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Below is a spreadsheet showing the plan that the Board supposedly relied on in authorizing the $90 million.  The right hand column reflects my personal views.  Ask yourself as to each item whether it will do much to improve the education that students receive and whether the money would be better spent on items such as more teachers or better use of computers.

 

Analysis of Cost Estimates Used to Justify $90 Million Bond
(based on official report to Board of Education dated 11/20/01)
     
   Estimated   
Description  Cost  Comments
     
1.  Current modernization    
  program.    
1.1  Completion of existing  $    9,000,000 Items 1.1 and 1.2 are troubling,
  contracts from prior   but I would support a smaller
  modernization program.   bond that would cover these
    items.  As explained in my
1.2  Completion of Building  $    9,000,000 statement of November 27,
  B at Beverly Vista   2001, it appears that the 
    District will end up
    approximately $56 million
    over budget for projects that
    were budgeted in 1998 at
    $77 million.  This is deplorable,
    but I do not believe that the 
    students should be deprived
    of these legitimate projects
    because of the mistakes and
    incompetence of the adults
    who bungled this.
     
2.  Life Safety & Security.    
     
2.1  Repair uneven patio  $       112,176 This item is legitimate, but 
paving stones & railings   overpriced.  The official estimate
at main entrance at    shows "hard costs" (actual
Horace Mann School.   construction costs) of $81,910
    and "soft costs" (design and 
    administration costs) of $30,266.
    This is a repair of existing 
    paving/railings, and $30,266 
    seems outrageous for soft costs, 
    even assuming that this includes 
    a historical consultant.  Also,
    I am sceptical about the $81,910.
     
2.2  Americans with   $       500,000 The official explanation states
  Disabilities Act ("ADA")   that the "[b]udget amount is
  Upgrades.   for unforseen mandated 
    upgrades, but not for systematic
    implementation of the District
    ADA Transition Plan."  
    The original $77 million was
    supposed to address this,
    but recent history has shown 
    that the District is capable of
    bungling away millions of dollars
    due to "unforseen" expenses.
    By proceeding based on cost
    estimates that were developed
    on a rush basis to get on the
    March ballot (and that were 
    adjusted based on the preferences
    of particular Board members),
    the District is heading for
    millions of dollars of ADDITIONAL
    "unforseen" costs.  
     
2.3  Upgrades to smoke  $       922,653 This item was SUPPOSED to
  & fire alarm systems.   be included in the original 
    $77 million of projects, but
    now we are told that ADDITIONAL
    upgrades are desirable.  Such
    upgrades include $248,938 of
    "soft costs" and an INCREDIBLE
    $126,037 for smoke detectors in
    the attic of Building A at 
    Hawthorne School.  I believe
    that some of this may be 
    legitimate (at lower prices), but someone
    would need to investigate why this was
    not handled as part of the 
    first round of construction, when
    we were told that all important
    items were being taken care of.
     
2.4  Hazardous materials  $       500,000 This was presented to the Board
  abatement.   as a plug number to cover
    the asbestos abatement that
    will result from some of the 
    other work described below,
    such as adding more emergency
    lighting than was added in
    the initial round of construction.
    Because I believe that virtually
    all of such items are questionable,
    I believe that this number is
    far too high.
     
2.5  Lighting -- Exit &  $    1,207,723 If this was not part of the original
  Emergency.   $77 million project (which has 
"Corridor and exit-way   ballooned into $126 million
  lighting and lighted exit   according to the District's official
  signs that light the way   numbers), I might believe that
  to exits in the event of   this is legitimate.  I would also
  an emergency or power   note that this includes $325,852
  outage."   of soft costs, which seems like
    a lot to pay for supervising 
    the fixing of problems that we
    already paid a lot of money to
    fix.  
     
2.6  Lighting -- Security.  $    1,874,817 Virtually all of this would go to
    the High School, including
    $510,069 of hard costs to replace
    the lighting for a 2 story parking
    garage, and $807,047 of hard
    costs for "exterior lighting
    improvement."  There is also
    $505,838 to design and supervise
    these ridiculously overpriced
    hijinx.  Also, there was ZERO 
    discussion of the future impact
    on the District's electric bill,
    or of the fact that for several
    months the automatic lighting
    systems at the high school were
    coming on over 3 hours before 
    dusk.  Every one of these new 
    fixtures will have a future energy
    cost and maintenance cost.  Also,
    to verify how bogus this is, please
    walk the high school when its 
    dark.  There's nothing wrong
    there that could not be fixed with
    5 or 10 additional security lights
    at $500 each, and we could use
    common sense as to placing them
    and thus avoid most of the 
    $505,838 of soft costs that the 
    District is planning to pay to
    its architectural Einsteins for
    decising what lights to use and 
    where to put them.
     
