School Board Examining idea of Turf Field

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Re: School Board Examining idea of Turf Field

Postby Fitzie » Thu Apr 05, 2012 6:57 am

Excellent post Matt. I disagree however that budgets in 2012 should be measured against 1850 justifications. An awful lot has changed.

As far as placing all sporting activities on warrant articles.....I guess I'm fine with that if the town is willing to deal with the consequences. How many young couples with children or planning a family do you think will move into MMK? My bet is almost none and that many who are in town already will leave. I think that will have an economic impact on the town far in excess of the cost of maintaining the sports programs. MMK will left set up like Hollis but without the individual Hollis wealth. Couples raising families drive local economies......look for ways to make them want to be there.

I think if you were to go the WA route you'd have to put everything on the table because everyone has different opinions on what's essential. Is art essential? How about math beyond Algebra 1? Do kids really need to learn French? We live in the USA after all. And what about these AP classes? The average student is not AP material.

This is my point. You'll need to develop a baseline for essential and that will be very, very difficult. I'd love to watch though!
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Re: School Board Examining idea of Turf Field

Postby MattPublicover » Thu Apr 05, 2012 1:47 pm

One of the differences between Math, French and other academic subjects and sports is that there are opportunities for children to experience the very real benefits that come from participation in team sports out in the community. MYA. Pop Warner. American Legion. Babe Ruth. AAU. But the community does not tend to offer participation in math, foreign language, biology etc., outside of the school system.

Outside of the United States, art and music are considered essential parts of a good education. Art and music, like literature, contain the essence of mankind's rise from the animals to the marvels that we are. Art predates history as the record of human experience.

AP courses are no different than voke ed courses or special ed courses. They are instruction designed to provide the maximum educational benefit to those who need those specific courses. But they are focused primarily on education, which distinguishes them from sport which is not something fundamentally worthy of taxation.

Don't get me wrong ... I personally do not think the sport programs should be removed from the budget. My argument was aimed at those who have a fixation on taxes as an inherent evil, who seem all to willing to accept a lower tax burden regardless of what is lost in the process.

I do think, if the artificial turf field idea moves forward, that the voters should have a direct say in it. It should not be included in the school budget for a given year so the board can go ahead and build it even if the voters spoke out against it.
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Re: School Board Examining idea of Turf Field

Postby Fitzie » Thu Apr 05, 2012 3:19 pm

Very solid Matt. Thanks I learned something today.

I think a WA for a turf field makes sense but it should be accompanied with the following supporting cost data:

1. Cost to maintain the status quo grass field and description of the usage problems
2. Cost to improve the current grass field to meet the total usage

In that way the voters have all the information they require to make an informed decision. If you hang the turf WA out there by itself with no other information it'll look like a luxury which if rejected has no consequences.

Hey...this reminds me of something...... :lol:
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Re: School Board Examining idea of Turf Field

Postby timothy dutton » Thu Apr 05, 2012 4:07 pm

Cost analysis should include for turf
Cost of turf maintenance equipment
How long turf will last and approx. replacement costs
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Re: School Board Examining idea of Turf Field

Postby MattPublicover » Mon Apr 16, 2012 6:57 pm

Here's a thought: What if we propose to pay for the artificial turf field through a voluntary tax? This way, only those people who support the idea and are willing to contribute end up paying for it. The School Board could set up a fund to accept donations, and perhaps a reminder of the existence of this fund could be sent out in the envelope with the tax bills, being clear that it is an optional donation (like the presidential election fund on the federal tax return). Then, when the fund has amassed the amount needed to fund the improvement, the turf field is installed, thanks to generous donors. It may take a couple of years, but when it is done, it will be an asset to the town, acquired at no involuntary expense to the taxpayers.

Or how about fundraisers, such as was done for Kids Kove? A committee of citizens who support the idea of the turf field could organize periodic fundraisers, Bake sales, car washes, collecting empty soda bottles and returning them to Maine for the deposit (I'm kidding, that's illegal!). Again, this would end up with the asset being acquired for the town through voluntary expenditures.

