My View

Make school grounds ADA compliant before spending money on new facilities

March 16, 2014 

While there may be a handful of valid reasons to vote no on March 22 for the Clover School District bond referendum, let’s focus on one potential voters don’t know about.

Clover School District has six elementary schools, most of which have multiple playgrounds. Additionally, Blue Eagle Academy has two playgrounds, and Clover High School has a playground for the child care program. Of all of these playgrounds, only one is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. One other playground is partially compliant with the ADA. The remainder of the playgrounds have multiple ADA violations including the play surface, equipment elements, accessible routes. The Clover School District is aware of these issues, yet it has failed to include correcting these federal violations into this bond proposal or any other plan of action.

These are federal violations of Chapter 10, Section 8 or 1008 of the Americans with Disabilities Act. If the Clover School District were sued on this matter, the district would have to pay for the appropriate repairs, plus the attorneys fees for the district and the attorney bringing the litigation. It would be more prudent to get the playgrounds up to federal standards without litigation.

As a double amputee, our daughter had difficulty accessing the playground. Also, if this issue isn’t remedied, our son, also a double amputee, will have the same obstacle in a few years.

It appalls us that all children aren’t being provided the same opportunities as their peers. This issue is bigger than our family. This is about providing ALL children in the Clover School District equal opportunity as their peers. This is about following federal civil rights law. This is about “Each Child, Each Day...Excellence.”

We challenge voters to be cautious when they vote March 22. Do you trust the Clover School District to spend $99 million to expand facilities where the district already has facilities that aren’t compliant and have no plan to get them into compliance? We can’t vote to support that.

Matt and Renee Aldridge are Clover residents.

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