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Surprised BOE is surprised

With regard to the Nov. 19 “Marietta BOE looks at why levy failed” article, I am surprised the board is surprised the levy failed. Like Lisa Barth, referenced in the article, I had the same feeling after attending community meetings, that we were being talked at and all decisions were already made.

The BOE doesn’t have to educate us on the facility and education needs of the public schools, that happened; however, we in the community need to educate the board on what kind of levy will succeed.

One important take away is the location for the mega school conglomerate campus behind Washington State Community College. Mr. William McElfresh made some fantastic points in his letter that appeared too late, days before the election to make an impact. He stated with his professional experience in capital and community planning he reminds the BOE “everyone wants good schools, but it’s important to the community that we get it right.”

He references Google Earth Terrain Models and indicates there is a ravine on each side of the Washington State location, which makes the site “less than ideal; industry professionals estimate $8-10 million going towards site development alone.” Additionally, he references the OFCC’s consultant that indicated the proposed buildings are “20-year buildings,” and evidentially the levy did not factor in maintenance in the 37-year levy for 20-year buildings.

Like many, I too inquired about the funds used for visioning sessions and levy promotional materials with no funds for traffic, environmental, and engineering studies? The consistent answer was the studies would happen AFTER the levy passes, which indicates a blank check levy.

Lastly, I agree with Mr. McElfresh again that compromise is the solution. We will have to “close something, rehabilitate something, and build something, all while keeping some semblance of a strong community school system.”

I implore the BOE to consider using existing school sites like the middle school, move away from the WSCC location, involve the community on the front end, and most importantly listen to us. The BOE is seeking community liaisons and so long as the WSCC location is dead, for all the many logistical reasons given, I am very happy to help and be involved.

Jolene Powell

Marietta