USCtrojan, the "hard metrics" are that 50% of today's labs for AP classes taught across this country cannot be taught at Wa-Hi. The "hard metrics" are that classes of 32 or more students - which frequently occur - cannot properly or safely perform science experiments in classrooms designed for fewer kids and the science of 1963.
This has nothing to do with the reality that you accurately portray about Wa-Hi being a large school where not everyone can make the sports teams. That is, indeed, a shame. But we can't solve that problem right now. We can, however, solve the science problem. That's not a slogan. That's a fact.
Posted 20 April 2014, 5:56 p.m.
So, jace12, since debt is bad, school bonds are bad, because they require borrowing money. Yes? Therefore, kids benefit by being shown how responsible their community is when it doesn't pay for quality schools. Is that it?
Here is the conversation where I envision you explaining this to a kid:
Child: "Why can't we do the kind of science experiments in high school that students at other schools get to do that will train us for success in college and future careers as scientists?"
You: "Because it costs money to provide you with the kind of classrooms that would allow you to be fully prepared for your future. Rather than doing all of those science labs, you are actually better off in the long run simply knowing that we didn't spend money on you. You will understand someday when you are making $12/hour somewhere due to your substandard education, and when you can't afford to pay for school bonds for your kids, either."
Posted 19 April 2014, 5:54 p.m.
Just as a point of fact, this letter says: "One last thought: In a year, College Place High School building will be completed, and the $600,000 per year Wa-Hi has been receiving for those students will eventually be phased out as students leave Wa-Hi. Is the School Board just ignoring this? Probably not. It will just come to the taxpayers again for more money."
I don't know if the $600,000 figure is accurate, but I will trust that it is. That money comes from the state on a "per pupil" basis primarily for teachers. As the CP students exit, the district will compensate for the reduced state monies by cutting staff (with the hope that this can mostly be done through attrition). Thus, there will be no need to go to the public for extra money.
As for the apples to oranges comparison between the REA project and the Wa-Hi project, I followed the link ([here] is a better one) to the USKH website. At least based on their description of what they did, they simply added a $6,000 sq. ft. building and integrated the aesthetic design with an 88,000 sq. ft. warehouse by "wrapping a new façade on the existing building corner and integrating the appearance with the addition to create a visible, professional, and fresh identity for the building and Columbia REA." So, this is comparing apples to oranges.
However, on the same website, USKH built a new school less than twice size of the proposed Wa-Hi science building, but at almost exactly twice the cost. In other words, a slightly HIGHER cost per square foot. Of course, there are variables to each project, but still, it doesn't bode well for the point this letter was trying to make. Here's that link: http://uskh.com/?q=node/175
Posted 19 April 2014, 3:52 p.m.
"Those things should be fixed," but I don't want to pay what it costs to fix them. Wallyworldguy, if modern science classrooms could be provided for students for significantly less money - rooms that would accomplish all of the very reasonable things described in Mr. Blomme's letter - don't you think the district would opt for that solution?
Seriously. Last year's bond included $15 million for a remodeled science building. This year's bond is $10 million for the new building. The district didn't just pull these numbers out of thin air. They went to a reputable professional firm that knows how to calculate these costs. Why would they throw $10 million at a problem they could solve for $5 million? They aren't idiots. They are just community members like you and me, except they've dedicated themselves to understanding these issues AND they have a very experienced task force to do research for them.
They just want to serve students and the community in the best way possible. If their motivation is to solve this issue for kids, why would they make it any more expensive than it has to be - knowing that more money will equal higher taxes and more opposition?
So, either we pay what it costs to do right by our kids, or we don't. That's the choice. Are you an expert in 21st century school construction expenses? You can say it is "a waste of tax payer's money" but that doesn't change the fact that it costs what it costs. The alternative is the status quo, as described above by Mr. Blomme.
Posted 19 April 2014, 3:25 p.m.
I'll just point out an irony that jumped out at me having to do with "good scholarship" and leave it at that.
This letter states: "Now you want us to build a new school when the one we have could be renovated. This is not a good time to tax us more so we can have a better looking school. ...let’s get back to scholarship”
In fact, last year's bond WAS about renovating, but just enough people (presumably like this writer) voted against it that this year's bond is now about building new --- largely because "new" is a less expensive (and less disruptive) alternative. (roughly $10 million vs. $15 million minus $3 million in state match). The irony? Good scholarship should know this.
And then it suggests twice in this letter that the reason for this bond is about having a "better looking school." No one has ever said this. everyone involved has said it is about improving learning. Again, good scholarship would know this.
I believe this writer when she suggests her finances are challenging, and I sympathize (in fact, this is the strong part of this letter), but just because money is tight doesn't mean the facts can be loose.
Posted 19 April 2014, 2:52 p.m.
Arharding, here is a link to an answer to your question. The bond was for $19.6 million for Edison and "other capital projects" according to the text of the bond on the ballot. The total cost ended up being $18 million. This letter from Mick Miller explains what those other capital projects ended up being. http://www.wwps.org/images/atoz/wahib...
Posted 19 April 2014, 9:10 a.m.
Besides the obvious factual error regarding the "1 to 15%" who will benefit from a new science building (as Doceo and Mr. Calzarreta addressed above), what strikes me about this letter is how radically different some of us think and view the world from each other. And I don't say that to mock the writer of this letter.
For me, even as someone who has attended church since infancy with roughly 10% of my relatives being pastors, viewing the new science building as a potential threat to my children or faith never would have occurred to me as a concept to consider.
For others, however, the literal word of God can be threatened by studies of DNA, genetic markers, geological time, etc. and there might be fear out there as to how the teachers at Wa-Hi handle such issues, which I view as part of their jobs teaching "science," but others might view as blasphemous.
The father in me with children yet to reach Wa-Hi wants to laugh this letter off as a distraction to the serious conversation. The sociologist in me, however, finds it fascinating. This is certainly a serious issue to some. It's a complex world.
Posted 18 April 2014, 4:52 p.m.
Here's an interesting link on the district website that shows the payoff timetable and amounts for the current Edison bond and the proposed Science Building bond. In the "Levy Rate Detail" section, it shows this new bond ranging from $ .17 - $ .23 per year while the Edison bond is still being paid at $1.29 - $1.36, and then it goes up to flat $ .40 after the Edison bond is retired. So, if I'm reading it correctly, it averages $ .30 overall but is less during the Edison bond and more after. I have no point here other than finding that to be interesting. Here's the URL: http://www.wwps.org/images/atoz/wahib...
Posted 18 April 2014, 3:14 p.m.
Yes, I was just comparing the "extra" costs of the two bonds and the choices presented to each community on top of their current obligations. WW is obviously a much larger district with more schools to manage, but also has a larger tax base to spread out those costs. Edison comes off in 2018.
Posted 17 April 2014, 10:45 p.m.
This letter: "All the kids deserve a good education to prepare them for a productive life, and since they cannot yet pay for it, the burden falls on we who can. Well educated children will one day be us; they will pay for their children’s educations, whether homeowners or renters."
Response: I think this sentiment reflects the values of many of us who are voting yes. Will the extra $40-$80 per year be tougher on some in WW than on others? Yes. And certainly the extra $350-$700 per year in College Place for the new HS is tough on many. But as long as the plan makes sense - and this one does - voting no on a school bond is not something many of us would consider doing due to the reasons so eloquently stated in this letter.
Posted 16 April 2014, 9:47 p.m.
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