Sunday, March 13, 2016

A New Series: The REST of the FACTS on the HMS Referendum. Part 2 -- All It Took Was Researching "Fact #1" to Disclose the Unfinished, Irresponsible Process that has led to the $65 Million HMS Referendum Question

With the election only two days away, we wanted to present you with additional information that was not included in the HMS Mailer (paid for with Taxpayer dollars) that the D181 administration sent to all D181 Postal Patrons last week.  Our original plan was to go Fact by Fact through the district's mailer,  but shortly after we began this exercise, we realized that we don't need to go beyond Fact 1 to establish that this Referendum has been a RUSH to the polls, done in complete disregard of the NEEDS at other schools and the Future Fiscal Health of the entire district.  

We believe that after you have read the additional information we will provide below on Fact 1, you will agree that before the BOE  asks us to approve a $65 million project ($90 million with bond interest) to build ONE school, it must hold additional public meetings to FINISH the Facilities Master Plan.  The BOE must first address the NEEDS at ALL NINE of the district's schools, vet and discuss ALL of the Capital Projects identified (and excluded) in the Facilities Master Plan in the context of discussing the district's fiscal future, and actually VOTE TO APPROVE the Facilities Master Plan.  It has not done so as of today's date.  We believe you will agree with our conclusion that the ONLY responsible vote on March 15, 2016 will be a NO vote!

Fact 1 Presented in the District's HMS Mailer states: "Our Facilities Committee, comprised of parents, residents, staff, and Board members, has worked for more than two years to create a District-wide Facilities Master Plan supported by multiple data points and benchmarked against standards. This work has included special focus on HMS, which stands apart from the other D181 schools in regard to the level of its building challenges."  

As a first step in looking at what Fact 1 really means, we spent hours researching the Facilities Master Plan by reviewing all available online documentation, and then listening to the FULL Board of Education's discussion (or lack thereof) of the plan.  What we discovered was truly enlightening.  Here are KEY ADDITIONAL FACTS you need to know about D181's Fact 1:

1.  While it may be true that the Facilities Committee (which only has 2 board members on it -- Mridu Garg and Gary Clarin) has been in place for more than 2 years, it is NOT TRUE that they have been working for "more than two years" to create a District-wide Facilities Master Plan.  A September 28, 2015 Memo prepared for the BOE by Assistant Superintendent of Business and Operations, Ken Surma, specifically states: "Over the past 12-16 months, the Facilities Committee has been working on gathering resources and data to develop a Facilities Master Plan for District 181." If one is to believe Mr. Surma's BOE report, this means that as of the date of the HMS Mailer, the Facilities Committee had, at most, worked on the Plan for 17 to 21 months. (Source:$file/BOE%20Report_Facilities%20Master%20Plan%20(Draft)_9_28_15.pdf)

