Tacoma Urbanist

Mar. 4, 2009 at 12:00am

Join Emery, Strickland, Tacomamamma, and the Urbanist and Vote Yes for Schools

As an urbanist and early member of Historic Tacoma, I like the way the Tacoma school board is restoring existing city schools rather than closing them and moving children to remote mega schools accessible only by car or bus as other cities have done.

Why vote for the school bond repair levey?  Because Tacoma's schools need repair:

 

Current Dilapidated Condition of Hunt Middle School

 

(photos and captions from Tacoma Mamma)

Hunt Middle School, Tacoma WA Rusty locker room showers and decaying tile.

 

Hunt Middle School, Tacoma WA Most of the school still does not have three prong wiring. More photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/tacomamama/

 

 

Commentary

Of all of the commentators, press articles and editorials stating reasons to vote for the Tacoma School Levy, Erik Hanburg provides perhaps the best reason to do so: to reduce the flight to the suburbs from the substandard inner city schools:

Anyway, I think it's worth the money. Tacoma loses too many families to UP who move there for the school district. If we can work to get our school district in better shape, I think our city is going to be much improved.

comments [57]  |  posted under Tacoma

Comments

by fredo on 3/4/2009 @ 7:20am
Nobody wants old substandard school buildings.

But the economy is in meltdown at every level. Private employers alone have shed well over 1 million jobs in the first two months of this year. Massive layoffs in the public sector are just around the corner.

The turf war between the UP School system and the Tacoma school system that's described in the posting is really mostly illusory. If some people move to UP because they imagine a better school system, so what? I think people leaving the Tacoma School system are trying to find less expensive alternatives not more expensive.

Finally, could you mention the credentials of the four individuals described as supporters of the measure?

by jenyum on 3/4/2009 @ 7:36am
I'm sorry Fredo, did you study community economic development in law school?

by fredo on 3/4/2009 @ 7:45am
Voters aren't required to possess a degree in economics or law to form an opinion on either the economy in general or this ballot measure in particular.

Since you asked about my background I can share this with you. The schools I attended were all old schools of the type you staged in your photographs. I went on to earn a Bachelors degree and most of my fellow students did as well. In our community achievement was an expectation. It never occured to any of us that we could underachieve and blame the school system.

by Erik on 3/4/2009 @ 8:09am
Yes, Hanburg is right of course, the perception that schools are better in the suburbs is an often cited reason for people moving out of a city:

Burton is one of many longtime black residents who left Bayview for a better life in the suburbs. Enclaves of black families - often the children or grandchildren of blacks who moved to Bayview from the South in the 1940s - have moved to Bay Area suburbs such as Antioch, Stockton and Fairfield. There they've found cheaper housing, better schools and safer neighborhoods.

journalism.berkeley.edu/ngno/reports/bay...

They do choose private education, unlike most in the middle class who seek better public schools by moving to suburbs filled with similar families.

If Americans now "vote with their feet," they typically do so by moving toward public schools, not away from them.



www.epi.org/publications/entry/webfeat_l...

by fredo on 3/4/2009 @ 8:18am
Erik, I've read the links on your posting. The Berkeley piece was written during the real estate boom in California a few years ago. The other piece was undated. I'm not sure either writer envisioned the economic collapse of 2009.

by tacoma1 on 3/4/2009 @ 8:55am
Erik,
What about the overall cost of this project. I do understand the need to upgrade these facilities. And I have seen the overwhelming desire for parents to live in communities that have good schools.

