Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Opinion - Special Edition, School Bond Part 2

What’s right
That’s My Opinion – Special Edition
By Bob Robinson

“Lies, lies and more lies.”
“My Dad would have beat me if I even looked like I was lying…” said Bill Funderburg, GSD Board Member and chair of the final bond campaign for this option. He had asked if he could clear up a few things from my Monday opinion. We did that and more.
The story was posted Tuesday. If you haven’t already checked it out, do so.
I have often heard… “I’m not voting for anything in this district because…” The reasons are numerous. They go back a lot further than I’ve been here to remember, and I can remember a bunch in my eight years in Darke County.
Get over it. I’ve had to. The important thing to ask is if this board is doing what needs to be done right now?
Whether residents wanted it or not, the board purchased land on North Ohio Street. Many of the opponents were accused (rightly or wrongly) of having the “not in my backyard” syndrome. When two of the District’s taxpayers petitioned to put a zoning issue on the ballot, the Board sued them.
It was a dumb move, and the court agreed. The Board lost. However, the initiative was still defeated. Would you believe I keep hearing about it? Get over it!
The Greenville City School District owns the land. In today’s economy, it would be ludicrous to dump it and start over. We’d probably scream like stuck pigs if the District took a huge loss to get rid of it.
This “never again” attitude defeated the first attempt for a new school in 2003, just as it has now defeated a much different scenario in February and again in May. Yet the same voters approved a renewal levy and an emergency operations levy.
We are a good community and we care about our kids. We will do the right thing if we perceive it to be right. Even if it hurts.
I’ve been hanging onto refurbishing South and the Junior High like a 3-year-old hangs onto his “blanky.”
I have fond memories of touring the Junior High with Class of ‘49 graduates who called it their home when they were in high school. Not too pretty on the outside but full of history, heritage and beauty on the inside.
And I’ve been in South several times. I love its architecture, but I don’t love the conditions under which students have to learn and teachers have to teach. I’ve heard the horror stories… and I’ve seen them.
I’ve heard tales of maintenance purposely ignored for nefarious reasons, but public record spending belies that… nearly $7 million in the last 10 years.
In the last few months I’ve heard something else. From several people. South is flat out dangerous! It could be a disaster waiting to happen to these kids!
Critics have said this current bond request is a Band-Aid. It doesn’t deal with long-term needs… what about East? What about Woodland Heights? The District says both schools are basically sound and will serve us well for many years. The argument is irrelevant. Replacing all these schools, at a much higher price tag, has as much chance of passing as the proverbial “snowball in hell.”
About the same chance that the District has asking voters to foot the entire bill to refurbish and renovate the current schools. It simply isn’t going to happen.
Everyone is hurting. The economy is tough. Understood. The current price tag for this bond issue is about $10 a month if you own a home valued at $100,000. Most homes in the District are valued at less… the typical price tag would range from $4 to $7 a month. Farm property owners would pay 50 cents per acre per year if I remember right.
Maintenance costs for these schools in the past 10 years has been nearly $700,000 per year. As the buildings get older, expenses go up. Add up nearly a million dollars a year over the next 26 years. And that’s without upgrades. Sounds pretty close to the local price tag of the bond issue.
What’s your preference?
While I’ve been skeptical of this issue in the past, I still supported it. I’m now on board 100 percent. I can’t vote for it… but I care about these kids. I work with them at the high school. I hope to be working with kids from South and the Junior High in years to come. I don’t want to have to look them in the face and tell them I couldn’t support a better, safer learning environment for them.
I may take flak from my “lean and mean” friends, and regret this loss of local history, but I’ll deal with it. Whether or not you buy what the district is telling you is up to you… this is about the kids.
It’s about what’s right for them… a safe environment conducive to learning.
Vote yes in August.
That’s my opinion. What’s yours?

Bob Robinson is the retired editor of The Daily Advocate, Greenville, Ohio. If you wish to receive notification of his comments, opinions and reports when they are posted, send your email address to: Feel free to express your views.


Anonymous said...

Why can't we take a page from Europe and fix up our historical buildings instead of always tearing down and building new. I blame the federal government for this because grant money is only to build new, never to refurbish. Only by writing your congressmen can this be changed.

That's My Opinion said...

Message from Stephen Gruber:

Just a reminder that the proposed bond levy would be an additional $10.00 a month for a property valued at $100,000. Truth in advertising is a must. The word additional should be included in all promotional efforts. So what should be said is that taxpayers can expect to pay an additional $120.00 each year on their real estate taxes for every $100,000. of assessed valuation. It is the insidious nature of taxes that people are now reacting to. A hundred dollars here another hundred dollars there and the totality of taxation becomes unbearable.

Charlie James said...

Folks, a lot of what Bob Robinson and Bill Funderburg have written is correct, or at least very close.
the new building needs to meet NEEDS, which does not include space for senior citizens (Advocate article mentioned 5,000 square feet), nor does the NEEDS include room for growth in the stated grades populations, as the population of the school district is not growing.

so .... get on board for approval of a levy to get the State / Federal monies, and convince the school board to build what is needed, and no more, thereby reducing the projected cost to build, and the associated debt.

Charlie James

Gary Burns said...

School levy ;
My biggest complaint is :
Yes , the cost . The states share is about 8 million , tax payers is 24 million , and the land was 7 million . Thats close to 40 million dollars for just 4 grades of school ? 37 years of debt . 4 grades of school for 40 million is over the top , way over the top . Cut the design of the buildings cost , it doesn't have to look like a palace . Cut the cost of it , and I might vote for it .
One other voter requirement , be more honest with us .
Gary Burns

That's My Opinion said...

Hey Gary... if I recall correctly, the land was $1 million.