Wth word spreading throughout the city of the Richfield School Board's decision to install lights on the high school baseball field, community members are piping up on Patch.
The light installation is part of the district's plans to revamp the field. In late 2011, Hennepin Country awarded roughly $275,000 to the school for the revamp project. Earlier in the year the board felt it didn't have sufficient funds to include lights in the project, however, after discovering rents for the new turf field would be nearly double than expected, a majority (4-2) voted in favor of using those rents to fund the lights. The pricetag for the lights is roughly $200,000.
However, the $200,000 is not coming from the district's capital fund, which is used for improvement projects. The rents generated are considered operating, or general fund, dollars. While operating dollars can be used for anything, with the district in a well-known financial pickle and struggling with an achievement, many argue that these funds should be used in the classrooms.
Scott Stone commented:
"Don't baseball games start at 4:15? Don't several Richfield parks have lighted baseball fields that could be used? Couldn't $200K be used on computers for the schools instead? or Arts programs? Or a few paid teachers assistants? With Richfield schools getting a failing report card, sports should be the last thing we spend money on."
While many may feel the lights are unnecessary, a lone reader came to the defense of the school board, citing multiple reasons to go ahead with the lights.
Steve Klopp countered:
"I would like to thank David Lamberger, Sandy Belkengren, Deb Etienne and John Ashmead for having a Vision for Richfield High School that includes a new baseball field with lights. To have one of the best 'on campus' ball fields in the State is a feather in the cap for Richfield. ... The ball field improvement project was started with a grant from the Hennepin Youth Sports Program for $275,000. In addition, Bob Slotterback and Todd Olson have forged a strong relationship with Richfield/Bloomington Credit Union who is donating $40,000 for a scoreboard."
Rumors of a possible special session to reconsider the lights are circulating, however, nothing has been announced by the district.
That said, where do you stand on this issue? Should the district be spending the cash in the classroom? Or is this a great investment in our schools?
Take our poll below and share your thoughts in the comments section.