SCHS Too Big to Succeed
Home1st Post2nd Post3rd Post4th Post5th Post6th Post7th PostDiscussion Board

Want to help? Contact Us using the box below!
March 12, 2012

“My baby, she wrote me a letter”
  (lyric from the 1967 Box Tops song, “The Letter”)

Only one of two things can explain this letter from the Scott County School Board. Either it is a deliberate and purposeful effort to deceive the citizenry of Scott County and effectively steal $20 million from relieving a grossly overcrowded high school, or it is a level of dysfunction that has no place in charge of a $50 million budget and the associated investments and bonding authority. If we first focus on the letter, hold them accountable and don’t accept half answers, the house of cards will begin to fall and then each and every concern will get its moment in the sun. But we must be a unified voice. And to that end, SCHSTooBig continues to call for a letter of non-reprisal so school district employees can join the discussion. Please join us here and help us do that. Contact us confidentially via the “contact us” box as many others have so we can build our data base and keep you in the off line loop.  

marked up text of the letter is available here, with questionable content highlighted in yellow and our comments in red. The original letter was drafted in response to both the school district’s and the community’s outcry after discovering in an article in the January 5th Georgetown News Graphic that the School Board approved the construction of a new elementary school, under cover of Christmas break, at the December 20th, 2011 Special Called School Board meeting. Whether to release the letter, called a “Clarification Letter”, was voted on at the January 10th, 2012 Regular School Board Meeting and passed 4 to 1 with board member Haley Conway voting against the letter. The letter contains all other board members and chair and vice chair signatures but does not have Mr. Conway’s signature. The letter is dated January 10 and was released January 12th.
This is our second attempt to deal with the letter’s numbers. If this doesn’t work for you, please try our first feeble attempt in our “Fourth Post”, accessible through the Fourth Post tab at the top of this page. That post also contains projections graphs and information we won’t repeat here, so it is well worth a look. A re-read of our “original post” may also be meaningful.  

Read the letter, with our annotations, for yourselfThen come back here to keep reading:

In light of the corrupt data the Local Planning Committee (LPC) was provided, SCHSTooBig calls for LPC Chairman, John P. Cooper, as is his legal right, to reconvene the LPC and hear a critical analysis of the data. If we let this letter go uncontested and unaccounted for, then we will effectively be giving the school board, and those pulling the strings carte blanche. Please help us Mr. Cooper. And readers, you can help us by contacting us confidentially via the “contact us” box. Please join us now!


When three members of what appears either to be a hand-picked , or worse, self-appointed Local Planning Committee (LPC, the committee who recommends facility construction to the school board but whose recommendation the School Board is not bound by), when those three complained at Thursday evening’s “task force” meeting that despite advertising their five meetings back in 2010, no one from the community showed up, they received an unexpected response. That response, along with many other compelling comments from the task force, went unreported in the Saturday, March 10th News Graphic account of the meeting.

A task force member spoke to the LPC heads and commented that if he, as a business man, spent money and advertised just once and got no response he would change his advertising approach before spending any more money. He said he certainly wouldn’t continue and advertise the same way four more times and get the same result.  

We don’t think the LPC would either. Certainly not these three, very, and we mean very, astute LPC members. Could it be they were getting the very result they wanted? And remember, they probably only minimally advertised in the newspaper’s fine print legal’s section at all because it is a legal requirement.

We mention this exchange to mention this. Another task force member suggested that one common sense way to mitigate the disproportionate elementary crowding would be to abandon the school district’s policy of open enrollment. It appeared there was no response to the suggestion from the powers that be.  

Oh, but there was! Just a little delayed. Take a look at the “not so cheap” 2 or 3 column inch advertisement touting OPEN ENROLLMENT on page 3 of the same News Graphic edition. This type of advertising obviously works as evidenced by the disproportionate capacity problems open enrollment has caused. The LPC should consider advertising at least as effectively as the district does for open enrollment. We can’t be sure though, the district may be required to allow open enrollment as one of its consequences for its repeated NCLB failures. If so, they should be forthright about it. This would certainly explain this otherwise ridiculous policy. It is so obvious that they think we are stupid, and for the one’s they don’t consider stupid, they count on being too busy to notice.

We beg you, Scott County community. We particularly beg you, good people attending all these meetings and serving on committees, please see what is going on here. These school board members, the very ones who signed the letter we dissected above, they aren’t up to anything. It is not in them. But to get to those who are, those pulling the strings of a $50 million per year budget with its many more millions of associated investment and bonding potential, we must first hold this oblivious school board accountable. There is no other way. Then and only then can we peel back the layers and expose those responsible. Then we must replace the school board with people who get it if we are to stop the pillage and plunder that has had and is having such a direct and devastating effect on so many of our high school kids.

We can, adnauseam, site example after example of how this is occurring right before our very eyes, but you can discover your own examples by using this very simple discovery tool. If it doesn’t make common sense, look deeper and follow the money (FTM). The cafeteria expansion at Scott County High School is such an obvious example, one we have belabored, but do so again because it is so obvious.  

The School Board’s “letter of clarification” implies we needn’t so much fix the overcrowding at the high school as we need fix where it shows itself most to the public, the cafeteria. Their solution? Spend $1 million dollars, using the same, good ol’ construction boys (FTM), consume precious real estate, do it dangerously during the school year forcing kids going back and forth to the trailers into construction and other traffic, all while an eminently more safe, reasonable, and practical solution begs.

Spend far less money, far more safely and utilize, or even expand the kitchen/ cafeteria area at Elkhorn Crossing School. Yes, this will cut into the revenue stream from the $60 thousand worth of vending equipment the district purchased with its “limited resources” for Elkhorn Crossing, but really, is this how we should be making money? And should we be in the money making business at all? Recall the school board just paid a hefty fine when we broke state laws trying to make money with raffles (and tried to keep it quite). FTM  

In this scenario, the entire day’s worth of students attending ECS (currently 216 in the morning and 216 in the afternoon, contrary to what the letter states) done right though, potentially 864 students, could have lunch at ECS, more than fixing the public relations problem at the current high school cafeteria. Common sense! Hey, there may be reasons we are not privy to why this or any of our suggestions are not possible, but if so, why won’t the board explain? Is it as we have surmised in an earlier post that a cafeteria at ECS is the technicality that would cause it to be considered a second high school? If so, tell us so. Or will that start uncovering other things you don’t want us to know?

There is still time to stop this cafeteria debacle, but you must join your voice with ours. SCHSToobig continues to call for a construction moratorium at the cafeteria expansion site. We need to preserve that money and that precious real estate before it is lost.

But as to the new elementary construction, some say “give it up, already. They have already sold the bonds and have broke ground on “Contempt Elementary”. It is too late. They win.” You are partially right.

They have succeeded in their primary goal of keeping our bonding potential from growing to a level that it might finance a second high school. But as a member of our Common Sense Solutions Committee (CSSC) suggested, “Contempt Elementary could easily instead serve as a Ninth Grade school temporarily, freeing up lots of space for 10-12 back at the High School”. And there are other options we will reserve for later, but for now, SCHSTooBig continues to call for a construction moratorium at the new elementary site until the LPC reconvenes and hears a critical analysis of the corrupt data they were provided . Email your suggestions for our “Common Sense Solutions Committee” to consider. Better yet, join us and meet with us. CSSC is concentrating on immediate solutions, not being a scapegoat for tax increases. We have options!  

Please join us now , attend school board meetings, consider running for school board (deadline for filing for districts 1, 2, and 3 is August) participate in the discussions on facebook and our discussion board and watch this page as we continue to report what our local newspaper won’t.