Letter To The Editor: BHSD Heading Into Expensive Plan That Doesn't Address Academics

Bloomfield 20/20 member cautions against millage for new consolidated high school and instead wants district to use existing funds.

Let's keep in mind that the $64 million is only Part 1 of a much more costly plan. And this figure does not include any interest.

The combined total enrollment of Lahser and Andover will be approximately 1,600 students.

When we divide $64 million by 1,600 students, we see that the project will cost $40,000 per student. Does this make sense for “remodeling and repairs?” What do other schools spend?

What right do we have to leave debt to those who buy our houses? Why not use the money we have in the bank that now earns less than 1 percent interest?

This total waste of money is absolutely outrageous. Contractors are already making proposals. When were bid requests issued?

Mr. Derderian certainly does not speak for 20/20. Most of us have never seen Mr. Derderian at any recent meetings.

20/20 members do not speak with one voice. We have no “czar” or puppet-master, as do other organizations. From the beginning, I have favored one outstanding high school that would have more subjects and in more depth, rather than two high schools with more limited offerings and with duplicate administrations.

How many of our U.S.-born Bloomfield high school graduates in 2011 were fluent in a foreign language after 10 or more years in this school district? Answer: Pathetically few. In Western Europe, almost every graduate can speak at least one second language, and many are capable in a third.

For more than $22,000 per student, all of our most capable students should excel in math, science, at least one foreign language and also a musical instrument. Yes, I would favor a performing arts center in our district, but one that we saved for, or have cash to build, not one that is built from bond issue monies.

Instead, we are wasting our tax money on duplicate high school administrations and triplicate middle school administrations. The 30 students at the farm and the students in questionable courses at the Model School should all be in the one “combined” high school at Lahser.

To accomplish these changes, we need board members and a superintendent who are grounded in economic reality, not communicators, schmoozers and fuzzy thinkers who always vote unanimously on every issue. This is the North Korean model, not the way we do things in the good old U.S. of A.

Richard Rosenbaum,

Bloomfield Hills

Neal Charness November 05, 2011 at 06:56 PM
I truly do appreciate the civility in this post regardless of how much I disagree with its content and conclusion. I understand that we will not, nor should we expect, 100% consensus on this upcoming vote. What is truly important to those who feel the schools need to be at a level commensurate with our students and aspirations for them is that we work hard to get out the positive vote when the vote takes place. There is always an element of the community in opposition to any increase in expenditures. It's their right--we just need not to let that segment of the community rule out wise choices. I would speculate that one ironically positive impact of our tough economy is that we can do the construction and renovations at a lower cost than down the road with inflation and the impact of a stronger economy.
Brandon Kaufman November 05, 2011 at 09:36 PM
I am offended by the personal accusation, which is irrelevant. The question is value and understanding. Please understand that teaching methods and standards are changing, enrolment is declining, budgets are shrinking and our buildings need significant investment. If the consensus is, “something needs to be done”, then I am in favor of what will bring the most value for all. Please don’t make the assumption that the buildings are fine, they are not. Lastly please evaluate how much debt you think this will bring vs. decrease in property values when our school system declines relative to our piers. The investment will preserve operational funds, restructure the learning environments and move our community forward. Enrolment trends in the surrounding communities have increased, they have also all passed bonds in the last 10 years………..
Michael Banerian November 06, 2011 at 03:50 AM
Mr. Kaufman, Please refrain from using the term "radical" to describe B20/20. Also I could argue that the new high school will decrease many property values and INCREASE crime. Every single house near or around Lahser will decrease in property value, they are loosing a school in their backyard. Or to be put simple the east side of the district will see a decrease in property value, while the West side will benefit. As far as crime goes...do I even have to say what goes on in these two schools? Or is every parent in denial of the atrocities that go on in these schools? ~Michael Banerian Junior, Lahser Proud member of B20/20
Michael Banerian November 06, 2011 at 03:53 AM
I agree with every word you say Ira...almost. Please refrain from personal attacks, do not stoop to their level :D
J Arch November 06, 2011 at 01:36 PM
franklin, here's my real life example. Until a year ago I owned a 1997 Jaguar XJ-8 in very good condition with 130,000 miles. In spite of dutiful maintenance, the repairs became increasingly costly. Not unlike our high school buildings, in the last year of its life, the car quickly developed a list of repairs and needed part and component replacements that were going to exceed $10,000 for me to keep the car running safely and satisfactorily. At that point it no longer made economic or functional sense to own this car and I replaced it. It was my day to day car, not something that I used only in nice weather, just like our high schools that are used day in and day out. It had reached a point where the return on repairs had become so diminished that it was foolish to pour more money into the vehicle. That is exactly where we are with the Lahser and Andover buildings. Their age has put them into this category of non-justified return on investment relative to the scope of needs they present. And when you couple this with the fact that the two buildings keep student populations split to such low levels that program offerings cannot be maintained and that they present a combined square footage that exceeds what is needed by 1/3, the justification to consolidate on one site and rebuild becomes clear. The above is not "garbage," but rather fact stated by a lifelong professional architect and manager of millions of square feet of commercial property. Jeff Wagner


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »