Response to Carrie – 3


Again, thank you for your comments. I will try to address your three points.

First, the School Board did truly consider the recommendations of the Joint Committee. They looked at all the information and spent approximately three months considering the recommended plan. However, they felt that the Domino Plan would best meet our needs for the following reasons:

1) The Plan will increase capacity with the least disruption of ongoing educational services.

2) It provides the best use of the educational dollar.

3) It accommodates the greatest number of students for the least cost.

4) It does not require the splitting of school populations until a number of years in the future.

5) It will accommodate projected enrollment growth through the year 2020.

Second, I have agreed that our enrollments are down this year. We have seen in the past that this happens during a downturn in the economy. However, we have also seen that when the economy recovers there is an escalation of enrollment growth for a significant number of years. I feel that we will see this pattern again and we need to be ready for it.

Third, I am truly aware of the problems with our economy. I deal with this on a daily basis both in terms of our current operational budget and in planning for the future. However, I do feel that we need to plan for the future and we can do this in the most cost effect manner by proceeding with our capital plans as they have been proposed.

One Response to “Response to Carrie – 3”

  1.   Donna Says:

    From the BOS Minutes April 6th 2005 –

    “G. Cabell Lawton, IV, County Administrator, reported on the following topics:

    apprised the Board the Joint School Construction Committee met on April 5th 2005 and has made a recommendation concerning the future direction for new school construction; the voting members, by a vote of 3-1, recommended a plan titled “Flex Plan A”; details of this plan will be in the Friday Mail; the Committee also recommended that this information be formally presented to both Boards [School Board amd Board of Supervisors] in a joint session either in April or May”

    So let me get this right – in 3 months you managed to contradict the a year’s work of a $50,000 consultant and a committee? I guess the 2 school board members forgot to consult with you before they voted? I hate to be so cynical but I’ve sat through enough meetings to see who runs the show and it sure isn’t the School Board although I see it starting to shift.

    I’d like to make another appeal for fiscal restraint. My biggest fear is that we build the HS as planned, we fail to be able to borrow more money to fix the other schools, we can’t afford to maintain it properly and it quickly falls into disrepair. All the while our teachers taxes will have gone up way more that their salaries. Remember the first payment on the borrowing is 5,100,000 – that’s a big number. You move on with a new HS feather in your cap and leave us in a mess.

    What we truly need first and foremost is a middle school. There is nothing wrong with the plan of our current middle school, it just is not big enough and has some substandard materials (the gym floor for example). We could “rebuild” it to accomodate the correct number of students for much less than a new High School. We could use the remaining funds to repair the current HS, add an adequate gym and a new wing and repair the Middle School and Central. Shift the students from Central to the Middle School. All the trailers would be gone. If you had respected the committee’s work this would all be done by now.

    With the way the economy is headed we are not going to get anywhere close to the population figures the Domino plan was based on. I think a huge High School although operating costs may be less expensive is not in the best interest of the students. In smaller schools students are known by all the teachers bringing a sense of accountability thereby reducing discipline issues. Also a greater percentage of students get to participate in athletics. In our current High School very good athletes are not getting a chance to participate because cuts had to be made. If we make a mega school we will have to move to another district. The cost of athletics will increase along with the time athletes will be out of the classroom and roaming on buses.

    I know the argument that was used to sway the School Board. I think it is bogus. In 10 years the demographics of Fluvanna will undoubtedly change. Even if it doesn’t the lines dividing districts can be drawn anywhere the Board desires. We may even think to be really innovative and team up with Louisa and create a blended High School in the Zion’s Crossroads area.

    Bottom line – the new HS plan leaves our county in debt “up to our eyeballs” and doesn’t solve the whole problem. It’s time to be creative and respectful of all the Fluvanna’s taxpayers.

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