The Clover school board and others have predicted dire consequences if citizens of the Clover School District don’t pass the proposed $99 million capital plan, including a $67 million bond issue. For example, it has been hinted that without the mind-boggling “all-or-nothing” package, students will immediately be taking classes in trailers, class sizes will grow greatly, Advanced Placement courses will disappear, sports programs and the Choraliers will be decimated, and darkness will cover the earth.
In fact, if the bond referendum is defeated, as it should be:• The sky does not fall. According to the school administration, the high school was built for 2,500 students. Current population is 2,000. The school is highly ranked and providing an excellent education. At current growth rates obtained from the school administration, there is capacity for another 6 to 7 years of growth without any need to go outside the campus, eliminate class offerings or increase class size.
• 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 uncommitted $32 million of funds (i.e. taxes we have paid, but which haven’t yet been spent). The school board can do this without a bond referendum. Work could begin immediately.
• 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 “saved” funds. The school board can do this without a bond referendum. Work could begin immediately.
• 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 while it may have merit, more study is needed regarding the “what” and “how” of this plan. This item was tossed into the bond referendum stew at the last minute mostly for marketing reasons and without much citizen input. I believe it needs more consideration. If, after that, it turns out in the opinion of most to be a good idea, the delay would likely be no more than a few months.
• Planning for a second high school at a reasonable location in Lake Wylie, and for the upgrading of 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 input which was lacking in the planning of the current proposal. If well-planned, and approved by the citizens, work could begin on both these projects within two years at the outside. This is about when the current proposal would reach a similar point. Potentially no loss.
I urge you to vote “no” on Saturday, March 22. The current poorly planned proposal deserves to be defeated. There is overwhelming evidence that “bigger is not better.” The citizens of the Clover School District deserve a better, more thoughtful and more appropriate plan.