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Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Cup Of Coffee

I know I have a lot of vices. One of them is to have a cup of coffee and read the morning paper before any real conversation. A couple of days ago, I was out getting my paper, the sky was just showing light, and Charlie, one of my neighbors, was walking by. After the usual greetings, he said he had something he wanted to talk about but didn't have the time. But then he stopped and started talking, walked a few steps, stopped and talked some more, which turned in to a ten minute discussion. It was all about the road improvements the school district is making at Ebinport Elementary School.

What I heard was that we were wasting "his" tax dollars. He didn't want to pay taxes for road improvements and for buses. His solution: "we should not have improved the road, instead, we should have made everyone ride the bus and since we were now improving the roads, we should stop letting people ride buses."

That's an interesting argument. I must admit that I have often questioned school bus procedures which seem to have not changed much in a long time. Do we really need buses the same way they have been used for years? But then, if everybody had to ride the bus,  our roads would be safer, not to mention a huge fuel savings. Could we really make everyone ride the bus? One of the arguments for improving the roads, beside the safety improvement, was to stop parents from parking in neighboring roads to drop off and pick up their children. Anyway, it can be an interesting discussion.

And this has not been the only discussion I've had about the Ebinport project. One of my more educated friends wanted to know how many teachers had to lose their job so the roads could be built. A good question because during the budget process we kept talking about having no money and then he drives by and sees all this money being spent. Which is one of the more complicated things to explain.

To most people, money is money. But to the school district, there is Operations Money to be spent on mostly salaries and then there is Capital Money to be spent on new projects and major maintenance. The budget process talks about Operations Money and the Ebinport project is using Capital Money. Capital Money cannot be spent on Operations, but Operations money can sometimes be spent on Capital related expenses. It does get complicated.

Now for the Ebinport Project. First the bad news, most of the grass is now gone. Replaced by paved roads and parking. The picture below shows some of the new road to be used for student pick up and drop off. Hopefully, all the cars will now have room on the site and will not back up onto Ebinport Road.
A neat thing they did is in the picture below. The old Ebinport sign was in the way of the new road. They cut out the concrete portion with Ebinport embedded and moved it to the sidewalk in front of the school.
The picture below shows the entrance to the school from India Hook Road is now gone. 
The picture below shows one of the neighborhood roads where parents park to drop off and pick up students.

The picture below shows the new bus entrance to the school. It will also be used by staff to get to their new parking area. A small area of grass was saved for the Ebinport football team.

Part of the project included water retaining ponds (pic below) for water runoff control. The school had none previously.
Yet to be built, but planned, are right and left turn lanes on Ebinport Road (pic below). Hopefully this will improve traffic flow.

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