We the bloggers have temporarily come out of retirement with this short post. As everyone knows, tomorrow morning the Board of Education will hold an unprecedented Saturday morning meeting (9 a.m. at the Administration Center) to further discuss, and possibly approve, going to referendum next March to raise funds for a new Hinsdale Middle School.
Dr. White's updated report, in which he recommends the board approve going to referendum, can be accessed at the following link:
An updated power point presentation on the costs of the new building, as well as two new cost options, can be accessed at the following three links:
As you can see the hefty $73 million price tag has been neatly trimmed to a still outrageous amount in both options. Option A will cost $66,451,803. Option B will cost $63,709,009.
We will not get into the details of what has been slashed out of the original $73,000,000. Rather, we will simply point out the obvious. D181 taxpayers are all being taken on a crazy roller coaster ride. The price goes up and down and up and down. Fast and furiously, we are spinning out of control on this ride, and we don't know what the next curve or hill will reveal. There is absolutely no reason for any taxpayer in the communities feeding into D181 to believe for one minute that either of the numbers presented in these options are solid, final numbers.
One month ago, we thought the BOE had selected an architect firm that wasn't the most expensive, but was still going to charge upwards of $45 million for a brand new school that the administration and certain board members marveled would be a crown jewel. Some in the community, and wiser board members (Gray, Burns and Giltner), thought the design was too extravagant and would cause unfair disparity between CHMS and HMS. Rather than deal with the disparity issues, the project plans became even more extravagant and the cost ballooned to the projected $73 million discussed at last Monday's board meeting. Faced with the obvious public dismay and sticker shock caused by the 55% inflation over earlier projections, the administration has scrambled to make it right, but only after four board four board members (Gray, Burns, Giltner and Vorobiev) insisted from the outset of the meeting that this was simply too much money to ask the taxpayers to fund. Board President Garg came around at the end of the meeting to join the four board members, but Clarin and Turek seemed comfortable approving a $73,000,000 referendum questions.
Now the revamped numbers have been released and we are left asking, is this a joke?Does the administration really think that it can slice off $7,000,000 (Option A) or$10,000,000 (Option B) in just three days and expect the BOE to be comfortable that either option is the right path to follow and that the new projections are accurate? At the end of the day, both of these options are still $20,000,000 more than community members were led to believe we would have to pay for a new school. The bait and switch tactic that the administration has pulled on the board and community is unconscionable.
We urge all community members to attend tomorrow's board meeting and let the administration know how you really feel, before the BOE votes on whether or not the time is right -- and more importantly -- the price is right to go to referendum in less than three months. Hopefully, rational minds will prevail at tomorrow morning's meeting and the board will halt the roller coaster ride and get back to the drawing board.