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Tuesday, December 6th, 2016
Volume ∞ Issue ∞

Why vote ‘NO’ for R-P Referendum?

By Jon Peterson

Fri, Dec 14th, 2012
Posted in Rushford Commentary

Ten years ago the residents of the R-P school district, in a bonding referendum, overwhelmingly told the district they wanted their current facilities maintained and improved. Several things the district deemed necessary were done (such as new bleachers in the HS gym, new flooring in the cafeteria, new gym floor in Peterson, handicapped accessible bathrooms in Peterson lobby, resurfaced the playground in Rushford, as well as upgrades to the lower level of the Rushford school); accomplished through community support, volunteer hours and taxpayer dollars. To abandon our facilities now would be wasteful and foolish.

Yes, those that came before us built new school buildings because there was a NEED due to closing of country schools and population increases and not just because they were a mere WANT. They built quality buildings expecting them to be maintained and upgraded and not disposed of in 20 years.

As one looks at literature, press releases and web content released by district administration, the only facts in them are that taxes will rise and the real tax impact will be more than double what is printed if all phases of their plan are approved, making R-P the highest taxed district in the area.

To say academic programs, safety and efficiency will be enhanced is purely district opinion. These things could be done with the proper management of the current facilities. Class offerings and choices are more affected by union contracts and administration than any inadequacies in facilities.

We have been told by administration that the 1906 building is sinking in sand; this is not true. The structural condition survey dated July 18, 2011, for the 1906 and 1936 buildings done by SDG of Rochester makes no mention of the buildings settling or sinking. The report says remedial action needs to be taken on foundation walls to stop deterioration. Deterioration is exclusively from water damage due to improper maintenance. Just prior to the levy of November 4, 1997, taxpayers were assured that during the five years the proposed levy would be in place the roof of the 1906 building would be replaced along with tuckpointing and envelope repair - “REPAIRS THAT WERE NEVER DONE!” (Ref.: Tri-Co Record of 10/16/97, cover page) These repairs could have prevented the deterioration that we are told took place. The same report states that the 1936 building is in relatively good condition with need for roof and windows; a roof that was also promised to be replaced with the 1997 levy. The deliberate neglect of our facilities should be considered criminal.

In the air quality tests done for radon dated January 24, 2012, by IEA, 30 detectors were analyzed and only one showed levels high enough for action to adjust HVC controls.

The Peterson building Facilities Walk-Through report is a consultant-generated list of repairs with prices reminiscent of Pentagon budgets with $15,000 toilet seats and $10,000 hammers (i.e., $10,000 for exterior signage in Peterson),

The likelihood of the state legislature paying a major portion of new facilities is slim to none ,as every district would then expect one. It is just another example of the administration and the school board’s double talk when they said they wouldn’t pursue new facilities without grant money. The administration and Board’s use of the flood and the emotional guilt trip of not having new facilities they lay on the community is disgusting, as the heavy tax impact to those homes and businesses who were truly affected will be onerous.

What if the district was managed with the students and the taxpayers as the #1 priority instead of managing for the next referendum? What if, instead of spending 85 percent of the over $6 million dollar budget on wages and benefits, we spent 80 percent and came up with a 10 to 20 year plan of repairs and upgrades? Close examination reveals that this referendum is really about funding the budget process and how finances are allocated and not about the inadequacies of the facilities.

Let’s send a strong message to the district administration and Board that we want a quality, affordable education in properly maintained (current) facilities and that they should take an introspective look at why three different schools pick up students in the R-P district.

Please vote NO on December 19 and demand an efficient and accountable R-P Administration and Board.

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