Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Preliminary BTA IV List Revealed

Update:  here's the presentation that Dr. Herndon is giving at the Board meeting.

Early on  at tomorrow night's School Board meeting there will be a "Levies 2016 Update" that starts off with this ludicrous statement:

Safe, healthy, efficient, and well-maintained facilities provide a positive environment for our students, staff and community.

Words, just words.   

Next year's maintenance budget sees more spending going to administration, not schools.  There are just three extra grounds maintenance staff to help 18 regulars (filling in during vacations and doing the big grounds work. In the past the district has hired between a dozen and 40.)

Our buildings are - NOT - well-maintained. 

The District may wish it so and may mean well but  overall, our buildings are not well-maintained.  There is NO maintenance going on save emergencies.  Dr. Herndon has stated this on several occasions.

 I take this opportunity to say shame on the senior leadership and the Board (including past Boards that have allowed this to go on and on).  

One curiosity in this report? Nothing specific to Technology.  There's for a good reason and I believe dollars are embedded here, just not called out.  Look for that to change in the next round of projects.  (The reason is that the District heard, repeatedly, at the public meetings that parents didn't want dollars to go for technology but real school fixes/upgrades.)

But going onto page 14 of this report, we find the BTA IV Project Funding Summary Sheet:
School Projects
  • EC Hughes Elementary - $21M (the district is getting $10M from the state for Hughes and Magnolia but I have no idea how that is to be divided and if this $21M includes any of those funds) +550 students
  • Magnolia Elementary - $21.5M +400 students
  • Magnolia Addition - almost $6M  +150 student and a gym
  • Webster Elementary (now serving as the Nordic Heritage Museum) - $24.5M +300 students (this one is almost breathtaking - almost $25M for a small school while so many other schools stuffed to the gills get no maintenance and have portables?)
  • Mercer Middle - $76.5M+  1,100 students, 0 added capacity OR Washington Middle - $79M  1100 students, 0 added capacity
  • Ingraham classroom addition - $28M  +500 student (Just want to say congrats and sorry to Ingraham all at once.  Congrats because they continue their appearance on every single BEX and BTA the district has put forth and sorry because it has been piecemeal instead of a real renovation like Ballard, Roosevelt, Garfield, West Seattle, etc.)  And sorry again, to Rainier Beach High School - not on the list.
So that total is nearly $187M.

Then they want to buy property with $15M (no mention of where).  Utterly ridiculous - BTA is about fixing issues, not buying property.  The District continues to widen the scope of BTA and blur the line between what BEX does and what BTA does.

Systems Repairs/Replacements
It's a vague list from the standpoint of not saying where these items will be fixed but that total is $253M.

BTA IV One-Off Projects
  • Sound system for Boren K-8 (not sure what this is?) 
  • Sound system for South Shore Pre-k-8 - I call bullshit on this one. They have a nearly brand-new building and there is zero reason with $1M extra dollars per year coming from LEV into South Shore why they should get this. 
  • Freezer replacement at JSCEE
  • Maintenance and grounds equipment - great, how about some workers to use it?
  • food service equipment
  • lunch room tables
  • security equipment - cameras ($9M) (they misspelled "secuirty")
  • BEX V levy planning/election costs - $3M 
  • web-based facilities archival record ($500K)
Total - $18M

Major Preventative Maintenance - $18M (again, where this is going is not stated)

Staffing and Management - $22M  (that the staffing and management is more than the major preventative maintenance should tell you something about the thinking going on down at JSCEE)

Loan repayment for borrowing $3,640,000 for World School additional costs (I swear the BAR had said $3M and this is over $3.5M)

They build in 21.65% for escalation.  

Then there's 5% for project program contingency.

TOTAL - $660M.

Seriously?  They are out of their minds.

I say this because the Mayor is coming for his Transportation levy in November at over $900M.  (I call this endeavor the Lalapolooza Slush Fund because I do not believe for one minute all the projects that they say will be done are the ones that will be done.)  Then there's Dow Constantine's somewhat modest $65M for birth-five services.

And then the District thinks they can justify a $660M BTA?  Know how much the last one was?  It was $270M.  The District had projected a BTA IV of between $350-400M. 

