After all of the arguments from both sides of the aisle, has it ever occurred to anyone, in the final analysis following any vote on a bond issue, whether successful or not, the actual process is in the hands of the elected school board officials? The validity of the simple majority vote will fall directly into lap of the Board. If the bond issue passes or fails, it will still be the Board’s responsibility to appropriately address the actual needs of the district. With a successful vote, hopefully the short and long term needs will be cost effectively addressed for the next 25 years. With an unsuccessful vote, hopefully the short and long term needs will still be addressed again with a phased Master Plan B. It appears this awesome responsibility never really falls into the lap of the community, vision committee, teaching staff, administration, architects, engineers, planning consultants and construction people. If the realistic needs of the district are not met for the next 25 years after a successful issue, then the “No” voters may have been correct and if the needs are indeed met for the next 25 years after a successful issue, then the “Yes” voters will have been correct. This can also be likened to a box of chocolates. You don’t know what you’re going to get until you try one.

Not sure why legitimate safe room structures are made unsafe with newer guidelines? Not sure why code required ventilation system equipment is now inadequate 35 years later at the high school? Not sure why crowded classrooms may be the result of unusable space when it might be made usable if available at some elementary schools? Not sure how a new auditorium and storm shelter structure with 360 additional seats will cost effectively address the educational needs for the performing arts programs at the high school? Not sure how renovating existing space in elementary school buildings for the same cost as building new space is cost effective? Not sure how new cafeteria and auditorium building additions and renovation of existing classroom space will address needed classrooms for state mandated curricula and/or enrollment increase at the high school? Not sure why anyone would think renovating a 100 year old building for over half the cost of building new is cost effective for the 21st century teaching and learning environment at the Middle School? Not sure why soft costs are 20% of the total project cost? Not sure why a 400 student enrollment increase in grades K thru 12 for the entire district is considered significant? Not sure where the high school students are going to comfortably attend classes during the complete HVAC and DHW systems replacement and its associated renovation work, as well as the extensive renovation work for re-purposing most of the interior classroom and commons area spaces? Not sure of the look for some of these proposed contributions to our educational and community environment?

Hopefully, the school board will take appropriate action to prioritize and address the real “needs” and not just the “wants”, regardless of what the vision committee recommended, and the outcome of the bond issue vote. The buck stops with the School Board, only the School Board and the jury may still be out, to see what’s inside this large box of chocolates.

 

Stuart Owsley

Pittsburg