You may recall that, in November 2006, I took issue with the Superintendent's reference to Upper Dublin as an example of a District that is building a high school that is as big and as expensive as the new Harriton High School. If the facts he left out of that comparison weren't enough, the Upper Dublin School Board has just demonstrated how a school board with integrity and the public trust can truly lead a community.
Please read Superintendent Defends His Comparison to Upper Dublin High School, which is an earlier blog posted further down on this website, for the details. Basically, the key points that the Superintendent left out were that, while the proposed Upper Dublin high school size and cost did compare to the New Harriton High School, the school was designed for 1600 students as opposed to the 1250 for Harriton. This put the per student size and cost of the proposed Upper Dublin high school in line with the national averages, as opposed to our New Harriton, which we argue is significantly larger and more expensive on a per student basis that any other school in the country, an assertion that the District has yet to discredit.
The other key point was that the Upper Dublin school board had decided not to go forward with the project because the project was too expensive. They wanted to study other alternatives and develop more detailed estimates upon which to base such an important decision. In contrast, the Lower Merion School Board made its decision to build two new high schools on preliminary estimates that it now says did not include a grossing factor for the new schools, which made the estimates artificially closer to the renovation estimates. Thus the disparity between the estimated $150 million cost at the time the board seeked public input and the current $238 million now being estimated; pretty sloppy estimates upon which to base such a large decision.
But here's the kicker. Now, the Upper Dublin School Board has decided that is should turn to those it serves to decide. After all, even though Upper Dublin is a fairly affluent community, $119 million is a lot of money (click here for the Upper Dublin announcement).
Could it be that the District that our Superintendent turned to in order to justify the Lower Merion School Board's actions has just shown us all how a school board that believes it must serve its entire community should act?
The Lower Merion School District received approximately 450 letters requesting that a referendum vote be held on the New Harriton high school. Upper Dublin came to this conclusion on its own. Why is the Lower Merion School Board afraid of a public referendum? Come to a school board meeting and ask them. Or, move to Upper Dublin where you can be trusted to do the right thing.
Bill Manginelli, Narberth