First, some flyer corrections/omissions (some of these given to me by Schools First).
1. Front page under Operations Levy. Voters have not supported the levies every three years "since 1976". There was a gap in the early '90s for capital.
2. Top of page 5 under Technology: the amount for STEM technology was left off - it's $1.1M (or was on the preliminary list)
3. Same page, under Core 24 graduation requirements. It says "...as needed to support new state graduation CORE 24 requirements." That should be PROPOSED new state graduation requirements. CORE 24 isn't law and it's in danger as a bill. Rep. Sharon Tomiko-Santos of Seattle doesn't want it and is fighting it.
4. Page 6 - Meany/Nova enhancements. Odd but SBOC is also in that building. Why wouldn't they be mentioned?
How the levy breaks down. In simple terms, according to the levy flyer, it's like this:
$270M total, of which
$140M is Buildings
$ 34.9 is Technology
$94.6M is Academics (which is a loose term because it covers a lot)
- this BTA gets us little in reducing in the nearly $500M maintenance backlog. It attacks maybe 10-15% of it. And remember, maintenance just keeps coming.
- This BTA would likely do more maintenance for more schools except that (1) the district is bringing 5 schools back into the "open" category and (2) they are spending large amounts for fewer schools and (3) the district has chosen to put money into items that have nothing to do with maintenance (and that doesn't make them bad choices but hard to understand at some level given our maintenance issues).
First the "B" Buildings portion of the BTA at $140M.
The real total available for buildings is $108M. The other $32M is for Construction Escalation (calculated as 4% per year for 6 years) which is around $30M and Capital Program Costs (BEX IV planning, election costs, delinquent tax collections) which is around $2M.
So what gets done for $108:
- $18M for "major preventive maintenance and paintings of buildings" Now this could not have happened in previous BTAs as the state law did not allow painting of certain types to be done under capital levies but the law was changed recently. The state expects that the districts would take care of their basic maintenance under their operating budgets. (And indeed, that is where our maintenance money resides, in the operations budget, but the district doesn't say that in the levy flyer. Not even a mention.) Oh yes and when I asked the head of maintenance about it, he didn't know it was there and had nothing to say. Seems strange no one would let him know so he could start planning.
- Roof replacement and seismic diaphragm (paneling under the roof structure): $10.7M for 11 buildings. Under the preliminary list this was slated for $17M and 17 buildings. So those other buildings don't need new roofs now? Also there is a bit of confusion because Montlake was on BTA II for a roof and it's here again. Ditto, Washington. Ditto Salmon Bay.
- Fire suppression/sprinklers/ADA/life safety: $15.5M for 17 projects at 15 buildings. The difference here is on the up side: it was at $12M for 11 buildings on the original list.
- Seismic mitigation: $13.2M for 3 buildings. The original was for $17.8M at 7 buildings.
- Energy efficiency and green projects: $27.7M for 6 buildings. This one is quite problematic. The original discussion at the Board Work Session was about trying to do some green projects at schools that needed work but wouldn't be eligible for a BEX redo. (These are John Hay, Olympic View, West Woodland, Adams, Leschi and Muir.) The green roofs and underground heat pumps would cost roughly 3x what a regular redo would. It was stated that the district wouldn't see savings for at least 10, 15, 20 years depending on what kind of green project they did. Several of the Board members felt 15 years out was too much given the cost. Harium told me that he felt there had been some push back from the Board on this issue. The price on the preliminary list for roofs and heat pumps for these 6 schools was $21.6M which seemed like a lot given all our maintenance needs.
repair/replacement and now are getting nothing.
- the Capital Eligible Fund which funds routine replacement of equipment for kitchens, gardners, and custodians went from $7M down to $4M. Keep in mind, somehow a John Deere mower managed to disappear from the maintenance yard in the last year.
- * Communications/security system: $100K for 1 building (Roosevelt). It was $150K originally and had 3 schools on the list. (Oh irony because I fought for four years for this.)
- We pay some salaries out this fund including the head of technology. (Same with BEX.)
- Harium had been quite unhappy to learn the district had no off-site data storage in case of disaster. There is money in here for that.
- The first of the money for STEM appears here at $1.1M.
Third, the "A" is Academics at $94.6M. (Historical note: this was originally for Athletics. It morphed into Academics/Athletics and now just Academics as they consider athletics part of academics.) Everything in this list is needed but there are some questions that can be asked.
- Student Assessments (MAP): $4.3M - this went up from the original list by $300K
- Core 24 : $3.5M - My comments on this are (1) it's not law and not even near law so it's a lot of money and (2) 7 out of 10 of the comprehensive high schools have or will have very new science labs and computer labs (built within the last 10 years). What exactly do we need and why?
- Early Learning Classrooms: $3.2M. So how could I be against pre-K learning? I'm not. However, this isn't maintenance and there is no federal or state law compelling this. We also get no state matching money to do it. I wish we would wait and put the money towards maintenance. That's just me.
- Capacity Management and planning: $48.1M. This is the big one for the 5 reopening buildings. On the one hand, it does clear some maintenance but (1) these buildings were closed and in a different category for care and now they are back on the "open" list and (2) this $48M doesn't clear out the entire backlogged maintenance on these buildings.
- STEM - $1.6M - the reading of this is vague, mostly to "support creation" of STEM. They claim more science classrooms and computer labs but Cleveland is pretty well equipped as it is.
- Athletics: $19.2M. The one and only thing you can be sure that gets done on the maintenance schedule: the fields and the tracks. Look, I get we need these fields and tracks and we have an operating agreement with Parks. But there is some irony that the only thing that gets done, on time, every time, is the fields. And there seems some confusion again because it looks like one of these was done under BEX III and yet appears here again. Note: this is not for playgrounds.
So, in some way, every school gets something (and that would be under Technology upgrades that are system-wide). Is it building maintenance per se? I would argue - not really.
So here's one breakdown for how much money is for a small number of buildings:
$48M for 5 reopening buildings
12.2 for Meany
27M for 6 buildings for energy efficient heating
26M for 6 other buildings =
$113M for 18 buildings
Here's how it breaks down per building for actual building maintenance (highest to lowest):
- McDonald $15.4M
- Meany 12.2M
- Viewlands 11.1M
- Salmon Bay 7.5M
- Old Hay 7.5M*
- Rainier View 7.4M
- Sand Point 7.0M
- Ingraham 5.6M**
- Laurelhurst 4.0M
- Lafayette 3.8M
- Eckstein 3.5M
- McGilvra 3.3M
*(SBOC, a middle/high school was in this old elementary building for years with very little done to it. Now, they are gone and they are revamping it and spending a lot of money to upgrade it. It makes you wonder why this wasn't done sooner.)
** Ingraham has been on every single BTA and BEX list since they started. I really feel for this building that has had a lot of piecemeal work done to it and is in danger of losing its BEX III addition. If the next hearing date on the grove of trees causes yet another delay, this project will likely not happen under BEX III.)