On Sep. 23, 2014, the Batavia School Board approved a new option for the athletic fields portion of the $15 million referendum. The preferred option, Option 2, includes a 2nd artificial turf field. Assistant Superintendent of Finance Dr. Kris Monn said that was the option Administration was recommending. The $4.7 million price tag for that second field, he admitted, is too high to absorb in the budget. So, the strategy now is to pay for the really expensive athletic field projects out of the $15 million bond referendum and pay for the smaller chunks later out of the budget (all of which come from taxes). No one has mentioned the replacement cost of artificial turf at over $400,000 per field every 8-10 years. Conservatively, they should be budgeting to save $100,000/yr for replacement of this option’s 2 fields. Not one word has been said about this.
It was even noted that the public may not like Option 2 because it leaves out projects with direct public appeal, like new bleachers, an 8th track lane, etc. The board members themselves complained the bleachers were aged and crowded, but they voted on Option 2 anyway.
The school board is convinced that what is most important is to get all the high school teams practicing on high school grounds. Where are the teams practicing now? Do the students have to be bussed to practice fields? These questions were asked over a year ago when the Athletics Field Redevelopment Plan was initially approved. The answer was that, no, the students were not bussed; the older students might drive to practice, while the younger students jogged to nearby schools and fields across the street.
So why is it important to get all the students back on campus? Board member Sue Locke is afraid the marching band students will get hit by cars as they cross Main St (9/23/14 video 42:13). The other board members echoed this sentiment in the evening. Remember, these are not 5-yr-olds they’re talking about, but teenagers…….in the crosswalks…….at stop signs. Many of them walk to and from school every day and have crossed that street hundreds of times. Now it’s not safe, according to the School Board.
Never have they discussed the possibility that the public may not like either option BECAUSE ATHLETIC FIELD RENOVATION IS UNNECESSARY AND COSTS TOO MUCH MONEY.
The one positive footnote of Option 2 is that the arboretum will not be cut down.