I also understand that parents want to have an affordable place to live. This bond measure is likely to cost the owner of a home that is currently worth $500K, at least $10K for the 20 year period. You have to admit that this is alot of money. Won't that, in itself cause suburban sprawl? Just asking. Still trying to figure which way to go on this.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 3/4/2009 @ 9:05am
41 bucks a month over 20 years on the $500k home. Not sure how many of these 500k folk will be forced into foreclosure because of an extra 41 bucks a month to pay for better schools and improve their community. 41 bucks a month hardly keeps people in a cup of coffee a day at Tully's. I know some people would rather have that cup of coffee each day and see slummy schools but I really don't think the extra 41 bucks will force anyone out of their homes or cause anyone to be unable to buy a house in the first place.

by fredo on 3/4/2009 @ 9:17am
There it is. The tax and spend crowd's justification for every tax. Present every tax effect in its periodic form rather than it's aggregate. If the tax is something like a cup of coffee who wouldn't want it? On top of that the people who don't want the tax increase want slummy schools. Ouch!

by thriceallamerican on 3/4/2009 @ 9:22am
This isn't necessarily germane to the discussion, since there are facilities in the district that have a lot of wear, but if I'm not mistaken a replacement for Gray MS has been built and is in use already...

by tacoma1 on 3/4/2009 @ 9:24am
Crenshaw Sepulveda@
I don't mind paying a tax if it is well spent. My question has nothing to do with foreclosures. I can certainly afford to pay. My question simply is whether this tax will be perceived as too much, and young families will choose the suburbs to live in anyway due to cheaper taxes. Creating more sprawl, and empty inner city schools.

By the way, the $41/mo figure assumes that a $500K home only appreciates 3% a year. At a more realistic rate of 5%, it would be $51/mo, or over $600 a year for 20 years. This is real money.

by Nick on 3/4/2009 @ 11:00am
I'm all for setting aside some income to pay for schools, and have already voted yes, but I think we need to acknowledge that there is a balance to be found between taxing and spending.

Blindly accepting tax increases fosters reckless spending and little oversight, while blindly opposing it fosters budget cuts, infrastructure decay, and program elimination. Remember, the higher the taxes we pay, the more diluted each tax dollar becomes in its impact.

Whatever you vote, don't do it blindly. If you happen to vote yes, do what is within your means to hold those who will spend it accountable.

by Erik on 3/4/2009 @ 11:14am
The Berkeley piece was written during the real estate boom in California a few years ago.

There are countless articles describing why people abandon cities for perceived better schools in the suburbs. Just place a few words in Google such "move suburbs better schools."

Also, from the Atlantic:

By the end of the 1970s, people seeking safety and good schools generally had little alternative but to move to the suburbs. In 1981, Escape From New York, starring Kurt Russell, depicted a near future in which Manhattan had been abandoned, fenced off, and turned into an unsupervised penitentiary.

www.theatlantic.com/doc/200803/subprime

Its too bad Tacoma has delapitaded schools, higher than average crime rate, excessive blight, polluted soil and an abandoned smelter site, scores of empty buildings, a low education rate and has whole swaths which are largely abandoned.

Yes, its a bummer. Though bad luck and poor choices, Tacoma has more than its share of problems.

Yet, I don't see any other choice than to continue the process of digging the city out of the mess. Its either that or abandon the completely and move to UP, Federal Way or Fife.

Its a choice.

by Erik on 3/4/2009 @ 11:18am
The Berkeley piece was written during the real estate boom in California a few years ago.

There are countless articles describing why people abandon cities for perceived better schools in the suburbs:

Here is a list of them on just one Google search:

www.google.com/hws/search?client=dell-us...

Also, from the Atlantic:

By the end of the 1970s, people seeking safety and good schools generally had little alternative but to move to the suburbs. In 1981, Escape From New York, starring Kurt Russell, depicted a near future in which Manhattan had been abandoned, fenced off, and turned into an unsupervised penitentiary.

www.theatlantic.com/doc/200803/subprime

Its too bad Tacoma has delapitaded schools, higher than average crime rate, excessive blight, polluted soil and an abandoned smelter site, scores of empty buildings, a low education rate and has whole swaths which are largely abandoned. Yes, its a bummer.

Yet, I don't see any other choice than to continue the process of digging the city out of the mess. Its either that or abandon the completely and move to UP, Federal Way or Fife.

