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Namvet, if the district proposed a new Wa-Hi project every few years, instead of all at once as you are objecting to, then its critics would complain that "it's never enough for Wa-Hi.....they are always asking for more."
The advantages of doing it all at once are that Wa-Hi wouldn't become a construction zone indefinitely, and there are economies of scale that help the district save taxpayer money. There is also the matter of passing a well-coordinated master plan, instead of hoping that various piece of the puzzle will eventually fall into place.
For example, if the district were able to set aside money over the years to replace the boilers, as you proposed, my questions would be: 1) Can districts take money out of their budgets over the course of several years and set it aside for special projects? (maybe they can...I don't know those rules) and 2) What happens when the district installs a new H-VAC system with a new ducting system and then a few years later passes a bond to re-build the science and academic buildings? That's a lot of money wasted to undue the H-VAC work that had just been completed.
To me, it makes more financial sense to do it at one time so it is coordinated as part of a single master plan, not a hodge podge of projects that may or may not get approved.
But we'll see what gets proposed with the next bond. It may come in parts like you want.
Namvet, please name the specific items on the recent bond for which monies should have been set aside to replace.
Then, please name which maintenance jobs over the years should not have been done and/or which employees should have been laid off in order to come up with these extra funds to set aside.
It's a good question, namvet.
The monies designated for maintenance and upkeep have been properly used to keep this facility functioning for 50 years, which is a long time when you think about the 75,000 kids who have used it. The campus remains clean. The grass is mowed. Broken stuff gets fixed. That's what the budget allows for, and it is done very well.
No amount of maintenance, though, will turn a small science room into a large one, or turn 50 year-old boilers into a modern H-VAC system, or provide a bustling drama program with a classroom, or turn single-paned windows into double-paned windows, and so on. Those are expensive projects that require extra monies.
The bond wasn't about fixing things that had fallen into disrepair. It was about adding or enhancing things that could not have been foreseen in 1963. So, no, "these people" do not think the school will magically revamp itself over time. That's why they came to the public with a bond request.
Actually, it is clear that a majority have said "yes" to the full bond. We have yet to see what it will take to achieve a super-majority. It's safe to say this isn't a dead horse.
And as for my use of the word "condemn," have you been in the science rooms???
Jo, I agree with you about Lincoln. It's pretty clear they are doing a really good job in a poor facility with some kids facing significant challenges in their lives.
As for the Wa-Hi bond, while no one knows what it will look like next time, there were some pretty good reasons for each component. The track, for example, is uninsurable not only for track meets, but often can't be used by P.E. classes either. In order to field a track team then, the district spends $20,000 per year transporting kids and equipment daily to and from Martin Field on a track there that is still the worst in the league. The waste of time and money is staggering.
I could go on about the track, the drama department's lack of storage or classrooms, or any of the other components on the previous bond, but based on what I've seen, none of these were arbitrarily added on as frosting.
Finally, it is worth noting that Richland's $98 million bond had another $30 million in state money, so it wasn't cheap....and to note that the Academic Building, which is just one of several Wa-Hi buildings, houses MORE students by itself than an entire elementary school. Sometimes it is easy to forget how big Wa-Hi is when we are comparing projects.
Still a criticism, justsayin. With whose money should they have advertised the phone survey? If they had spent any money getting the word out I'm sure there would have been letters in the U-B complaining about how they are wasting taxpayer dollars promoting a survey. The district could do 1000 things well and never hear a peep from the group of critics lurking here in the U-B blogosphere.
Still, the impetus of my reply was primarily to Wallyworld's 3-year waiting period suggestion, not you.
The district waited seven years between the last Wa-Hi bond proposal, made significant adjustments, and garnered 53% support in February. The list of accumulated problems over 50 years is not shrinking or going away. To wait another three years is to condemn another 1,500 students to inadequate science rooms, limited temperature controls, small classrooms, an unusable track, and so on.
