March 6, 2007

Letters to the editor

TOPIC: Redmond School District

Manage growth, then schools

In his letter last week Mr. Layton gave several good reasons for not supporting a school bond. Building a high school south of the city when major growth is to the north also seems impractical. I vowed years back not to support any tax increase until school impact fees are enacted. How often have any of us heard any city, county, school board, or teacher union member promote school impact fees, or anything to unburden property owners? If we hear anything, it's the "talking points" of the developers' lobbyists. This is no surprise since the school district's supervisor is a director of the Chamber of Commerce. The chamber is an organization dedicated to promoting the growth and the profits of its members who are mainly developers and realtors. This should be a concern to all taxpayers.

Over the years it's also apparent that the school board thinks that the opinions of people without children in schools shouldn't count. The shame is that most people in this category have successfully raised children and have experienced many school issues. Professional supervisors are affected in their roles by non-professional school board members as well as development interests in the chamber that use public schools as marketing attractions at our expense. We saw this type of problem recently in Sisters. The result is usually throwing out the professional.
The blame for overcrowding is on the shoulders of all the public officials who have done
nothing to intelligently manage growth.
-- Frank D. Smith
Redmond

Business as usual

As we read about an expected Redmond school bond for 2008, the only thing that appears to have changed is that we now have a new school superintendent who appears prepared to listen to the people in her school district and likely to show better judgment than her predecessors.

Rather than repeat myself on the issue of system development charges (SDCs) for schools, I’ll refer readers to http://home.bendbroadband.com/coblog/sdc/ for a collection of articles on the subject.

Except for expansion of the city limits with the last annexation/hostile takeover of some properties and a couple of new faces on the city council and the school board "business as usual" appears to remain the mantra.

New developments have been approved, but despite earlier criticism no steps were taken to ensure that land would be reserved for the schools that will inevitably be needed. At least one politician, and probably others, has suggested we should build schools on the edge of cities where land is cheaper to keep the costs of new schools down. Not surprisingly, this perceived wisdom was unaccompanied by advice about paying for the added cost of transporting children, not to mention lessening the absurdity of students commuting long distances to and from school, especially those in elementary grades.

Prior to the last school bond, after suggestions were given to the school board that multi-story buildings are less expensive to build and maintain than single-story, the board promised to build multi-storied schools but reneged on that promise by only building one with two stories and sticking with their preferred single-story design for the other. Perhaps, the school board will enlighten us as to what they plan for new schools in the future and explain why we should believe them.
--Bill Bodden
Redmond





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