Wednesday, January 30, 2013
We received ballots on Saturday. Guess what? No mention of excess tax refunds on the ballot. Surprise! Surprise!
Why doesn’t the Walla Walla School superintendent answer questions about architect fees and time limits on tax refunds?
Remarks from school supporters: Cheap interest rates! Economically it makes sense! Contractors waiting to give cheap bids! Interior hallways for fewer students! More potty rooms! Elevators to attic storage! Too hot! Too cold! Drama dressing rooms! More potty rooms! Crowded lunchrooms!
Is this Wa-Hi project slanted more to greed than need?
Mark Higgins, the school district communications director, says Walla Walla High School’s education is top-notch.
One Walla Walla School Board member said: “Out of eight school districts near us, only Richland, with a $1.21 per $1,000 assessed value, currently has a bond tax rate slightly lower than Walla Walla’s current bond rate of $1.27.”
Is the board member suggesting we spend money because it’s a great deal?
My wife uses that rationale regarding sales events! “The more you spend, the more you save.”
The chief financial officer of the Walla Walla Public Schools said. “Taxpayers throughout Washington state will pay $21.6 million (about one-third of the project) through state matching funds.”
That quote neglects to say Walla Walla taxpayers pay their share of all state school matching dollars. Walla Walla taxpayers have already, or will later, pay 100 percent of the state matching dollars for Wa-Hi.
Matching dollars aren’t a gift. The state doesn’t give without first taking.
Wa-Hi suggestions. First, fix the science building. After that:
Maintenance: M&O levies are over $10 million annually. Maintenance seems to have been shortchanged most of Wa-Hi’s life.
School Districts seem to allow schools to deteriorate to force taxpayers to pass tax bonds. Let’s stop this subterfuge.
Air-conditioning: There used to be no school in June or August; two hot months. Schools now operate two or three weeks in those hot months. Why are schools bellyaching about self-inflicted discomfort?
Wa-Hi safety: Too many entrance doors? Make 80 percent of existing exterior doors exit-only. Replace exit-only door windows with one-way glass.
All weather track: It invites unwanted people onto Wa-Hi’s campus.
Expensive architects: A few million of sensible spending from saved architect fees and M&O levies will alleviate many problems. It only takes the will to do so.
Unsightly portables: Permanently remove them when 300 to 400 students from College Place exit.
Wa-Hi will again be one of the most beautiful campuses in the state.