Wednesday, March 30, 2011


This ridiculous op-ed by three PPS board members argues that seismic safety is a key component of the PPS facility bond measure.  This is an attempt to answer critics like me who wonder why we aren't spending the money retrofitting as many school buildings as possible.  But the op-ed is false and disingenuous.  The bond measure is about rebuilding and renovating schools - that they will be brought up to current seismic standards in the process is incidental.  Only one school - the Fernwood campus of Beverly Cleary - will have a seismic-specific retrofit.

Now, there is perhaps a good argument to be made that we should spend $548 million in the way PPS is proposing rather than preparing for a random event that may or may not happen in our lifetimes and when it does has only a 10% chance of happening during school hours (hooray for a short school year!). [This is, by the way, how I try and comfort myself given the knowledge that my son's school building will almost certainly collapse in a serious earthquake]  But you should make this argument and people like me who always think in terms of opportunity cost (what else you could do with the same money) can evaluate it on its merits.  What you should not do is deliberately obfuscate and try and pretend the bond measure is about seismic safety in any real way.

Note: I see that PPS has also prepared a press release linking the bond measure to seismic safety.


Ben Price said...

Anything to get the bond passed.

Anonymous said...

PPS hired KPFF engineers to do an up-to-date seismic study, completed in December 2009. You will find it interesting, in light of your observations and the op-ed.