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Caution in 2007 would have saved district $1 million

Feb. 16, 2010

Public Forum:

The Brown Deer School Board was short-sighted in May 2007 when it voted unanimously to close and demolish Algonquin Elementary School. That point was once again driven home when school officials recently announced they plan to sign another three-year lease for eight modular classrooms that house the displaced Algonquin students at Dean Elementary.

Officials said in 2007 it would cost about $300,000 for three years to install and lease the modular classrooms. As it turned out, it cost $757,728. Officials said it will cost about $70,000 a year to extend the lease of the modular classrooms.

That means the modulars will be with us for three more years, and possibly more, and school officials will have spent nearly $1 million on these modulars, and that doesn't include the $245,558 they spent on demolishing Algonquin.

It's too bad the School Board didn't heed the advice of the administration. An emergency plan put forth by the administration, headed by then-Superintendent Bruce Connolly, urged the board to keep Algonquin open for one more year and spend $55,000 to patch the roof and correct the malfunction of the school's fire alarm system.

If the board had decided to keep Algonquin open for one more year, then it could have gone back to our village residents and ask them: Do you want to approve a referendum and build a new grade school or do you want to spend money and install eight modular classrooms for three years? Just think of how much money the board would have saved if it had accepted the administration's recommendation.

Mike Christopulos

Brown Deer

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