2.7  Seismic or Structural  $    1,328,116 This is another item that we
  Upgrades.   already (over)paid for & that we 
    are being asked to pay for again.
    There should be an investigation
    as to how this could happen
    & how to avoid a repeat 
    performance.  Also, this item
    includes $358,334 of soft costs
    to analyse and supervise
    seismic repairs and upgrades
    that were supposed to be part
    of the 1998 plan, which expressly
    included all work necessary to
    make all of the buildings
    seismically safe.  Finally,
    it is ironic that the current plan
    totally ignores the seismic 
    situation as to Buildings C & D
    at the High School, which are
    the only two buildings in the 
    entire school district that were 
    expressly excluded from the last
    construction (because the Board 
    was considering tearing them down
    and replacing them with a new 
    building).  Hopefully, this is
    an oversight that will be corrected.
     
2.8  Security Fences.  $    2,188,119 Even excluding $590,369 of
    soft costs, this is a joke.  Also,
    the official projection candidly
    discloses that the budgets
    "do not include electronic
    security systems."  God forbid
    that any of this money be spent in 
    some way that might actually 
    make kids safer.
     
3.  Deferred Maintenance/Capital Renewal.
     
3.1  Deck & Patio  $       172,587 This item relates to improving
  Waterproofing & Repair.   the patio above the Peters
    Auditorium at the High School
    to prevent leaks.  The projected
    cost includes $46,565 of soft
    costs.  Like many of the items
    in the deferred maintenance 
    category, this item calls into
    question the value of the District's
    maintenance department.
     
3.2  Electrical --   $       187,861 This is for replacing a single
  replacement of pool    electrical panel, and includes
  pump panel at High School.   soft costs of $50,686.  By folding
    this into a larger project, the 
    District will be able to waste over
    $100,000 on what should be a
    relatively inexpensive item.
     
3.3  Finishes -- Exterior.  $       138,217 This includes work at the High
    School, Hawthorne and Horace
    Mann that could easily be handled
    by the District's maintenance
    staff if it was efficient & 
    hard-working, and includes
    soft costs of $37,292 to direct
    this travesty.
     
3.4  Finishes -- Interior.  $    2,081,263 This item is comprised of
    $1,941,600 for painting, new 
    ceiling tiles and new flooring at
    the High School, $37,273 for
    ceiling tiles at Hawthorne,
    $47,427 for ceiling fixtures & tiles
    at Horace Mann, and $561,538
    of soft costs to coordinate this
    gross waste of taxpayer dollars.
    None of this is allocated to El 
    Rodeo or Beverly Vista.
    Based on my rough computations,
      it appears that the District plans
      to pay approximately $20,000
    to paint each classroom at the 
    High School, and this number
    may be far higher considering
    that many of the rooms were
    painted as part of the first round
    of construction.  I believe that for 
    approximately $100,000, the 
    District could paint every 
    classroom that needs it, using
    volunteers, and that the current
    plan that would be a sickening
    and obviously stupid waste of
    taxpayer dollars.
     
3.5  Furniture --   $    1,911,821 In 4 years on the Board, I never
  Classrooms.   heard a single complaint from
      any parent, staff member or 
    anyone else about classroom
    furniture, and I seriously 
    question whether all student
    desks need to be replaced, as
    advocated by the staff.
    The only virtue of this item is
    that it does not include soft costs,
    but don't be surprised if the 
    District finds a way to blow 
    tens of thousands of your dollars
    on so-called experts, then buys
    desks that fall apart within 10
    years (as opposed to the current 
    desks, many of which were made 
    to last forever and which could
    be renovated at a far lower cost
    if there were reason to do so).
     
3.6  Heating, Ventilation,  $       684,750 This is intended to provide
  & Air Conditioning.   heat & air conditioning at
    Buildings C & D at the High
    School -- items that were
    cut when we cut these buildings
    from the initial round of 
    construction, and which are
    essential now that these buildings
    will be occupied by administrators.
    Also, the amount seems 
    questionable considering that
    these two buildings are relatively
    small.
     
3.7  Locker repair/  $         95,000 This item seems reasonable
  refurbishment.   to me.  
     
3.8  Plumbing.  $         27,134 This is to fix a problem with the
    diving pit at the High School
    pool that was outlined in a bulletin
    that was part of the $77 million
    plan.  The soft costs of $7,321
    seem unconscionable considering
    that the solution was previously
    provided at District expense, in
    Bulletin #133.
     
