Letter to the Editor

Area reader asks school corporation for one wish

Sunday, February 3, 2008

To the Editor:

If I could have a wish.

The fact that we can build a bus maintenance facility for about a quarter of the estimate given in the original proposal apparently has failed to register with the Clay Community School Corporation.

Obviously, what we need does not cost as much as we have been told.

That fact seems to have been missed by the school board as the renovation project that they have passed is not vastly different from the original $53 million project except in the financing.

It still contains replacement of items simply because they are original equipment, an estimated 30 percent soft cost from firms that have projects under construction who can give us actual figures as to what is required for construction, and does not support our long-range building replacement plan, which does not even exist at this point.

The approved plan is simply the tax and spend business as usual.

Everyone from the Governor down is saying that we spend too much on schools and this plan is a good example as to why.

Every item in any project that we undertake must be justified not by opinion, but by fact. Every item must be required by law, required by curriculum that is required by law, justified by an identifiable structural fault, or justified by good reasoning.

Every item that cannot meet these criteria is wasted money and the approved proposal is full of it.

I had hoped that a remonstration would not be necessary and that we could bond and begin construction close to what had been planned, but that apparently is not the case.

If an item meets the criteria, it is easily justified. In the case of the modular classrooms and the pole barn classroom at Staunton, we should include classrooms to take their places because the modular classrooms are reaching the end of their service life, at some point before we renovate again, their replacement will become critical. The barn was not intended to be a classroom, and we are building now.

Replacement of the modular buildings cannot be reasonably justified by unreasonable fears, concerning security or weather for children who face higher risk to get to school.

Twenty to thirty thousand dollars for access control with video, intercom and push button lock control is absurd. A black and white video door intercom system kit with electric door strike (WX-WDV014-KIT) costs just $399.95 from http://www.home-technology-store.com/intercom/WX-WD014-KIT.aspx.

If I were granted a wish for our schools, every building that we have would be knocked to the ground and rebuilt. Every school building would be located where access to it could be controlled as easily as is the case of Forest Park Elementary. Every Kindergarten through third-grade classroom would have no more than 15 students.

Our sixth-graders would be in the elementary schools and Northview would be split into two junior/senior high schools located west and southeast of Brazil.

However, we must deal with the situation as it is.

Leo Southworth,