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Surprised at Federal Way school district’s handling of school rebuild

It seems they immediately came up with a “magic” solution.

I cannot believe my eyes at times when I read the local paper. In the April 12 edition, I had to grab my “read between the lines” glasses because my normal ones were making me dizzy attempting to make sense of the article regarding Federal Way Public Schools.

It seems FWPS hired a contractor(s) to rebuild, remodel, improve, build new Totem and Star Lake school facilities. But the contractor informed the district that the original occupation date for the fall of 2021 has been revised to Totem opening in the winter of 2021 and Star Lake in the fall of 2022. Supposedly, this enables best practices with our tax dollars. The developer called the new build and remodel completion deadline aggressive in nature and could result in $1.5 million in overtime costs.

Obviously, FWPS leadership gathered themselves in one of the lunchrooms or maybe one of the bathrooms and talked about this. It seems they immediately came up with a “magic” solution: “Let’s buy the old rundown DeVry building and house our students there. We can repurpose a big chunk of that tax money we were gifted ($13 million) and make it work.” What a grand idea they must have though. Oh, by the way, the renovations will cost $18 million. So the FWPS is going to spend $31 million to maybe save overtime costs of $1.5 million? What great use of our money, dont you think?

That’s not all folks, when we are done with the former DeVry building they’re going to turn into another school building for a program we don’t already have in place obviously, a regional early learning center “intended” to reduce K-3 class sizes across the school district. Where’s the money coming from for those new educators and ancillary staffing needs?

It gets better. FWPS has absolutely no idea what the additional costs are going to be for busing children from all over the district to this newly minted educational experience for only God knows the number of impacted families that may have to drive their children to this facility.

I have a suggestion. Let’s gather those hardworking negotiators together and get them into a class at one of the high schools and let’s teach them how to negotiate. There should be a penalty clause in those contracts for “not completing the projects on time.”

I am surprised there isn’t. Are you?

Norma Blanchard

Federal Way

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