District limiting knowledge of construction plans

July 16, 2014 

In the June 25 edition of The Gateway, Dan White’s letter challenged the Peninsula School District’s plan to spend about $50 million to build two 50,000-square-foot elementary schools (at a cost of about $500 per-square-foot). He protested Superintendent Chuck Cuzzetto’s plans at a meeting at a district high school. He observed online that a grade school in the Seattle region had been constructed for about $180 per-square-foot (in 2013).

Carter Harbaugh’s letter in the July 2 edition defended the district’s proposed cost for the new schools. Carter cited the state’s OSPI website, claiming “average cost for Puget Sound elementary schools approved in 2013 was about $326-per-square foot.” He concluded that White’s “numbers don’t add up” and “don’t be fooled by someone quoting incorrect numbers.” On July 8, I contacted the OSPI office in Olympia about Carter’s claimed cost per-square-foot. Mr. Bill Coon, SW Regional Coordinator, informed me that his agency didn’t ever make any such determination on square-foot costs because “there are too many variables to consider.”

The district’s policy of unfairly limiting the public’s knowledge of its future construction plans is demonstrated by Cuzzetto’s invidious and provoking response to Director D. Olsen’s request: What will the new school look like? His response: The money isn’t available (Gateway, 4-16-14). My response: I cannot afford overpriced Proposition #1 or #2. I’m voting “NO” twice.

Ron LOPP

Gig Harbor

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