Friday, February 11, 2011

Standard-Examiner: Olympic-sized Pool Discussed in Ogden

Bum deal for the school district: By closing its two smaller pools and investing in the Ogden School District could recoup its $5.9 million investment after only... (drumroll)... 24 years

By: Dan Schroeder


Interesting S-E article today about the Ogden School District's possible role in funding and using the Fieldhouse:
Looks like the district isn't exactly itching to close its existing pools at Ogden and Ben Lomond high schools, but even if it did, it would save only $250,000 per year. This is important information that hasn't been reported before, as far as I know.

Meanwhile, the article explains how the district would help pay for the Fieldhouse through the proposed BDO tax increment extension, which the administration says would raise $15 million. But amazingly, the article never says what the district's share of that $15 million would be. Instead, the reporter punts with this useless sentence:

"City officials have not said how much tax increment taxing entities would give up if the project area is extended to fund the field house."

C'mon, Standard-Examiner, it's not that hard. You can do the arithmetic yourself, if you just ask someone what fraction of our property taxes goes to the school district. The answer is about 39%, and at that rate, the district's share of $15 million would be $5.9 million.

So now we can make a comparison: By closing its two smaller pools and investing in the Fieldhouse, the Ogden School District could pay $5.9 million but save $250,000 per year. So financially, it would make back its investment after 24 years. However, there would be added costs to transport its swim teams downtown, and PE classes wouldn't have time for that so they'd presumably lose out, and it isn't clear how much time in the new pool the district would even get, given that the new pool also needs to be available to paying customers if the Fieldhouse is to have a chance of paying its own operating costs.

17 comments:

Jennifer said...

um, wouldn't the School District already be paying through tax increment bond funding if the administration modus operandi remains true to form?

TLJ

ND said...

anything ever been reported on what the costs are to make the 2 district pools better or what the issues are with them?...$5.9 mil sounds like alot of "repairs"....and swimming wouldnt be cut from the cirriculm....and just where are all these busses supposed to park in a parking garage?...guess if they were convertibles they would fit...

Disgusted said...

Does our school system really need to be diverting money away from Ogden students education for another swimming pool? Who are they supposed to be responsible to?

ND said...

Why is this part of the fieldhouse all the sudden "news"....sounds like a diversion to the overall issue....

scorekeeper said...

Jennifer: The school district has an effective veto over the proposed 5-year tax increment extension on BDO. The extension would have to be approved by the Taxing Entity Committee by a 2/3 vote. The committee has eight members, so approval requires six votes. The district gets two of those votes, and a third belongs to the state school board which always goes along with the district.

So the game here is for Godfrey to convince the district that it's in their best interest to vote for the tax increment extension. He can't do it without their approval.

ozboy said...

Dan

Another fine job of reporting, thanks.

One thought however, how realistic is it to expect the Mayor and the Standard to be realistic? Both have a rather long record of living and operating in a fairy tale world.

DOCTOR OPPOSITE said...

Thank GOD there's one of my Physics Collegues who's not bogged down by his other profesional projects.

Dan IS da man!

blackrulon said...

Ozboy- It is apparent that you do not understand the difference between the true story and the story the paper publishes.

Danny said...

The way Godfrey got the school board to extend the tax increment for the Salomon Center was that he paid them off with a nice chunk of city real estate.

This crappy article from Schwebke, was obviously written by Godfrey with the opener,

"The city could benefit from an Olympic-size pool within a proposed $40 million field house..."

But like all of Schwebke's drivel, it did tip off astute readers that Godfrey is working on another bribe.

Yes, get the School District on board with a bribe, pick up a couple more the same way, and you can pretty well screw everyone else. That's what they did last time.

RAMP Committee: Please fund the other projects, not the F-House. Do not intertwine with the corrupt Godfrey administration.

Curmudgeon said...

Danny and ND:

Danny: you left off your quote of the lead this: "...an Ogden school board member said Thursday night." The sentence you objected to clearly identifies the point you didn't like as the opinion of an O School Board member. It was not offered as a statement of objective fact by the reporter. You did a little quote mining to criticize the paper unfairly. And yes, that a school board member, which body will have to OK the Mayor's latest raid on Ogden's school children, thinks the raid might be a good idea is news and should be reported. As the SE did.

ND: The story is not a diversion. The money the administration anticipates getting from the schools is a key element in its Rube Goldberg financing razzle dazzle. The SE reporting on that element of it is not at all a diversion.

And while Dan S. is right that the SE could/should have dug harder to come up with a dollar figure, I find it interesting that the Administration isn't saying publically what the amount is, which the SE did report. Interesting, que no? Surely the Administration can't be claiming it doesn't know the number. I found that not only interesting but telling.

Danny said...

It's a valid point, Curm, if an irrelevant one.

Schwebke first indicated the RAMP committee was ready to drop a few million down the gaping maw of the F-House. Now, he is reporting that it could be a good deal for school children and their parents all of whom will be ripped off.

It's called quote picking, and it's what Schwebke does because it's what Godfrey tells him to do.

So yes, it's another crappy, misleading article from Schwebke, who should have lead off with the fact that nobody, including the school district, is putting up any significant money for the F-House. The idea that the RAMP committee, or anyone, supports this "financial morass in the making" is a myth, created by the liar in chief, Matthew Godfrey.

That's the story. And it's an interesting and important one. It's not the one Godfrey wants to hear, and so it not one Schwebke will write.

But do keep pointing out these esoteric details, because it gives one the chance to make points even more clearly.

Curmudgeon said...

DannY:

I think the story on the RAMP board meeting indicated no money had been commited yet. I think he quoted Ramp board members to that effect.

This was a story specifically about the funding the Mayor expects to get from Ogden school kids, and yes, it is news that at least one member of the school board at least is apparently supporting the raid.

I think a separate story about each particular pot of money Hizzonah expects to tap to build his Rube Goldberg funding idea would probably be a good idea for the SE. They've done one on the RAMP funds, and now one on the school funds raid. Good on 'em for that. Should have included the dollar figure as Dan notes. But you can't faily blast the paper or the reporter for reporting what a member said. Nor can you fairly claim that in reporting what the member said, the paper was endorsing his views.

As an Ogden property tax payer I'm appalled that a school board member favors yet another raid on school funds to support yet another Godfrey RDA gamble. And I think putting that information in the lead was a good thing. I'd have done the same.

At a time when the state legislature is thinking of asking parents to pay for classroom school supplies, Ogden schoolboard members thinking of funnelling school funds to the Ogden Wonder Dome is absolutely news. Sad news, but news.

ozboy said...

I wrote an email a couple of weeks ago to the "decision makers" on this proposal that included the school boards and the Ramp members. In it I advocated that they do not rely on any information supplied by Godfrey, but instead did their own research. I also asked them to consider the mayor's dismal track record of failures when it came to large public expenditures of money for non-government projects.

I got two answers, one from a Ramp member who thanked me for my input and said she would consider my suggestions.

The other answer was from an Ogden School board member who very curtly replied: "How is doing nothing good for Ogden school kids?"

I replied: "I didn't propose that you do nothing, I proposed that you do independent research to see if the project could possibly be good for Ogden school's students!" I haven't heard back from him.

It seems a bit disturbing that a School Board Member would have that attitude about spending educational funds on mayoral boondoggles.

BLAKE said...

Was that school board member's name Brad Smith? Fat local lawyer?

Joyce Wilson said...

Well this Ogden School Board member is not in favor of using future property tax dollars to support this project.
We are facing a possible 7% cut in funding from the state or in other words approximately $4 mil. This could very possibly mean people losing jobs. How could I in good conscience vote to use somewhere between $5.9 mil and $7.5 mil (I have heard both amounts) for recreation when district personnel could be unemployed? The answer is I CAN'T!
In my personal opinion this is the wrong time, the wrong funding source and the wrong location for this type of facility.

ozboy said...

Joyce

It is refreshing to hear a voice of reason come from some one on the school board. Thanks and hang in there, sometimes people who point out that the emperor has no clothes gets booed out of the arena. This brave post of yours sure isn't going to make you very popular around city hall - not openly anyway.

Susanna said...

Joyce-
Thanks for being a rational voice of reason. Ogden schools have problems (I have kids), diverting money to a giant rec center does nothing to improve the quality of education provided to the students. I'm very dismayed at Ogden City's admin and the Utah State Legislature for being so short-sighted when it comes to education. Education (and other important programs and services) gets lost in our great state's political ideology and elected officials' single-minded ambitions.

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