3.9   Restroom   $    4,474,415 Most of the restrooms in question
  improvements.   have already been renovated,
"Includes ceiling, floor &   and many of them are pretty
  wall finishes replaced or   nice already.  The main problem
  repaired to as-new   with restrooms at this point is
  condition and ADA   vandalism, which is rampant at
  compliance within the    all five schools.  Until the 
  room."   vandalism problem is addressed,
    it seems foolish to spend a
    small fortune per restroom to
    make them perfect so that the
    current vandals can deface &
    destroy nicer/more expensive
    facilities.
     
3.10  Roofing.  $       182,631 This was supposed to be part of
    the original $77 million plan.
    Also, it includes an unbelievable
    $49,275 of soft costs relating
    to roofs that were supposedly
    studied, at District expense, as
    part of the $77 million project.
     
3.11  Site restoration --  $       718,988 This was included at the last
  playgrounds only.   minute, when the staff "discovered"
    that this was not included in
    the $18 million shortfall that
    it was admitting to.  Note that
    this also includes an incredible
    $193,988 of soft costs, even
    though this was part of the 
    $77 million and even though
    figuring out what to do at each
    of the three playgrounds in 
    question should not take more
    than a few hours, at most.
     
3.12  Window blinds.  $       976,521 I might be willing to go for this
    if I had any reason to believe 
      that, unlike the old blinds, the
    new blinds would be kept
    clean and in good working order,
    and if we weren't paying well
    over $2,000 per classroom
    for blinds that could be bought
    & installed in bulk for approximately
    half this amount.
     
4.  Program Enhancements.  
     
4.1  Auditorium   $    1,930,995 This is mostly for work that was 
  refurbishment.   SUPPOSED to be part of the
    original $77 million, plus a 
    special $5 million payment from
    the City.  Also note the 
    unconscionable soft costs
    of $520,995 for planning that
    was previously paid for as part
    of the $77 million plan.
     
4.2  Athletic fields.  $    4,837,489 This is for artificial turf at all five
    schools, a luxury that most 
    schools (including colleges) 
    cannot afford and an attractive
    target for local vandals.  Also,
    there are no long term statistics 
    at to durability or increased 
    danger of certain types of injuries.
    Also note that this amount is
    only 75% of the projected cost,
    with the balance expected to come
    from the City, and that 75% of
    the soft costs is projected at 
    $1,305,186, which seems 
    outrageous for this item.
     
4.3  Classrooms -- New or  $  34,506,757 This item includes $18,022,927
  Upgraded.   of hard costs to build 30 new
    classrooms at the High School
    (and relocate the tennis courts),
    $2,931,699 to build 6 new 
    classrooms in a new three story
    building at El Rodeo, $2,651,778
    to build 6 new classrooms at
    Hawthorne (and to replace 
    Building H to make room for this -
    note that we just finished 
    renovating Building H), $1,590,205
    to upgrade 3 classrooms at Horace
    Mann and $9,310,147 of soft costs.
    At a time that the enrollment
    of resident students is stagnant
    or dropping, the only motive for
    this is empire building, for a
    Board who can influence permit
    decisions for their friends who
    reside outside Beverly Hills and
    for a staff who can justify higher
    salaries for administrators based
    on a higher overall enrollment.
    Note that some of the new 
    classrooms at the High School
    will replace classrooms in Buildings
    C & D at the High School, which
    will be renovated then converted
    into spacious administrator offices.
    Also note that the District already
    has more than enough classrooms
    to meet all the needs of the 
    children who reside in Beverly
    Hills, and the ultimate impact
    would be to add space that will
    be filled by permit students and/or
    students whose families 
    fraudulently represent that they
    live in Beverly Hills.  Also note
    that if the Board ever implements
    Dr. Gross's recommendation for a
    middle school, the new
    science classrooms at Horace
    Mann and Hawthorne will have
    been a waste of ( a lot of) money, and 
    there will be insufficient
    science classrooms at El Rodeo
    (the projected site of the middle
    school).
     
4.4  District Executive  $    2,742,489 This represents offices for the
  Administration.   Superintendent and a small
    handful of top administrators,
    as well as a new Board room.
    Ironically, these administrators
    will have plusher, larger offices
    than most of the taxpayers who
    will end up paying for this.
     
4.5  New parking structure  $    4,059,027 This is more parking than needed,
for the High School --   and the soft costs are projected
160 new spaces.   at an astounding $1,095,152.
     
4.6  Central plant.  $    1,130,562 This is to partially fix the HUGE
    screwup in the first round of
    construction relating to HVAC at
    the High School, and includes
    an unconscionable $305,033
    of soft costs.
     
Grand total  $  87,492,111  
     
Fudge factor  $    2,507,889  
     
Total  $  90,000,000  

Burrrrrrrrrrrrrrrp

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