Friday, October 29, 2010

EASD: Pool Renovation Vote Fails in Tie at School Board Meeting

After firing 72 teachers, is this the right 
time to renovate the high school pool?

Posted by: Noel Jones

Since my last post regarding the Easton Area School District, entitled "EASD Finds Mysterious $3.2 Million to Balance the Budget," it looks like administrators have already found a way to spend the found money. 

Renovations to the high school swimming pool, the bids for which ranged from $700K - $1.7 million, were a bone of contention between administrators and taxpayers last budget season, inspiring some taxpayers to suggests--to the gasps of certain administrators and board members--that the district consider closing the pool until the economy recovers and no longer requiring a swimming credit for graduation. 

Well, Colin McEvoy of the Express-Times reports that at Thursday's school board meeting, pool renovations--which had come off the table during contentious budget meetings where EASD Business Manager, Marie Guidry, had projected an 11.85% tax increase, and a $6.1 million dip into the reserve fund--resurfaced for a vote. Now, after a 2.35% tax increase, the firings of 72 teachers, and the recent revelation that the school district will only have to go $3.2 million into the reserve fund after all, the district tried to pass the pool renovations again. But with board member Kerri Leonard-Ellison out for medical reasons, the vote came to a tie, and where a vote ties, funding dies, as reported by Christopher Baxter of The Morning Call. So it looks like the taxpayers have narrowly been spared the expense of the pool for now.


Anonymous said...

We Nazareans are, indeed, neighbors of Easton. And you should just use our pool. It rarely has anything but water in it, and I'm sure the spendaholics up here would be glad to let you use it.

Now, some may say we should charge you something for the privilege. But you know that we have money trees here, don't you? If the pool gets too crowded, we can just put in another one where those unused classrooms are sitting.

I'm sure those that the good people who run our school district, and those who support them, realize that offering use of our pool is simply the right thing to do to.

noel jones said...

Thanks for posting! Nazareth is definitely a Neighbor of Easton--and it would be fantastic if different school districts started working together to alleviate each other's student needs during these difficult budget years. I have also heard that the Wilson pool does not get used much...any Wilson readers out there that can weight in on that?

Maybe if one district has an underused pool, and another has an underused park, and another has an underused gym, different districts could start talking and figuring out how to help each other out instead of spending more in a budget crisis?

Anonymous said...

This issue is just the tip of the problem at EASD. There is a total lack of a strategic plan and action items to get them there. It is obvious from reports that the EASD just acts on theior engineers info and its the engineering firm that is really making the decisions and then using others as an excuse ---- i.e. the h/c ramps at March were blamed on the city and it is a state reg not a local reg that they didn't follow.

The swimming pool is important and had the school district had a formal capital replacement plan it wouldn't be an issue. Also, open the darn pool to the community. Don't let it be there unused like the individual from Nazareth stated. Let's open the schools.

noel jones said...

Anon 9:48--I remember residents bringing up ideas for the pools to generate revenue during last year's budget meetings--they need to revisit the idea if they are not going to close the pool.

As for planning--I couldn't agree more. For instance, how is it that taxpayer dollars were ever spent to build a roof on a pool without insulation in the first place? As I understand it, every time a job isn't done right the first time, D'Huy Engineering makes money gathering bids for the district (and sometimes getting the work themselves) to fix the project later.

Spending on the advice of D'Huy without proper planning has got to stop.

Anonymous said...

Time to get rid of the management of schools bu the engineers form of governance.