|To the Editor: Eastwood resident opposes ballot issue||| Print ||
|Written by Mark Schulte|
|Wednesday, 28 October 2009 08:32|
Here we go again! After having been firmly told previously by the voters that a new school was not wanted the administration of the Eastwood Local School District is on the ballot Nov. 3 to build another school that the district doesn't need. The benefits are said to be cost savings, state-of-the-art security, technology, energy efficiency, and improved air quality systems, no lost instructional time due to shuttling students, and better teacher collaboration.
How about a different view on each of these points? Cost savings are estimated at $350,000 per year. Who made this estimate? Was it the architect that hopes to land the contract to design the new school? To borrow $10.5 million over 38 years is estimated to cost (principal plus interest) $20.3 million or $534,000 per year. What a deal! It will cost us $184,000 a year ($350,000 in savings minus $534,000 in bond retirement costs) if one believes the savings estimate. We should maintain what we have.
State-of-the-art security and technology can be added to any building new or old. Although a new building should be more energy efficient that doesn't mean it doesn't consume more energy. The proposed new building would be air conditioned and would have generous makeup air provisions for improved air quality. These enhancements are energy consumers and they don't come free.
A local district reported their new schools increased their operating expenses by $200,000 per year. Are we getting the whole story here? The claim of lost instructional time savings due to eliminating shuttles seems like a management problem not a building location problem. The claim of better teacher collaboration is puzzling. This sounds like a manufactured or at least overstated benefit in light of the "Excellent with Distinction" ratings recently received.
During the last campaign to build new schools we were told that our newest building, the middle school, was in the worst shape and needed replaced after only 30 years. The currently proposed building assuming similar construction would need replaced before it was paid for with a 38 year bond. Setting the bond repayment duration at 38 years is irresponsible as it is a trick to get the voters to think they are getting a low cost deal because the millage is low. Don't forget the 2.64 mills is only an estimate. You are voting on the amount of the bond not the millage. If the financing costs are higher than estimated the millage will be higher and vice versa. Are you willing to take that risk for 38 years? Also don't be fooled by the pledge to not collect the bond millage until 2012. This is another trick to get the voter to forget about the bond millage when the emergency levy and the income tax levy come up for a vote in the next two years. Is a new school really for the children or is it more about names on a bronze plaque?
Perrysburg (Eastwood Local School District)
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