As a mother with two elementary school children in the Clover School District, I oppose this bond.
$40 million – That is how much the school board is requesting to build a new Clover Middle School. District officials admit the current Clover Middle School is a good facility, just not on par with Oakridge.
$10 million – The district is asking for this money to convert the existing good facility at Clover Middle School into a ninth grade academy. Clover already has a ninth grade academy housed in a wing of Clover High School.
$14 million – The school board would like to spend this money on a YMCA in Lake Wylie. As a resident of Lake Wylie, I would love a large YMCA/aquatics center in the heart of Lake Wylie. However, it is not the school district’s responsibility to build this facility.
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$6 million – The school district would like this money to bring Memorial Stadium into ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliance and add three artificial turf fields. I agree if we are not ADA compliant, we need to rectify that immediately. Unfortunately, the bulk of the $6 million is going into artificial turf fields. Is it necessary to put in three artificial turf fields within 2.6 miles of each other?
$70 million – This is the amount of unnecessary spending in this bond referendum. The school district has $32 million in capital improvement funds which grow by $5 million to $6 million per year. This money could be used to fund critical expenses. $25 million could be used to build the new elementary school to relieve crowding at the rapidly growing Crowders Creek Elementary. The remaining $7 million could be split among three projects. First, bring Memorial Stadium into ADA compliance. Second, improve Clover Middle School to make it on par with Oakridge Middle. Finally, if the school feels it is necessary to make the current ninth grade academy better, they could do this as well.
Superintendent Marc Sosne says this bond will put off the need to build a new high school. By the school board’s estimates, we would need a new bond to fund that construction in six to eight years. At that time, we would still be paying for the 2006 bond that will not be paid off until 2027. Since it takes an average of 2 ½ years to build a high school, why are we delaying this by expanding capacity at Clover High School to 3,400 students? Let’s put that into perspective:
Queens University: 1,300 undergraduate students
Johnson and Wales University: 2,400 undergraduate students
Furman University: 2,700 undergraduate students
Proposed Clover High School: 3,400 students
Winthrop University: 5,000 undergraduate students
Let’s focus on the needs of our district such as a relief elementary school, updating Clover Middle School, bringing the stadium into ADA compliance, and a second high school. If you choose to vote “no” on this bond, I would encourage you to contact each school board member and let them know the reasons. They can develop a bond referendum that better suits the students of Clover and Lake Wylie.
Jamie Henrickson is a Lake Wylie resident.