Thursday, February 12, 2009

Denny-Sealth blah blah blah

It is not without a sharp tang of irony that I note the approval of an additional $828,388 to Bassetti Architect’s for the additional services related to the Sealth High School renovations.

Didn't the Board choose not to stop the co-location of Sealth and Denny primarily to save a reported $2 million? This amount of "savings" didn't count the $3 million spent in BTA projects that would be lost as that work is destroyed by the co-location project. I guess now the additional cost of following the public will is down to $1.2 million.

The additional money isn't a result of inflation or higher costs of steel or concrete. It's for additional architectural services.

And why are we building additional classrooms at a high school when we have over 3,000 excess high school seats? Oh! That's right! Because our Facilities Department is totally dysfunctional.

8 comments:

Charlie Mas said...

I notice that the Board also approved about $1 million for a new boiler at Eckstein.

So why didn't they have to completely tear up Eckstein for a new boiler the same way they had to completely tear up Chief Sealth for a new boiler?

Eckstein was built in 1950, Sealth in 1957. I don't imagine that the construction of the buildings are so radically different.

I just want to hear the answer to the question. We were told that replacing the boiler at Sealth - a boiler that was working just fine but was past its presumed effective life - was absolutely necessary and that the work of replacing the boiler required tearing up all of the floors (floors that were brand new and just laid with BTA money). So the students would have to spend two years at an interim site while the work is underway. We were also told that the work of replacing the boiler legally required the District to bring all of the rest of the school building up to code.

Now were replacing the boiler at Eckstein but there is no need to tear up any floors, there is no need for the students to move to an interim site and there is no need to bring the rest of the structure up to the current code.

I'm not saying that this isn't all possible or even likely, I just want someone to explain the difference to me.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Charlie, I'm going to the BEX meeting on Friday so I'll see Tom Redman who is the new BEX public affairs person. I'll ask him because I saw the boiler replacement as well and went "hmmm".

One other thing I see happening more and more is BEX money being used for projects on BEX lists as well as joint BTA/BEX money used (which makes for a lot of hazy bookkeeping).

I do know that when we all vote for these monies that the district can do any capital thing they want with the money but it is problematic that they don't stick with what they tell voters in the voter's guide.

I wish there were someone on the Board who would watch over them. I see Michael De Bell sometimes at these meetings but he asks fairly perfunctory questions.

Still, we do have that State Auditor's report coming. Facilities has been jumping around trying to do some CYA in anticipation of it but it may be too little too late.

emeraldkity said...

Seattle isn't the only place that seems to be about providing employment for adults

One day last year, Bridlemile Elementary School asked the maintenance department at Portland Public Schools to fix some loose floor tiles that threatened to trip students.

The same day, the district’s carpenters also sent up a repair order: The shop cooler was freezing their sodas.

Bridlemile waited nine weeks to get a work crew. The carpenters? Next-day service.


http://www.oregonlive.com/special/
index.ssf/2008/05/
school_maintenance.html

dan dempsey said...

Melissa said:
"
I wish there were someone on the Board who would watch over them. I see Michael De Bell sometimes at these meetings but he asks fairly perfunctory questions.

Still, we do have that State Auditor's report coming. Facilities has been jumping around trying to do some CYA in anticipation of it but it may be too little too late."


I do not think a CYA is necessary. As you state most questions are NOT asked and the ones that are asked are the perfunctory questions.

"Everyone held accountable"
like when dude?

Look at the curriculum audit.
No focus on improvement from that fairly accurate view of the SPS. That audit was almost completely ignored by the SPS.

Is there hope that because you speak of a state audit it will make a difference? The difference if any will likely be how this audit will be manipulated by the SPS.

Melissa Westbrook said...

The fact that the district has repeatedly referred to the State Audit report for school closures would mean it will be difficult for them to ignore the one for capital programs. They did initially cherry-pick the data (conveniently leaving out the concern that they have too many staff at headquarters) but have since made all the findings part of the budget.

I personally believe the audit will be so damning that they will not be able to escape public scrutiny.

Michael said...

Dan -

You say, "The difference if any will likely be how this audit will be manipulated by the SPS." How exactly do you mean manipulated? Do you mean that they will try to put their spin on the results of the forthcoming results? Or do you mean that the District will actually interfere with the conduct of the audit, thereby gaining for themselves a audit finding for limiting the scope of the audit?

Keep in mind that the state audit is being conducted by the exact same team that conducted the audit of the Port of Seattle in 2007. They know their business, and don't put up with any BS from those that they are auditing. Of course, their powers are limited since they only report, and do not enforce. But their reports can be damning.

I agree with Melissa that the audit will show some amazing things. Things that the district won't like, and things that will make your blood boil.

Michael said...

Correction - In the first paragraph I meant to say - Do you mean that they will try to put their spin on the results of the forthcoming audit?

dan dempsey said...

Charlie said:
"I just want to hear the answer to the question. We were told that replacing the boiler at Sealth - a boiler that was working just fine but was past its presumed effective life - was absolutely necessary and that the work of replacing the boiler required tearing up all of the floors (floors that were brand new and just laid with BTA money). So the students would have to spend two years at an interim site while the work is underway. We were also told that the work of replacing the boiler legally required the District to bring all of the rest of the school building up to code."
------------------
The district has great forward vision ... This was part of an economic stimulus package where the SPS spends big bucks to replace functional equipment in one of the most expensive ways possible.

The district is great at this.