Monday, April 25, 2011

School board rejects high-school bids and vows to lower costs (Updated 5)

Updated yet again. Added more description and link to Bill Matthew’s letter to the school board on the bids. Also added more links to other reports. Be sure to read The Almanac’s article; it gives a pretty good summary of the meeting.

Tonight the school board voted unanimously to reject the bids for the proposed high-school renovation. The bids, which had been opened on April 19, 2011, had exceeded the project’s estimated maximum construction cost by more than $15 million, suggesting that the project’s total cost, once capped at $113 million, was in reality closer to $130 million.

Members of the school board vowed to bring the project’s cost down. While they hoped to preserve the existing design, they said that all options were open for consideration.

“There are no sacred cows,” said Josephine Posti, school board president.

School director Dale Ostergaard, pointing to upcoming pension obligations, said that the board must be realistic about how much it can afford. He said that the renovation’s cost must be sharply reduced, and that things previously non-negotiable must become negotiable.

Board members offered suggestions for lowing the cost: forgo LEED Silver certification, use split shifts for students to ease construction phasing, challenge the municipality’s “high-rise” fire-safety designation (but see Dan Miller’s blog post, linked to below), relax contractual terms for bidders to encourage lower bids, and others. Even some of the previously untouchable Fifteen Design Criteria were discussed.

Community member Dan Rothschild suggested revisiting Building C, which had been slated for demolition. Reusing Building C, as the Community Advisory Committee had advised the school board in late 2009, would be a more efficient use of an existing building and potentially keep all of the other programmed spaces intact, he said.

Community member Bill Matthews asked the school board to keep a closer eye on its hired architects and construction managers, who the school board had questioned earlier in the meeting about the unreliability of their project-cost predictions. Matthews had also written to the school board earlier, asking them to realize that the high bids were not caused by a problem with the bidders but with the complexity of the high-school project itself.

Other reports:

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38 Comments:

Anonymous John Kendrick said...

Our annual interest paid on the bonds is: approximately $3,335,162.50 for 2011; and $3,296,750.00 for 2012. That means that we are BURNING approximately $9,137.43 per day in 2011, and $9,032.20 per day in 2012.

Roughly speaking, as EACH DAY passes we BURN the annual school district property tax revenue from 2-3 households without any tangible benefit being returned to the community.

Our Board had plenty of time, years actually, to decide what to do. We can't afford to continue down this path. We need to focus on results and we need a plan of action - fast!

Think about what I am saying - if you own a home your hard earned tax contribution to the children of this community is being given away as interest on bonds that provided our community with nothing - except a big black eye!

April 26, 2011 12:22 AM  
Blogger Tom Moertel said...

John, as I've tried to explain before, the interest payments are not “burned money”; we would have to pay interest no matter what because, to get money for the project, now or later, we would have to borrow it.

Given then that we must borrow, the only thing that matters is the terms of the loan. The interest payments are determined by the terms, not whether you borrow “early” or “late” with respect to the project you have in mind for the borrowed money.

Now, if you want to compare two loans and say that because one has better terms the other burns a portion of its interest payments by comparison, that’s fine. But to take one loan and compare it to a base case of nothing at all – as if we could borrow $75 million at some later time and not have to pay interest on it – is nonsense.

April 26, 2011 12:53 AM  
Anonymous John Kendrick said...

You know what Tom - I think that you're on to something. I don't understand why so many people fund the purchase of a home at closing, or BORROW to buy a car when they close at a dealership. I see your vision - people would be better off to borrow tomorrow for that home that they want to buy in 20 years, because they will have to pay interest anyway, right? The fact that they won't have a place to live for their payments has nothing to do with it! Am I following your thinking?

Maybe you should become an evangelist and spread the good word? "Folks, borrow for that new home today - don't wait 20 years when you actually close, cuz your gonna have to pay interest on the note anyway so you might as well start right now!"

That makes sense to everyone, doesn't it? I can't understand why so many people haven't realized this before now?

April 26, 2011 12:59 AM  
Blogger Tom Moertel said...

John,

Here’s an exercise for you: Find an online loan calculator and enter in the terms for a loan, any loan. Note the total interest: that’s the price of the loan. Now change the dates on the loan, leaving the terms unchanged. Notice how the price stays the same.

Given that the price stays the same, what’s the difference between borrowing now vs. later, given that you don’t need the money until later? Answer: the difference in the net present values of the two loans’ cash streams.

You will note that the difference is not equal to the first loan’s payments in their entirety, as you seem to believe.

