The Everett Herald editors this morning suggested that there are lessons to be learned from the local school district’s twice-failed bond measure. They wrote:

The use of portables (modular buildings, not “trailers”) are a smart option to building new because school districts experience population ebbs and flows.

Coincidentally, InvestigateWest, composed of former Seattle Post-Intelligencer journalists, provided this special report on the use of portable classrooms.

“The biggest thing with classrooms is really the budget of the school districts,” [a portable-manufacturing company’s engineer] said. “When the budget only allows the cheapest materials and the cheapest products, that’s really what it comes down to.”

The state of Washington says the cheapest materials aren’t good enough for new schools. It requires new school buildings to meet a long list of environmental conditions to qualify for state construction funds under the Sustainable School Protocol.

“Merely complying with minimum codes during design and installation will not ensure good indoor air quality,” the state says in the protocol.

But those rules don’t apply to portable classrooms. For portables, Washington offers recommendations, not requirements.

Herald editors: Have you visited a school site recently? Take a look at all those portable classrooms. For the most part, they’re ugly and in a grave state of disrepair. Not very conducive to learning, I should add.