2.  The DRAFT has NEVER been vetted or substantively discussed 
by the FULL BOE, finalized or approved by the BOE. 

  • The Title of the Mr. Surma's Memo is "Facilities Master Plan (Draft)."  This Memo and a 780 page long Draft Facilities Master Plan were included on the September 28, 2015 BOE Business Meeting Agenda.  The Plan describes potential capital projects that may need to be completed at each of the districts schools over the next ten years.  The Draft Facilities Plan can be accessed at:$file/Facilities%20Master%20Plan%20-%209.27.2015%20-%20reduced%20size.pdf.
  • The DRAFT Facilities Master Plan is on the 9/28/15 BOE Meeting Agenda under "Informational Items."  This means that the plan was not included on the Agenda for action purposes.  The last line of Mr. Surma's Memo confirms this fact.
  • We listened to the Podcast of this meeting to see whether the seven BOE Members had any substantive discussion on the 780 page long DRAFT. They did NOT. The Podcast for this meeting can be accessed at:  The "discussion" - if you want to even call it that -- on the 780 page long DRAFT Facilities Master Plan that covers all NINE schools, lasted a grand total of 3 minutes and 4 seconds between Time Counter 3:04:50 and 3:07:54.  What is fascinating is that the "discussion" on this informational agenda item came after 10 pm and hours into a meeting at which the focus was on selecting the architecture firm to build a new HMS.  Here is the link to the Agenda, so you can check it out for yourself:  
  • We encourage our readers to take the time to listen to the THREE minutes of discussion.  Keep in mind that we have reviewed the AGENDAS for ALL Subsequent Board meetings through the March 14, 2016, and the DRAFT Facilities Master Plan has NOT been on any agendas since September 28, 2015.  Please listen to these THREE minutes,  because they are quite telling of the cavalier approach the D181 Administration has taken.  We highlight the following Quotes from the three minutes:
    • Dr. White starts off "joking" about the plan by saying, "I was hoping Ken would do a thousand slide presentation this evening, but I'm going to ask him not to do that."
    • He follows up this "funny remark" with "One of our goals was to get you a DRAFT Facilities Master plan, you see that in the board packet. It's not intended to be anything more than a draft.  At this point it has not been vetted by the Facilities Committee. The committee still needs to have that work done so that we can prioritize if you will and provide the board options as you consider that as part of future work. We met the target of at least getting a draft in your hands as a starting place."
    • Dr. White then ends his "presentation" by stating "So, as you review it, let us know if you have questions or comments as to how we might be able to restructure it to meet your needs."
  • What is clear is that this DRAFT was intended by the Administration to "check the box" so to speak and meet one of the board's goals.   A draft, however, is useless, if it is not substantively reviewed in FULL, which it was not on September 28, 2015, or any date since then by either the BOE or the Facilities Committee.  As Dr. White pointed out, even the Facilities Committee had not "vetted" the Draft before it was shown to the BOE!  Yet despite these FACTS, between 9/28/15 and December 2015, the BOE was asked by the Administration to plow ahead with a decision to go to referendum to build a new HMS, only ONE of the NINE buildings whose needs are addressed in the DRAFT!  
  • Following Dr. White's "presentation," the only board member to speak on this Draft was the Board President, who asked Mr. Surma to explain what in the Draft addressed potential expenses that might need to be incurred on Hinsdale Middle School if the BOE decided not to go to referendum.  He highlighted that the report included $50 million to build a new HMS and an additional $3 million to cover identified repairs that HMS would need if a new school wasn't built.  What caught our attention was when he stated that he had "budgeted" or "put in" $50 million to build a new school.  That amount is $15 million LESS than the $65 million referendum amount!
  • That was the extent of the FULL BOE and Administrative discussion on the DRAFT Facilities Master Plan in the last 2 1/2 years (to use the date in the HMS Mailer)!  And to repeat, the Plan has NOT BEEN VETTED, FINALIZED OR APPROVED by the FULL BOE!
3.  As interested Taxpayers, who are being asked to approve NOT $50 million (as "budgeted" or "put in"), rather $65 million ($90 million with bond interest), to build ONE school, we decided to keep digging and see what this DRAFT actually provided for the other 8 schools.  A "snapshot" of the amounts the DRAFT Plan included for all nine schools was included at the bottom of Mr. Surma's 9/28/15 Memo to the BOE.  We have copied it for you below:

(Source:  9/28/15 Surma Memo)

4.  You will note several things from Mr. Surma's Snap Shot.
  • First, he claims that the "Financial Impact" of all projects were completed in the Draft Facilities Master Plan would be $63,512,851.34.
  • His line item for HMS is consistent with what he stated during the 9/28/15 board meeting -- he lists an amount of $53,543,384.24.  The footnote referenced after this amount is included at the end of his memo and states:  "1 This total includes $50,000,000 for the possible construction of a new or renovated Hinsdale Middle School along with the expenditures associated with items identified in the Facility Condition Assessment Report and Life/Safety Survey. "
  • So, according to Mr. Surma, the new HMS would cost $50 million.  
  • The other 8 schools' identified capital projects totaled nearly $10 million -- to be exact, $9,969,467.10.  
5.  Yet NONE of the capital projects identified in the Draft Plan for the other EIGHT schools were substantively discussed by the BOE before they decided to move forward with a $65 million school.  Of course, this means that the Total Financial Expenditure listed in Mr. Surma's 9/28/15 Memo is no longer accurate.  The total now stands at nearly $75 million (we have not included the +$3 million expenditures Mr. Surma indicated were included in the Draft for work to be done to HMS if there was no referendum).

