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Letter | No on MISD bond, why not look at specifics?
According to the MISD Superintendent’s Office, $175 million of the proposed $196 million school bond proceeds will fund replacements for our four elementary and middle schools (presumably after demolishing current schools for additional unprovided costs). That is because our dedicated School Board, charged with the tasks of solving problems of overcrowding and excessive portable use, and given designated constraints, could find no other solution.
Yet our existing schools were substantially renovated in the mid to late 1990s or so, and are currently rated by the King County Assessor as average in the case of West Mercer Elementary, and good for the others. Did our administration ask too much of the board? Should they first have sought input from construction specialists by providing a clear list of needs and then soliciting the most creative, productive and cost-effective solutions? The answers seem obvious.
Let our managers and board itemize specific needs and issues, including more class space (to replace portables), additional lunchrooms and the uncertainty of predicting student enrollment given the roller coaster history thereof on Mercer Island. (Assuming additions can more efficiently take the place of current portables, little or no further land use variances may be required.) Then seek more reasonable solutions from experts. Give them flexibility. Maybe we can secure competing architectural firm proposals (the more the better?), followed by competing construction bids to maximize value and minimize cost. Professionals should be able to help solve the problems much more effectively for our students. Let’s demonstrate leadership in municipal governance and environmental/resource management rather than destroy substantial quantities of very usable assets leading to clearly exorbitant and unnecessary overall expense.
Thomas Ulie, CFA