Friday, March 26, 2010

A Student's View On School Project

NOTE: The following is a letter to the editor written by Steve Metz, a junior at Mt. Lebanon High School

The debate over the Mt. Lebanon High School renovation project has raged for several months, and the entire project has been in existence for several years, but not once has anyone ever asked my opinion.

As a student at Mt. Lebanon High School, I am offended. The school board's opinion that facilities at the school are detrimental to our learning reveal the elitist opinion of the school board attempting to tell me and other students the best environment for us to learn in without even asking our opinions.

There are obvious concerns about the asbestos in the building, but these concerns have existed for more than a decade. Why didn't the school board ameliorate this situation when it first arose? Instead, they let students and teachers be exposed to asbestos on a daily basis while they debate the importance of a several million dollar skywalk.

Is the building cold sometimes? Sure, but unlike certain members of the community, I am willing to make sacrifices so taxes don't have to increase.

Even though the school board hasn't asked my opinion, here it is: I'll put my jacket on if you get the asbestos out of the building without spending $135 million and raising taxes.

Stop advocating the importance of a several million dollar skywalk while surrounding communities can barely afford computers.

Read more: www.post-gazette.com/pg/10084/1045413-55.stm

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12 Comments:

Blogger Dave Franklin said...

I went to a Donuts with Dad event at my kid's elementary school this morning. Of course, the subject of the high school project came up. If there's overwhelming public support for this project in its current form, it sure was evident from the comments I heard today.

March 26, 2010 9:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joe, thanks for putting Steve Metz's letter on Bloglebo. And thank you Steve for stepping up.
To me his letter shines a light on a very important point in the HS debate.
Build Our School Now and Concerned Citizen make claims, counter-claims, brandish facts and figures, submit articles and papers.
The board claims it has gone to extraordinary lengths to enlighten residents at each step in the HS project.
Steve's letter suggest on examination that perhaps the divisiveness on the project falls squarely on the boards, past and present.
Example: a resident in this blog on 2/18/2010 wrote: "To say that the board did not hear them [CAC] out does a great disservice to them and all those who have been providing input on this project for the past four years. I do recall that a big portion of their savings proposal was to keep Building C - the building that is most reviled from folks in food-service to students to teachers."
This blogger apparently believes that somewhere along the way, students voiced an overwhelming disdain for bldg. C!
They may be right, but according to Steve - he never said that or was ever asked!
The district sends out a FAQ that disputes claims, but it doesn't give concise numbers either!
They publish an Act 34 booklet that is essentially illegible.
After all this time, and all the money spent to date, one would think we'd know for sure how many parking spaces are needed, exactly how many pool lanes would be sufficient, and what every square foot will be used for.
Dean Spahr

March 26, 2010 9:48 AM  
Blogger Dave Franklin said...

I goofed. I meant to say, "it sure WASN'T evident from the comments I heard today."

March 26, 2010 10:27 AM  
Blogger JE Cannon said...

Steve Metz for school board!!

Seriously, if this young man doesn't have immediate plans after high school, he should consider running.

March 26, 2010 10:54 AM  
Anonymous Kim Ressler said...

Steve's letter demonstrates the type of student we are all striving to produce in this educational system: passionate, articulate, and of firm beliefs. I am glad that he is tolerant of the discomforts within the building. But his need to wear a heavy coat, no matter how willing he is, doesn't embarrass us? The inaccessiblility for students/staff/visitors with a disability is not shameful? We all know the problems. But unfortunately, Steve has focused on the skywalk issue which could be resolved - it is only one aspect of the project. The argument has become one of "I'm right - you're wrong" and there is no attempt at compromise. I am sure many have wishes that will not and should not be met, and we all need to accept that no matter what "side" of this issue you are on.

This resident did hear from the students who served on the Ed Spec Committee that Building C was overwhelmingly disliked. The staff involved agreed. Perhaps that is not a poll of all students or staff, but the current petition is a fairly unscientific poll as well.

A neighbor of mine thought a 50% tax hike was passed, so misinformation continues. Let's stop rehashing everything that has been done wrong, big and small, and do right by the students and the community with this school. I'm such a Pollyanna - I just want us to work together constructively and productively.

March 26, 2010 1:42 PM  
Blogger Dave Franklin said...

Kim, I agree that compromise is the key. To a person, each member of the SB has committed publicly to significantly reduce the overall cost of this project. Some step in that direction would go a long way in getting many people like me behind them and the project. I'm still waiting . . .

March 26, 2010 5:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kim, call it what you want, but the petition gives people the chance to vote since they were denied the opportunity for a referendum. Your neighbor should read the budget projection from Feb. 3 that shows a 45.3% increase in real estate taxes over the next five years. And if you want me to show your neighbor how to do the math, I now know how. I'm such a Pollyanna too. I hope the school board will compromise and will come up with a plan that our community can afford.
Elaine Gillen

March 26, 2010 8:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I forgot to add that Steve Metz has a good head on his shoulders. Bravo, Steve!!!
Elaine Gillen

March 26, 2010 9:09 PM  
Anonymous John Ewing said...

Dave Franklin hasn't signed the Petition !

Dirk Taylor wrote a letter saying he could knock $30 million of the project using P. J. Dick's cost estimates. That is $83,000,000. Take out an $8,000,000 contingency for cost over runs and that is $75,000,000.

Why haven't you signed the Petition, Dave?

March 29, 2010 8:13 AM  
Anonymous John Morris said...

Wow, an adult.

April 02, 2010 3:59 PM  
Anonymous Bob Reich, Jr. said...

Very nice letter from an obviously very sharp young man. From all I've read, though, Steve, you are not "being exposed to asbestos" every day. The experts say that the dust is dangerous only when it is freely circulating in the air. As long as it is sitting there as the tiles in some of the flooring and as the insulation surrounding many of the pipes it isn't something worth losing sleep over.

April 03, 2010 1:54 PM  
Blogger Dave Franklin said...

John, your fascination with me is disturbing. I'm one person, with one opinion, one vote. You are correct, I have not signed it. My reasons have already been hashed and re-hashed. However, there a bunch of anonymous signatures on the petition (which seems rather pathetic), so if you'd like to pretend that one is mine, feel free.

April 04, 2010 9:17 PM  

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