A reasonable plan to improve our public school infrastructure would succeed at the polls in a high-turnout November election. So why is the BHSD holding a stealth election on May 8?
Because the plan on the ballot is NOT reasonable.
Over the past few years, while crying "poverty," our well-funded school district has been collecting and reserving surplus tax dollars. Those surpluses are largely the result of a program of "deferred maintenance." In other words, they "saved" millions by allowing our two small mainstream high school facilities to deteriorate.
Why is the current "FNI Hybrid" not reasonable?
First, it (eventually) concentrates all BHSD mainstream high school students at ONE SITE, and that site is in the most congested portion of our district. Although traffic problems were largely ignored in the recent cycle of "Town Hall meetings," we already know that traffic will be horrific in the area and that emergency services may be impeded by it.
Second, this plan does NOTHING to improve academic achievement in our district. FNI's "learning community" scheme for "collaborative teaching and learning" has been widely rejected by voters and taxpayers who do not want BHSD students to be used as guinea pigs in an educational experiment. We prefer traditional classrooms and demand accountability on the parts of teachers and students, thank you.
Third, the plan includes a HUGE performing arts center and regional-class athletic facilities. Why jam this into a congested site where parking will be a problem? Why not fund "super-sized" sports and entertainment facilities with a regional tax or approach investors and developers to do this with private funds?
Fourth, the board has revealed NO PLANS for the closed and vacated sites of Pine Lake, Hickory Grove and Lahser. Rob Glass has suggested a "public-private partnership." Translation: "Public" pays the bills and "private" keeps the profit. No deal.
Competitive bidding? Didn't happen. Our board wasted $863,114 on Fielding Nair before awarding a construction contract based on a 2009 proposal for a different project. BHSD residents are not stupid. We expect that our board will spend our money as carefully as they spend their own. They don't.
Worst, the "hybrid" plan takes too long to complete. Three years is a long time-line for high school chaos, and it is not necessary. I have NO IDEA why they did not seek to build a single NEW high school. Taxpayers have NEVER been offered that option. A new high school would take 18 months to complete.
Considering the FACT that the BHSD operates at 100% excess capacity; has at least THREE closed schools to maintain and secure at taxpayer expense; and a FARM; and a HUGE newly-renovated executive office building at the former Booth school; and 18 vacant acres at Wabeek; AND a huge new facility at the Farm, I think our board has some "hard decisions" to make BEFORE they ask for MORE MONEY to add capacity to our school district.
The best reason to vote NO in May is the fact that they are wasting another $60,000 to hold the vote in MAY.
A May election is a DIRTY TRICK.