It’s not this newspaper’s practice to tell residents how to vote, but because the Haines Borough has made only marginal efforts to promote passage of its three school bond measures, the CVN feels obliged to make plain the arguments for a “yes” vote on these measures.

A “yes” vote to approve these bonds would allow the borough to receive 70 percent reimbursement from the state for each of these projects. Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell last year discontinued funding for a program that previously provided full funding for school projects. Reimbursement of 70 percent is probably the best deal the borough can hope for, and who knows how long the offer will last.

Regarding Ballot Measure 3, a $412,367 bond for the high school air-handling system: The district has already completed and paid for this work. A “yes” vote on ballot measure #3 simply allows the borough to receive state reimbursement money. A “no” vote means taxpayers foot the entire bill.

Regarding Ballot Measure 2, a $1.7 million bond for upgrades to the district’s Vocational Education building: Residents stepped forward to save this aging building about seven years ago, when the school was being rebuilt, arguing the structure was critical to the continued success of programs like auto shop, wood shop and small engine repair. The borough has made several unsuccessful attempts to receive full grant funding for work that includes renovating or replacing the heating, electrical, air-handling, and fire suppression systems. This project is necessary, not window-dressing.

Regarding Ballot Measure 4, $1.8 million for replacing the high school roof: Legitimate questions have been raised that the roof itself may not be the problem that has caused water to leak into the high school for 30 years or more. As many as six roofs have failed to end the leaks. Recent information brought to light by former workers and contractors should be used to diagnose this mystery. Perhaps the full $1.8 million isn’t needed for the fix. But the top of the school needs work, and the bond promises to bring state money that will pay 70 percent of costs. We trust the Haines Borough’s public facilities director, engineers and others will correctly diagnose the cause of the leakage before construction begins, so state and taxpayer money will not again be spent in vain.

- Tom Morphet


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