Homework's incomplete

Posted: Sunday, June 10, 2007

I am having some problems with the homework that went into preparing Tuesday's school bond election.

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Proposition 2 allocates $5 million for a new artificial turf facility for football, soccer and track. Just a bit of homework shows that baseball and softball fields have the highest demand and receive the greatest use out of all our existing facilities. These fields are gravel-based, sand-topped fields that are at times unsafe.

For the past five years, these fields have been Parks and Recreation's top priority for improvements. Why are we building a second field when the demand is for ball fields that hundreds of girls and boys will use? Moreover, why a second "grade-A" field of which one of its primary uses is for a boys sport, while our girls continue to play on "grade-D" fields? Once we spend $16.2 million on a new auditorium and athletic field, is that all?

My homework tells me we will be supporting all of our current high school activities times two or possibly three.

For example, the high school baseball program budget is around $100,000 per year. The funds pay for travel, equipment, fees, scholarships and more. Almost all the money comes through creative fundraising. Now we will be raising $200,000 for baseball at two schools.

At Juneau-Douglas High School, we have 24 activities and clubs, and 17 athletic programs. Have we done our homework? Do we know what it will take beyond fields and auditoriums to support our debaters, artists, musicians, athletes, etc.?

When the Juneau School District asked us to consider options for the new school, ask questions and attend community forums, I did. I am now wondering how we can have a bond election where the forgone conclusion was that we would have two separate high schools with equal facilities while we were still considering proposed options? Until all our homework is done, I cannot support the bond election.

Dorothy Douglas

Juneau



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