Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Its What’s Best for Our Kids and Community

Letter to the Editor published this week

Its What’s Best for Our Kids and Community
By Cesar Pereira

The Rye Community should vote in support of the Bond on June 11. It will fund much needed upgrades to our schools’ aging facilities. We should complete the upgrades now and all at once because it is the most cost-effective way to do it. It is my experience as a senior executive of a global public infrastructure construction company that there are significant economies of scale to be gained from doing all of the proposed upgrades at once. Construction material and labor inflation is significant. It is my experience and I can report that experts have concluded that historically construction inflation is double the CPI. Rye can complete more work for less by doing this work now, rather than spreading it out over several years.

The bond will fund needed upgrades to our schools’ aging facilities. Even a cursory review of some of the larger budgeted items in the bond proposal proves this point. $10 million to improve heating and ventilation systems and $4 million for selective air conditioning. Anyone with a child in our system knows that all too often our children sit in classrooms that are too hot or too cold. Improving our schools’ HVAC systems is needed. $7 million to add and replace trailers for our elementary schools. Our kids need clean and safe classrooms. $3.7 million to improve the High School’s turf field. One look at the field tells you this is needed. $4 million for interior renovations needed to meet building, health and safety codes. Need I say more?

The need is incontrovertible. We have to do the work now and all at once because its saves us money. It is my experience that there are significant economies of scale achieved from completing more construction work at once. For example, there are a number of fixed costs such as equipment, supervision and other overhead costs that have to be incurred no matter the size of the project. Spreading these fixed costs over more work reduces the per unit cost of the work. In addition, there is significant savings from buying material in bulk.

Doing the work sooner, rather than later, also results in cost savings because construction inflation grows much faster than the inflation of the overall economy. In addition to reporting that historically construction inflation is double the CPI, experts also report that in the last five years construction inflation averages three times the CPI. Doing all the necessary upgrades over several years will drive up the cost of the work.

The upgrades are needed. Doing the work now and all at once will result in significant cost savings to the Rye School District. Please vote in favor of the bond on June 11. Passing the bond is what is best for our kids and our community.