Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Renovation or Remonstative?

Those supporting the remonstrative are not asking for a new high school If they win it does not gaurentee anything. All it does is prohibts the school board from going ahead with the renovation under the current board vote. The board can bring up the renovation again in one year and vote on it again. Those who support the remonstative want the school board to review all the options side by side instead of individually with no Enron style accounting tricks.

Those supporting the renovation of Carroll High School put out 12 so called facts. My comments are in blue.

#1 All building cost estimates as reported by the board are from the 2005 NACS feasibility, study. This was a 9 month study conducted by Educational Services Company - a firm of educational, school construction and school budget experts.

I have heard a lot about these estimates, but that is all I have heard talk. I have not seen any real numbers and the NACS web site has no information at all. It does not take an expert to be able to compare costs. We do it every day at the grocery store, department store, home improvement store and when we buy a home. The board evaluated a new high school and said it was too expensive. The board then looked at renovation and said it was just right. No side by side comparison was ever presented to the taxpayers. This remonstrative is not about building a new high school. It is about one thing and one thing only. We need a plan for the future, not another Band-Aid!

#2 Over 60 patrons and school personnel were involved in the study. The study concluded the COMMUNITY recommended adding onto CHS.

Yes, 60 patrons and school personnel were involved in a study. However, the board voted no on a new high school. They did another study and voted yes. Where did the community recommend adding onto CHS? This school district has over 25,000 people supporting it. This remonstrative is to identify those who support renovation over those who want to create a plan for the future instead of same old Band-Aid approached used in the past.

#3 Even if a second high school is constructed- current CHS will need HV AC and technology upgrades.

This may very well be. However, why hide this cost inside the cost of a new high school? These improvements need to be in the open and stand alone. However, this remonstrative is not about a new high school, but doing a thorough comparison of alternatives once a long term need is identified and then developing a plan to meet those needs.

#4 The remonstrators' plan costs an estimated 129% more than the board's recommendation.

The school board states Carroll High School in 2003 had a 9-12 student capacity of 1,500. In 2004 the board stated the 9-12 student capacity increased to 2,150. This is a gain of 650 students. Was this increase free? If so why not do it again? If not why does it not show up in the boards $63.5 million cost for renovation? Could it be it was a different project and unless you add up all related projects, no one knows the true cost? Keep the projects small and no one will catch on.

#5 If a second high school is built -class sizes K -12 will increase and school program offerings in grades K 12 will decrease.

The board states class sizes will increase, but is this true? Grades K-5 spend their day in one classroom. The number of classrooms is now fixed. For their class sizes to increase they either have to close off classrooms or not build a new elementary when capacity is exceeded. We do not need another high school nor do we need another middle school. What we do need is another elementary school. This has nothing to do with a new high school and the renovation does not address the urgent elementary need at all. This is nothing more than a red herring.

#6 The Freshman Campus program is a success -it makes no sense to abandon a program which is a proven academic and social success for students.

We all want our students to be successful, but how do we measure success? There is no statistical difference in ISTEP scores. Certainly two points make a straight line, but it would be foolish and statistically unsound to say the program is a success academically after just two years. The board has not presented any data to support or quantify this claim, but it sure does sound good.

#7 The Remonstrators are not using industry experts for their cost estimates and projections.

The Indiana Department of Education identifies budgetary numbers for estimating the cost of construction for all areas of Indiana. They do this so taxpayers are aware of the costs and can keep their school boards from making mistakes. The suggested square feet per student is 220 sq-ft. The cost identified by the state is $150 sq-ft. To build a school with a capacity of 1,300 would cost $42.9 million. Add in 100 acres of land at $30,000 per acre $2.5 million and utilities $4 million and you are under $75 million. We need a plan for the future, not another Band-Aid!

Want another check? Consider the cost per student of the new Cedar Canyon Elementary with a capacity of 550 students. I hear the cost with land was $17 million. This means cost per seat is $30,909 each. Multiply this by 1,300 students and you get $40.8 million. Let us say you double the size per student. You still come in at under $82 million. Now take the $63.75 million and divide it by 650 students. The cost per seat to renovate is $98,077 per seat!

#8 In July of 2006 the remonstrators asked for a new demographic study. The board provided the study and it reflected an estimated 250 student decrease (2681 to 2431) in projected student numbers by the year 2015-2016.

In 2004 the board demographic expert projected Carroll to have an enrollment in 2005-06 of 1,652. In fact they had 1,717. In July 2006 this same expert did another study. Cedar Canyon was projected to have 370 students when on the first day it had 440.

Fact the 2004 and 2006 study used different actual values for 2001, 2002 and 2003 school years. These enrollment numbers are known and should be identical, why are they different?

Professional stock brokers do no better than the dart board method in picking winning stocks. Is their expert as good?

#9 The demographic study indicates the current middle schools can hold the projected 6-8 students. An additional middle school is not needed.

The school board converted Carroll Middle school with a capacity of 650 to a freshmen academy. Because it did this, it had to build a new Carroll Middle School with a capacity of 1,000. This cost was over $25 million increasing property tax rates. Based on studies no new middle school was needed until 2011. However a new elementary is needed in 2009. Why build a middle school that was not needed and not build a new elementary that was needed? We need a plan for the future, not another Band-Aid!

#10 The current project does not include moving the football stadium.

The current project does not call for it, but this does not keep the board from voting on a new project in the future to move it. The problem is there is no long term or short term plan. We need a plan for the future, not another Band-Aid!

#11 The remonstrators' plan is to spend $118,000,000 and the board's plan is to spend $63,750,000.

The remonstrators’ do not want to spend $118 million. This is the boards number. The remonstrators want a comparison of all options and to come up with a long term plan. The board uses Enron style accounting and puts forth a $63.75 million renovation that adds 650 seats. Why does the board not do the same thing now that they did in 2004 that added 650 seats at no cost again?

#12 The Board's plan is best for the taxpayers AND is best for the academic offerings for K-12 NACS students.

The board has no plan. We need an elementary sooner than we need a high school or middle school. We need a plan for the future, not another Band-Aid!


At 7:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You need to get this information out to the masses. NACS taxpayers need to know this stuff! Make sure the remonstraters include your research in their literature and campaign.

Yager is probably an ex-Enron staffer anyways.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

NBC-33 Debate poll results from 2002