Cheers,
Tom

P.S. The reason why you don’t see people borrowing in advance for cars and homes is that bankers won’t make asset-backed loans until there are assets in hand for collateral.

April 26, 2011 1:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"There are no sacred cows" ? ? ? The "sacred cow" has always been the oft repeated claim that the "current design represents the minimum requirement for a 21st. century education"...read the Zoning Hearing Board hearing testimony, view SB meetings, read various blogs, listen to blog podcasts, view SB meeting HS project powerpoint presentations.

"All options are open for consideration"....does this include reducing the scope of the project to meet an already inflated cost number that results in retaining what the SB claims is a now 20th. century education...for a projected additional renovated building life of 40-50 years ?

The SB and District have absolutely NO, ZERO, NADA credibility ! !

Bill Lewis

April 26, 2011 7:41 AM  
Blogger Tom Moertel said...

Bill,

I found it telling that last night I didn't hear anything about absolutes like “21st century education” at the school-board meeting. I think it’s now clear to the board, even the project’s most-vocal past champions, that something’s got to give: that insisting on a design that gives us everything is a strategy that gives us nothing – because we can’t afford it.

Last night I heard a reversal of many old positions. Board members suggested sacrificing LEED Silver certification, using student split-shifts to ease construction, and eliminating some of the previously sacrosanct 15 design criteria. These were all options that were previously off the table.

The project’s supporters on the board now seem to understand that they must give something up. They realize, now, that if they don’t, they’ll be forced to give up the entire project.

Cheers,
Tom

April 26, 2011 10:30 AM  
Blogger Bill Matthews said...

Last night in speaking to the Board, I described the mood as somber. Mr. Remely suggested I consult my thesaurus because "somber" did not begin to cover it. So I did ... he was right ... the meeting was all of the following:

black, bleak, blue, caliginous, cloudy, dark, depressive, dim, dingy, dire, dismal, dispiriting, doleful, down, drab, dragged, dreary, dull, dusky, earnest, funereal, gloomy, grave, grim, hurting, joyless, lugubrious, melancholy, mournful, murky, no-nonsense, obscure, sedate, sepulchral, serious, shadowy, shady, sober, solemn, sourpuss, staid, tenebrous and weighty

The other feeling I had for the first time in a while was that there were some wide open eyes and ears.

The Board has a chance to learn some things and I am very hopeful for a new outlook.

April 26, 2011 10:45 AM  
Anonymous John Kendrick said...

Tom,

Do you really understand the concept of the time value of money? Is the purchasing power of $1 this year going to be higher or lower next year after one year of inflation at any percentage rate above zero?

Does your example with your "on-line loan calculator" account for one loan starting one or two years earlier than the other loan? You are basing your NPV calculation from a common point in time for both loans, aren't you?

Finally, what is the second loan stream that we are comparing this loan to? All that I see is a loan, with no building, where we have drained about $5,100,000.00 in total debt service from the community though our taxes with nothing to show for it - and you don't see a problem with that?

I wonder why the other municipalities and school districts accept the bonds and bids simultaneously? Clearly you and the Board have discovered something here that the whole world missed!

Tom, I think that you should consider a career in finance. Maybe you can help our community see the way forward after we "De-Kline" the budget and understand more about our true financial position?

Tom, I am sensing a career opportunity for you - maybe you could even get a piece done on your life across the pages of MtL - but that might be too much to ask for, eh?

Do us all a favor and please give us the name of the attorney who is feeding you all of this crap so that we will all know who NOT to hire!

-Ciao!

April 26, 2011 12:08 PM  
Anonymous Bob Reich, Jr. said...

When you have a roof leak at your Mt. Lebanon home do you go to the bank, borrow three times the amount of the mortgage, and renovate your entire home? Of course not. You call a local roofer and most likely repair, but sometimes replace, your roof. The same analogy can be made for your windows, your outdated kitchens and baths, and your furnace. We have them fixed - and life motors on.

Nobody on this blog has ever questioned the need for improvements that need to be made to the high school. Nobody. The argument has always been - on this site at least - that we are living in a time and place that does not warrant excess. Frankly, and I am not in the construction business, I thought 75MM was too much based on the fact that we still owed so much from the elementary and middle schools renovations, but that was the "number" that seems to rally consensus amongst the rational thinkers. Especially when one saw what a similar amount of money was buying two miles to the south in Bethel Park.

