Time for new school is now
October 10, 2012 · Updated 7:19 PM
When you mark your Nov. 6 ballot to support your favorite candidates, you can also vote to support thousands of current and future students of Auburn High School.
You can do that by voting yes for Auburn School District Proposition 1. Voter approval of 60 percent will fund $110 million in general obligation bonds to build a new Auburn High to replace the aging and deteriorating school that opened in 1951.
It's the right thing to do. Why? Because my wife and I have voted to support every school district measure since 1974 – along with a few thousand of our neighbors in the Auburn High School attendance area.
Since the 1990s, those past measures have funded construction of Auburn Mountainview and Auburn Riverside high schools, along with Rainier and Mt. Baker middle schools, all elegant and expansive brick structures designed with the facilities and technology to deliver a 21st-century education.
Meanwhile, in the Auburn High School attendance area, teenagers attend the aging high school completed in 1951. Our kids also attend Cascade Middle School, along with Washington and Dick Scobee elementary schools, all of which appear to have been built sometime between the early 1950s and around 1968.
Voters in the Auburn Mountainview and Auburn Riverside attendance areas may conclude that it makes economic sense to go ahead and keep on paying an extra $250,000 or more every year in utilities and maintenance costs to keep the old Auburn High in place, instead of approving $110 million for a new school comparable to Auburn Mountainview and Auburn Riverside.
On the other hand, would you want your kids to switch to Auburn High, where it's cold in the classrooms all winter, where buckets are set out in classrooms to catch drips from leaking ceilings during heavy rains, and where students and staff must evacuate the building now and then when the boiler starts sputtering?
Approval of Proposition 1 means a new Auburn High comparable to the new high schools, with better technology, security, disability access, reduced energy demand and a better learning environment.
A letter to the editor in last week's edition erroneously said the $110 million would be spent to rebuild the Auburn Performing Arts Center. That's incorrect. The measure pays for a new Auburn High, plus some improvements to the existing Automotive Technology Center and the PAC, which is used by all Auburn schools.
And voter approval won't increase school district property taxes, since other funding measures approved by voters in the past are being paid off.
Voting yes now instead of years from now also means considerable savings, because the cost of construction will only increase in the future.
So I and a few thousand neighbors around Auburn High are asking all of you throughout the Auburn School District to support our kids and our community and vote yes for Proposition 1.
I promise that I and all those neighbors will vote to support needed improvements for your schools in the coming years.
– Bruce Rommel