11 things that cost you more money than a school construction bond

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Bethel voters will once again head to the polls next month to decide the fate of a $443 million school construction bond that would build three brand new schools and renovate and expand six other schools.

It goes without saying that $443 million is a lot of money, but thanks to the recent changes in how the state funds public education, local school-related taxes in 2019 will still be lower for Bethel taxpayers than they were in 2018 — even if our bond is approved.

But building schools is expensive. There’s just no getting around that. And, if the February bond passes, Bethel property owners will be footing the bill for those new and expanded schools.

The bond would cost taxpayers $1.42 per thousand dollars of assessed value. For the average single-family home in Bethel ($297,021), that would mean $35 a month, or $1.17 a day.

Asking people for their hard-earned money is never an easy decision for a school district, and our school board doesn’t approve any bonds without first thinking long and hard about how it will affect taxpayers. That said, there are many ways to spend $1.17, and spending it on the future of our children is never a bad move.

Here a just a few other ways Americans spend their money:

1. Coffee

The average American spends $1,100 each year on coffee, which breaks down to nearly $100 a month and just about $3 a day.

2. Cable television

We live in a golden age of television, but binging every season of Game of Thrones isn’t cheap. Cable companies report average spending per subscriber of about $85 a month, while the average among satellite TV providers tops $100 a month.

3. Eating out

Everyone has to eat, but based on the data it seems few people are interested in cooking at home. The average household spends an average of $3,008 per year on dining out, which breaks down to more than $8 a day.

4. Gym memberships

Americans spend a whopping $27 billion each year on health and fitness clubs, and more than 2/3 of those gym memberships go unused.

5. Bottled water

In 2017 alone, Americans purchased 13.7 billion gallons of bottled water. That’s a lot of plastic and a lot of cash.

6. Video games

Video games aren’t just for kids anymore. Consumer spending on video games, hardware and accessories reached a record level of $36 billion in the United States in 2017.

7. Marijuana

A 2017 report estimates consumers spent $53.3 billion on cannabis in North America in 2016, with the bulk of that money being spent on illegal marijuana. Recreational marijuana is legal in Washington, but despite persistent myths, none of that pot revenue is specifically earmarked to pay for the construction of public schools.

8. Sporting events

Each year, Americans spend more than $56 billion attending sporting events, including buying tickets, transportation, food and beverages.

9. Going to the movies

In 2018, Americans spent more than $11 billion on movie tickets. And that number doesn’t even include concessions!

10. Alcohol

In 2017, Americans spent nearly $72 billion on alcohol, with nearly half of that ($33 billion) spent on beer.

11. Gambling

Americans gambled away more than $137 billion in 2017.

Helping kids learn is the driving force behind all we do in the Bethel School District.

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