Letters to the Editor

School remodel is costly

The school district is requesting $110 million to remodel 240,000 square feet, as well as improvements to the Performing Arts Center (PAC).

I first heard about this about two months ago. Since I was not familiar with the PAC, I went online to the school district's homepage, and what it said about the Performing Arts Center was "beautiful, state of the art." I notice that now, when they want money, that has been removed from the site. But you can still go to auburnsymphony.org, where it is described as "a beautiful 1,100-seat, state-of-the-art theater, recognized as one of the top acoustical halls for music performance in the region."

Since when is "beautiful state-of-art" not good enough for teaching and learning purposes? That is the purpose of school district owned property, is it not?

We bought our first home in Auburn in 1989. While we owned the house our roof started leaking, so we put on a new roof. The furnace started breaking down on a regular basis, so we replaced it. Eventually the old fuse box started blowing fuses almost daily because it could not handle all of our modern day appliances, so we had the house rewired.

We did not tear our house down. The house is still there, still looks well cared for and appears to be serving another family as well as it served us. I suspect that decades from now that house, as well as the others on the block, will still be standing and still serving well.

Remodeling 240,000 square feet, or tearing it down, for $110 million works out to $458 a square foot. Any homeowner who has done any remodeling knows that this is a ridiculous amount of money. They say it will save us $250,000 a year in energy costs, but at that rate it will take more than 400 years to pay for itself.

They tell us that it will not raise our taxes. But what they don't tell us is that if we say no to this ridiculous request, our property taxes will actually go down. Yes folks, something in your lives, other than your house value, will actually go down.

If you read the bond in its entirety, it says that if they have more money than is needed for Auburn High. The school board can use the remainder for whatever they see fit. That sounds to me like a very good incentive to overstate what they really need. $110 million sounds more like a wish list for Santa than a request to the taxpayers. My suggestion to the school district is to ask us for what they really need and send that wish list to the North Pole.

– Richan Jenson

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