Saturday, August 24, 2013

We’re rich!

Karen W. points out that by tearing Hoover down and rebuilding that capacity elsewhere, the district is spending fifteen million dollars to annex five acres of property to City High. That’s three million per acre – about a hundred times the going rate for undeveloped property.

My house happens to sit on about three-eighths of an acre directly bordering City High. I was very pleased to learn that my property must be worth $1,125,000 to the district.

The small neighborhood just south of Hoover, on 3rd Avenue and Dunlap Court, is almost exactly the same size as the Hoover property. The sum total of the assessed house values there is $3,628,520. Just wait until they learn that their houses are worth over four times what they thought.

But hey, I’m not greedy. I’ll sell for an even million. That’s an eleven percent discount! The district has enough financial sense not to turn down an offer like that, right?


Anonymous said...

Wow. Just wow. I live near Hoover and City, too. I'm not quite as close as you, so I'd be happy to sell the district my property for a cool half million. If that was a possibility, I'd actually vote for the inevitable bond issue that is coming to fund this nonsense. If I'm losing my elementary school, at least I can feather my nest egg a bit from it.
Seriously, though, great work (Karen, too). This neatly summarizes the insanity that has descended on this district. It's time to clean house.

Chris said...

Anonymous -- Thanks. World's most expensive parking lot.

Anonymous said...

Sounds great except for the multiple flaws in the reasoning. Bringing Hoover up to standards with a multipurpose room addition, accessibility renovations, new HVAC system, and window replacement would cost $5 million. Then there are the years of ongoing inefficiencies of running a 300 capacity school vs. a newer 500 capacity school. Then there is the continued bussing of students from the Windsor Ridge area. I'd rather have the new elementary and space for the area's landlocked high school. Everyone at Hoover can walk to one of the 5 surrounding elementary schools.

Chris said...

Anonymous -- Thanks for commenting. As Karen pointed out, 15 million would buy a lot of air conditioning. Some of those improvements to Hoover will have to happen anyway because it is going to be in use for at least four or five more years. You're also assuming that it's the Windsor Ridge school that wouldn't get built, when it might be the southeast one. You're also assuming that opening the Windsor Ridge school will reduce, rather than increase, the number of buses that we'll need, which is highly questionable. (Here's the overhead view of where that new school is planned.) You're also assuming that there will be 500 students to put in that new school, which, as I've written repeatedly, is very questionable. Finally, you're accepting that Hoover has a 300-kid capacity, which is plainly unrealistic.

But, if you think spending 15 million, or even 10 million, to add five acres to City that are unlikely to be used for anything but a parking lot and athletic fields, you've got some company among the school board candidates. You all could still save money by buying the property from me and my neighbors instead.

Again, all I'm asking is a million. The district can keep Hoover open, expand City's footprint, spend less than it's already planning to spend, and make me a millionaire. Everybody wins!

Chris said...

My last comment was too smart-alecky. It's a fair point that some money would be saved in renovations by not keeping Hoover open, though it's not clear how much. (I'm not sure I believe that the actual cost of building a new school will be only 14.5 million, though.)

But it's also true that you're assuming that the acquisition of Hoover will benefit City, without putting any cost figure on how the Hoover property will be used -- though I suppose it doesn't cost much to build a big parking lot.

I notice you don't quantify the supposed benefits of running a 500-kid school rather than a 300- (actually, between 350 and 400) kid school. I'm not sure you can, especially since there's no way to put a value on the intangible benefits that may flow from having a smaller (but still big) enrollment. I have to think that it would take an awful lot of efficiencies to make up for the cost of tearing down existing capacity to rebuild it elsewhere. Otherwise we'd be tearing down most of our schools and replacing them with 500-kid schools to reap those great benefits.

Tearing down a school and rebuilding the entire capacity elsewhere is just a very expensive way to get your hands on five acres of property.

Karen W said...

I've posted a follow up addressing Anonymous' comment over at my blog: