Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Yellow or Blue, What do they mean?

The yellow petition is for those in favor of allowing the School Board to move forward with spending $63.75 million. The blue petition is for those opposing moving forward with spending $63.75 million.

The blue petition does not mean a new second high school will be built. It’s only legal meaning is, if and only if there are more blue petition signatures than yellow petition signatures, that the vote by the school board to authorize spending $63.75 million to renovate Carroll High School is void. In other words it rescinds the vote by the board. Without a legal vote authorizing the expenditure of money, no funds can be spent.

The school board is allowed to bring the very same project up for a vote in one year. It is also within its discretion to bring up alternatives. Hopefully the school board would use this one-year to evaluate multiple proposals and do a better job of reviewing all the numbers. In addition it would be advisable to publish any reports on the NACS web site.

I have come to the conclusion that both sides, Blue and Yellow have several errors they are putting out. Who is correct? All I know is Table T-9 that identifies the cost for a new high school is full of errors. They are so blatant that no calculator is needed. They show a new high school designed with a capacity of 1425 students with 356,250 square feet where as Carroll with a design capacity of 1,700 students has 309,00 square feet.

Why does a new high school have 38% more space per student than the current high school? The study used construction costs of $275 per square foot. I do know that if you built an equivalent high school that the square footage would be about 107,000 square feet smaller. This means the highly publicized $98 million drops considerably to $66 million.

Custodial, utility and maintenance costs were estimated at $ per square foot. Multiplying the over sized school by $4 per square foot shows that these costs were inflated by $428,000.

Two blatant errors. What others are there that are not even in the report?

We have time before we need to add high school capacity. If renovation was good now, it will still be good one year from now. However, if renovation is actually the worst way to go and we sign yellow, we have made a mistake we cannot take back. I favor caution and support signing blue. This gives us a year to get the facts straight so we can make an educated decision based on good numbers.

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NBC-33 Debate poll results from 2002