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Reject the referendum: Leave SHS decision alone
It is our opinion that this building has reached the end of its life cycle.
-Stafford County Public Schools
Citizens Capital Improvement Advisory Committee, 2011
REMEMBER the old school-bus ditty, "This is a song that never
That's a bad idea. It shifts responsibility from elected supervisors and the board of education to voters who may not have the time, interest, or expertise to fully investigate the alternatives.
On Feb. 22, 2011, the Stafford School Board unanimously voted to ask the Board of Supervisors for money to replace, rather than renovate, SHS. That decision was not whimsical. A citizen advisory committee studied the high school and found that, among other deficiencies: the chemistry labs were marginally useful and unsafe; the chorus, band, and art rooms were too small; cosmetology and shop rooms dispensed fumes that could be smelled throughout the school; the heating and air-conditioning systems were inadequate; the school shook; the electrical system was flawed; and thin walls, shared desks, and tiny classrooms made learning difficult.
In the words of former supervisor Togie Payne, "From Day One [SHS] has been a lemon."
Hence the decision to rebuild. The call is not perfect: Student athletes will have to be bused to temporary practice fields during construction and, even more egregiously, current plans eliminate the automobile-technology facility at SHS. That should be corrected.
But Mr. Milde's plan would set construction back for years, would waste money already spent on the project, and would cost taxpayers even more money for the referendum. The citizenry relies on its representatives to govern. The BoS should reject the referendum idea. While roundabouts may be good for traffic, running in circles is not good for progress in our schools.