6.  In further reviewing the materials that the Facilities Committee reviewed the last time they EVER discussed the DRAFT Facilities Master Plan -- September 17, 2015 -- (Click to Open Committee Meeting Agenda) -- we also found a document titled:  Projects Eliminated from Facilities Master Plan.  It can be accessed at:$file/FMP%20-%20Projects%20Eliminated%20from%20Facilites%20Master%20Plan.pdf.

  • This document identifies nearly $33.3 million in capital projects for all nine schools that were ELIMINATED from the DRAFT Plan that the BOE was ultimately shown on September 28, 2015.  
  • Of the $33.3 million, $15 Million was included for Hinsdale Middle School's NEW BUILDING CONSTRUCTION, leaving $18.3 million in additional capital projects for the other 8 schools.
  • We did not listen to the podcast of this meeting, because what was critical to us was that somehow before the BOE ever was shown the DRAFT Plan, the Facilities Committee reduced nearly $28.3 million in capital projects that had been identified for 8 schools, down to under $10 million WITHOUT the FULL BOE ever getting to participate in a substantive discussion on this "winnowing down."
  • But of GREATER significance to the current $65 million HMS referendum we are being asked to approve, is the fact that someone -- Mr. Surma or the Facilities committee??? -- decided to reduce the amount to build a new HMS from $65 million to $50 million and only reflect $50 million in the DRAFT Facilities Master Plan.
So there you have it -- ADDITIONAL FACTS -- regarding the work of Dr. White, Mr. Surma, the Facilities Committee and BOE and the District-Wide Facilities Master Plan listed in Fact 1 of the HMS MAILER.  What do these facts reveal?  They reveal that the Plan is still just a draft.  If one is to believe Dr. White, as of 9/28/15, this district wide plan had not been vetted by either the Facilities Committee or the BOE. Since that date, it hasn't been either. There is NO FINAL, BOARD APPROVED Facilities Master Plan. The BOE's last "look see" into the informational material that Dr. White and Mr. Surma presented them to review on 9/28/15 listed the amount budgeted (or to use Mr. Surma's corrected phrase -- "put in") for construction of a new HMS at $50 million, not the $65 million that the board approved in December 2015.  Since deciding to build a new middle school, selecting an architect and allowing the price of the winning architect's proposal to swing wildly from  $46 million to $73 million to $65 million all in the course of two weeks,  Dr. White has NEVER asked the BOE to go back to the DRAFT Facilities Master Plan to see if they were on target.  Nor have they discussed how or when they will finance the $10 million in projects for the other 8 schools.  Nor have they discussed why additional $18.3 million in projects identified for the other 8 schools were eliminated from the Draft Facilities Master Plan.

Shouldn't each of the following steps have been taken BEFORE the Administration asked the BOE to approve going to referendum on HMS?  
  • Step 1 -- Discuss the substance of the DRAFT plan -- what is included for each school, what was eliminated for each school and why, what will the plan cost to implement and how will the projects be funded?  
  • Step 2 -- Have the BOE Vote to Approve a final Facilities Master Plan.  (Just like D86 did as it final step before now beginning the phase of prioritizing the project in the plan BEFORE deciding when to go to referendum and for what amount.)  
  • Step 3 -- Prioritize the projects.  
  • Step 4 -- Decide the timeline for when each of the prioritized projects will be undertaken.  
  • Step 5 -- Decide how the projects would be funded and if necessary if, when and for what amount to go to referendum.  
  • Step 6 -- ESTABLISH a BUDGET in the Facilities Master Plan for each project -- including a new HMS -- that will cap the amount architects are allowed to use in developing their proposals for the project.
NONE of these steps were taken, and yet, in two days, we are being asked to approve a referendum to build a $65 million school, which was supposed to cost (at most) $50 million in the Draft Facilities Master Plan?   We are being asked to approve a referendum for ONE school when the identified needs of the 8 other schools haven't been fully vetted by the BOE?  Well, we are not going to condone the UNFINISHED WORK of Dr. White, Mr. Surma, the Facilities Committee or the FULL Board of Education. It is clear as day that they RUSHED the HMS referendum because they didn't want to put the question on the ballot during a national election -- they refused to slow the train down by a short 8 month period, enough time potentially to complete Steps 1 through 6 above, because they wanted to avoid the November election. They didn't want to risk putting their referendum question on a ballot that might also include a D86 referendum question.  Well, in our opinion, that is simply inappropriate and reckless and irresponsible. The HMS MAILER does a great job obfuscating all of these undisclosed facts by listing 9 additional "facts." We are not going to take the time needed to dissect each of them. We started a list of additional information that is not included in them, but decided that undisclosed information surrounding Fact 1 is so damning that it is not necessary to go beyond it.

