Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Residents Should Be Willing To Pay For Education, Says Longtime Resident

Deb Smit, a third-generation resident of Mt. Lebanon, recently talked to me about her aunt, who taught in the Mt. Lebanon School District over forty years ago.  Even then, her aunt lamented how the district was unwilling to put money into the buildings and let conditions deteriorate far more than was prudent.  Deb finds it hard to believe we're still caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place with respect to much-needed improvements at the high school.

Deb's letter to The Almanac on this topic was published today and I've reprinted it below.


1/27/2010

Residents should be willing to pay for education
Deb Smit – Mt. Lebanon
To the editor:

Mark Twain once said there are three types of lies: lies, damn lies and statistics. That about sums up the misinformation campaign being waged in Mt. Lebanon against the high school project. It's truly disheartening that a director of our own school board would be responsible for circulating inflated statistics about the renovation project in an apparent effort to discredit the leadership and professionals who have done a yeoman's job of keeping this project on track and within cost. If our taxes go up by more than 13 percent, it won't be because we are building a new high school. Taxes attached to the high school are projected to rise by 8 to 13 percent over the next five years by the district's estimates. That's equal to $340 per home assessed at $100,000 on a $113 million project. Look at it this way: Either we are forced to spend $103 million to fix the pressing problems with the existing building, and there's a boatload, or we spend a little more, $113.2 million at the most, and give our community a facility that will serve our children well into this century. We aren't building the Lincoln Center or the Taj Mahal. In fact, from Cochran Road the school will preserve the Art Deco architecture that many cherish. Even more, a renovated high school will continue our community's unbroken legacy of providing students with an exceptional education. Education is Mt. Lebanon's only industry. It's the one thing that those of us who live here should be willing to pay for and fight to preserve.
Deb Smit
Mt. Lebanon

2 comments:

  1. debbied37@gmail.comJanuary 27, 2010 at 6:52 PM

    Thanks for posting my letter Elaine. Like many in Mt. Lebanon, I shudder at the thought of higher taxes. In reality, this project will raise taxes 8 to 13% over five years by district estimates; other statewide issues, however, may be more of a problem. Our timing is bad all the way around. The problems at our deteriorating high school can no longer be ignored. I have faith that this school board, most of 'em anyway, will do all they can to bring the project cost down to a reasonable level.

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  2. Would we let our homes fall into the same disrepair as we have let our High School? Would we use tape to seal out the winter winds or use buckets to catch the rainfall coming through the roof, I think not. So why have we tolerated these conditions at our High School for so many years? We can not let distortions and half-truths unrail this project. Please contact the School Board at mtlsd.net to show your support for the High School Building Project. The Time to Act Is Now. Thank you.

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