Double dipper

I gave my critic Paul Goosen’s reply to a post of mine space and spared it any rebuttal. Paul off handedly claimed that my original post was full of inaccuracies. Today’s story about the Edison School Expansion points out one of them. I said Paul was once the head of the entity in charge of building the new school. In fact, he is still in charge of the building.

Many supporters of the Red Plan hoped it would draw students back from other schools to ISD 709. Paul Goosen’s support for the Red Plan, which is driving students into Edison, means Paul wins no matter who gains students. The new Edison will be able to accommodate several hundred more ISD 709 students at the same time new Red Plan school rooms are being built for them. That’s $296 million for ISD 709 construction (all locally generated from property taxes) and $19 million for Edison (all generated from the state through state income and sales taxes).

As a friend of Edison I have no gripes about Charters in general or Edison in particular. One other things stood out for me in this story – the price tag.

Edision is spending $19 million for 1,200 students.

The Duluth District now has far fewer than 10,000 students. Assuming that the enrollment goes back up to ten grand after the completion of the Red Plan let’s go ahead and use that figure and compare spending between the two districts.

10,000 would give Duluth 8.3 times as many students as Edison. If Red Plan spending came in at the same rate as Edison’s project the Red Plan would only cost $157 million rather than $296 million.

If you use a more accurate enrollment figure of 9,000 (and that may be generous) for ISD 709 the difference is all the more glaring. That would be 7.5 times $19 million or $142.5 million. That’s less than half the cost of the Red Plan. We should have Edison not Johnson Controls in charge of the Red Plan.

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