On March 15, 2016, we are going to VOTE NO on the HMS Referendum. We hope you will join us.  It is time for all parties involved to FINISH what they started and FIRST finalize the DISTRICT-WIDE Facilities Master Plan. Only then can the BOE make any kind of fiscally responsible decisions that take into consideration the needs at ALL of our schools.  


Anonymous said...

Yikes. I guess the other schools don't count. Are we going to have a second referendum so that those kids and teachers can have the right environment at those schools. Perhaps the young parents whose arms are being twisted to vote for the vanity project could consider the six years their kids will spend in an elementary school without adequate capital expenditures. Could any of the YESHMS crowd that read this please respond with your views on a) the absence of any master plan and b) where is the money for the other schools going to come from and c) what happened to the projects on the other schools.

Anonymous said...

I agree with 1:05. I think when I read the master list back in September I recall some of the needs for the other schools were pressing as well - things like HVAC, roofs and other essential mechanics. It is true that HMS is our most pressing need right now, but we should address the HMS need in a more modest manner so that we can likewise meet the pressing needs of fhe other schools without overburdening the taxpayers (remember d86 is going to referendum in November too).

Julie Liesse said...

Part 1 Letter from Community Member Julie Liesse:

Hello friends and neighbors:

I am a former PTO president and dedicated parent volunteer at Hinsdale Middle School. There is no parent who has given more time and love to HMS over the years. Ditto to District 181, as a task force member (multiple times), a board member on the D181 Foundation and a taxpayer who has supported every single building referendum in my 25 years in Hinsdale.

However, I am voting NO for the referendum asking voters to authorize building a new middle school.

I know what you're thinking: I'm just a grouchy old parent who doesn't want to pay for a new school now that my child is no longer in D181 (and I have college bills to pay next year!). Nope. That's not it. (Although the college bills are daunting...)

Here's my reasoning in 100 words or less:

HMS is fine. Our kids have done just fine there. We D181 taxpayers already have huge construction debt to pay off--including bills for HMS repairs. The D181 administration has more important things to do, like getting the curriculum right. A new building has questionable educational value. This particular proposal is expensive, likely to go over budget and includes several dubious features. Including interest, its starting price tag is $90 million. And all of us need to consider the impact on our tax burden in light of state budget issues and looming facilities requests from District 86.

If you want more than that:

I was a Lane School PTO board member the last time the idea was floated to tear down HMS--less than a decade ago. We assembled a very knowledgeable task force to look into the usability of the building; their conclusion was that HMS was fine. It's not beautiful, but it's fine. It was fine enough for D181 to promptly invest $5 million for a new HVAC system, including all-school air conditioning, installed in 2009, that we taxpayers have not even finished paying for. That's in addition to the millions we have already invested fixing the current building. If we need additional fixes, a new roof, or an addition, surely we could do a lot--with a lot less than $65 million. (And that is the $65 million price tag not taking into account the long-term interest payments that will ratchet up the total to $92 million, according to the district.)

I continue to follow the happenings in D181 and like many parents, am discouraged by what I have seen. The central administration clearly has not yet sorted out all of the problems in the very basic, central business it has: Educating our students. There remain unsolved problems in the core math, English and science curriculum (and I think that is a kind way of referring to the situation in the district). I personally have no desire to trust a $65 million construction project to this administration--a project that surely will provide another distraction from fixing the continuing problems in the classroom.

