When Will It Stop?

The latest proposal: $13 million for improvements to athletic fields.  As reported in the Daily Herald, 2/27/13, that $13 million in spending would go for artificial turf in the stadium, an artificial-turf field southeast of the stadium, a track lane addition, a bigger home-team grandstand, maintenance building demolition for more parking, and underground stormwater detention. Also included in that hefty price tag are “repairs and improvements to baseball and softball fields”. The Chicago Tribune, 3/1/13, adds a detail the Daily Herald leaves out: that maintenance building they want to demolish will have to be rebuilt elsewhere.

Oh, and those arboretum trees planted 50 years ago, bearing plaques “In Memory Of”? Gone. Replaced by a new varsity softball field (Chicago Tribune, 2/27/13–so much for “repairs and improvements,” Daily Herald). But the plaques will be moved to new baby trees elsewhere. “It was a meaningful area for people at that time,” says the district’s buildings and grounds director. That was then, this is now. Bye, bye big trees. Bye, bye lifetime memorials.

With sky-high property taxes, millions of dollars of debt from the last building project that the school board lied to taxpayers about, and the obvious contempt the board has for taxpayers ($2000 steak dinners come to mind), why should this plan be approved? Especially as the long-term brain damage from football and other contact sports is making news, how about we focus on actually educating the students, instead of finding new ways to spend, spend, spend?

As for other spending decisions, according to the Chicago Tribune, 2/20/13, Batavia taxpayers will be spending roughly $1,000/yr per school (8 schools) for a computerized sex offender visitor checking system. Visitors entering the schools must show a photo ID, which will be entered into the computer to be checked against sex offender databases. If a sex offender is found, district officials will be notified. If the visitor is not in the sex offender database, he/she will be printed an ID sticker and permitted entry. The system has been in place at the middle and high schools and has recently been expanded to encompass the elementary schools.

But is this really necessary? From the article:

Amy Campbell, Geneva District 304’s emergency management coordinator, said that Geneva’s current system of requiring visitors to be buzzed into the building, show the receptionist a photo ID, and sign a visitor’s log is “serving its purposes very well.”

Because the status quo has not caused problems and because of the financial considerations, District 304 has not opted to purchase an outside “visitor management” system, Campbell said.

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