Rebutting Dr. Busey

Small Bonds and Small Projects Won’t Solve our Educational Challenges.

Our former Superintendent of Public Schools, Dr. Jim Busey, has been a vocal critic of the upcoming LCSD Bond.  But based on his critiques, I respectfully submit he has inaccurately analyzed the needs of our kids and their education.  If you are still an undecided voter, I invite you to consider this rebuttal to his recent letter to the editor.

First, Dr. Busey suggests that the recent addition of four classrooms at the high school should solve our overcrowdingissues.  But the overcrowding issues are rooted at MOE, our elementary school, and extend up the grades.  If anything, the four new high school classrooms are a good example of why small bonds and small projects won’t solve our issues.  The classrooms offered an improvement at the high school but didn’t touch the systemic issues spanning both campuses.  A microproblem was solved but the macro issues remain.

Second, Dr. Busey questions the recent decision to remodel the District’s administration offices versus upgrading the HVAC units at the high school.  His quote, “Why has new administration space been prioritized over the needs of our kids  and buildings?”, illustrates a lack of knowledge of the issue. The District had an opportunity to increase the rent and the rentable space of a stable long term tenant (Chelan Fresh) and consolidate its administrative team.  The HVAC units didn’t have the same degree of urgency as the rental expansion.  Thus, the remodel is precisely the type of wise fiscal decision we should expect from our board.

Finally, Dr. Busey suggests that by denying access to Choice Transfer kids (kids who live outside the district but chose to attend our schools), we can solve our overcrowding issues.  But only 40% of the Choice kids attend MOE where the overcrowding  issues are most pronounced.  And of this percentage, 20% are kids belonging to our teachers or other District employees.  So, not only would a ban on Choice kids not solve the overcrowding issues, it would also be disruptive to teachers and staff with kids in our system.  Keeping our Choice kids out won’t address the systemic issues requiring a new high school.

The bottom line is our kids need more space to achieve the level of education required for future success.  At the core, our ability to educate our kids is constrained by our facilities.  Dr. Busey fails to recognize this as the salient issue driving this bond.  His recommendations to think small and stay debt free are appropriate when a system has extra capacity.  But our schools have long since reached their capacity.  A new high school is the wise and logical solution.

If you are an undecided voter, a tour of our facilities is the best way to understand these overcrowding issues.  I invite you to call the District office at 682-3515 to schedule a tour.  Then I encourage you to vote yes on April 23.

Guy Evans

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