I don't see any evidence that a new building will enhance the educational experience of HMS students. I will tell you that my son attended The Lane, one of the older, modest schools in D181, and did fine there. He did just fine at HMS. And he now has done more than fine at his third older school building, Hinsdale Central--which is in worse shape than HMS. I have learned that motivated students and good teachers do just fine.

But even if none of this matters to you--even if you think we need a new middle school building--this is most certainly not the best proposal.

Julie Liesse said...

Part 2 Letter from Community Member Julie Liesse:

Consider how rushed and fraught with problems the process of getting this proposal on the ballot has been; it has been clear that the D181 administration rushed through the process of properly preparing a plan and properly vetting ideas and contractors.

For instance, who possibly would add to this proposal a running track? Or the cost of a 500-seat auditorium that is not large enough for all-school assemblies or even an HMS band concert? Some say other community groups will use this proposed auditorium, but what outside group would really want to bring 500 people to a facility that would face the same parking issues we all have at HMS? A parking garage is not part of the plan, either in design or cost estimates.

(And nothing personal, but as a Village of Hinsdale taxpayer I am not excited about adding the cost of a parking garage onto this tax bill....because Hinsdale would have to foot that bill on its own. When we have continuing, serious problems with our roads that need fixing first.)

But even if you still want to support this particular proposal, please consider two more things:

First, I'm now a trustee for the Hinsdale Public Library. A couple of weeks ago I attended a meeting with two dozen Illinois state legislators. Every one of them stood up and told our gathering that the budget impasse in Springfield shows no sign of breaking. A property tax freeze is looming as well--meaning that our school district funding could be frozen while costs including insurance and salaries continue to rise. Adding an expensive, ill-thought-out construction plan to our liabilities might not be the best idea at the moment when sources of revenue are in jeopardy.

Second, know that District 86 is well on the way to asking all of us to support needed work to Hinsdale Central H.S. The D86 Facilities Committee has been working hard to finalize its own proposals for work on a building that, frankly, needs more help and plays a more critical role in the community. I know that it's theoretically better to consider both proposals on their individual merits, but in reality as taxpayers we have to make choices. If you, like me, have watched your children progress through all 13 years of elementary, middle and high school, you maybe also realize that the best use of resources--at least the brick and mortar part--seem to be at the beginning and the end of that process, in the very beginning, critical years of a child's schooling, and in the years when college prep is at hand. (And if you really want to check out some facilities issues, go look at some of the Hinsdale Central science labs...the band room that can't hold even close to the program's 250 band students...the sketchy internet connections...the classrooms there without windows...etc. And those facilities are used by students in high-stakes situations, getting ready to take college-admission and AP tests as they compete to get into college.)

A friend of mine said that she had a lot of reasons to not support this plan--and only one reason FOR supporting it: That it's sort of embarrassing for a community like Hinsdale to have a school building that looks like HMS. If that seriously is the best argument for this $92 million proposal, I hope others will also vote no on March 15.

Thanks for listening....

Julie Liesse

Elm Parent said...

WOW! First, I'd like to thank Julie Liesse. What a thoughtful and thorough letter. I wasn't on the fence before, but if I were, your letter would definitely convince me to vote NO.

As for this latest post. I am really shocked at Dr. White, Mr. Surma and the Facilities Committee. So this whole time they have been babbling about the Facilities Master Plan -- spent money to reference in in the Mailer -- and yet it has never even been finalized? You have go to be kidding me?

What were they all thinking? How dare the administration present a draft to the board and yet not insist that the board fully discuss it and then approve it before picking ANY of the project, let alone one that will cost $15 million more than is in the draft?

Heads should roll over this screw up.

Anonymous said...

Well, well, well. I had a VOTE NO sign and it was STOLEN! Thanks a lot VOTE YES people. There was no wind storm or snow storm to blame. It was stolen. I only had it up since yesterday. You are pathetic and desperate.

The Parents said...

2:17: We agree with your characterization of the thief's behavior. We encourage community members like yourself to report all thefts to their local police department. Desperate actions by desperate referendum supporters should be responded to through legal channels. Don't lower yourselves to their level by stealing their signs in retaliation.

