To the editor: 

The primary tool used by magicians is distraction. They get the audience focused on one hand while the other hand manipulates the “magic.” Politicians use the same techniques when promoting projects. The only difference between magicians and politicians is timing.

Let’s look at the current push by our school board for a flagship-of-the-community high school that has, of all things, a natatorium added to its “we need it” list (A natatorium is a $50 word for an indoor pool in case you were wondering).

School administrators claim the ninth-grade Freshman Success Academy (FSA) needs to be folded in with the other three grades so they can be assimilated into the high school experience. 

Several years ago the argument was made they needed a separate building and a boatload of debt was imposed on the community to accommodate that “need.” We (taxpayers) will be paying off that debt (principal plus interest) for a long time to come.

Oh, by the way, it appears there is a substantial cost of bussing freshmen to classes at the high school that are not available at the FSA.

If the ninth- grade is rolled into the new high school, what will the current FSA building be used for? The suggestion of letting the Boys and Girls Club (a program that supports additional tutoring for at risk students when the normal school day is over) use the FSA building has been floated.

Two thoughts jump out regarding this proposal. 

• Are there enough students in the program to justify dedicating such a large building to that program (to include cost of utilities, maintenance, etc.)? 

• Will the need to transport the Boys and Girls program participants from many schools at the end of the day to the FSA building demand a larger commitment of bussing than what moving students to and from the FSA to attend classes at the high school during the school day currently costs?

It is nothing less than manipulation using timing to keep the waters murky and allow the “magic” to do its thing. Throw a tidbit here and an irrelevant, but emotion-tugging, comment there (i.e., labeling the new high school as the flagship of the community) and, shazaam!, taxpayers are played.

It is not just the school board. Every entity that has taxing authority plays the game. It even goes so far as to have government fingers on one hand pointed at each other to shift blame while the same “takers” have their other hand on our wallets.

Truly, a long running demonstration of prestidigitation that might make even accomplished magicians envious. Our taxes are too high and our debt is outrageous.

A flagship high school will not overcome the negative aspects of those two negatives.

Ed Smith

Junction City

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