Let me assure Superintendent Marion Ginopolis that as a chemist and businessman, my mathematics skills are advanced and exceptional.
She is entitled to have her opinion about the value of the Bond projects. Likewise, I am entitled to my opinion and it is that the $51.5 million planned for a new elementary school, tearing down Blanche Sims, building a new preschool education facility and tearing down part of CERC are a waste of money. The District has no business building new classrooms until our resident student population stops declining and the possible need to close additional schools goes away.
In the 2009-2010 school year, the District had 7,729 total students in kindergarten through 12th grade. In 2018-2019 we have 6,656 resident students. This is a decline of 1,073 resident students over 10 years, or 13.9 percent. The declining population trend continues. Last year we had 6,721 resident students, so we lost an additional 65 resident students coming into the new school year.
As I stated in my previous letter to the editor, it is “absurd” to invest millions ($51.5) of taxpayer dollars in new classrooms when there is a real possibility we will need to close an additional elementary and middle school within a few years.
Perhaps an equity market parallel would help illustrate the point. General Electric had a market cap of $402 billion in 2001 under Jack Welch as CEO. Under Jeff Immelt the cap slid to $222 billion. Under John Flannery it slid to $98 billion. The trend is clear, GE’s market value has lost $304 billion (76 percent) since 2001. Why dump good money into this company until there is solid evidence of a turnaround?
The parallel only goes so far. We must maintain our existing education facilities and provide state of the art capabilities for our students, but we should not commit to major construction investments without a plan for the whole District in place.
Several of our schools are old. Blanche Sims is just the oldest. The logic for replacing Blanche Sims applies just as well to the other old schools so the community needs to figure out how we are going to address this problem.
I suggest that we convene another committee of concerned citizens to develop a plan – just like we did for closing one elementary school.
We need to vote this bond issue down, eliminate these three ill-conceived projects, and bring another request to the voters for the security, technology and improvement projects that are really needed. I will support a bond that excludes building un-needed new classrooms.
It does not take a mathematician to know that the proposed expenditure does not add up.