As chairwoman of the volunteer committee supporting the 2014 Clover School District bond referendum, I am excited about the planned and flexible growth plan put forth in the proposed projects up for vote on March 22.
The school district leaders have approached student growth challenges with the goal of maintaining a high standard of education. Like many of you, that’s something I not only expect of my school leaders, but demand. A well-educated community is good for families, business and economic development.
To date the Clover School District has kept ahead of the student growth with a tempered pace – that is creatively using existing facilities and adding new facilities when needed.
A Ten-Year Facility Needs Plan was created in 2012 by school planning experts (an outside firm) using a survey of existing facilities, enrollment data trends, and population growth projections to arrive at their findings and recommendations. Then the school administration and the Board of Trustees put together a list of priorities. There was input from parents, business leaders, community leaders, teachers, coaches, parents and students before the Board of Trustees finalized the bond projects and called for a vote. I participated in numerous sessions and was given opportunity for input into the projects before I volunteered to lead the Vote Yes for Education Committee.
The proposed projects include a new elementary school, a new middle school, changes to the current Clover Middle School to create a ninth grade academy, upgrades and enhancements to athletic facilities and building an aquatics center next to Crowders Creek Elementary. No new land purchases are needed for this bond referendum, because the school district has purchased land when appropriate and held it for future planning.
Building new facilities is always a matter of timing. Building facilities in a particular location is a matter of required infrastructure and proximity to student population growth. For example, you wouldn’t want to build a new high school in a high traffic area where ingress and egress would be challenging and you need a large enough tract of land for all the requirements of a high school campus. Note: a tract of land has already been purchased on Highway 274 for a possible future high school.
In response to Fred Glickman and Gloria Hein’s letters in the Feb. 11 Lake Wylie Pilot, the fact is Clover High School is not now, nor plans to be, the largest high school in South Carolina. CHS is No. 15, based on data from the South Carolina Department of Education. Managing student growth by effectively using all the facilities available to Clover High School students (including the ATC buildings and the Blue Eagle Academy building), I am confident our demand for manageable class sizes, an ample opportunity for class offerings, a variety of extra curricular activities, and quality teacher-student relationships will continue. It’s important to offer a wide variety of choices from Advanced Placement classes to technical skills classes to art programs to sports. That variety is only available when a school has the size to stay competitive.
Clover will likely need an additional high school in the future. But not today. As good stewards of our taxpayer money, education experts will monitor the school enrollment growth and community growth with a watchful eye and will propose an additional high school at the right time.
Clover High School is one of two finalists for the prestigious Palmetto’s Finest Award. Clearly, a testament to the quality of education offered throughout our community.
I encourage you to follow our Vote Yes for Education Facebook page where facts are presented as frequently asked questions. Email your comments/questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m confident you’ll make the right decision for your family and our community. Please vote on March 22.
Rose B. Cummings is chairwoman of the Vote Yes for Education Committee.