Its a choice.

by thriceallamerican on 3/4/2009 @ 11:20am
(Revisiting my comment above...total non sequitur, since I was so confused about Hunt vs. Gray that I actually talked about Gray correctly in thinking I was talking about Hunt as pictured in the post. Ack, I'm confused. And you can tell I don't have kids...)

by Erik on 3/4/2009 @ 1:19pm
More pictures of Hunt Middle School from Tacoma Mamma:



The entire roof of the main school building is in this condition. Why did it get this bad? Roof replacement is generally considered a major capital project, requiring an election and a 60% majority. In our state, schools can't just replace roofs when they need to.



The entire roof of the main school building is in this condition. Why did it get this bad? Roof replacement is generally considered a major capital project, requiring an election and a 60% majority. In our state, schools can't just replace roofs when they need to.

Hunt Middle School, Tacoma WA

This is a skylight in one of the classrooms. When you see the external picture of the roof, you will understand why this can't simply be patched up.


www.flickr.com/photos/tacomamama/3327620...

by NSHDscott on 3/4/2009 @ 4:56pm
Erik, it's Tacomamama, not mamma. I hate people who correct other people's typos, but it's her "name" and that's different. Anyway, my wife and I have already voted YES for this bond because we believe good schools are important. These photos only reinforce that belief -- yuck! And we are a youngish, childless couple who does live in one of those $500k houses yet $50/month or whatever does not come easily to us. We just think it's an investment that has to be made, and now's a good time to do it when jobs are needed and construction is at a discount. I'm sorry a lot of people are hurting from the economy, but that doesn't mean you stop spending on needed work on public facilities. That just contributes to a rollercoaster local economy. We also have friends who have a young child and are considering moving to UP for the schools. Yes, we're trying to talk them out of it, but those who don't believe such a thing happens, trust me, it does. However, I must say, I have a feeling this bond is doomed. Too bad.

by fredo on 3/4/2009 @ 6:32pm
I'm sure bond opponents would stipulate that the pictures of Hunt illustrate a poorly maintained building. Having said that, a lot of people who can't afford the extra taxes have roofs on their own homes in similar condition. What would the bond proponents suggest for them? Oh, I forgot, we're only concerned with the welfare of children when they're in a school building.

by jenyum on 3/4/2009 @ 8:52pm
I think I posted to the wrong thread. nothing to see here.

by fredo on 3/4/2009 @ 9:09pm
Yes, we need some new facilities, but $300M? That's just a little less than the cost of Safeco field.

What's the square footage on the 2 new schools and what is the estimated construction price per square foot?
Just because a structure is intended for education doesn't mean it has to be an architectual ode to the Gods. Look at Mt. Tahoma High. That place cost about $70M as I recall and it's way beyond what was neccessary and prudent.

by ensie on 3/4/2009 @ 9:39pm
Fredo,

What would be correct amount of money to be spent on our school system be then if this isn't it? Because this is the amount that it costs to fix the problems that have developed over a long period of time. It's a lot easier to pass the bond and get the money once than to ask Tacoma residents to vote on a new bond every year. It is unfortunate that Tacoma Schools need the money during such an economically uncertain time. But the honest truth is that the district needs it no matter what.

It's very romantic that you tell us that you went to school in a dilapidated building and came out just fine, but shouldn't we want something better for our kids? If your children attended one of the schools without a complete roof or with collapsing walls I think we'd be hearing you sing a different tune.


by fredo on 3/4/2009 @ 10:04pm
Well, commercial buildings have a replacement cost estimated to be $150. per square foot. So a 100,000 square foot building would be approximately $15M. Adding in kitchen, numerous bathrooms and other buildouts lets say brings the total price to $25M per school. That's my estimate. I'm not an architect or a construction consultant, just an average voter who's read all the information the board distributed to the public. They chose to provide no details.

I didn't say I wanted children to attend dilapadated schools. I said that children should be provided with the discipline and orientation that will assure high achievement regardless of the setting where the instruction takes place.

