Irresponsible spending...
Oct 25, 2012 | 1006 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
There are several alternative locations on the 40-acre parcel where the middle school and high school now stand that Grand County School District (GCSD) could build a new middle school, should one be needed someday.

Future population growth will be to the south of town, where GCSD owns 15 acres.

Therefore, GCSD has no true need – now or in the future – for the property where Red Rock Elementary used to stand.

If the Red Rock property were to be subdivided into residential lots similar in size and density to its neighbors, realtors estimate it would bring a net amount of at least $1.25 million.

GCSD is deeply in debt. Fortunately, GCSD is paying a low 2.5 percent average interest rate. But even at this low rate, holding the Red Rock property is costing taxpayers over $30,000 per year, and the annual holding cost was much higher in the past due to a higher interest rate paid by GCSD on its debt.

GCSD created a “facilities committee” in 2009 to study its buildings. The dedicated and talented group of citizens – many of whom are realtors – focused mainly on the condition of the middle school and the disposition of Red Rock Elementary.

I was present at all but two of these meetings over a period of about 18 months and I never once heard a reason that the Red Rock property was, or could ever be, needed by GSCD.

Statements were made such as “once it’s gone, it’s gone,” “we don’t want to sell in a down market” and “the [school] board is going to have to be convinced the district will never have a use for this property before it will consider selling it.”

The BLM offered to lease the vacant Red Rock school and even pay for necessary improvements like the BLM has done in other Utah towns. GCSD quoted BLM a rent rate much higher than the BLM was expecting or could afford.

Citing the inevitable vandalism, GCSD then demolished Red Rock Elementary at a cost of over $311,000.

Without a meeting of the facilities committee, GCSD is now spending over $750,000 upgrading parking lots and soccer bleachers.

This reckless, irresponsible spending and GCSD’s continued refusal to sell the Red Rock property, or even to state a purpose for keeping it, is the opposite of the representative form of government I thought U.S. citizens are entitled to.

Teachers teach, buildings don’t. 

For voters to support more taxpayer funding for GCSD teachers, the school board must do a much better job managing its physical and financial assets, but even more importantly, informing the public of its reasoning and intentions regarding them.

Please consider this when you vote.

—Tom Lacy


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