LETTER | LWSD Bond -- He said, she said, he replied, she replied

Editor:

In her letter extolling the virtues of the architects for Juanita HS, Barbara Billinghurst makes many untrue and misleading statements in her plea for its needless replacement.  

 

Contrary to her claims, the district DID rely on a public opinion Task Force aided by experts in PR and advised by its own consultants to support the content of Proposition 1.  They did NOT assemble a team of independent experts to analyze why, after spending $600M in bonds approved for modernization of our schools to replace them, we're still faced with a housing shortage and deteriorating substandard buildings.  The project architects for Juanita are NOT independent experts.  They were NOT asked to analyze district policies but to carry them out.

 

Barbara "cherry picked" numbers from an agency form to support her unreasonable assertion that it would be cheaper to replace than remodel Juanita.  She could not have drawn such a conclusion had she analyzed the details of the supporting estimate to find out how many millions of dollars in additions and other non-remodeling costs were included in that renovation/replacement summary.  I stand behind my statement that the cost of remodeling schools the age and structural quality of ours would be a "fraction of the costs of replacement." 

 

Juanita is only one of our many buildings suffering from neglect.  Major repairs and program upgrades on buildings has been deferred until money can be raised to replace them, accelerating obsolescence.  Barbara neglects the fact that there's no money in these bonds to make those repairs or upgrades.  Most of the money will replace more schools, but there’s none for modernization or additions to our many overcrowded and substandard buildings. 

 

As a"pragmatist",  Barbara should realize that if Proposition 1 is approved, it will NOT "remedy the over crowding and improve the learning environment in a fiscally responsible manner”, as she says.  If it's not REJECTED, it'll spend $235M of the $498M to needlessly destroy three more buildings and still leave thousands of kids and their teachers in overcrowded and substandard facilities for years more than necessary.

 

Paul Hall, AIA, Emeritus