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Letter to the Editor: Is 113 Board Misleading Voters?

Reader criticizes ordering or priorities and expenditures.

To the Editor:

I received the mailer sent by the District 113 Board encouraging a vote for the referendum. It is interesting to note that the first of the five key referendum improvements is "Expansion of school security". A detailed review of the glossy mailer however reveals that the amount allocated to security improvements is $1.9 million dollars; a mere pittance compared to the $30.8 million dollars allocated to swimming and gymnastic facility expenses. Would it be too cynical for me to believe that the Board is playing on recent public emotions to push their expensive and perhaps scholastically unnecessary agenda

From
Alain Leval

Highland Park

Attorney at Law

D'skidoc February 20, 2013 at 05:09 PM
The security upgrades were in the works prior to the recent tragic events that have highlighted the need to attend to the issue of gun violence in the US. They are and were previously expected to be completed this summer, regardless of any referendum result. That the district wants to show the public that this is important, and will be done in a timely manner seems completely up-front. And yes, if you have to ask the question of yourself, then I'll answer. You sound way worse than cynical.
D'skidoc February 20, 2013 at 05:14 PM
Would you be more or less supportive if the District had tried to sell $10M for security, when $1.9M is the right number?
Citizens Against David Greenberg February 20, 2013 at 05:47 PM
Come on Alain, take off that tin foil hat and come back down to earth. Bottom line is you have an issue with spending $30 million on athletics and you are worried that there is a much better chance of this passing this time. If they had listed athletics #1 and security #5 you would have written this letter about how they aren't prioritizing security in light of "recent public emotions". Feel free to voice you're concerns regarding the referendum as long as they are based on the facts rather than wild conspiracy theories...keep those for your cats....
Middle of the Road February 20, 2013 at 07:34 PM
Poor indoor air quality can lead to a security issue. When PE classes, athletics teams, and rentors (e.g., club swim teams) prop outside doors open in an attempt to get fresh air circulating, the school is made less secure. Also, keep in mind that laws and other unfunded mandates force issues like ADA that must be responded to. The athletic facilities are not accessible. They are also are not safe. Would you rather plan ahead or face litigation?
Average Joe February 20, 2013 at 10:22 PM
Since ADA compliance, or the need for it, is being mentioned here, as well as in the D113 mailer, why is referendum money needed for what, by law, ought to be budgeted for annually? ADA was signed into law in 1990. It would also seem logical that the money budgeted annually for security and safety could cover the $1.9m over the five year implementation period for this project. BTW, the cost of the new pools, diving wells and gyms is actually $40.8m, according D113’s mailer.
D'skidoc February 21, 2013 at 12:43 AM
There is only so much retrofitting that can be done economically. The building only needed to be compliant to the standards in effect when it was built. That is the letter of the law. The spirit demands that our pool decks and balconies be accessable. The spirit tells us that a student (or adult family member) shoudn't have to go outside and 100 yards down the block in winter just to get to a Gym. Not a very secure way to handle in-out traffic either. At Highland Park there are multiple different levels on each floor, with a few stairs here and a few there, along with ramps, and many areas completely inaccessable. There are gyms without water or bathroom/locker facilities. These problems call for the comprehensive solutions developed in the Long Term Facility Master Plan and the current plan for referendum funds.. Band-aid solutions are no-longer viable to solve these problems
Average Joe February 21, 2013 at 01:59 AM
They've had 23 years to become ADA compliant, to read all that's being written here the pools have not been touched in decades, shouldn't D113 have been following the spirit of ADA all along rather than waiting until now?
Walter White February 21, 2013 at 03:09 AM
Yes, but according to the referendum supporters all that has changed now. Everything will be maintained properly and funds will be set aside so that this will NEVER happen again. They have learned from their past mistakes! Praise the Lord!
HPsouthsider February 21, 2013 at 04:30 AM
If the city of HP can get it together and try to fix the theater boondoggle and fixing Port Clinton garage problems left by our last mayor, why can't the new 113 board do the same?
D'skidoc February 21, 2013 at 04:31 AM
The pools were designed in such a way in the 1950's and 1960's that no suitable ADA modification is possible. Completely inaccessible balcony for anyone with impaired mobility. Maine East has the same problem in their 1964 pool which had a major leak in 2011 and flooded the floor below. Niles North's new pool will alleviate their similar problem with access. You can't just build a lift in a solid wall. These plans insure against having those kind of boondoggles in the future. Notice I said insure against, not guarantee. You never know what might happen in the next 40-50 years, but I think this plan does a pretty good job up till then.
D'skidoc February 21, 2013 at 04:32 AM
Gee HPSsider....we speak the same (boondoggle) language.
HPsouthsider February 21, 2013 at 04:38 AM
Freaky deaky.
Jeremy Scott March 03, 2013 at 03:05 AM
"Invest in Our Schools", I think you need to re-read this letter again...obviously you are missing the main takeaway....I'll use pure math and break this down to the elementary level for you: 1/5 (to symbolize this spending as one of the "five main allocations") of $30.8 million = $6.16 million, then $1.9 million / $6.16 million = 30.8%. 30.8% of 20% = 6.16%. Now does that sound like a major spending piece of the $30.8 million? No. Enough said.
David Greenberg March 19, 2013 at 07:51 AM
Walter, I'd have to say that it was a unanimous consensus among those on the Committee that I served on that before we agreed to give the District a cent, that they had to have a plan for addressing on-going maintenance, and FUND it properly so that we weren't back in this same predicament in the future. They heard us loud-and-clear. They put into place a maintenance ticketing program, and have begun refining and improving their maintenance plan. They've agreed to 4-5% of the annual budget for maintenance. But it's going to be up to US, the Community to continue to monitor things and ensure that the promises are kept. Personally, I'd like to see all the maintenance tickets auto-posted to the website so they can be reviewed by anyone who wants to - no need to resort to a FOIA then in order for the Community to perform it's due diligence. But thus far, I believe we're off to a good start.
Hummingbird Fan April 02, 2013 at 01:17 AM
D'skidoc, The point is not whether or not security is needed. The writer was questioning why the school board chose to highlight a 1.9 million upgrade in order to justify the passing of the referendum. It seems valid to ask whether this might be a scare tactic by the school board as clearly increased funds and the passage of the referendum would not be needed to accomplish security upgrades.

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