Was District 208 Superintendent Kevin Skinkis accurately quoted at the end of Bob Skolnik’s front page story when he supposedly said, “I would remind people that the $8.9 million was a refund from the construction project” (“RBHS eyes millions in upgrades,” News, Nov. 20?
If only that were true: we could afford the local taxpayers some relief by using it to pay down the $91 million debt incurred in that lengthy effort at replacing all the athletic facilities, the one that finally concluded just three years ago, in 2010. But it isn’t true. The money came from a 2002 grant application just recently funded by the state (same taxpayers, different pocket).
Readers will remember that effort as the one that started with a plan to solve the parking problem with a parking garage that was never built because the money was spent on a new fieldhouse that leaks when it rains and a new swimming pool with a chronic ventilation problem — and an artificial football field surface that cost a million dollars, justified on the grounds that it would last 20 years and save the cost of annual re-sodding.
If the playing surface has failed after lasting only 35% of its useful life, then the vendor should be held accountable the same way we held the contractors accountable for the fieldhouse and pool problems.
The million dollars would be better spent correcting this year’s full-point drop (to 22) in the average ACT test score. No matter how much money goes into athletic facilities, it isn’t going to make anyone any smarter.
Terence M. Heuel