$2.8M, not $1.4
According to materials distributed by the School Board, the cost of the proposed plastic grass carpet will be $1.289 million plus an additional $80,000 for 2-3 inches of coconut fibers and cork infill to hold up the plastic grass blades – resulting in a total cost of $1.4 million.
What the School Board has not told you is that they have underestimated the cost of installing and maintaining an artificial turf field, and they have overestimated the cost of installing and maintaining a natural grass field.
The artificial turf manufacturer warranty is 8 years. The proposed bond stretches the debt load over 15 years. That means Irvington will need to replace the artificial turf field by floating a second bond before the original bond is paid off.
In essence, the cost of the artificial turf field is not $1.4 million as represented by the School Board to the Irvington Community. Rather the capital cost is actually closer to $2.8 million as two fields would need to be purchased within the 15 year period – not just one.
What about the operating costs of maintaining an artificial turf field?
Artificial turf requires an extensive amount of frequent maintenance which includes fluffing up the infill so the grass blades stand up and careful cleaning to disinfect the field and kill algae, mold, and bacteria that tend to grow on plastic fields because of irregular drainage, moisture accumulation, body fluid accumulation, animal waste, and related debris.
The warranty terms and conditions for both companies whose materials are posted to the district website explicitly state that they alone will decide whether to honor the warranty. Their materials also list an excessive number of requirements for maintaining the artificial turf field, and violation of any of those conditions can result in a void of the warranty. Cleaning is required with a spray solution that must be applied with eye protection.
The following items are prohibited on artificial turf:
In addition, timely cleanup of body fluids including vomit, blood, and saliva is required because artificial turf, unlike real grass, contains no beneficial microorganisms to break down these fluids.
If the field is put to any use other than sport, the companies will not warranty their product unless alternative provisions are made such as covering the entire field with a protective hard surface. One company states that access points to the field must be limited – which seems to indicate that a fence must be installed to protect the artificial turf field from damage.
Does the school board referendum include a fence to limit access to the proposed artificial turf field as one of the capital expenses? If so, it is not indicated in the bond referendum cost breakdown.
IUFSD healthcare costs
Financial statements - 2014 (explanation of budget surplus on p3)
Administration underestimated the cost of artificial turf, overestimated the cost of grass
15 year bond/8 year warranty
$2.8M, not $1.4M
Total district indebtedness as of 7/14: $40.3M
Annual pay-out for new bond: $399K
Future health care benefits promised to employees as of 7/2013: $28M
• District indebtedness 9/22/2014
• Economic issues
• Life Cycle Cost - Chapter 10 of the Natural Grass vs. Synthetic Turf Surfaces Study Final Report - Govt. of Western Australia
$0 for math, millions for turf
October 2013: IUFSD's curriculum director explains why the district chose to adopt engageny math sight-unseen (at the time of adoption, engageny had not been written) instead of piloting established math curricula and choosing the best one.
The reason: a K-5 math curricula costs $100K.
Engageny was free. (The results of choosing a free, not-yet-written math curriculum for the district's youngest children can be seen here.)
$100K for a proven math curriculum would have been a one-time cost.
Annual payments on the bond will come to $399K/year for 15 years.