— Writer’s reasons for backing WISD bond
The 2013 WISD school bond has taken up a lot space in your editorials lately, as it should. I am writing in strong support of this bond. I have read what each side is saying and made a few remarks myself. I have to say that I am disappointed in the opposition’s idea of posting things that are not entirely true and when pointed out on their own “informative” website they refuse to post it because it does not line up with their twisted idea of what the truth is. I just wanted to point just a few facts that can be proven with very little effort.
FACT No. 1: I know this has been out there already but it needs to be stressed. No salaries can be paid by a bond. This is illegal and cannot and will not be done. We all know that teachers do not get paid near enough money, however, instead of bashing the school board maybe they should write their state representative. Also this bond will not “line the pockets” of the administrators as the vote no people have stated and allowed others to state on their website. If just a little research was done they would find out that every bit of this money would be accounted for.
FACT No. 2: Construction costs are being portrayed as being outrageously high. The cost of the Career and Technology building is estimated to be $17,503,047 at 66,425 square feet. This comes out to be right at $263 per foot. The opposition wants you to believe that this is the just the construction costs. I tried to point out to them on their own “informative” website that this was not true that the cost per foot they were using was not just the construction costs but was also for all equipment and supplies for that building. This building will house culinary classes, auto maintenance classes, construction design and management classes, just to name a few. This price includes the equipment needed to teach these classes (i.e., lifts, diagnostic computers, ovens, refrigerators, auto-CAD programs, computers) and is quite expensive. So in my opinion this price is actually a very good price and is not high at all. The same can be said about the price of the ninth grade wing.
FACT No. 3: There is a difference in building capacity and functional capacity. The opposition would have you believe that each elementary building can hold 750 students which this is considered to be building capacity. Building capacity is what the fire marshal would call capacity of that building, however the state sets guidelines as to teacher student ratio which is strictly enforced, and which is where functional capacity comes in. Also there are special needs children that require more space as well. There are many factors to consider when you are looking at functional capacity, or the capacity at which a building can function under the guidelines set forth. We are over capacity at three different elementary schools and if you do not think we are then go walk them yourselves. If you consider having to hold classes on the stage in the cafeteria because there is not enough space under capacity then you really need to look at your way of thinking. Portable buildings are being used as well, and from a cost standpoint are not helping at all.
FACT No. 4: The new baseball and softball fields are needed for safety and functionality purposes. Whenever you have students either being bussed or driving their own vehicles back and forth for classes or sports, not only does the daily operational cost go up but so does the liability and risks as well. One accident is too many. Do we really want our kids having to travel between schools on a daily bases or would we like to have a completely self-contained campus. I myself would love having them in one place.
FACT No. 5: Your taxes will go up. There is absolutely nothing we can do about that, however, taxes are going to go up whether this bond passes or not. I myself do not think that a couple of hundred dollars a year is too much for our children’s education and safety. If you break it down most of us spend more at a convenient store in one visit than it would cost per month.
These are just a few issues that have been debated electronically. I say electronically because I have not seen a public meeting or debate from the opposition since this started. I have personally asked them to step out and hold a public meeting. WISD has held public meetings almost weekly to get the word out. So I call to you again, set up a meeting or debate out in the public. If you feel so strongly about your side, let your real voice be heard. The only reason I am writing to the editor is because your “public” website and social media page will not accept opinion and facts from other than your supporters.
Voting yes means we are not putting a price on our children’s education!
Jeremy Nelson, Weatherford
Students safety important part of WISD bond
Like many of Weatherford High School’s class of 2007, my memory of our graduating year was profoundly colored by the death of our classmate, B.B. Fielder, who was killed while driving between campuses, from a class Weatherford High School to track practice held at the Ninth Grade Center.
While his general loveliness and human potential cannot be overstated, my point is not to eulogize him here. Simply put, the situation that led to B.B.’s death is preventable, and the upcoming WISD bond may be precisely what is necessary to keep our community from naming another treacherous road after another young person killed tragically and too soon.
One hundred-twenty students drive between classes in WISD every day—between classes, not including those drivers on their way to or from school. Twenty-nine bus trips are made every day during these same five-minute passing periods, meant to cart students from English I at Hall Middle School to baseball practice at the high school, or from World History at the Ninth Grade Center to Pre-Calculus at WHS.
I remember many panicked passing periods during my own freshman year, when I trekked with a cohort of four other kids from the Ninth Grade Center to the high school and back for precisely that reason. We missed several of our pre-Cal assignments due to late buses or missed connections; we forgot what was said at the end of World History in the rush to pack our bags and be off. There were only ever five of us on a bus meant for 60.
There exists tremendous wastes of resources—students’ time to learn, teachers’ time to (re)teach, monetary costs to the district of inefficient bus routes, and, in the very worst of cases, invaluable young lives—inherent in school system which operates under such impossible temporal and geographic restraints. As voters form their opinions regarding the upcoming school bond, which will reorganize our campuses in a way that severely limits or altogether eliminates this unnecessary back-and-forth, I hope they will remember what it will cost the community if we fail to implement the changes necessary to maximize the efficacy through which we provide our youth the safest, smartest learning environment Weatherford has to offer.
Carol Ann Willhite, Austin