John_Morgan

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Letters to the editor: Community must work together in preparing for next bond issue; LAWS applauded for pet spay/neuter coupons

Hricane23, I didn’t mean to leave you out in the cold. I’m not a big fan of on-line comment boards, and hesitated to reply. Bottom line, folks from both sides of the issue will need to become involved in a revised plan, and both sides need to be open to each side’s ideas and work together. In the end, we all want the same thing – the best for our kids.

The reality is there is no “silver bullet” that will drastically reduce the cost of building a new elementary school. The failed plan called for a 105,000 to 115,000 square foot intermediate school for 800 students costing about $16.5M, not including furnishings, fees and permits, and contingencies. To create a facility that would accommodate 1,100 to 1,200 students, a massive facility approaching 150,000 square feet would be needed. Based on the average square foot construction costs of the original bond issue, this hypothetical facility would cost about $19.6M to construct, and would also not include furnishings, fees and permits, nor contingencies of over $3.0M. That’s $22.6M before any state aid. Best case, the 25% state aid is still available, and the taxpayers are asked to pay for about $17M. The failed bond’s amount was $26.9M before state aid, and $20.2M after the state aid of 25%. The point, $20.2M would cost the owner of a $150K home about $13 per month. A new, single elementary school housing all students through 5th grade will likely cost about 15% less - $11 per month.

Will we solve this on The Mirror’s comment boards? Likely not, but everyone needs to come to the table realizing new schools will cost, no single plan will please every person, and the longer we adults continue to disagree, the longer our kids will attend classes in sub-par facilities.

April 15, 2011 at 11:30 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Signs of opposition

Fact: TES has 690 students in a building with a capacity for 520.

Fact: This problem is not going away and something must be done to alleviate it.

Fact: The State of Kansas will kick in 25% assistance to the proposed bond (all but “written in stone”), and is there for us if we vote yes on April 5.

Fact: Funding from State of Kansas next year will be (at best) 15%, and our local school district will get less assistance for capital projects.

Some opposing the bond are advocating a larger elementary school, additions to the middle school, and doing nothing with the high school. A plan like that won’t likely lower the total cost of the project, but will likely reshuffle the dollars from one facility to another.

Others opposing this bond want to do nothing, leaving our schools overcrowded, deteriorating, and unsafe.

We can’t do “nothing”. What is the cost of waiting another year? Even if construction costs manage to stay flat, the patrons of USD # 464 will have to foot the bill for a MINIMUM of an additional $2.5-$3.0 million. It could be more, and that’s a big gamble.

The plan we’ll be voting on weighs the needs of all students within the district, at all facilities, and addresses those needs. The plan received public input for the last 2 ½ years, and has considered community opinions. The plan capitalizes on outside assistance that will result in lower impacts to the patrons of USD # 464, and is considerate of those impacts. The plan was conceived with the assistance of experts in the field of facilities planning and design – people who make their living counseling districts and their constituents on what works best for kids, parents, and staff. This is a good plan.

In the end, folks will need to vote their conscience. For me, the status quo is not acceptable.

I’m finding it harder and harder to find a reason not to vote yes on April 5.

March 29, 2011 at 7:59 p.m. ( | suggest removal )