Jump to content
"Those things should be fixed," but I don't want to pay what it costs to fix them. Wallyworldguy, if modern science classrooms could be provided for students for significantly less money - rooms that would accomplish all of the very reasonable things described in Mr. Blomme's letter - don't you think the district would opt for that solution?
Seriously. Last year's bond included $15 million for a remodeled science building. This year's bond is $10 million for the new building. The district didn't just pull these numbers out of thin air. They went to a reputable professional firm that knows how to calculate these costs. Why would they throw $10 million at a problem they could solve for $5 million? They aren't idiots. They are just community members like you and me, except they've dedicated themselves to understanding these issues AND they have a very experienced task force to do research for them.
They just want to serve students and the community in the best way possible. If their motivation is to solve this issue for kids, why would they make it any more expensive than it has to be - knowing that more money will equal higher taxes and more opposition?
So, either we pay what it costs to do right by our kids, or we don't. That's the choice. Are you an expert in 21st century school construction expenses? You can say it is "a waste of tax payer's money" but that doesn't change the fact that it costs what it costs. The alternative is the status quo, as described above by Mr. Blomme.
I'll just point out an irony that jumped out at me having to do with "good scholarship" and leave it at that.
This letter states: "Now you want us to build a new school when the one we have could be renovated. This is not a good time to tax us more so we can have a better looking school. ...let’s get back to scholarship”
In fact, last year's bond WAS about renovating, but just enough people (presumably like this writer) voted against it that this year's bond is now about building new --- largely because "new" is a less expensive (and less disruptive) alternative. (roughly $10 million vs. $15 million minus $3 million in state match). The irony? Good scholarship should know this.
And then it suggests twice in this letter that the reason for this bond is about having a "better looking school." No one has ever said this. EVERYONE involved has said it is about improving learning. Again, good scholarship would know this.
I believe this writer when she suggests her finances are challenging, and I sympathize (in fact, this is the strong part of this letter), but just because money is tight doesn't mean the facts can be loose.
Arharding, here is a link to an answer to your question. The bond was for $19.6 million for Edison and "other capital projects" according to the text of the bond on the ballot. The total cost ended up being $18 million. This letter from Mick Miller explains what those other capital projects ended up being. http://www.wwps.org/images/atoz/wahibond2014/Edison_Bond_Excess_Funds_040914.pdf
Besides the obvious factual error regarding the "1 to 15%" who will benefit from a new science building (as Doceo and Mr. Calzarreta addressed above), what strikes me about this letter is how radically different some of us think and view the world from each other. And I don't say that to mock the writer of this letter.
For me, even as someone who has attended church since infancy with roughly 10% of my relatives being pastors, viewing the new science building as a potential threat to my children or faith never would have occurred to me as a concept to consider.
For others, however, the literal word of God can be threatened by studies of DNA, genetic markers, geological time, etc. and there might be fear out there as to how the teachers at Wa-Hi handle such issues, which I view as part of their jobs teaching "science," but others might view as blasphemous.
The father in me with children yet to reach Wa-Hi wants to laugh this letter off as a distraction to the serious conversation. The sociologist in me, however, finds it fascinating. This is certainly a serious issue to some. It's a complex world.
Here's an interesting link on the district website that shows the payoff timetable and amounts for the current Edison bond and the proposed Science Building bond. In the "Levy Rate Detail" section, it shows this new bond ranging from $ .17 - $ .23 per year while the Edison bond is still being paid at $1.29 - $1.36, and then it goes up to flat $ .40 after the Edison bond is retired. So, if I'm reading it correctly, it averages $ .30 overall but is less during the Edison bond and more after. I have no point here other than finding that to be interesting. Here's the URL: http://www.wwps.org/images/atoz/wahibond2014/DA_Davidson_Bond_Rates.pdf
Yes, I was just comparing the "extra" costs of the two bonds and the choices presented to each community on top of their current obligations. WW is obviously a much larger district with more schools to manage, but also has a larger tax base to spread out those costs. Edison comes off in 2018.
