Written by Karina Lande.
Parent. Corbett Community Member. Concerned Citizen.
Board Meeting Tomorrow Night ( 8/21/2013 ) The board will vote and submit paperwork to the county regarding the bond to be placed on the November ballot. I believe the amount they are planning on is $15 million. Select here for notes from this meeting and also more information.
Personal note, my opinion regarding this bond;
I will state that I am personally not behind the bond at this time. There are multiple reasons for this and I am glad to share some of these below with you.
It seems to some of us that the dreams of a grand school with elaborate labs, fitness centers, theaters, synthetic sports fields, tracks etc. are more of a priority than insuring the basic needs are met, or listening to the desires of the community being served.
Regarding the bond, if the middle school was this dangerous, why did the district recently choose to spend 1.8 million dollars on a school where no students even attended, and create CAPS in Springdale? At the time of that project, proponents and supporters on the district school board spoke to the cost savings to the district by NOT having to pay for seismic upgrades, because Springdale was a historic building. It was actually Director Calcagno that brought up the safety of our kids and staff in that building. It is also curious to me that we need so much in the way of efficiency upgrades when we recently had the $560,000 SELP money for those specific purposes.
Another issue I have is I really feel they are putting the cart before the horse. I feel at the beginning of this process, the Gorge Commission should have been contacted, the County should have been contacted. We should have their OK and/or recommendations regarding what can and can’t be done. From the CRGC we should know if we can tear down the school legally or if we will have to keep it in the same footprint etc..
We have also yet to have the public hearing required prior to the decision on the current application for population increase/conditional use. We are currently out of compliance on the numbers on our main campus. We need to hear from the County about the number of students we will be allowed to have in Corbett, before building a new school building. Financially, we do not seem to have a lot finalized to actually show the public. There are cost estimates (but from only one contractor). I feel there’s a lot of leg work missing from the picture.
Also adding in the purchase of, in my opinion, a completely unnecessary building. 14000 sqft for 1000 sqft of office & 1000sqft of preschool & some storage? (Just because that $5000 dress is on sale for $2000, I’m still blowing $2000 on something I don’t need). Especially with the survey results only coming back strong for about $8 million (new school, MPB upgrades, & gym seismic upgrades) it seems pretty crazy to me that this is even being considered.
I think we should build a school that meets our community’s needs, with some improvements, but within reason. Building a school & other additions that substantially increase the size beyond our current needs without any real research by a third party to show what our true local projected growth potential is, coupled with the inclusion of high end unnecessary things, and for a 15-18 million dollar price tag, is not reasonable.
To sum up my reasonings for not fully supporting this bond, they are:
* not doing thorough due diligence & research beforehand.
* the school is not as bad or unsafe as people are being led to believe
* going beyond the “needs” and trying to build a dream school with unnecessary add ons.
* sticking with the recommendation of approx. 20-40 hand picked people & disregarding the wants of almost 300 surveyed community members.
* spending additional funds on Mr. Lawrence instead of other more beneficial things. (Multiple contractors & architects estimates & designs and other valid research) Also curious as to how much and where the money is coming from for all these flashy flyers?
* disregarding recommendations by The Nelson Group and others to address the communities concerns regarding the charter school & out of area students.
* the refusal to put anything in writing stating the future plans and intents around the charter school.
* the refusal to put anything in writing with a projected maximum student body size, a future plan and intent for the number of out of area students.
* above all of these reasons, are the tactics & what I consider unethical means being used to try and achieve the end goal. They are playing on people’s fears by over dramatizing the condition of the buildings. Words and statements are being made to purposely manipulate the facts, disguise certain things, in hopes of getting the public to agree.
As a reminder, here are some things I heard first hand at the recent meetings that I feel constitute an unethical way of going about this bond:
“Verbiage change is to disguise the things those surveyed did not seem to want.” … “Bill it as gym space and make it whatever you want later on.” … “General way to describe it & get voters to approve.” … “Acquire land for safe traffic flow, the purpose is not for safe traffic flow but it sounds good & if your buying land you have to state that you are.” … Also, mentioned was the concept of contributing to a bond out of the operational fund and disguising it as contributions from out of area student families. “This wording is there to pass the bond & appease the people”
Personally I may support an $8-$10 million bond for the MS and some improvements to our campus. When asked by others I will share all of my reasons & thoughts listed above as to why I don’t feel this bond is right for Corbett. My biggest concern is that by disregarding the survey, manipulating facts, going for all the dreams, this bond may fail. They are risking our children not getting their needs met by chasing all of their big ticket wants. I feel by continuing to do so they are not putting the kids first and that is a heartbreaking disservice to all of Corbett’s students.
I hope through this you can start to see how this picture is forming in my view. If it is in my head I am pretty sure many others share these same thoughts and questions……