Passing on the Seattle Schools building debt to our kids is another painful lesson from the District. Let’s review a couple of interesting points about that $50 million Seattle Schools
- Original cost: $30 million.
- Final cost: $54.5 million.
- Actual cost: $104 million.
The $54.5 million new school headquarters in SoDo actually cost $104.5 million, the District confirms. Officials just prefer not to mention the $50 million in loan interest that taxpayers will be paying over 25 years. We don’t need a calculator. $54.5M + $50M = $104.5M.
That’s why the monorail folks thought they had a sure thing going. They learned from Seattle Schools District.
Originally, the building was to be paid for by the savings and income from consolidating operations. Now it won't be. The rosiest projections leave the district $33 million short, and Steve Nielsen (2003 Finance Director School District) candidly admits that such estimates are "non-scientific". Conservatively, the loss will eat up more than $1 million annually the district had promised would go to classrooms. The new, wider District financial crisis, requiring even more cost-cutting and savings, now guarantees the headquarters will become the biggest single wretched excess on school books.
From Seattle Weekly articles:
”Soon thereafter they (Seattle Public Schools) came to us and said they needed $338 million and $178 million in two levies, one for educational services, and one for school improvements. We approved it. Now they have another debt, and our children will be paying for it.”
The money trail...look at that $33 million figure...isn't that something like what they're after right now?
Never mind selling half the building. Sell the whole building and rent one floor from Starbucks, or just call Tully’s across the way. Whoever offers the most affordable rent for the largest amount of space gets Seattle Schools as a tenant.
And both landlords make good coffee.