This letter: "All the kids deserve a good education to prepare them for a productive life, and since they cannot yet pay for it, the burden falls on we who can. Well educated children will one day be us; they will pay for their children’s educations, whether homeowners or renters."
Response: I think this sentiment reflects the values of many of us who are voting yes. Will the extra $40-$80 per year be tougher on some in WW than on others? Yes. And certainly the extra $350-$700 per year in College Place for the new HS is tough on many. But as long as the plan makes sense - and this one does - voting no on a school bond is not something many of us would consider doing due to the reasons so eloquently stated in this letter.
Barracuda, no, not in and of itself. It's just part of the larger calculation that I added to ALWWWA's rebuttal above. And keep in mind that with these added classrooms, the eventual remodel of the science building won't have to build out to the edges of the corridors for that added space. So there will be a savings there.
All in all, remodeling the current science building is a very good idea for the reasons stated in Mr. Carrera's letter. Building a new science building, in my estimation, is also a very good idea, but with a few advantages, including the minimal disruption, the greater flexibility of design, the lower cost, and the fact that it will positively impact many more kids sooner.
As I have been critical of many of the anti-bond letters for their lack of accuracy and often uninformed approaches to the issue, I have to acknowledge that this is a very good letter. Mr. Carrera uses solid information and expresses a valid viewpoint. I would, however, point to ALWWWA's wise comments above for a rebuttal, and add that building new means that there is NO disruption to the educational process for students during the year of construction, which will definitely not be the case when the science building is remodeled.
This letter: Is this really the highest priority project right now?
Response: Yes. According to whom? The Facilities Task Force, which is a large group comprised of a wide variety of community members and district employees who have spent the past 20+ years examining these issues so that we'd have a clear and definitive answer to the question you posed. So...yes, it is the highest priority project right now, which is what the "no" voters said last year that they wanted the district to focus on.
This letter: Who can really afford to pay $3,000-$4,000 a year, year after year, for property taxes (like they do in College Place)? Many of us simply cannot. That’s why we oppose this bond.
Response: I inserted the parenthetical because the point you were making was that people can't afford CP taxes now, which is "why we oppose this bond." As I pointed out above, this bond is 1/9 the per capita cost of the CP bond. And the next bond to fix more of Wa-Hi and hopefully Lincoln will come when the Edison bond is retired and will still cost MUCH less than CP.
This letter: "Spread that $10 million out, and fix the existing science building, make other needed improvements at Wa-Hi, and use the rest to start a renovation project at Lincoln High School."
Response: Last year's bond estimate to "fix the existing science building" was $15 million, so there is nothing left to spread out. This is where I would seriously encourage people who care about these issues to come to some Board meetings and learn more about why the costs are what they are. Believe me, if there were any way that the district could "fix the existing science building" and adequately solve some other problems, plus Lincoln, for $10 million, it would have proposed doing that a long time ago. This bond IS the effort to have the greatest impact for the least amount of cost. It is being proposed to you by the people who have done the research into how to best do this. That's why we elected them, so that they would do that sort of work for us.
This letter: "This bond is going to fail to get 60 percent of the voters to approve it, because the school board has failed to show any compassion or consideration for the struggles of the medium- and low-income homeowners."
Response: If the bond fails for this reason, it would be a shame, because this is not remotely true. Not only did the Board take a $69 million project ($48 million bond) full of long overdue projects that would have benefited 1,500 students, and whittle that project down from $69 million to just $10 million, but the Board also defied it's own task force who wanted a larger bond. The Board took some flak for that, but they did it for people just like you, Mr. Bickle. This statement is flatly false.
Last login: Tuesday, April 15, 2014
2014 Best Of The Best Winners
The latest wine and dine news.
The Valley's people, wine & food.
Find your way around the Valley.
Contents of this site are © Copyright 2014 Union-Bulletin. All rights reserved.