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Friday, January 15, 2010

Another Passionate Letter on the Shoreline Historical Museum

Another good letter from a passionate Museum supporter and parent of a Shoreline student, Julie Houff. Julie is a very active member of the community from Lake Forest Park. She supports our schools and cannot understand how the School District could risk losing the Bond and/or destroying our Historical Museum.


In response to a previous letter to the editor of Shoreline Area News, by Kristine McLane titled 'To the Editor: Read the Facts About the School Bond', I followed the link to documents on the Ronald School Building issue, but only found laws relating to surplus school property. I could not find info on quit claim deeded school buildings or any documents specifically relating to the Museum and School District agreements. (Reminds me of that June public meeting when very general state laws were shared and many pertinent questions left unanswered) So, I took a look at the most relevant and helpful information-which, of course is the legally filed Deed and addenda agreements.

I am not an attorney, but after reading the documents, I would say the Museum owns the building. And, that the District may take it back ONLY if the District has sought all means to meet the needs of students without using the building, and can ONLY meet the needs of students by using the building.

Why the hurry to incorporate the Historic Ronald School into the high school? And for what specific purpose/s? I have not been notified of the desperate need that can ONLY be met by using that building. Has anyone? If you have, please share it. What is the logic to expensively modernize a historic building-wasting the huge investments made maintaining the historic interior and exterior look, when there are decent plans made that don't incorporate it, and an even better one could be requested to be drawn? Sure, more space can be better, in some cases. However, is it really necessary in this case? Will it be the only way to allow for the best education for Shorewood students?

As far as the "option" (offered by the District) of moving the building goes: How do you move a very large 100 year old brick building without partially or totally destroying it in the process? This very idea seems to fly in the face of consideration for those of us history enthusiasts. When the District's attorney was asked about what he knew in regards to this, he offered nothing. Why offer this option if it's not a truly viable one?

The District appears to be putting the fate our Shoreline/LFP history center in our-the voters-hands, but in a way that forces us to choose between keeping our complete Museum in it's current location/s in the preserved historic building that houses it, and our needed Levy/Bond measures? I don't know about you, but, I am very sad, anxious, and angry about this. Our school district residents don't deserve to be left in limbo, to only ASSUME that a vote FOR schools automatically means that the integrity of their museum and historic building is, or is not, at risk. Nor do they deserve to be made to decide whether or not to delay getting updated high schools or enough funds for operations in order to keep the integrity of their museum and historic building.

I happen to like Rep. Chase's suggestion of removing the Ronald Historic Building from the Levy/Bond proposals and plans altogether as a simple, no-nonsense, considerate way to get peace and peace of mind back in the community. At the very least, please, Shoreline School District, make it very very clear what the specific desired use is for the Ronald building that you absolutely cannot accomplish any other way. Perhaps you really do have a great plan that would sell me on confidently voting yes for your measures. I can't wait to hear about it.

I am a parent and I value education more than I can say and my WISH is to vote for Schools AND the ENTIRE Museum AND leave the historic building in the care of the Museum as was intended and agreed by both parties decades ago.

Julie Houff

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