Letter | We need more information on schools facilities
December 20, 2011 · 1:16 PM
There’s a story going around that the School Board wants to replace four of the five Island schools. If the sole reason for tearing down the recently rehabilitated schools is that they do not meet current earthquake standards, then I would suggest that it might be time to either replace some of the people working for the district or the board members themselves.
No structure that is more than five years old would meet the current building codes, which change with each successive iteration. So the fact that the buildings don’t meet current codes is a red herring. The question is, are they safe and serviceable, and do they allow the district to meet its educational mission? If the buildings are not safe, then I would be the first to say that they should be repaired or replaced as quickly as possible.
But wait, there seems to be a second reason. Enrollment is such that there may be insufficient classrooms. But the current superintendent was the same person who for years said that there was sufficient space and it was he who argued that rebuilding and not expanding was the wise choice.
That no longer seems like an intelligent solution, if one believes that the buildings are now so deficient that they need to be torn down. And yet are we not receiving advice from the same people as before?
And are we to believe that we should build an extra school so that children can be shuffled around while each school is torn down and rebuilt? Maybe we should have an extra fire station and an extra pool in case this one springs a leak.
Clearly, the North Mercer structures are well past their useful lives. The concrete roofs of the walkways scare me every time I go under one.
But where is the comprehensive plan we were promised? Why is it that a bond passage committee is formed only weeks after the findings were released, before the community has even digested the non-existent plan? This so called springboard seems nothing more than a rubber stamp for a huge bond issue. Before jumping, you might want to first look to see if there is water in the pool. If the district has a better story to tell, I’m interested, but based on my current understanding, count me out.