Anonymous said...

How ironic that the referendum amount almost matches the total needed expenditures for all of the schools in the district.

Anonymous said...

New Series, Part 2 is excellent, as are the comments after that post. I like the fact that everything in the New Series post has links to confirm all the information given. Great job parents!

Anonymous said...

I just took a tour of the building you are all fighting so desperately to keep and I couldn't disagree with this blog more. I'm sorry, but you really need to see it for yourself.

30+ year resident said...

One thing both positions can agree on is the right to free speech and the ability to have signs in a yard no matter your Vote - be it YES or NO. Let's not pretend though that only a "No" sign was taken..... there have been plenty of Vote Yes signs taken - especially last Monday when someone was spotted removing signs from yards and putting them directly in the recycling bins at the end of driveways. Everyone should have respect for their neighbors and fellow community members and leave their signs as is and allow them to vote whatever way they choose without persecution and derogatory comments.

Anonymous said...

Hate to be nit-picky, but coming from a School District, do you think someone in Admin can proofread for grammar before sending something like that Referendum Glossy out???? Fact 1 reads: "Our Facilities Committee, comprised of parents......."

Proper grammar is:

"comprising parents...." or

"composed of parents....."

It's the attention to detail.

Anonymous said...

4:49: I agree that we need to do something. What I and others disagree with is that this $65 million plan is the answer. Just because you agree that the building needs to be replaces doesn't mean that you abounded budgets and fiscal responsibility. I suggest you go back and re read the blog comments.

Anonymous said...

4:49: Did you even read the post?

Anonymous said...

6:29 yes in fact I did. Did you? The post said it was financially irresponsible to consider the HMS plan in isolation and it should of been considered in the broader context of the financial health of the district and the other structural needs of the district. We don't have unlimited resources and we have salary, program and other structural needs. That is what prudent organizations do. They budget and plan looking at the totality of their liabilities, income and future obligations.

Anonymous said...

Let me remind the vote yes people and 4:49 that the referendum question is not do you support a new school. The question is do you support selling 65m worth of bonds (plus interest) for the purposes of building a new school. I support a new school. I do not support the $65m price tag. Therefore my answer is no - come back in November with a more financially prudent plan, after you have vetted and planned for the master facility plan.

Anonymous said...

Didn't Lincoln- Way north just close their 21st century 8 year old new school? Turns out they cannot afford it after all. I heard parents are suing the district and the BOE because they are still on the hook for the bonds.

Anonymous said...

4:49/6:21: Yes I did. In fact I have read every single post on this blog and every single comment ever written because I am an avid follower. What is shocking to me is how you have ignored the point this post was trying to make. The board of education was never asked to approve a final facilities master plan before it made a decision to spend $65 million on one school. Neither the administration or the full board of education ever had a substantive discussion on the 10,000,000 to 20,000,000+ dollars in needs identified for the other eight schools or how these projects would be paid for.The very document that the facilities committee has rambled on about and now the administration is highlighting in their paid for with tax payer dollars newsletter is nothing but a draft that to use Don White's words wasn't even vetted by the committee . There's something very wrong with the process and it's too bad that you refuse to acknowledge that in anyway shape or form.

Anonymous said...

If you go to the CCSD 181 website to the HMS Referendum link and look in the resources box on the right you will see a link to the Facilities Master Plan(FMP) Web page where the information on the master has been located for a long time. Clearly nobody from the admin is trying to pull a fast one on the community. The information clearly indicates that this is still a work in progress. The 5/11/15 BOE presentation FMP explains the process and shows that HMS was a primary concern based on data already received it appears from my interpretation of the documents...I'm not a committee member but interested in seeing the facts not being skewed or information manipulated to make some apparent justification for why to vote No. This excerpt from the 5/11 FMP presentation sums it up very well as to what the FMP is intended to be and what its not intended to be:

What is it?
" Collaborative action plan developed using information and resources available
locally, nationally and internationally.
" Provides a historical perspective on the current state of facilities
" Policies on performance, renovation and new construction
" Metrics for evaluation of buildings
" Procedures for review and amending the plan

What it’s not?
" A simple plan for a specific project or project plan
" A final solution
" A wish list from the administration and/or the community

Yvonne Mayer said...