It's romantic that bond proponents think waves of new expensive schools will turn underachieving slackers into national merit finalists.

by amyk on 3/4/2009 @ 10:22pm
I went to Hunt 20 years ago and the showers in the girls locker room were never used, except for one time as a punishment. I thought that the showers were a relic from the 50's and 60's.

by tacoma1 on 3/5/2009 @ 7:16am
amyk@
Who you calling a relic.

Relics have feelings too, you know.

by Erik on 3/5/2009 @ 11:16am
Here is the current blighted condition of Tacoma's Stewart Middle School:

Photo and caption by Tacoma Mama







Built in 1925, Stewart is a beautiful building which can and should be saved. The interior, however, features wiring strapped to bare pipes, crumbling or missing ceiling tiles, and 1920s vintage plumbing. Seismic upgrades have not been made. Students with mobility impairments cannot attend Stewart, and must be bused to other schools.

www.flickr.com/photos/tacomamama/tags/st...

Photo credit Jennifer Boutell. For more information about Tacoma's school bond election, visit tacomacitizens.org. Media contact: Marty Campbell, 253.376.3774 , tacomacitizens@gmail.com

by Erik on 3/5/2009 @ 11:21am
Wiring issues at Stewart Middle School:


by fredo on 3/5/2009 @ 11:25am
The photos show schools that need repair or replacement. Why don't we post some photos of homes where children live around Tacoma that are in similar or worse condition? Bond passage will make it increasingly unlikely that these homes will receive the needed improvements.

by fredo on 3/5/2009 @ 11:34am
Erik, that wiring looks scabbed in. The school district has an electrician on staff who will put in wiring per code.

by jenyum on 3/5/2009 @ 11:49am
It's wired like that throughout the building and appears to have been that way for some time. It's not a minor project which is why it is included in the bond.

by fredo on 3/5/2009 @ 11:56am
Illegal to place scabbed wiring in public building.

by jenyum on 3/5/2009 @ 11:57am
Well, it is also illegal not to fully fund basic education in Washington State.

by fredo on 3/5/2009 @ 12:04pm
Illegal means its a violation of the criminal code. Is there a relevant criminal code regarding the funding of schools?

by jenyum on 3/5/2009 @ 12:13pm
Illegal means it is prohibited or not authorized by law. The constitution last I checked has legal authority. This is why the state can and has been successfully sued for violating that mandate.

You can't have it both ways. If we're going to have safe modern wiring in this old building we have to pay for it. The same is true for seismic upgrades and all kinds of other modern safety "conveniences."

by fredo on 3/5/2009 @ 12:29pm
Jen-take your camera over to Mt. Tahoma or Stadium HS. Every time you see an extention cord take a picture and post it. That's illegal wiring. Teachers who zip tie extention cords to make classrooms more suitable are creating a fire hazard for the very children they are pledged to instruct. As I stated before, the district has journeymen electricians on staff.

by ensie on 3/5/2009 @ 12:32pm
Fredo,

I didn't say I wanted children to attend dilapadated schools. I said that children should be provided with the discipline and orientation that will assure high achievement regardless of the setting where the instruction takes place.

By voting no on the bond, you are ensuring that the schools will not get the money they need to be repaired, so you are, in fact choosing to continue to send kids to school in dilapidated conditions. The reasearch is out there, from a a lot of experts, that kids don't perform as well in schools that are in poor condition for a number of reasons. Not only is there evidence to back it up, it's common sense. Have you ever worked in a building with poor heating, insulation, or leaks? Anyone who has will tell you it significantly effects your ability to concentrate and perform.

You continue to profess that the school district didn't provide enough detail in their direct mail campaign and therefore you cannot vote yes. A number of links to a variety of information concerning this issue have been provided to you, and it is obvious that you have plenty of time to spend online to look up the info. yourself, yet you refuse to acknowledge its existence. I understand that your mind is made up, but don't continue to repeat that the information just isn't out there.

