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Friday, August 21, 2009

BTA Web Site

The BTA (Buildings, Technology, Academics) levy now has its own web site. This less flashy, more blue collar brother to the BEX (Building Excellence) levy, pays for big ticket upgrades like HVAC, windows, roofs, but not for the high profile (and controversial) total renovations that BEX covers.

That said, buildings fall into disrepair and get closed because the District doesn't allocate BTA money to them. Not only does BTA cover safety stuff like seizmic retrofits, but it also covers quality of life stuff like waterlines.

Historically, BTA allocation decisions were made just like all other Seattle Public School decisions - based on internal politics. There has been an effort of late to find real reasons for the decisions. Now is the time for the jackals to fight over the dead antelope that is BTA III. Get in there and tear off a haunch for your building!

3 comments:

Melissa Westbrook said...

Oh Charlie, it's too late. Public comment time is over. Of course, they already had their list and what politicking there was is done. I actually may have to do a separate post on this issue because there was some discussion and a vote on something relating to it at the last Board meeting.

And Charlie, it's not just that there isn't BTA money allocated to buildings that are falling into disrepair. It's that we DO NOT spend enough on basic maintenance.

Show of hands - do you own your house? Okay, homeowners, what happens if you ignore that leak, that roof that is turning green, etc.? Yes, IT JUST GETS WORSE.

We only spend 1% of our general fund on basic maintenance. (OSPI suggests 4%.) We have no regular work crews. They have even considered a levy for basic maintenance!

ArchStanton said...

Charlie said: Now is the time for the jackals to fight over the dead antelope that is BTA III. Get in there and tear off a haunch for your building!

Melissa said: it's too late. Public comment time is over.

Dang! I was getting all geared up to throw some other school under the bus, like they set us up for the school closures.

Melissa said: It's that we DO NOT spend enough on basic maintenance.

This became obvious last year when schools that might have been opened to relieve the overcrowding were said to require too much work to make usable. Besides the homeowner's maintenance examples, when you leave your home unattended for a time: Don't you usually have someone check it occasionally to make sure it's not being vandalized or someone isn't say, stealing all of the copper piping? (I'm thinking of Viewlands - which had been operating one year prior IIRC)

What's more cost effective?
(a) hiring security to patrol it regularly (or maintenance)
(b) paying to repair the vandalism (or deferred maintenance)
(c) letting it rot until you can sell it to a developer

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