Time to curtail spending binge

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We finally have the answer.

Question? How long could school officials wait before talking about another building bond?

Answer: Not long.

After the College Place high school passage, I hoped my “word processor” might get a rest period. Not so.

It seems our Walla Walla school superintendent, since starting this job, has spent the majority of his time working with architects and consultants dreaming about how to convince taxpayers to spend $68 million to $82 million to rebuild Walla Walla High School. These figures include zero dollars for Lincoln High.

Judging from experiences with Edison School and the bus depot, these cost estimates might be inflated by millions of dollars.

Together with a huge share of the superintendent’s salary and the architects’ and consultants’ fees, the district has probably spent in excess of $250,000 on this project.

If our superintendent spent more time on important school business and less time with architects we could likely eliminate one of the assistant superintendent positions.

March 15, 2011, our superintendent told me there were 412 students from College Place attending Wa-Hi. We’re now told 350 College Place students would probably leave.

The numbers seems to be fluid. Three possible reasons for the fluidity of the College Place numbers:

The number of College Place students has actually decreased. This seems unlikely since College Place continues to grow in population.

In the past, College Place numbers were over-inflated so more state school revenue, based on a per student fee, would come to the Walla Walla School District.

The numbers are now under-inflated to make us think we are still overcrowded at Wa-Hi.

Our school officials should publicly tell us which or if all of these choices are accurate.

If over 400 College Place students leave, as indicated March 15, 2011, the Wa-Hi population would be under the 1,500 capacity that it was built for.

Let’s rid ourselves of out-of-town architects and consultants with their big-spending ideas. Their fees are usually based on a percentage of project costs. The bigger the cost the bigger the fees!

For under $5 million, local contractors can engineer and upgrade a number of buildings as needed.

Recently taxpayers spoke. The clear message: It’s time to curtail the spending binge. School officials: Pay attention.

Vern Filan

Walla Walla

Comments

campbell_rd 1 year, 11 months ago

The answer is simple, Charter schools, which will allow open and good competition at no extra cost.

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