Letters to the Editor

Less expensive option available

We can remodel Oak Harbor High School (OHHS) for significantly less than $74 million ($54 million bond) and receive the same $20 million matching dollars from the state.

On page eight of the 17-page memo written by Rick Schulte, schools superintendent, outlining the modernization plan, he indicated there were three options to extend the life of the high school by 30 years.

School board director Vicki Harring explained each of those three options on March 15, 2002 in the News-Times (“Soundoff: High school fix could go three ways.”)

From Ms. Harring’s piece: “Option 1 . . . would not include expansion of the gym or a performing arts center . . . would not change floor plans or connect buildings by interior halls . . . would be $28 million . . . and would qualify us to receive $12 million from the state in matching funds.” (A $40 million project in total.)

Harring’s “Soundoff” had been explaining OHHS remodel bond options that would appear on the ballot in spring 2003. With three-year inflation increases of 20 percent, “option 1” inflates to $48 million in 2006. In 2003, the $28 million OHHS remodel bond would have gleaned the same $12 million in state match dollars as the more expensive options. Given the now-expected state match of $20 million, the bond for “option 1” would still only be $28 million, as we would receive the same $20 million in state match as does the much larger current $54 million bond proposal.

Private citizens suggested consideration of “option 1” for the 2006 OHHS remodel last spring during Capital Facilities Planning Committee meetings. School district employees literally shouted down attempts to discuss less expensive OHHS remodel options. Superintendent Shulte ran those meetings.

A significantly less expensive “option 1” bond will still remodel OHHS for 30 years.

William G. Burnett

Oak Harbor

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