Letter to the Editor

NEVC should rebuild on existing site and keep the useable buildings

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Dear editor,

I recently attended the NEVC Proposition S meeting in Walker. The board had an interesting proposal that stressed the dire need for a new building. I understand that the Schell City building and parts of the Walker building are beyond repair, but there is much of the Walker facility that needs to be salvaged!

I regret not asking Mr. Naas then why the board is not considering salvaging at least the gym at Walker -- it's a great building! He stated that it would be sold or used for storage no way! It shouldn't be sold, the old building should be demolished and a new structure attached to the gym. This would save the expense of at least the gymnasium, the sports field and the septic system at Walker. Plus, the Harwood property could be sold for what we paid for it. I bet it would cut the bond request in half!

And another thing it would save -- the community of Walker! That's right, by building a new school in a pasture, both Schell City and Walker will be left with nothing but old decaying buildings. Why not salvage the building in Walker and the town with it?

We need to think through Proposition S. Spending more than $5 million to replace some buildings and communities that should be salvaged makes no sense -- especially in these times.

I'm sorry, but I do not support Proposition S.

Susan Barrett

Everyone needs to be aware of the details of NEVC proposal

Dear editor,

It is important that everyone is fully aware of many details prior to voting for the NEVC Proposition S consideration.

* First -- The "Stimulus" money might provide as much as $180,000 in interest expense savings to the tax payers. That amount won't be awarded until after the vote and is dependent on the number of schools in the request. The award will not shorten the repayment and will not be used to lower the bond levy amount.

* Second -- There is an additional $1,095,000 to be borrowed. The bond counsel has budgeted an additional 49 cent tax, or even using operating funds taken from the Children's Classroom Trust, to repay that debt over the next 20 years.

* Third -- The board's plan to service the $90,000 monthly lease payments from utility, transportation and other consolidation savings are not documented for anyone's review.

* Fourth -- The NEVC teacher's average salaries are $28,302 while teachers across the state earn an average of $44,249 or nearly $16,000 more.

* Fifth -- A proposal in the state Legislature to allow school districts to undercut prevailing wage stands little chance of passage, and even then typical school construction budgets run closer to $150 per square foot, not the anticipated $100 as projected by the Westport Construction Company. Regardless, there is no way the Ag Building could be constructed for $10,000 as Mr. Naas stated Tuesday night at Schell City.

* Sixth -- There is a real economic reason why there is much competition for construction work. Economic conditions are severely affecting the owner's ability to pay the expense.

* Seventh -- The state of Missouri's budget now reflects the real state of our economy. It was only a matter of time, but now all state agencies are getting cut -- particularly education! All school boards have been notified of dramatic financial cuts for the remainder of 2010 and 2011.

* Finally -- Now is not the time to further burden the taxpayers of the district with an additional $3.5 million debt!

Rob Barrett