Saturday, June 7, 2008

Siloam millage-- my head is already on the chop block...

Okay, my head is already on the chop block. The nice thing about "crossing the line" is that once you've crossed it, you might as well take the baton and run with it. ;-)

Oh, the things that happen in small towns. The back-biting and manipulation. The social pressure and stigmas. It would be almost humorous if it weren't so darn frustrating.

I have seen many Vote Yes signs...and even a "Vote Yes" t-shirt.
(I wonder what will happen to those shirts, signs, buttons after next week?
Trash? And who is funding that? What a waste...)

Just for comparisons sake, let's look at the other area schools and facilities, shall we?

First up is the John McDonnell Field, built in 2006. Yes, I know this isn't a school.
But we'll get there.
Just wanted to throw this in because I find it interesting. It will be "state of the art for a track facility," says Michigan Coach Ron Warhurst. The facility cost about $ 13 million and includes permanent seating for 7, 000 fans, a giant video board, locker rooms and a huge press box. Wow. 13 million for all that. Not bad, right?

Next Up: Rogers Heritage High School. Should open this fall. Cost estimate $115 per square foot, for 330,000 square feet. Ouch. But this one even has buildings centered around a terraced courtyard. Pur-ty.

Here's a great one: Massive Springdale Har-Ber High School, completed in 2005. Have you seen this baby? Looks like a college campus building! At 385,000 sq. ft., that is something to boast about, right? Wow.

And it only cost $88.00 per sq ft.

Compare that to the estimate of $140 per square foot that Siloam projects,

which does NOT include another 3 million for site development and

10 million for technology & furnishing...

(if that didn't make you suck your breath in, maybe you should read it again!)

Estimated Building Size in Square Feet: 286,798
Projected Construction Cost: $40,151,720
Furniture, Fixtures, Fees: $10,037,930
Site Development Cost: $3,011,379
Construction Costs: $140/sq. ft.

This is taken from their own site. Absolute fact.

Now Bentonville voters just rejected a proposed millage increase in March.

The district asked voters to approve a 3.99-mill increase in property taxes

(compare that to our proposed 5.4 mill increase!!)

The increase would have made the district's millage rate 44.09 mills,

the seventh highest rate in Arkansas.

Well, ours right now is around 52, and will go up to 57.5 if this passes.

So what would that rank us??

So, you see, it's not just a gripe about taxes.

Or about funding public education.

Or about buildings.

It's about using the money wisely that they are entrusted with.

And when we make this kind of comparison,

it becomes very obvious that Siloam is being a bit extravagant.

Maybe they're aching for the big city flair.

Maybe it is just about having something to boast about,

like the paper said

(what poor wording.)

Education is really about learning.

It's about imparting knowledge and leading children into a

lifetime love of learning.

And, for that, large expensive buildings are not necessary.

We do not need to outdo everyone else.

We do not need to pay almost twice as much per square foot as Springdale's HarBer high, just to have something better.

Who can afford that?? This is not about one-upping everyone else.

It should be about education.

A very serious part of education in any field is training in wise use of funding.

How to get the most for the money...

not how to spend the most money to get something....

53 million is NOT necessary.
I Voted NO.


David Franks said...

Thank you for your pleasant tone over at the Iconoclast blog. I see your reasoning here, and again, your tone is pleasant (though the blog style is hard for me to read). I tried to do some research on the detailed costs of Har-Ber and couldn't find more information, other than a later project summary that gave the cost per square foot as $93.48.

I think you make a good point, though I'm not sure you have taken construction costs into consideration--they've gone up significantly in the last couple of years, and the cost/sf of these school projects have followed them. The Siloam Springs project could probably do without the curved configuration, and a traditional facade might be less expensive. On the other hand, an engaging environment enhances education. I went to high school in a windowless flat box.

I could offer a word or two on the justification for property taxes. If I decide to do so, I might post over at the Iconoclast, since you made your point there.

Regarding the back-biting, manipulation, social pressure and stigma: I haven't been through Siloam in a while. Are those signs still up?

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Wow.... Wendy, I hope you are ready for this one. We are called to be martyrs for our faith but not so sure about our taxes! :) I actually have a comment about this one. A friend that is a SS alumni and has a business here has tried to get on staff at our HS for two years. Each year she has been trumped by someone just out of college - therefore she continues to work in Springdale. If we are asked to pay such a high millage - would it be too much to ask that they consider hiring someone from the community that will have to help pay that? We want great buildings and mediocre teachers straight out of college? I guess they call it saving money since they can pay a lower wage. Makes me sad that we have no community spirit.

MemoryMaker ( I cant seem to sign into my account this morning...)

I havent decided where I stand on the millage increase yet but I have been more educated my your views. Thanks for being the kind of friend that isnt afraid to take a stand.

Mrs Smiley Joe said...

At least you are educating yourself, or at least trying, so many just vote based on how their friend tells them to vote.

And, when you stick your head above the crowd, you're gonna have tomatoes thrown at you. Just get enough to make some salsa or something...marinara maybe?!

Jerri Dalrymple said...

Very well put, my dear friend. Yes, we can take into account that costs have risen (but a lot of construction costs have not because they are hungry for work in the current economy). However, costs have not risen NEARLY enough to justify $53 million!!! Lavish vs. cardboard box....can't we find a happy medium? Isn't that what COMMUNITY is all about? Working together for the good of one another? I sincerely am hoping and praying for God's will to be done here. I, too, am SS alumni, and agree something needs done, but can't fathom that "something" involving such a gross amount of money. Wendy, thank you for all of your research and time spent trying to inform people simply of the statistics to take into consideration. :0)

Sun-Kissed Savages said...

Memory Maker, I agree.
I think I've remained respectful. I've tried to just post facts. No pressure. I'm not mad at anyone for not taking "my side." We're all still friends, as far as I'm concerned. But others don't see it this way-- so many poeple are angry at me. And why? Because I think this is an outrageous price and project? I'm not against education. I love kids. I love learning. I know they need a new building....but THIS plan is not the wisest use of funding.
I don't want to be martyred!!

Arato Girl said...

Well, if a simple "Vote Yes" shirt is persuasive enough for some people... It works for me. I think I'm going to vote "Yes" on everything now, every chance I get!

Why not a simple "Vote" shirt? Or, "Be Informed and Vote"? If you're confident about your cause, it seems to strike the best tone to at least seem to let people make their own decision. :-)

This comment may seem irrelevant now, but oh well.

Sun-Kissed Savages said...

DF, it's apples to apples. Rogers high is being built this year. There are hyperlinks in my post to the information. Even considering inflation, Har-Ber has much better rates.

Memory Maker, Really, I'm not ready to be martyred. And I'm not sure why people are SO angry with my take on this, when I'm being respectful and just trying to post facts as I see them. Too much social pressure right now. I need a disguise to go out!

Smiley, I love salsa.

Jerri, thanks for your continued support!

Arato, it's not irrelevant yet. The actual voting day is tomorrow. And hopefully people will be more swayed by facts and conviction than PP (people pleasing.)

Ann-Marie said...

Here's a break for you -

My mom called me today and asked "Who is that savage person leaving comments?" I laughed SO hard!!! I told her who you were and not a "crazy" savage person.

She says, "Hi!"