The Clover School Board and staff have predicted all manner of dire consequences if citizens of the Clover School District dont pass the proposed $99 million capital plan including a $67 million bond issue. For example, it has been hinted that without the complete all-or-nothing package, students will be taking classes in trailers, class sizes will grow greatly, AP courses will disappear, sports programs and the Choraliers will be decimated.
In fact, if the bond referendum is defeated (as it should be):
1. The sky does not fall. According to the school administration, the current high school facility was built for 2,500 students. Current population is 2,000. The school is highly ranked and providing an excellent education for our kids. At current growth rates, there is capacity to house another six to seven years of growth without need to go outside the current campus, eliminate any class offerings or increase class size.
2. The needed football stadium improvements to satisfy handicapped standards (which should have been done long ago) and to improve field quality can be done with $6 million of the existing saved uncommitted $32 million of funds (taxes we paid, but havent yet been spent). The school board can do this without a bond referendum. Work could begin immediately.
3. The much-needed additional elementary school in Lake Wylie to relieve overcrowding at Crowders Creek Elementary ($25 million) can be done with the remaining uncommitted funds. The school board can do this without a bond referendum. Work could begin immediately.
4. Many support the aquatic and health center facility ($14 million) proposed to be built by the school district and operated by the YMCA. Others believe more study is needed. This item was tossed into the bond referendum without much citizen input. It needs more consideration. If it turns out, in the opinion of most, to be a good idea, the delay would likely be no more than a few months.
5. Planning for the development and construction of a second high school at a reasonable location in Lake Wylie, and for the significant upgrading of the current Clover Middle School at its current location can be completed to the point of being submitted to the voters for approval within a year. This would include the opportunity for more citizen inpu. If well-planned and approved by the citizens, work could begin on both these projects within two years. (This is about when the current proposal would reach a similar point.)
I urge you to vote NO on Saturday, March 22. The current proposal deserves to be defeated. The citizens of the Clover School District deserve a better, more thoughtful and more appropriate plan.
Don Long is a Lake Wylie resident.