the promised 24 months.

  4. November 6, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    A very valid point, Joe. There is no guarantee and I am not sure a 2 year bond makes sense, either. Debt rates are at historically low levels and the district should really be planning long term to capitalize on this low cost of the debt. Rates may be much higher in 2 years. Could a larger, 10-year bond with a small associated increase in taxes be more palatable than a 2 year bond with a large, but short-lived tax increase? Would a long-term (10+ years), comprehensive infrastructure and spending plan for the district be enough to satisfy critics? Perhaps polling Guthrie voters with a post card or online poll could answer some of these questions and help get the district compass pointed in the right direction.

  5. November 6, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    If the bond could have been made more palatable to the tax payers, then maybe it would have passed. Instead of a 26% increase in taxes over 2 yrs make it a 13% or 14% interest over 4 years then it would make more since as long as there was a clause that the tax would sunset on a certain date.

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