D86 is considering going to referendum to raise needed funds to renovate, repair and possibly put some additions on one or both of the high schools. D86 has taken years to draft, revise and complete a Masters Facility Plan that the D86 BOE finally approved on January 19, 2016, after fully vetting it. All seven members on the D86 board serve on the district's facility committee, so they all had input and participated in the substantive discussions needed before approving the plan. In the course of finalizing the plan and since its approval, they have costed out and are now prioritizing the projects. They have done all of this and until it is done, will not ask D86 taxpayers to vote on any referendum. It is my understanding that D86 hasn't gone to referendum since the late 1960's or early 1970's, long before I moved to the district. While I have never had to vote on a D86 referendum since moving her, I have already voted on 2 D181 referenda, all which I voted YES on. Now I am being asked to vote on a third.

D181's taxpayers are also D86 taxpayers and we will be asked to approve both district's referenda.

Taxpayers should expect a full vetting and approval of any Master Facilities Plan that identifies projects that we will be asked to fund BEFORE we are asked to fund them. D86 has completed more steps than D181, yet it is only D181 that is asking us to approve a referendum in 2 days, while D86 takes its time and continues to evaluate what tax burden it can reasonably ask us to shoulder. There is something wrong with this picture. Isn't there?

The Parents said...

8:05 --SPIN???? Are you kidding. Bottom line is the PLAN was never finalized or approved by the BOE. They never even discussed it! If they had, they might have realized that Mr. Surma only "put in" $50 million for a new HMS and TOOK OUT $15 million from this project. Did they ever ask why? Nope. Did they ever ask anything? Nope. And yet you accuse the bloggers of SPINNING facts?

D86 has approved ITS Master Facility Plan and are using it to guide their decision on which projects to tackle and how much to ask taxpayer to fund. They have shown prudence and fiscal responsibility and are not rushing voters to the polls.

Sorry, your attempt to deflect attention away from the factual realities doesn't fly.

Anonymous said...

I would suggest voters take a look this facilities plan. So many of our schools need improvements. Significant improvements. We should be going to a $65 mil referendum that encompasses all of the facility improvements for the entire district, not to build one school. If this referendum passes then how on earth will we pay for these other projects? Another referendum for millions more dollars?! The Lane needs $37,000+ worth of tile work and bathrooms remodeled for $75,000. And most all of the schools need new doors and it’s a significant cost! $300,000 not to mention the hardware. $40,000 worth of carpet at Elm. Extensive roof work for all of the schools, as well as HVAC improvements. The list is just endless and the costs are astronomical. Parents should closely examine their neighborhood school’s necessary improvement plan before casting a yes vote for this referendum.

I’m not disagreeing that something has to be done to HMS, but if we ultimately spend $90 million on one school, what’s going to happen to the other schools? It’s irresponsible to spend this much on building one school. Lower the cost. If we’re going to referendum for $65 million, then it should include ALL of the improvements for ALL of the schools. My NO vote doesn’t mean that I’m opposed to a new HMS. It means I’m opposed to selling the $65 million in bonds to build one school. It’s absolutely ridiculous.

And for the record, I have been in HMS numerous times.

The Parents said...

We have begun getting a series of comments that attempt to discredit our factual presentation in this post. Our post made it clear that the Facilities Master Plan was only ever a draft and has NOT been vetted, discussed or approved by the BOE. The Draft wasn't even vetted by the Facilities Committee -- per Dr. White's own admission at the 9/28/15 board meeting.

Pointing us to documents on the Facilities Committee tab on the D181 website that predate the 9/28/15 board meeting won't change the facts.

At this point, we are shutting down the comments on this post because as with the last post, the comments are no longer constructive. We have posted and we will allow people to click on the links we have provided and judge for themselves. We will not be a forum for obvious facilities committee members to now try and refute the facts. If you want to take issue, take issue with Dr. White, Ken Surma and the BOE for not ever vetting, discussing, finalizing or voting to approve a FINISHED Facilities Master Plan.

We will report back on Wednesday morning with the results of the election. Until then, Good Night.