The Surprising Cost Of Closing OPRF Campus

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By John Hubbuch

Am I the only one suprised after reading Terry Dean's front page piece in this week's paper headlined "OPRF sets price tag on closed campus? "                                         

I'm surprised for a number of reasons. First, I'm pretty indifferent about closing the campus to help solve the community's drug problem because I don't think it will have any more impact than tying red ribbons around trees for Drug Awareness Week, but at least  red ribbons are cheap. But Yikes! The cost of closing the campus is  $300,000 every year plus  a  one-time squishy $2 million in facilities renovation. And that's to close the campus for only half the students for the 2011-2012 school year. I wonder how much more  it will cost to close the whole school?        

So I was surprised that it cost so much. I was even more surprised that as far as I know there was no public discussion about this huge cost when the decision to close the campus was made. How can that be? Reading Mr. Dean's story I don't know if the Board just didn't tell us the cost, or even worse, it didn't know, until after the decision was made. Maybe I missed something, but inquring minds want to know.                               

My final surprise is this: if the high school can spend this kind of money on partially  closing the campus-- a step it knows will have only a limited impact on a community-wide problem, shouldn't it be willing to spend at least as much in new money on closing the achievement gap  which is so much closer to its education mission?   I don't get it.

Reader Comments

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john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: July 25th, 2011 10:56 PM

Hey O'Shea -- stop ripping on my Chevy. I love my Chevy.

epic lulz  

Posted: July 25th, 2011 9:58 PM

One would think that $2 million (plus $300,000 annually) spent on drug education would have a greater effect on drug use than closing the campus. But such is the illogic of the War on Drugs, where billions are spent treating drug use as a criminal activity and a pittance is spent treating it as a health issue.

Just Make a Decision! from OP  

Posted: July 25th, 2011 8:07 PM

If the decision has been well-thought through and the need is high, the costs shouldn't matter much (they seem quite inflated to me). That said, there are significant factions (and not just students and over-permissive parents) that clearly are frustrated by the decision. Anyway, District 200 has plenty of cash reserves to afford it...so, why are we concerned about costs now? The district already has our money, so at least they're finding a way to spend it.

EBA from Oak pakr  

Posted: July 25th, 2011 6:48 PM

Really? Everything always costs more in this town than it should. Closing the campus is just ridiculous. Waste of time and now money. Being able to leave campus for lunch was really a nice little bonus. Not everyone smokes pot or gets drunk on their break. Need to treat the students with a little more trust and respect.

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: July 25th, 2011 1:47 PM

I was shocked to see the cost and can't help but wonder if they are building a Cadillac when a Chevy would do the job.

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