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The financial details will undoubtedly be laid out for the voters, as they were with the last bond. Remember, this bond is in response to critics like yourselves who said the previous bond was too large and too expensive and that the district should focus on its greatest needs, most notably the science classrooms.
So, that's what they did.
The 53% of voters who wanted the comprehensive bond, like me, are disappointed to have to make this compromise and to set aside our hopes for more progress sooner at Wa-Hi.
So, this compromise is for you, the 47%, and your first reactions are to wonder publicly about some secret plot? Very disappointing. I would suggest you raise your concerns with the district and get some answers first before you start spreading speculative rumors. This is first and foremost about kids, so it deserves more responsible dialogue from adults like yourselves.
My recollection was that the science building renovation was in the $10-$15 million range as part of the $68 million total cost. But renovation had two significant downsides: first, students had no adequate place to go for science during the year the building was being worked on; and second, even a renovation of that building didn't allow for certain features, such as raised ceiling heights, that would be ideal for science classrooms.
Simply put, a new building allows it to be done right, and with minimal educational disruption. It also creates surplus space in the old science building to be utilized as the other buildings get fixed sometime in the future.
Myinput, the task force doesn't disagree with the project; they just want to do more and to wait a bit longer to put together that larger proposal. The district has listened to and agreed with the task force recommendations in terms of the various projects that need to get done. The conflict here has to do with how to present the project phases to the voters, which is really the job of the Board to decide based on their numerous surveys and listening session.
This stand-alone science building proposal is a good compromise with the 47% who voted "no" on last year's comprehensive bond. In surveys, voters prioritized the science building and said they would support a phased approach to doing the whole project.
Most importantly, if this proposal passes, there are a whole lot of students who will benefit a whole year sooner in their science classes.
I respect the views of the task force, who recognize the needs at Wa-Hi are far greater than just this one building, but this is at least something we can do NOW. We should pass this smaller bond, let the Edison Bond expire in a few years and then come back with a bigger phase II.
Heck, I even agree with namvet on this issue. This editorial was well written. The Council needs to revisit their decision.
That is interest, barracuda. I didn't know that. Without that law, I wonder, would we really abandon the parks in Walla Walla because they aren't money makers? I want to live in a country/state/county/town where my government (i.e. the citizenry) understands there is value to funding the arts, parks, and cultural events. Maybe it's just a tiny portion of the budget, like what we do for PBS, but these investments elevate us as a people.
Parks aren't money makers. Why do cities fund them?
Where I disagree with the "many voters" you describe, Chas, is that to "spend, spend, spend" when it is directed judiciously and intelligently can pay dividends in myriad ways. The pared down water park project was projected as being financially self-sufficient after the initial influx of public/private dollars and would have enhanced our community and improved quality of life.
The 2013 Wa-Hi bond was also a revised significantly from the 2006 bond due to public input and was revised again to cut out $10 million from the project in 2012 after the CP HS school bond passed. The Wa-Hi bond took advantage of low interest rates and construction costs we will never see again in our lifetime and would have cost 1/4 the amount CP residents were paying per household for the bond they passed...but the Wa-Hi bond would have done so much more. The problems at Wa-Hi won't go away; we will now just have to spend more when we eventually address them.
The aviary is similar. It has been an iconic symbol of a community that is more than just a run-of-the-mill small town. It enhances our quality of life without a large expenditure. Once it is gone, it's gone forever.
You are correct that "debt makes it hard to take the long view," but that doesn't make short-sightedness wise. If, as you say, "many voters see" these things as "spend, spend, spend," then it is our job to offer a bigger picture perspective.
Quick math: The article says the project is $385,000. They already have $190,000 in dedicated funds. They apparently think they can find $100,000 to demolish the thing. That leaves $95,000, which for a town of this size, comes to approximately $ .25 per person per month for one year. We can't afford a quarter per month per person?
The two council members who tried to save the aviary should be commended. This is an extraordinarily short-sighted decision. We can only hope someone, somewhere with more vision and resources is able to step up and intervene. I don't know who that is or how that happens.
The aviary is a great place for families. As a parent in this community, the recent failures of the water park vote, the Wa-Hi bond, and now this decision are disheartening indicators that this is not a town focused on its youth.
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