It appears from this editorial that the district is trying to listen to the majority of voters, who voted "yes," and also to learn from those who voted "no," as to what modifications should be made to the next bond proposal. Seems pretty reasonable to me.
Note that the Board did NOT just come back in April with another try with the same proposal and that the next bond date hasn't even been set yet, which pretty much rules out August and probably November, too. They are conducting the professional survey that critics suggested they do, and yet the first three comments here are criticisms.
There are a lot of kids in this district who will benefit from the persistent, yet measured approach taken by the district on their behalf. You are asking the district to quit advocating for our kids for three years before trying again. That doesn't make sense.
From Yale's website: "A new report by Cook et al. (2013) examined nearly 12,000 peer-reviewed papers in the climate science literature; the analysis found that 97% of the papers that stated a position on the reality of human-caused global warming said that global warming is happening and human-caused, at least in part. By contrast, only 41% of Americans say global warming is happening and human-caused."
Yet the author of a letter in Walla Walla's Union Bulletin disagrees with those 97% of peer-reviewed climate scientists, as does Richard Lindzen, who has been debunked here and who, to his credit, is one of a very small number of dissenting scientists not on the payroll of the coal/oil industries.
With whom should I agree: Virtually all scientists everywhere? Or these other two people?
I have concerns about the privacy issue - and have had ever since the Patriot Act was passed several years ago - but there have been several instances of thwarted bombing plots as a result. And how many more haven't we even heard about? That's the positive side of this.
I think the question this article correctly raises is: where do we draw the line when it comes to giving up our freedoms to protect our freedoms? I was concerned about it under the previous administration, just as I am under this one. More concerning, though, is that we have no idea who our 2016 or 2020 president will be and how will he/she exercise this kind of power?
Mr. Donovan, your letter incorrectly attributes the following to Mr. Lehmann's letter:
“Mr. Lehmann opines that Vernon Filan and others - that would include me - write letters giving our opinions with unsupported and undocumented babblings.” (In fact, Mr. Lehmann only said that of Vernon Filan and his “attack letters.” He didn't mention you or any other well-reasoned, civil-toned opponent.)
“I have written many opinions...with dignity, etc.” (Again, that's nice, but Mr. Lehmann wasn't criticizing you.)
“I most definitely support (Filan's) right to give his opinion – in all forms.” (What is your point here? Mr. Lehmann never suggested Filan didn't have the right to give his opinion.)
“Mr. Lehmann suggests Mr. Filan “never” participates in an honest conversation about any fact or issue.” (This is taken out of context. In context, Mr. Lehmann is saying that Mr. Filan never attended board meetings, attended budget work sessions, served on a school committee, or “participated in an honest conversation about any fact or issue.” It could have been better worded, but he was referring to Filan's complete lack of in-person communications with the board.
“Mr. Lehmann seems to be attacking people who give their opinions...he does not have the right to blindly attack them.” (Nowhere in his letter does Mr. Lehmann suggest that all people who disagree with him are bad, nor is he blindly attacking people who give their opinions. What he writes is: “I have a right to publicly defend myself...and respond to (Filan's) attack on my integrity and ethics.” Well, doesn't he have this right? (Hint: he does.)
“Mr. Lehmann seems to be disgruntled about his efforts while serving on the School Board.” (Nowhere in his letter does he suggest any such thing. In fact, he writes: “I am proud of all of the decisions I made.” And later: “I feel honored to have served this community.” Does that sound “disgruntled”?)
“I wouldn't hope he wishes to be called a 'hero.'” (Nowhere does Mr. Lehmann suggest he wants to be called a hero. Your implication otherwise incorrectly makes him appear needy and egotistical. That's misleading. Here's a link to Mr. Lehmann's letter.)
Finally, Mr. Donovan. I've read a number of letters written by Vern Filan, as have we all. Embedded in most of his letters is an attack on the integrity of those with whom he disagrees. Using public forums such as the U-B to repeatedly make such unsupported claims about someone's character IS bullying. It is quite understandable that Mr. Lehmann would want to defend himself.
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