Yes, I know - this is their "wish list" and of course the final amount won't be anywhere near $660M.  But see, if you put out some huge number and then back it down to say - $500M - why it looks downright generous to voters to pare back $160M.

I'll note that the first BTA in 1998 was $150M.

Then they went up to $178M (19%).

Then BTA III was $270M (52%).

I'm not even going to do the math here - it's late, I'm tired and this is off the charts ridiculous.

16 comments:

Charlie Mas said...

BTA is supposed to be different from BEX. The EC Hughes project, the Magnolia project, and the Webster project, the middle school rebuild, and the property purchase are all BEX-type projects, not BTA. The Ingraham project is borderline.

Major Preventative Maintenance is what the B in BTA is supposed to be about, but they can't name any projects for this? Odd. It should be all roofs, envelopes, furniture, and HVAC systems.

The T is for Technology, but that's a big box of miscellaneous as well. The A was Athletics, then Academics - there was a time when they bought instructional materials with this money. Apparently textbooks qualify as a capital expense.

What does NOT qualify as a capital expense is Staffing and Management.

Anonymous said...

UNLESS AND UNTIL they show ***WHY*** they want what they want; simply a NO.

Remember the hallabalue about the much lauded downtown school? IF THAT WAS SOOOO CRITICAL, WHY ISN'T IT FRONT AND CENTER???

Oh, I guess it is not actually needed. Good thing Flip Herndon spent all his time and his staff time pursuing that dead white elephant.


Hughes. SMALL elementary, in the south of West Seattle. That is not needed. That is not a priority. WHY IS IT ON THE LIST? You did an analysis, right? So, show me. Prove you need this above all else. Prove it! Prove it or NO. Your list is a sham. Unthoughtful, not rigorous, not evidence based. You did this without FACMAC, and, it shows.


If they 'give away' Schmitz Park, after SP moves to Genesee Hill, as a preschool farm, then, that might be a reason for Hughes, but, should we pick up the tab for their largess and expanded mission (k-12, now, preK-12)?

West Seattle does have a middle school crisis looming large, but, the District doesn't even seem to know it, let alone show it. Or, maybe they just don't care. West Seattlites, your activism and vigilance are required, otherwise you will continue to be stuck with issue after issue. You might want to think about that when you are contemplating voting Marty.


Why they want to buy land: in Magnuson, for to build a high school. FYI. Also, not smart. Queen Anne is calling, and, unless this $660 million gets them a high school, vote NO. (I don't live any where near QA, by the way.)

And, $660M, but no auditorium for Wilson Pacific? That earns a NO too.

Webster? Told ya' so.

Where's Lake City? They evidently are being lazy and not attempting to bring it back.

Hughes? Seriously? Did they not notice all those K5 kids are going to roll up to middle school, and, there won't be enough home rooms for them in middle school? They need to continue to shift APP middle schoolers off the 'island' over to Washington, as WMS will be almost 'empty' as Meany opens. Meany, by the way, will be great. The community has rallied and they are going gangbusters.

The list makes me smile. It is not passable. It is like a big pinata, waiting to be smacked. Not because the voters are fickle or ill-tempered, but because the size the and earmarks are going to risk sinking it. There are limits. They shouldn't mess with our kids this way. Because that is who pays. A more reasonable list with true priorities, supported by a matrix of issues/solutions, with real data, that will be able to sell this. The District is going to have to pull back the curtain and show us.


FP

Melissa Westbrook said...

FP, well, there's still about $4.5M (give or take) in BEX IV for a downtown building search and planning.

Anonymous said...

"Why they want to buy land: in Magnuson, for to build a high school. FYI. Also, not smart."

Wait , what? A new high school in Magnuson?

NEVoter

NW mom said...

Have to say I think any new high school is smart, honestly. I keep hearing that even with Lincoln there will be a high school capacity crisis so I would say bring em on. Yes, it will cause boundary issues and much howling from Roosevelt families, I'm sure, but we need more places for the high school kids to go.

Anonymous said...

Magnuson is not really where it is needed. The Amgen site would have been better.

HP

Melissa Westbrook said...

Yes, for the last time, Queen Anne/Magnolia/downtown need a high school (and no, it's not Center School). The longer the district puts this off, the more it will continue to haunt them. They could build one at Memorial Stadium.

Anonymous said...

