Archive for Thursday, March 31, 2005

Dual standards

March 31, 2005

To the editor:

The Lansing School Board and supporters of the bond proposal have discussed in detail the reasons they believe the $23.6 million proposal should be supported by this community. The significance rationale used in many of their arguments is inadequate space, safety, substandard conditions, increased cost for obsolete infrastructure and low interest rates. Yet, these arguments appear to have a dual standard.

The proponents cite that "These three buildings have inadequate classroom space, poor heat/AC, too few bathrooms, little storage, insufficient electrical capacity and too little gym and cafeteria space. They need upgrades for life safety systems : and for ADA compliance." Yet, they go on to say that ": the intermediate school can become available with some remodeling to provide additional space for the high school. Although the buildings are increasingly unsuitable for younger students, significant space is still available." This seems to imply that these same inadequate facilities are good enough for high school students. Are they not entitled to life safety systems, as well as compliance with the ADA?

The board is exploring the use of the old buildings for things such as district offices, meeting rooms, space for Parents as Teachers, special education, drop-out recovery and alternative schools. If the reasons cited by the proponents are valid, then one has to wonder how an elementary classroom that doesn't meet electrical standards could possibly support an office that typically has more electrical equipment such as copiers, computers, fax machines, modems, etc.

Finally, another dichotomy appears when the statement is made that "in the long run it would be more expensive because after spending large amounts of of money to maintain the old buildings, we will still have to replace them," but then is followed up by "All of the proposed uses will require some remodeling but will not place such an excessive burden on the facilities." Again I ask - so which is it?

I may have supported this bond if it were well thought-out and researched. But given what I perceive to be a lack of clear, well-articulated long-range plan, I plan to vote NO on the Lansing school bond.

P.S. If you want to know where the statements I used from the proponents originated, I invite your attention to their Web site.

June Foley

Lansing

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