Saturday, October 07, 2006

Building vs. Salary

Some people have commented that education would be far better served by focusing on the educators (and students, of course) rather than the BUILDING.

I heartlily agree with that sentiment. By focusing on a extravagant oversized school/community center, we, necessarily, place our money where our collective mouth is. Apparently, we value the bricks more than the educators. Again, why not put less money in a new building and more in enticing and rewarding more quality teachers. Expending excessive taxpayer money on buildings will make it even more difficult to garner support for better salaries. It all emanates from the same taxpayers' pockets.

But some say a new school will draw "better" educators.

Granted teachers (and students) might love a NEW school as we all might like NEW cars, clothes, houses, etc. Fiscal conservative (private and public) try to follow the philosophy of "Use it up, wear it out; make it do, or do without." Rational financial advisors recommend avoiding debt. That, IMO, includes private AND PUBLIC debt. $60 million is a substantial debt - $3,000 (plus interest - about $37 million over 21 years) for every man, woman and child in the county.

Please do not be swayed by the "It's only a hamburger a day" type of argument. That's car salesmanship - "This car is only $299/month" (not $35,000) Don't fall for that appeal of the need to sacrifice: "in 1964, our people made a greater sacrifice" relative to property value. I think they may be comparing apples to oranges (see the next entry).

There is a well organized group promoting the "selling" of the bond (apparently, teachers and parents of students, who certainly have every right to do so) See "Vote Yes for a new High School" or the Wasatch School District, which even has a fancy presentation called "sellfolio" but regrettably little information about the new school.

These epistles are merely attempting to present a modicum of balance to the discussion. The school district and "Citizens for Better Education" do seem to have blinders on, IMO, and are simple selling the "car" by any gimmick possible and prefer to sell by emotion.

Most regurgitated poll responses follow the same emotional litany:

It's too old (Old is not bad, I'm considered old by some)
The roof leaks (Fix the roof - didn't we do that?)
crowded (not statistically, or that I could see)
no space (Why is a classroom being used for storage?)
outdated (Is Harvard outdated, Oxford is hundreds of years old - is it outdated? . . .)
need more computers (How many do they need, how many do they have?)
more science labs (that may be valid)
Costs too much to remodel (how does anyone know, no analysis was done?)
need "State of the art" (that changes daily, it seems)

No comments: