Since I don't know much about BEX III, I used my few minutes to raise some questions:
- What are the priorities that got these projects on the list? According to district documents, the choices were based on the facilities master plan, but they don't seem to match to me.
- Why is the BEX III proposal not discussed in terms of how well it does (or doesn't) fit with other district efforts (school consolidation and closure, restricting choice and transportation, changes in the weighted student formula)?
- Are the cost estimates for these new buildings accurate?
- What is happening with all the BTA II money that has not yet been spent?
- What oversight will be put in place to make sure that if BEX III bond passes, the money will be spent on what was proposed and will be well-spent, not wasted?
In my testimony, I mentioned that I didn't understand how the New School, an educational program that has been trying to solve its facilities problem for less than 5 years, was getting a new building when Pathfinder, a program that has been trying to solve its facilities problem for 15 years is not considered.
I prefaced that statement with my deep admiration and respect for the New School. I think it is a wonderful school and Seattle needs more, not fewer schools, that serve children as well as the New School does.
Some New School parents, however, heard my testimony as me pitting Pathfinder against New School in a competition for facilities. That was not my intention. I think both programs deserve decent school buildings that are large enough to house their excellent educational programs.
But whether it was the New School or Roxhill or Sacajewea or Broadview-Thompson or any other K-5 or K-8 school in Seattle getting a brand-new building, I would ask the same question:
- How was it decided that X school gets a new building as part of this BEX III bond, and schools A, B, C and D do not?
Maybe there are good reasons behind these selections, but I want to hear them. It should not be a mystery which buildings are included in this BEX III proposal and which ones are not.