Response to school bond letter | Letter

This letter is in response to Dan Kovac’s letter in which he put forth misleading and invalid data regarding our Lopez School. I served on the School’s Budget Committee this year, along with a range of community members. In that process we developed a more accurate and complete picture of the school’s current financial status.

As we learned in the budget committee, the only fair and meaningful comparison of cost per student is between like-sized K-12 districts (which have the same scale and fixed-cost ratios, as well as the same State funding formulas). In that analysis (and you can see if for yourself on the Lopez School website), compared to the other 12 districts closest in size to Lopez, we are well in line with that peer group – neither the highest nor the lowest. We are in the top half, third highest, significantly lower than the most expensive district and within 10 percent of five other districts. That said, the same data does reveal that we have by far the highest building energy, repair and maintenance costs! The revised renovation bond focuses on reducing these costs. Just making it to the average cost of our peers would free up more than $900 a year per student – money that could be directly invested in the classroom educating our kids instead of paying OPALCO and repair bills!

We have debated and discussed and voted on issues around the school for over a year and a half. The school board, whom we reelected last November, has listened to the community and significantly reduced the scope and cost of the project (by more than 40 percent). They have presented us with a revised plan that takes out the “extras” and yet will allow us to keep a well-functioning K-12 school on Lopez. When you know all the actual facts and how hard school personnel and the board work to keep our Lopez school operating and strong, I hope you will join me in thanking them and in supporting this revised bond.

Carol Steckler

Lopez Island