That's my estimate. I'm not an architect or a construction consultant, just an average voter who's read all the information the board distributed to the public.

Interesting. You admit that this is your unprofessional estimate and you are NOT an architect or a construction consultant, like the people called in to estimate what the ACTUAL COST of fixing these issues is. So you are esentially pulling these numbers out of thin air with no information to back it up.

Erik, that wiring looks scabbed in. The school district has an electrician on staff who will put in wiring per code.

Yes, an electrician who needs money to fix this problem. And where does that money come from?

by Erik on 3/5/2009 @ 1:31pm
And now the Volcano's Spew weighs in:

Hunt Middle School in Tacoma opened in 1958. The school's plywood based flat-roofed design was hailed in the press at the time as "imaginative" and "cost-saving." Today the roof lies in shreds, as mold and mildew seep through fresh coats of paint. Teachers report frequent illnesses, and suspect the school-wide mold may be to blame. Kids take rusty showers in the school's decrepit locker rooms, while their librarian shifts freshly donated computers around the library, dodging leaks.

weeklyvolcano.typepad.com/spew/2009/03/s...

(No word if DeRosa has visited the bathrooms in the middle school yet for her column in the Volcano)

New post from T Mama:

Stewart Middle School is a 1925 beauty that with a little attention will give Tacoma another 84 years of faithful service. Walking in the door, I could feel the obvious pride the staff takes in their school. I waited while phone calls were made to verify the identity of this random lady who wanted to take pictures of their school, and looked around the newly redesigned front office. Gutted in a fire 2 years ago, the office is the only part of the building to have received a recent remodel.

www.tacomamama.com/2009/03/05/adopt-a-sc...

by Erik on 3/5/2009 @ 2:29pm
Now Exit 133 weighs in

You may have heard recently that there is a special election on a school bond coming up on March 10.

www.exit133.com/5133/tacoma-school-distr...

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 3/5/2009 @ 3:06pm
I just want to know why tacomamama is not on the school board. Seriously, I can't think of a better person to get our school system on the right track.

by tacoma1 on 3/5/2009 @ 5:12pm
I filled out my ballot today after much thought and many hours with my spreadsheet crunching numbers. I have decided to vote yes. Tacoma deserves good buildings and first rate schools.

Hopefully, my vote and tax dollars will help make Tacoma a better place.



by NineInchNachos on 3/5/2009 @ 5:41pm
I had to flip a coin. The schools lucked out.

by Erik on 3/5/2009 @ 6:08pm
There are an uncountable number of reasons to abandon Tacoma like so many people have in the past.

But since I am living in the city, I figure we might as well fix up some blighted buildings.

I voted yes too.

by fredo on 3/5/2009 @ 7:24pm
Ensie @ In one posting you asked me how much we should spend to fix the schools, then when I gave you a per/school estimate you ridiculed my credentials. I provided an estimate. The School Board did not.

A correction to your posting: I've never stated that there isn't information available to people which would supplement the brochure that was the district's key informational effort. Voters who wish to vote no based on the fact the the informational brochure was unnecessarily vague are entitled to do so.

Some people voting no want the board to come back to the voters with a more streamlined and less expensive proposal. This is an entirely appropriate response to this initiative.

by Mofo from the Hood on 3/5/2009 @ 9:01pm
In view of the selected photo's and eye witness accounts, and the cost proposal put forth, it is a general matter of procedure in any business transaction to negotiate the price.

Voting no does not equal hostility to the students or to the general well being of the city of Tacoma.

Furthermore, I see no reason to believe the notion that by creating an ideal physical environment, like the extravagant Stadium High and Mt. Tahoma campuses, that it follows that students and the general population will become more virtuous or wise. If that notion was ever true then how do you explain the years of neglect rather than systematic maintenance of all the once new buildings now under discussion.




by Erik on 3/6/2009 @ 2:05pm
Express voting booths open today for Pierce County residents of the Tacoma, Puyallup, Auburn and Carbonado school districts who want to drop off their ballots for the March 10 bond and levy elections.

