OPINION — In the Sunday, Sept. 24 edition of St. George News, Earle Richardson authored a letter to the editor that is worth responding to.
The “Our Schools Now” petition is the work of a private organization attempting to provide more funds for teachers and education. While we can’t speak to their plan, their goal of providing more education funding to teachers in the lowest funded state in the nation has merits in concept. It is too early in its development for Washington County School District (WCSD) to take a stand either way.
Now, let’s address the rest of the editorial which concerns the current educational environment. The author makes some significant assumptions regarding administrative pay and facility costs. Let’s consider a few facts:
- Utah has the lowest administrative costs per student of any state in the nation. In fact, Utah’s costs are a fifth of the national average.
- In Washington County, an elementary school principal starts at $81,000. We do not have a single principal, in either Elementary, Middle or High schools, even close to the $150,000 range. Their take home pay is much lower than what the author suggests.
- WCSD is unique in its tilt-up construction methods. On average, new schools are 20-25 percent less expensive to build than traditional masonry construction and our buildings are built to serve for 60-75 years.
- The Utah Taxpayer Association recognized WCSD for being the leader in cost-effective school building construction on Sept. 28 in a presentation by Howard Stephenson. (See above photo.)
- Advancements in technology and construction materials provide annual operating cost savings in excess of 38 percent versus buildings constructed just 25 years ago. This means schools can be efficient and provide a positive and safe learning environment.
After speaking with a representative from Granite School District, the facility the author referenced is not solely an administrative building. This former hospital serves as the campus for the Granite Technical Institute; a school that houses 1,500 students per day studying numerous career paths and college concurrent enrollment.
The building also houses a 1,000-student elementary school and a Utah State University campus extension. At the time of the purchase, The Utah Taxpayers Association endorsed the acquisition because of the cost savings and student opportunities.
The primary function of Washington County School District is to offer the best education to our students. We do it well and cost-effectively. Even the Utah Taxpayer Association recognizes our efforts on behalf of Washington County taxpayers.
Our board meetings are open to the public and we are happy to offer tours of our facilities or answer questions for interested members of the community.
Written by STEVEN DUNHAM, Washington County School District director of communications.
Letters to the Editor are not the product or opinion of St. George News and are given only light edit for technical style and formatting. The matters stated and opinions given are the responsibility of the person submitting them.
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