Fix the roof. Replace the HVAC. Replace the windows. Expand the pool. Use the leftover monies for cosmetics such as new seats in the auditorium and maybe even new laptops for the students. My guess is, based on the quality of both the parents and the teachers here in town, that that would be enough to both retain the current residents and attract new young families who can afford the tax burden that now exists in Mt. Lebanon. It is unfortunate that it took sooooo much time, money, and personal vitriol to get to this reality.....

God bless.

Bob Reich

April 26, 2011 12:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rob,

I had the feeling at last night’s school board meeting that at least some of the directors were still intent on moving as quickly as possible to get new bids, I think, after eliminating features. From what one of our resident architectural experts stated during public comments, when a project’s bids go this far over budget it is highly unlikely that this “pruning” approach will achieve a design with the aggregate functionality as was intended by the original design.

Why the board would continue to rely on the current architects and consultants for direction, rather than using our own community’s knowledgeable resources (aka the CAC) is baffling to me. Now that we have spent $5.9 Million dollars and have nothing to show for it, it is incomprehensible to me that the board would continue to work through this in the same way with the same advisors.

I believe in our community and that mostly those who live here really do want what is best for all of our children and all of us. Mt. Lebanon has a spirit and a history that is amazing. Critics of the project (including yours truly) have known for a long time that the cost would exceed what is affordable and that the expectations were too high considering the funding would be coming out of our residents’ pockets, which have become more shallow over the past several months.

It is clear that the board members are in over their heads, I would be too if I had to lead a project of this magnitude. However, that is why it is important to finally recognize limitations and ask for help from others who have the same personal investment in the outcome. Will they recognize their need for others to help or will they remain stubbornly on their previous track because they still think they know best? Time will tell. Why not, instead, call every CAC member and start a process where they could start problem solving and work toward a viable solution?

God bless you too, Rob!

-Charlotte Stephenson

April 26, 2011 2:57 PM  
Blogger Tom Moertel said...

John,

You’re almost there. Of course, the time value of money matters. That’s why I said to compare alternatives based on their NPVs. And, as you say, when one makes this comparison, you discount to the same point in time.

But, here’s what you’re not getting: you didn’t do this calculation. You jumped to the conclusion that 100% of the interest we’re paying now is burned money. It isn’t. If you actually do the math, assuming reasonable alternatives, the difference between borrowing “early” and “late” is much smaller than you’re making it out to be (and can either help or hurt you depending on how interest rates change).

I’m not saying that borrowing early is brilliant, just that comparing borrowing early to not having to borrow at all is foolish.

Cheers,
Tom

April 26, 2011 3:23 PM  
Anonymous John Kendrick said...

unbelievable...

April 26, 2011 4:38 PM  
Anonymous Michael Goodin said...

Another thing to consider with the bond money and so called "burning" of cash paying off the interest rate, is that (most likely anyway) the bond money is sitting in an interest bearing account. Before we start going off about $3+ million in interest we have to pay is that a lot of that is covered by the rate of interest the School Board is making off the money being parked in an interest bearing account.

The interest accrued will either pay off the interest owed or accumulate (roll over) to make up the difference between present value and future value.

Now I do not want my comment to be construed as supporting the School Board or a socialist agenda, but the $75 million in bond receipts probably was not buried in a hole in the ground. As long was it was not given to Madoff, the money is working for Mt. Lebanon schools.

April 26, 2011 5:22 PM  
Blogger Tom Moertel said...

What’s unbelievable, John, is that you’re comparing interest payments on an early loan to not ever having to make interest payments at all and claiming that we are burning money to the tune of 100% of the difference.

I’m perfectly willing to believe that the school board had less expensive ways to finance the high-school renovation. What I’m not willing to believe is that one of those ways was to borrow money and not have to pay interest on it.

Pick a realistic alternative, compare that to the option the school district went with, and (after you do the math), complain about that difference.

Cheers,
Tom

April 26, 2011 5:39 PM  
Anonymous Michael Goodin said...

I would note that it is not an uncommon practice (sorry for the double negative) of private corporations (those pesky capitalists) to issue bonds when the interest rates they will have to pay is low. The corporations will park that money in cash accounts for years until they spend the money on capital expenditures (build a new factory, buy another company, launch a new product line). If their financial people tell you them interest rates will be significantly higher in five years, corporations will borrow when rates are low to hedge against interest rates rising.

While I don't think the School Board was thinking this far ahead, issuing bonds in the past year or so is going to be cheaper than issuing bonds in medium range future (if the screamers on financial news networks are to be believed).

Yes, the constructions bids are a disaster for Lebo schools. There are many issues to sort through and it will not be a timely process. However, off all the issues and concerns with the project, the $75 million in bonds is very low on they list of concerns.

April 26, 2011 6:06 PM  
Anonymous John Ewing said...

The amount of money spent on the high school project is $5.9 Million plus an additional $5.1 Million on interest and principal payments on the bond issue for a total of $11.0 Million spent with nothing to show for it.

Of the $11.0 Million, $700,000 was borrowed and already repaid to bondholders on 2/15/2011 (Source: Merrill Lynch Bond Prospectus). We also paid brokerage commissions, rating fees, Solicitor’s fee and Bond Counsels’ fees on that $700,000, and will have to pay those commissions and fees a second time when we borrow the $700,000 a second time to pay for the project.

As far as the argument that the bond money is working for the school district, I can invest my own money at a much greater rate of return than the school district because of legal restrictions placed on the investment of school money. So, for me, that argument carries no weight.

Stay Well.
John Ewing

April 26, 2011 9:15 PM  
Blogger Bill Matthews said...

As the District looks to do whatever ... it is important to highlight the insight of a representative from the low-bidder, at Monday night's meeting.

He indicated his firm aggressively bid the project for a number of valid business reasons (I think about 500 million) and that the real value of the project was more aligned with the median bid -- about $109 million.

He further indicated the District should not count on such an aggressive bid next time, should they choose to bid.

The meaning of this – As much as another $7 million needs to be trimmed from the project.

Median Bid = $109 million
“Budget” = $86 million
Difference = $23 million

April 27, 2011 10:06 AM  
Anonymous John Kendrick said...

Yes - and that $7MM is about what we just threw into the wind by floating the bonds too early!

The perspective here should not be on the school district, but on the community as a whole. Think of what the municipality could have done with $11MM? How many roads could have been paved, sewers fixed, etc?

We bled valuable cash from the community that could have been used for better purposes than a gamble - which the Board lost!

April 27, 2011 12:07 PM  
Blogger JE Cannon said...

Mr. Kendrick,

I couldn't agree more with your ire regarding the amount already spent and the manner in which it was. I, like so many others, am disappointed by the way the bond issue was handled. But that's water under the bridge. We can belabor the irresponsible and reckless behavior of the current Board. We can hammer away at the grandiose design and totally unrealistic cost projections. I would submit, however, that we need to look for a solution. In other words, we're at a fork in the road so now what?

Some time ago, I suggested the Board needed to revisit the entire process and try again. The bids (thankfully)forced them to do so. I was pleased Monday evening hearing from most Board members that a redesign is a likely and more viable option than simply rebidding. The simple fact is, as Chris Burns pointed out, the bids that came in are about as good as it will get. It was disappointing to hear one Board member after another express shock with the cost estimates and grasp for some kind of explanation. Well, to borrow an oft-used political phrase, it's the economy, stupid. Someone with NO construction experience could have looked at the plans and guessed the bids wouldn't come in $113. I'm actually surprised the numbers were as close as they were. The simple fact is, if this plan goes out for bid with no substantive changes to the design, those bids will come back even higher, resulting in even more time and money spent on an unecessary and unrealistic design.

Again, though, I'm glad the majority of the Board agrees with me that a redesign or at least a closer look at priorities is the best option. As I said at the meeting, I'm not against a renovation or spending money on the high school. But I am against the way it's been handled in this specific case. And based on the sentiment of the crowd in attendance, the majority of the Board and, more importantly, the majority of residents agree wholeheartedly.

Let's keep pushing for something realisitic, a plan Mt. Lebanon can actually absorb and a plan we can afford. You can have the most beautiful and modern facility ever constructed but it's no good if you can't afford to keep it open.

April 27, 2011 2:42 PM  
Anonymous John Kendrick said...

This unfortunate outcome of bad policies, bad decisions, and bad government makes the case for an effort to coordinate fiscal policy between the municipality and the school district.

Clearly, the current policy of prostituting the community for the benefit of teachers union has not worked - at all!

April 27, 2011 4:48 PM  
Anonymous David Brown said...

There once was a blogger named Kendrick,
Who wielded a mighty pen prick.
  But his last metaphor,
  Calling Lebo a whore,
Wore out his school board boogiemen shtick.

April 27, 2011 8:50 PM  
Anonymous Bob Reich, Jr. said...

I think the Board & Superintendent should put out a call to construction and engineering experts that live here in Mt. Lebanon to see if they would volunteer some ideas. They could call it the "Community Advisory Committee". I bet they could come up with some wonderful mockups that would be both within reason and budget.

Oh wait.....

April 27, 2011 10:00 PM  
Anonymous Steve Jensen said...

The issue is that Lebo as a community does not recognize that the value of an education is what is driven by programs; NOT by the extra gyms, new pool, extra performance spaces. And in the middle of all of this the Superintendent decides to gut the academic administration and no one cares? This fiasco is simply a stunning demostration of a poor set of core values held by the Lebo community.

Cut the new athletic facilities and performance spaces. Make FUNCTIONAL classroom space, fix the roof, fix the boiler, and then actually raise the academic expectations for all kids.

April 27, 2011 10:50 PM  
Blogger Matt C. Wilson said...

When reading blog comments by Johns,
be wary they may prattle on,
"Where's the $8 MM bucks?!
Paying bond interest sucks!!"
while the rest of us readers just yawn.

April 27, 2011 11:08 PM  
Blogger Matt C. Wilson said...

:)

Now, tongue back out-of-cheek - I absolutely agree with Bob. We all do well to offer what positive, forward-thinking advice, comment, or professional expertise we have to offer.

There are a lot of folks in the community who have been pressing the case for sound rationale and appropriate scope on this project. I hope those folks continue to do so, if not more so, because now is the time when we need to hear that most.

April 27, 2011 11:15 PM  
Anonymous John Ewing said...

Mr. Wilson, since you obviously don't care about squandered tax dollars you are welcome to pay my property taxes.

April 27, 2011 11:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Matt,

I urge everyone who agrees with you to be sure and go to the polls on May 17 and vote for James Cannon. Without a referendum opportunity, I have learned that representation on the board is the most productive way to have a voice in the process. Folks can vote for James by selecting him on the Republican ballot or writing him in on the Democratic one. Without him in the mix, the only choices would be incumbents who have brought us to where we are, or one new option that has aligned himself with an incumbent leader of the renovation project. This community needs a new face on the board who is willing to work on behalf of those of us who want a optimal yet realistic renovation project. This is why I am supporting James!

-Charlotte Stephenson

April 27, 2011 11:59 PM  
Anonymous John Kendrick said...

Mr David Brown,

Perhaps you should look-up the meaning of words that you don't understand? The definition of prostituting, a verb when used with an object is one example. The definition is, "to put to any base or unworthy use: to prostitute one's talents." - Source: www.dictionary.com

Another that caught my attention was this comment that you posted on Blog Lebo,

" David Brown said...
One certain hallmark of extremism, unfortunately seen as an advantage by those to whom it applies, is immunity from criticism -- the response to which therefore is often, such as in this case, to double down.

April 11, 2011 7:31 PM"

You should have referenced an Urban Dictionary before using the words, "double down". Do you know what the term "double down" means? Here is a link that explains it to you: www.urbandictionary.com

When you read the definition you'll see that nothing in the thread had any reference to the term that you used, "double down"!

Then there is your poem on this thread...

Are you embarrased by your comments, Mr. Brown?

April 28, 2011 12:05 AM  
Anonymous David Brown said...

Agreed, Matt. I for one would like to see the board revisit Dan Rothschild's ideas. I found many of them persuasive.

The magnitude of the changes needed to realize a big change in the price seems to lead me toward keeping Building C after all. It would make the campus much more compact, and more pathways for kids to choose from to navigate between classes would ease congestion. And we wouldn't have to pay to get rid of the building structural members and then replace them. And then would the bridge still be needed?

I don't think anything smaller in the way of redesign would affect the price as much as it needs to be reduced. You either have to remove one or two big things or reduce everything a little. The latter just doesn't seem feasible.

April 28, 2011 12:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Correction…I should have mentioned that there are actually TWO new candidates who are aligned with incumbents, not one. I neglected to mention Scott Goldman who is running with Ed Kubit in addition to William Cooper who is running with Larry Lebowitz and Elaine Cappucci.

James Cannon is the ONLY new option not aligned with any incumbents.

Also, David Brown, I never thought the day would come but we finally agree on something. Since I have been following this project, building C has been the linchpin as far as I can tell. I also believe that the plan should not include demolishing and discarding building C.

Ironically, the swishy password I had to enter to post this comment was "decut"! Was that a fortune cookie or what?

– Charlotte Stephenson

April 28, 2011 12:58 AM  
Blogger E. T. Gillen said...

James Cannon is certainly getting my vote. I noticed a couple of SB signs on Liberal Lane were cut from their collection of yard signs. I guess they were deduct alternates.
Elaine Gillen

April 28, 2011 6:37 AM  
Blogger Joe Polk said...

John Kendrick - do you really think that David Brown was referring to the vulgar reference that you have suggested we all look at? I highly doubt that he was.

In fact, when he wrote that comment, I think most of us (at least those of us that know how to play blackjack), thought that he was referring this definition of double down.

April 28, 2011 2:16 PM  
Blogger Matt C. Wilson said...

To the contrary, Mr. Ewing, to the contrary.

I care very deeply about squandered tax dollars, because my family has been in this community for a long time and I want to continue to see this community do well and remain affordable for what wonderful services and amenities it offers.

If you doubt me, I would direct you to the public comments I made at the school board's Act 34 / PlanCon project cost approval meeting, wherein I urged the board to reconsider and reduce the overall cost of the project.

I would also direct you to the statement I made on these matters which I provided to the Concerned Citizens of Mt. Lebanon, but unfortunately it no longer appears to be available on the website.

Finally, you can search for the comment history I have made on this blog and other local interest blogs.

But the point of my jesting and sincere comments to this thread are illustrated in your response.

I hope to no longer see in-fighting and disagreement about the details of this project. What's done is done, and what lays before us is to come together as a community to move forward.

Jumping to the conclusion that I am not in agreement in essence with your goals because I poke fun at your specific (and repeated) concern misses the point that we are working toward the same end.

I hoped a little humor might help get us past the truly unfortunate facts of the situation we're in. Sorry it didn't work out. But let's put the divisive remarks and the focus on past mistakes behind us and start talking about what we can do to fix this problem.

I hope we can agree on that much.

April 28, 2011 2:33 PM  
Blogger Matt C. Wilson said...

David,

Totally agree re: building C.

As has been asked (here I believe) before: what's greener than recycling a building by reusing it? (and not as aquarium gravel, I mean)

That's absolutely the scale we need to be thinking at in order to rein this project back in to a good starting point.

The construction market is essentially telling us there will be premiums for materials, fuel, complicated phasing, and as-yet-unspecified design costs. By which I refer to the MEP and programmatic bid elements that Mr.s Celli and Taormina are diligently evaluating.

Knowing that, we need to bring this project to a number probably a good 20-30% below our final number so that we have an appropriate buffer for those market conditions the 2nd time around.

In other words, to hit $86MM in hard costs on construction per PJ Dick, we probably ought to start with a design schematic that's in a ballpark of $60-70MM.

Now I'm not a construction expert, and I'd absolutely defer to the superior expertise of Mr.s Rothchild and Taylor, but it seems to me that that's what we're talking about.

April 28, 2011 2:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Wilson, you don’t know me, or you would know I would not seriously ask you to pay my taxes unlike some special interest groups in our community who prefer to promise fund raising and then default on their promises to their neighbors.

Unfortunately, the Leadership Team in our District went along with this default scheme and we are all stuck with a building that a large segment of the population does not support and will never support given the destruction of Building C and the overspending on athletic facilities. I far prefer a satisfactory building and superior teachers rather than a superior building and satisfactory teachers.

Another big problem is the speech Superintendent Allison made in June 2009 stating we were at $114,800,000 in high school costs. If the Board had been serious about bringing this project in under budget the design process should have gone into Design Drawings and the project would have been out to bid in a more advantages environment.

However, certain Board members were running for election in 2009 and were more interested in servicing adults than educating students. Now we are in another election year and the Board has badly managed the building process and that won’t be forgotten for decades.

John Ewing
P. S. I can email you the Allison speech.

April 30, 2011 6:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Serious and non-hostile informational question for Ms. Gillen (who I'm told visited my home yesterday and was quite genial in the face of a lack of support--regardless of ideology, it's good to see candidates doing the hard work of door-to-door campaigning): Where is "Liberal Lane", and why did you name it as such--or is that a commonly used term for that street/area?
--Neil Berch

May 01, 2011 3:42 PM  
Blogger E. T. Gillen said...

Hi Neil,
I do remember talking with your wife the other day. I am really enjoying meeting everyone.
I did not coin the phrase, "Liberal Lane." I have found that a few neighborhoods are referring to Roycroft as "Liberal Lane."
I didn't realize that it is commonly known by that name. Oh the things I am learning.
Elaine Gillen

May 02, 2011 1:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Elaine: Thanks for the info. I had no idea either (almost makes me want to look up registration figures, etc.).--Neil Berch

May 02, 2011 3:27 PM  

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