City shortchanging Austin over high school

Readers of this newspaper should know by now that there is a movement to build a new three-story high school within the Austin community to accommodate up to 2,500 students. Its features would include: a 2,500 seat gymnasium, tennis courts, computer and art labs, an auditorium, and a football, baseball, track and softball stadiums. This dream high school will offer a rigorous college-prep academic program, and programs in auto mechanics, cooking, and parenting classes. The new school will also offer enough parking for staff, students, parents, and visitors. The total cost of this school, built with union labor, will only cost $79 million. A lot less than the $100 million, and counting, in construction costs for the new Westinghouse High School, which is half the size of this dream school for Austin. Those parents who would love for their children to attend such a school would only have to pack their belongings and move to the exurb of Hampshire, Illinois near McHenry County. The McHenry school district opened its new $79 million Hampshire High School this past fall. The cost overrun was only $500,000. Only in Chicago can the construction cost double the original estimates (Hello Millennium Park) and you get a lot less. According the Chicago Public Schools’ website, Little Village High School cost $57 million to build. The school, with around 1,800 students, is larger than the new Westinghouse and its 1,200. LVHS also has several athletics fields and plenty of parking. The original budget for the new Westinghouse was $47 million. I am grateful that Mayor Daley fulfilled his promise to build the school, but, we as taxpayers have to question how our tax dollars are being managed. The cost difference between Hampshire and Westinghouse high schools would go a long way in hiring more needed teachers and support staff rather than funding the construction companies, which I believe have deliberately increased the city’s construction costs.

Dwayne Truss

She was an angel

First of all, I truly thank God for who he is [Fighting long enough while leaving a lasting impression, April 10, 2008]. God allowed Siedah (Sivels) to be with us for only 21 years. So to all of you who didn’t know, she was an angel and a gift. She left something that she wanted for her loved one and cousin to do-get to know one another better, share things while we can, and mainly, to love each other and live for God. I remember keeping Siedah when she was a little girl. She will always do things different and was truly “daddy’s little girl.”

Yulonda Harris
Siedah’s cousin
Submitted at

Do more for others

I’m in [Have a little love for Jesus on his birthday, Dec. 25, 2008, Terry Dean,]. I’m loving Jesus this season. And for a New Year’s goal, I’ll be aiming at loving people more. That’s kind of like loving Jesus more too.

Rick Leland
Submitted at

Impeach Blagojevich and move on

The gov has gone too far [Baffled over Gov. Blagojevich, Dec. 11]. Nothing will get done until he is impeached. Given that the feds have him on tape, the impeachment shouldn’t take over an hour. Get it done and move on.

John Kennedy
Submitted at AustinWeekly