It's an all-mail election, but if you don't want to put a stamp on your ballot, or you want to deliver it in person, several dropoff sites will be open through Tuesday.

Ballots must be postmarked by midnight March 10.

Vote by Mail Express Booths will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily through Election Day on Tuesday.

Here's where you'll find them:

Browns Point: Town Center at Browns Point, 1000 Town Center...

Tacoma: Pierce County Annex, 2401 S 35th St.; Rite Aid, 1912 N. Pearl St.; Oasis of Hope, 1937 S. G St.; County-City Building (drop box), 930 Tacoma Ave. S., second floor lobby. (Open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)


www.thenewstribune.com/updates/story/648...

by morgan on 3/6/2009 @ 2:11pm
As much as I have issues with the school board and leadership, I think it would be criminal to hold back funding as a way of protest. Kids should not suffer because adults can't get it together.

by fredo on 3/6/2009 @ 10:40pm
For those who remain undecided here's a shocker: The school board isn't promising any new construction with the proceeds of this bond. Think the students are getting new schools? Nope. All they're promising is remodeling or renovation work. $300M worth of renovations. Ah, the devil's always in the details.

by jenyum on 3/7/2009 @ 1:49am
What *are* you talking about?

Hunt and Baker will be completely replaced. Stewart will be remodeled. Wilson will receive phase II of its total replacement.



If you are referring to the language that says they can do other things with the money (yes, I read that really weak letter to the editor in the Trib) that is in all bond measures. And well it should be. It would be legal malpractice to let a bond issue go out without some way out if there were unforeseen circumstances. Think of how you'd be stomping around if 300 million in taxpayer dollars ended up tied up in legal battles because a building burned to the ground, or another school suddenly flooded and they needed the money for that. Show me such a measure that doesn't have that language.

by fredo on 3/7/2009 @ 7:12am
Jen@ what are you talking about?

Here's a quote I took directly from the ballot. "This proposition authorizes the District to MODERNIZE or replace three middle schools..." (Fredo has added caps for the syntax challenged readers)."

If the board wanted the voters to make a decision regarding new schools perhaps they could have so indicated. The hazards you mentioned in your posting such as fire and flooding are addressed in 21st century America through a process I'd like to call insurance.

by fredo on 3/7/2009 @ 8:03am
Not to split hairs, but the photo shown above which is supposed to demonstrate lack of three prong wiring actually shows outlets which are 3 prong. This is code. The photo doesn't show an electrical problem but does show a very real need for some spic n span.

by Erik on 3/7/2009 @ 8:16am
Current Conditions : Baker Middle School (via Tacoma Mama)



Awning of the main entry way.

John S. Baker Middle School opened in 1955. The school was designed with a flat roof, a disaster for the Pacific Northwest climate. At least 2 inches of water pools on the roof for much of the year.







Wiring like this exists throughout the school.




Cheap vinyl windows were installed as a cost cutting measure, now so scratched and foggy I could barely see through them



Boys locker room shower


www.flickr.com/photos/tacomamama/3329855...

by jenyum on 3/7/2009 @ 8:38am
I will quote back to you your own quote from the bond proposition, without the awful screamy all caps:

This proposition authorizes the District to modernize or replace three middle schools

(Re: the three prong wiring thing, that was pointed out to me that day and changed about two hours later but the caption has been preserved in the blogosphere. I should have worn my glasses.)

If you had actually walked around in Hunt you'd know you are being ridiculous. It might be technically plausible to save Baker's structure because it at least involved some strong building materials. Hunt however is like a moldy old office cubicle. By the time you peeled back all the damage you'd have nothing left.

Regardless, the modernization of Stewart will probably employ more workers for a longer period of time than completely replacement of the other two schools, so I really am not sure what your point is.

by fredo on 3/7/2009 @ 9:57am
My posting used "awful screamy" caps, your's used non-awful screamy bold. Interesting.

