The U-B survey seems to indicate there isn’t a pubic willingness to pass additional school bonds.
Let’s cut the money outlay for architects and consultants immediately and wisely spend the $50 million annual budget on education, adequate maintenance and facility updates.
Distrust of the Walla Walla School Board seems to be the main reason given for the February Wa-Hi bond defeat.
If a public business collects investment money from the public for a specific purpose and instead uses it for an unrelated purpose without approval from the investors, the business would likely be criminally charged with fraud.
Our school boards have engaged in similar practices more than once.
Examples: The current Wa-Hi also caused School Board distrust in the beginning. The voters voted to remodel the old Park Street Wa-Hi. After the bond passage, the School Board arbitrarily decided to use the funds intended to remodel Wa-Hi and instead built a new high school at the current Wa-Hi site.
The Wa-Hi remodel bond wasn’t enough money to build a new Wa-Hi but the School Board started construction anyway. The Board later tried to pass another bond to cover the additional cost. That bond request was denied.
When money ran out, construction stopped. Additional construction expenses caused underdevelopment on needed buildings, construction delays and funding shortfalls for years.
Did our School Board learn from that history? Evidently not!
Distrust, this time, came from the “Edison deception” (aka the “Edison debacle”).
It looks like the School Board inflated the Edison School bond (including the state matching dollars) by approximately $5 million.
It used that excess $5 million to build the new bus garage without voter approval.
The problem: Voters rejected that same bus garage just a few months earlier. Public scrutiny exposed this School Board wrongdoing. Result: The February Wa-Hi bond was rejected.
These examples show arrogant superintendents and school boards disregarding and overriding the will of the voters.
School boards make decisions. Should they do as they please or should they do the will of the taxpayers? Should they yield to temptation or should they operate with integrity? In these cases, voter disregard and temptation won.
What has the School Board done to regain public trust? As of now, nothing!
Can the School Board regain public trust if there is no apology for the Edison fiasco and no acknowledgment from the School Board of its wrongful actions?