These measures would only need to be taken if the taxpayers felt the turf field was a luxury and didn't want to pay for it out of taxation. But I tell my kids all the time, you can't have everything you want right away. When did the concept of immediate gratification take hold of America? In the old days, people understood the concept of saving for something special -- or so I am told, I wasn't around back then.

Some burdens need to be borne by all taxpayers. But there's no reason the optional stuff can't be had, if the supporters are willing to provide the means.
Last edited by MattPublicover on Tue Apr 17, 2012 7:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: School Board Examining idea of Turf Field

Postby timothy dutton » Mon Apr 16, 2012 9:12 pm

As long as the fund raising included all the equipment to maintain, can be used in August (in the heat) and fund raising also for the replacement in 7-10 years and not paid by taxes. Back to that wants Vs Needs.
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Re: School Board Examining idea of Turf Field

Postby Fitzie » Tue Apr 17, 2012 5:54 am

Are you going to let the 65% of people who don't use the transfer station back out of paying for it as well? How about people without children of school age? Can they elect not to fund the schools? My point is one person's "luxury" is another person's expectation of services.

What's wrong with a review of the costs to maintain a grass field capable of accomodating the High School athletics activity against a turf field? Whatever option turns out to be more economical while meeting the need....wins. This isn't difficult, companies do this every day when deciding to repair or replace equipment. You might just learn that GRASS is a luxury when evaluated for total costs......matter of fact, I bet that's the case.
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Re: School Board Examining idea of Turf Field

Postby timothy dutton » Tue Apr 17, 2012 6:38 am

A turf field is not a service.
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Re: School Board Examining idea of Turf Field

Postby Fitzie » Tue Apr 17, 2012 3:37 pm

Wow. Neither is a grass field Tim. I was hopeful readers would recognize the context.

Listen, I don’t know the "proper" solution. I am reasonably certain however that nobody else here does either, including Tim. What I’ve suggested is to review the need and evaluate the cost of each option to meet that need. Labeling one option as a “luxury” before you have a complete accounting of the costs compromises the entire effort. Keep preconceptions out of the picture.

You have to first define the need. Is the existing situation adequate? If "yes", case closed. Throw some seed down at the HS and start lining up MYA fields for 50% of next year’s athletic events. That's completely OK, but you need to state as much. If the answer is "no" then you need to define the scope of a HS field. Once you’ve defined the scope you then….and only then….have something to measure each option against. As I said earlier, it is just as likely that grass turns out to be the "luxury" when all costs are included. This is just a guess but I have a feeling a high percentage of turf fields have been built because they are less expensive when all costs are factored in.

The only reason to avoid looking at both options without bias is.....oddly enough.....a preconceived bias against one of the options.
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Re: School Board Examining idea of Turf Field

Postby timothy dutton » Tue Apr 17, 2012 3:49 pm

You moved from town didn't you?

I agree all sides need to be looked at. However, turf fields are very expensive ($1,000,000+) to put in and replace in about 8 years. May have some limited use in the summer due to the heat a turf field produces.

School district want a new office building. and now a turf field comes up. Can't have both, which one is a want and a need.
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Re: School Board Examining idea of Turf Field

Postby Fitzie » Wed Apr 18, 2012 8:11 am

Tim.....YES, I moved from town. Doesn't change a thing regarding the turf vs grass question but apparently hearing that makes you feel better.

Anyway I'm hopeful that whoever is charged with looking at the expense, usage and longevity of both options does so without having to listen to half-hearted insincere crap like this:

I agree all sides need to be looked at. However, turf fields are very expensive ($1,000,000+) to put in and replace in about 8 years. May have some limited use in the summer due to the heat a turf field produces.


Translation: I'm pretending to want a fair evaluation but I really don't because I've already made up my mind.

Doesn't matter where one lives Tim....crap is crap everywhere.
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