Fort Mill Times

My view: Clover school bond good for all

I felt compelled to reply to Don Long’s letter (published March 3 in the Lake Wylie Pilot) to shed light on details that warrant clarification.

First of all, I don’t have an agenda here except for the pursuit of accuracy and logic. I’m not on the school board, don’t have kids in Clover schools and serve only as a YMCA volunteer. However, as a college placement counselor, I work with hundreds of students from public, private and homeschool backgrounds each year. I stay informed on what happens in our district. I am in favor of projects that benefit the community at large, especially children and people with special needs. Hopefully, these points will provide a well-informed and factual perspective for the public to consider.

1. The aquatic center was not added in at the last minute. From the beginning, the idea of having a facility for all students to learn to swim (logical for a lakefront community) was on the table. It was part of the original package the school district proposed and was part of the informational video the district presented throughout the whole process.

2. The water park is what currently needs funding, not the whole outdoor pool. The outdoor pool is being funded with bond money, as promised. It is only the waterpark for younger children that needs funding, which was always represented as an optional addition. That video, which is still on the school district’s homepage, clearly says at the 7 minute, 40 second mark “Plans also include a water park, which will only be built if funds are available after all other projects are complete.” The Y is now seeking support to fund that $1.7 million water park.

3. The bond was not about getting a Lake Wylie high school. Until it incorporates, Lake Wylie is part of the greater Clover community. The bond addressed the growing needs of the entire district, with added schools, field renovations and aquatic center. I have asked school board members about the idea of a new high school and the response was at the moment, funding all of these more pressing needs had to take priority. Many said there probably will need to be a high school in this area someday but it didn’t usurp the current needs.

4. Big high schools are bad? Again, even though the bond had nothing to do with creating a new high school, I still must point out that Clover High consistently gets top marks in the state. Bigger schools offer more AP classes, more technology, career training and a wider range of extracurricular options. As a college placement counselor, I see students with more limited options coming from public smaller/newer schools. I disagree with the statement larger high schools always fail to serve students well.

5. A high school would be the center of the community? How can it be the new center of the community when it is for 14-18 year olds? The Y facility will offer amenities to ALL school children and all community members, will create a pool for the high school swim team (they have none), will give exercise options to senior citizens, bring revenue to the community with swim meets, provide safe exercise and therapy for disabled people, and serve as a place where ALL members of the community can gather. I help care for my special needs sister, and I’m thrilled the district is creating a facility that will enhance her quality of life. I love that elderly and young alike will have access to it.

6. The bond passed, plain and simple. The projects are moving forward. Like many, I took the time to learn about the bond, spoke to the school board members and created an educated opinion on the subject. I’m proud of our community for passing it.

One day, when and if there is a new high school, those students will benefit as well. In the meantime, the bond will make Lake Wylie a more appealing place to live, serve students, provide schools to handle the area’s expanding growth, improve tourism, create revenue for local businesses and provide an amenity accessible to the entire community. It’s a great thing.

Elizabeth Hartley is a Lake Wylie resident.