Letters to the Editor

A vote against the school bond

I called the Federal Way school district office to inquire how they can justify all the non-essential capital projects included in the Feb. 7 bond proposition. I was answered, “The arts community supports it.” Well, yeah, it looks to be written by and for the arts community.

I share the outrage of Decatur High School choir and orchestra director Steve Gorringe as he expressed in The Mirror’s Oct. 1, 2005 edition (Your Turn), decrying the fact that we’re still paying for a multi-million dollar expansion and renovation of Federal Way High and now, just three years later, are asked to demolish it to put a performance auditorium on that site for the benefit of the local “adult talent.”

The other two extrinsic projects are egregious as well: (1) The tearing down of Memorial Stadium and rebuilding it on city property at Celebration Park is a wrong and frivolous use of school funds. (2) Creation of a 39-acre environmental center is equally frivolous.

Additionally, future maintenance and operation levy requests would necessarily be astronomical with these huge public facilities to manage and maintain in addition to the schools.

Look to the city’s example: The unpopular Knutzen Family Theater is a big loser for the city. When built, it necessitated the city’s hiring of a high-priced theater executive administrator to manage it. Operating costs and maintenance are an endless drain on the city budget. The city doesn’t charge the groups that use it enough to recover costs, so we taxpayers are stuck with the burden. In fact, the utility tax was mandated specifically for that theater after taxpayers/voters rejected a bond proposal to build a performance theater. That tax was to have expired years ago, but the city decided to extend it into perpetuity because of the continuing drain on the budget.

These proposed, huge, non-essential projects would likewise be an endless drain on the school district’s budget, but on a much grander scale. That’s not right for taxpayers or for the kids.

This Feb. 7 bond issue goes far beyond the scope of the school district’s authority to provide educational facilities for the youth of the district. It should be soundly rejected.

We’ll vote for a capital proposal when the district sticks to its purview and presents a ballot measure that is reasonable and necessary. This one deserves to be trounced.

Marie Adair

Federal Way

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