It looks like they are planning to add 500 seats to Ingraham HS (12 portables). So I guess that's the short-term HS capacity fix for the north end, while we're awaiting the reopening of Lincoln HS? Any guesses as to what strategies they'll use to entice and/or force more students to go there? Will they have to redraw HS boundaries sooner rather than later?

HF

Joe Wolf said...

Response to HF: The proposed addition to Ingraham HS is permanent construction, not portables. Also - 500 seats = 20 classrooms, not 12.

NW mom said...

I totally get that there should be a HS for QA/Mag, but again, any high school space seems good to me.

HF - they'll probably make the Ballard HS boundary at the school and force anyone north of 65th to go to Ingraham. That is my guess. That will not go over well.

kellie said...

There are two capacity problems.

Problem #1 is money. Adding new capacity costs money. This is the amount I was expecting as the ask. My best guess was that folks would ask for the same amount that went into BEX. I would say that like the last BEX this is likely the minimum amount needed to keep with the capacity challenge.

In a perfect world, most of this money should be coming from the State of Washington, not a levy. This is because the intense growth in urban areas is a direct result of state level policies designed to prevent urban sprawl but that is another conversation.

Problem #2 is location. There are multiple significant capacity hot spots, the primarily correspond with areas where former schools were sold as surplus.

This plan does not address the location issues. The locations issues are very obvious but very hard to fix. As Seattle grew, schools were integrated into neighborhoods. The piecemeal sale of properties have created swiss cheese holes all around the city.

While "on paper" you can create some patches that seems to make it work, the fundamental lack of a facility in many neighborhoods will continue to pressurize the entire capacity problem.

What is needed for capacity is

* a QA/Mag high school. At one meeting, it was mentioned that Lincoln actually needs $100 Million in order to be a fully operational high school and there was only $20 Million in the budget.

* a focus on addressing middle schools so that they are more robust capacity-wise. The Mercer and Washington projects are both desperately needed, but so is fixing Wilson Pacific.

* Lake City elementary capacity. Of all the old building, that is the one that should be brought back first.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Joe. The cost estimate for Ingraham includes setting up 12 portables, so that's why I was confused. Are those part of the capacity increase, along with the new addition? Assuming the levy passes, what's the timeline for completion of this new construction? Will the new capacity at Ingraham be ready in time--meaning significantly before the new Lincoln HS comes online?

HF

Anonymous said...

@ Joe Wolf,

I hope the city denies SPS the ability to use the Woodland Park fields. The surrounding community uses these fields heavily, and doesn't have a lot of other options. Most of our neighborhood elementary and middle schools don't have grass fields as it is--this is one of the few places we can go kick a ball or throw a frisbee or whatnot. While I feel for the high school students who will be at Lincoln, I hope the Fremont, Wallingford, Greenlake and Phinney residents put up a big fight on this one and get the city to say no. SPS should have planned better--like putting the new HS at Wilson Pacific, converting Lincoln to a middle school and converting HIMS to elementary. That's the most efficient use of space.

HF

NW mom said...

Wow, HF. I would not hope to hurt kids out of spite, regardless of any beefs I had with the district and their policies. There are plenty of places at Lower Woodland to throw a frisbee, even if the high school soccer or baseball team is practicing there. Right now most of the north end high school girls' softball teams play games at Lower Woodland already. I'm sure SPS is using them for other reasons as well.

Melissa Westbrook said...

HF, I agree with you but only b/c a lot of people will get displaced from using lower Woodland fields if the District asks the City for the use. (I'd bet the private middle school on Woodlawn - Billings - would be one along with Blanchet.)

This will be an interesting one to figure out.

Maybe that's why the Roosevelt Reservoir should be lidded and made into playfields - we need them.

Anonymous said...

Exactly. It's not "hurting kids out of spite" as NW mom suggested. Those who get squeezed out are likely to be other kids--kids who live in walking or biking distance to these fields and who don't have the possibility of getting bused to offsite practice locations as the other option. Maybe the city will be able to work something out with SPS so there's minimal access on the community, but when I think about how many sports and teams a high school has, it sounds like there's the potential for a big increase in use... Perhaps the HS can hold their practices before school or mid-day, so that younger students can still have access in that short after-school window?

HF