To the Editor: Eastwood leader answers questions raised in letter PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Brent Welker   
Saturday, 31 October 2009 07:55
On Sept. 13, I sent Mr. Schulte an e-mail asking if he would have time to sit down and discuss the upcoming bond issue. I did not receive a response. He partially attended a Town Hall on Oct. 19 but did not raise the questions he did in his letter to the editor. That leaves me little choice but to respond to his questions and comments now.
If he had asked me about the $350,000 estimate of cost savings, I would have told him that this comes from a staffing analysis we did looking at the personnel needed to operate one K-5 building compared to three. This included reductions, mostly through attrition, in administrative, certified and classified positions. It also netted out the increase costs of adding all day kindergarten.
If he had asked about the costs to finance the project, I would have told him that traditionally millage for fixed dollar projects go down. The millage for the HS bond issue passed in 1999 has already been reduced by 29% in the first 10 years of collection. He also chose not mention the use of low interest Qualified School Construction bonds. He attended a Board of Education meeting where a bond specialist shared that the 2.64 mills on the ballot is a worst case scenario. A far more likely scenario is that these bonds will lower the millage.
If he had asked about the energy costs for a new building, I would have told him that engineers are now designing new buildings that will keep energy costs about the same as the costs of the older buildings. The energy costs can be maintained because of better insulation values, efficient mechanical systems, and technologies like daylighting that reduce electrical needs. Comparing the energy consumption of a building constructed 8-10 years ago with a new one it is like comparing a 2005 cell phone to the new iPhone or Blackberry.
If he had asked about the issues of bus shuttling and teacher collaboration, I would have shared with him the challenges involved with balancing class sizes in a district with three buildings and 110 square miles. Anyone who has lived in this district knows that this has been an issue since consolidation. I appreciate the fact that he mentioned our Excellent with Distinction rating. Can you imagine what we could accomplish if we had 20-30 more minutes of instructional time per day?
Finally, he concludes by saying that the district is trying to mislead the public and voters. I think writing a letter to the editor without the facts, when people tried to give them to him, is disingenuous.
He suggested that the motivation for this building is a bronze plaque at the entrance. I for one would gladly eliminate my name and trade it for a real monument - the academic success of the next 50 years of Eastwood kids.
Brent Welker

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