Saturday, March 19, 2011

They Are Who We Thought They Were: The "District Office Project"

 Quietly,the cost of this district office re-model project has been ratcheting up over the months.
Astute readers of the "Annual Meeting Report" would have noticed that Table 4 consists of a list of District Capital Projects for 2010-11.  That lists includes $75,000 for the "District Office Project".  So how come the district is coming to the board this Monday and asking for nearly a quarter of a meeelyun dollars??

Link to: Bids for District Office Remodeling and Upgrades to the Electrical for the Main Data Room"

"...remodeling of the district office to provide new technology workspace and reconfigure existing technology offices for use by Human Resources and Special Education staff.  Included with this bid will be an upgrade to the main data room, which is not specifically related to the remodeling project."
On March 14, 2011 the Facilities, Technology, and Transportation Committee moved to approve the bids as presented, but the motion failedThis item was forwarded to the School Board for review.

" At this point, the total cost is expected to be about $240,000 of which approximately $60,000 is for the electrical upgrades to the main data control room and not related to the remodeling project.  There are some value engineering and direct purchase savings yet to be deducted and some of the built-in furniture will still need to be purchased and installed by district staff. "

OK, so $60,000 of the $240K comes from electrical upgrades.  That leaves us with $180K, yet the project list only calls for $75K for the district office re-model.  Where is the other $105K coming from?  Let's look at the bids they wish to award:

Electrical:  Nickles Electric.. $101,012.00
HVAC:  NAMI ..................... 48,000.00 
Fire Protection: Monona P & FP.... 4,750.00
Plumbing: Monona P & FP  ........ 10,995.00
DO Office Remodeling: ........... 69,895.00
Total.......................... $234,652

Wait a sec...we thought they said the electrical was only $60K?  How come the lowest bid is for $101K?
And look at that nice "DO Remodeling bid" all by it's lonesome.  When you ask for bids to remodel your home, do you get one labeled "Remodel" and then separate bill for all "the other stuff"?  You MIGHT get a breakdown of the cost, but you pay ONE price.

When asked, Phil Frei indicated that [Building & Grounds Manager] "Tom Brooks is taking that from several of his budgets."  Oh...NOW we get it!  You take a little ($48K) from the HVAC budget, maybe take the $50,000 for "other projects" and combine those with the original $75 for DO project...that gets us to $173K.  But...wait...we're still short by over $61,000 even using the lower figure that represents the sum of all bids.  Where's that $61,000 coming from?  None of the other line items in the B&G budget would seem to cover plumbing, electrical, or fire protection.  Hmmmm?  Maybe we'll borrow some from Roofing Projects budget...those roofs are looking pretty good.

This is just one more reason why the people in this community DO NOT TRUST the school district.  We get jibberjabbed every which way we turn.

What we like best is that THE MOTION FAILED at the FTT Committee level...only school-board-incumbent-vying-for-re-election David Stackhouse voted to approve the project and spending.  Fiscal conservative?  With these funny money numbers?  ...and we haven't even mentioned that most of these got only a single bid!  Why is it even moving forward?  Because nothing dies in committee!!!

Perhaps the space is needed; although we aren't completely convinced.  But somehow there has to be a penalty for playing the shell game with money and telling us one thing and then changing what you're telling us. WHO IS ACCOUNTABLE for this?

Dennis Green was right...They ARE who we thought they were.