Back to the wiring problems. Your pictures showed exposed wiring but upon closer examination it's not at all clear that any of it is out of compliance. Probably the wiring that's zip tied together is audio/visual, doorbell wire, telephone cabling, or thermostat related none of which needs to be in conduit.

As far as being a "jobs" bill, the employment opportunities will only exist for 2 or 3 years. The payments last for 20. If the initiative is about jobs it's pretty poorly designed to accomplish that.

by jenyum on 3/7/2009 @ 10:44am
At the risk of getting stuck in one of these loops again where I provide lots of details and then we end up nitpicking about some very small part of the package, there is plenty of research on the economic impact of school construction projects.

Here is an analysis from West Virginia's program. Bigger than ours at 500 million, but I'll quote some of the economic impacts which you could easily scale down. For a 500 million dollar investment they got:

$1,087.1 million in business volume from FY2003 through FY2007
$546.5 million in school construction from FY2003 through FY2007
$540.6 million in indirect and induced business volume from FY2003 through
FY2007
9,620 job-years (an average of 1,924 jobs each year)
$281.3 million paid in employee compensation from FY2003 through FY2007
$16 million in assorted state taxes from FY2003 through FY2007

www.cawv.org/SBA%20Economic%20Impact%20R...


A similar benefit was found in New Jersey, in this study: www.heldrich.rutgers.edu/uploadedFiles/P...

A lot of the math in that study is beyond me, but if you use their table showing 8.7 job years per million dollars of investment, that's 2,610 local job years for this bond.

And that's just the jobs, you also have to consider the other ripple effects of that income coming into the community. If we had a state income tax (as they do in NJ) the benefits would be even more substantial, but we can't have everything.

by Nick on 3/7/2009 @ 2:27pm
A lot of this sure seems like we are reaping the consequences of deferred maintenance. Many of the problems cited in the photos could easily have been avoided at a much smaller cost if we as a community had been prudent in providing adequate funds on a regular basis.

The way I see it, schools cost a very specific amount of money to be maintained and run properly. Pay any less, and we incur a debt that ultimately has to be paid back later - with interest. To me, this bill is that very debt that we must pay. If we do not, it will only cost us more later.

I say let's pay this overdue bill and make sure we don't create a situation that requires another one.

by fredo on 3/7/2009 @ 11:12pm
Jen@ That was then this is now.

Both the WV and Rutgers studys that you cited looked at construction effects during boom economic periods. The Rutgers study specifically warns readers that the assumptions of the study will not apply during a recessional economy (pg. 16).

by Rith on 3/8/2009 @ 8:49pm
Do they really continue to force school kids to shower together? Personally I think schools should focus on education first and leave sports for after classes are over. And while we are at it, may I compain that too much money is spent on sports facilities? Learning to play baseball should be second to learning enough math to figure out what a credit card with 18% interest will do to you over a period of time.

by fredo on 3/9/2009 @ 7:48am
Rith @ agree on all points.

Well folks it's time to put away all the campaign rhetoric and get your ballots in.

Here's my final remark. The bond proponents have tried to frame this campaign as a choice between helping the kids and hurting the kids. In reality, both sides of this issue think they're helping the kids. If the bond passes we'll get some new schools, if it fails, families who are struggling will have some extra funds available each month to feed, clothe and house their children. Either way children benefit.

The second issue presented is one about value. Should it cost $300M to remodel 3 middle schools and purchase a few other amenities? For that amount each school better be getting granite floor coverings, segways for every student and solid gold toilets. If the bond fails the school board is guaranteed to come back to the voters with a less preposterous package.

by jenyum on 3/9/2009 @ 8:05am
The list of needed repairs does not get shorter. In fact, it's significantly longer than the package presented in the bond. It is a shame that everything costs so much. However, it does. If there were another less expensive bond proposal, I would hardly consider that a good thing as that would just mean more years of deferred maintenance on some projects which desperately need to be completed.