At tonight’s meeting, the current board will consider an action item to build a new administration building. The same matter was discussed at last month’s meeting. At that time, the board declined (4-3) to allocate $6 million out of the district’s fund balance to construct a 24,000 square foot administration building. Proponents argued that renovating the current 6,500 square foot structure would cost millions, and seem to feel that the administration’s proposal is the only option. I feel that putting millions into the current building is a straw man argument, because almost everyone agrees that there will be a new administration facility within the next six years on a location other than where the current facility sits. The real debate should be how we are going to pay for new facility.
For the last ten years, the community has spent a bunch of money to build world-class facilities; now we need to put all our resources and attention in the classrooms where the teachers meet the students. Generally, the district can only fund classroom instruction with maintenance and operations (M&O) revenue – the $1.04 on your property tax bill. The only money beyond M&O revenue that is available for instruction is money that remains in the fund balance. Our fund balance is thus vital because we are able to use it to keep bond interest rates low and anything left can be used the same as M&O money. Yet the administration proposes to take more than $6 million of money that could go into the classroom and instead use it for yet another building — a building where no instruction takes place.
Putting all of our resources into the classrooms is one of the fundamental tenets that I will use to make decisions as a board member. If I am elected as your at-large board member — I will not support funding an administration building with money that could be put in the classroom. I am the only candidate of the seven who has shared specific principles and how those principles will guide decisions if I am elected. I am being this specific so that voters know what they are going to get, because too often in the past, we have elected nice candidates that sounded good, then nothing has changed once they got on the board. This election is too important to take a chance on vague notions and broad themes, because our kids don’t have another three years to wait for a board that is ready to turn the page on the past and completely focus on student performance.