I wanted to highlight some important dates regarding the school board’s decision to proceed with the High School renovation and expansion.
What did the school district know, or should have known, when voting to begin the Octorara High School project? When the economic environment changed, why didn’t the school district adapt and change their plans?
- Foreclosure epidemic begins in late 2006
- Start of the liquidity (credit) crisis.
- Lenders began foreclosure proceedings on nearly 1.3 million properties, a 79% increase over 2006
- Aug 7th: Federal Reserve pumps about $24 billion into the U.S. banking system to keep the short-term interest rate at the 5.25% target
- Aug 15th: 118 citizens confront school board about ever increasing taxes due to construction projects
- School Board authorizes Construction Documents and approves Design Development documents
- U.S. enters recession
- 9.2% of all U.S. mortgages outstanding were either delinquent or in foreclosure
- Aug 18th: Lifelong resident informs board continued tax hikes will force her from home
- Average U.S. housing prices had declined by over 20% from their mid-2006 peak
- U.S. unemployment rate rises to 6%, its highest since 2003
- Sept 7th: U.S. Treasury takes over Fannie Mac and Freddy Mac
- Sept 15th: Lehman Brothers files for bankruptcy protection
- Sept 15th: School board announces special session to award contract and give notice to proceed with construction
- Sept 16th: AIG received an $85 billion credit facility from U.S. Federal Reserve
- Sept 22nd: School board holds special session to award contract and give notice to proceed, a month ahead of schedule, and without receipt and approval of PLANCON F & G from the PA Department of Education
- Mr. Hume indicated that residents have been coming to board meetings indicating that they cannot afford this project.
- Mr. Stoltzfus indicated that the submission of this document is required prior to any work being done and that the approval of this form by the Department of Education is required before any contracts are signed.
- Stock Market Crash: During the first eight trading days of October 2008, the Dow dropped a total of 2,399.47 points or 22.11%.
- Oct 1: Bush signs a $700 Billion bailout called TARP to buy non-liquid assets from banks
- Oct 20th: School board acknowledge receipt and approval of PLANCON Part F: “Construction Documents” and PLANCON Part G: “Project Accounting Based on Bids” from the PA Department of Education, having awarded the contract and give notice to proceed ahead of schedule.
- The official U.S. employment rate was 9.9%, higher if you include those who stopped looking for work
- Scheduled Completion of Phase 1 of the High School Project
- The official U.S. unemployment rate was 9.0%, higher if you include those who stopped looking for work
- Scheduled Completion of High School Renovations
- Aug 5th: S&P Downgrades U.S. credit rating from “AAA” to “AA+” with a negative outlook
We know that there was a lot more going on from the start of the process to the end. I selected dates to show that as the world was collapsing, the school board was pushing forward with plans. They can point to the original predictions, but the timeline shows they had the information to make better choices.
We still have no clue why the special board meeting was held to award the contract and give notice to proceed ahead of schedule. It made no difference to the project. They could not sign contracts or start construction without the proper paperwork from the PA Department of Education. We can only presume it was to get ahead of taxpayers who could panic with rising taxs during the crashing of the economy.