Taxing authority gone wild

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Click here to watch the video (look for the one marked “funding fight”)

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E.C. )

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3 Responses

  1. A new school for almost $200 million? It makes GCS look almost frugal. Of course, this is the same state that brought your the Big Dig, the longest-running and most expensive public project in the history of the world.

    In contrast read the Rhino’s story this week about the local charter school, Greensboro Academy. This school was built for $4.5 million out of operating funds. This school is frugal in its facilities, but it is the 3rd highest scoring school in the county with a 92.6 academic rating. The school prides itself on being efficient with its space, but also prides itself with its academic achievement and student discipline, something totally missing in GCS. All of this is in contrast to the planning process being developed by GCS for its new schools, if and when, the school bond is passed. The consultant involved wants a new creative approach to class rooms, one that requires more than 700 sq.ft. for 30 students, which is GCS’s current standard for class room size.

    So, the contrasts are obvious. Public schools feel the need to build big, lavish structures with taxpayer money to feebly educate students. Charter schools, which have to be efficient as they are market driven, use ordinary, but adequate, facilities and achieve above-average results. Another important factor is that this charter school has a waiting list that barely moves. You’d think that the school board and administration would get a clue someday of what is important. I remain adamant that GCS shouldn’t get one red cent for new buildings until they show that they can educate students in mobile cottages. It’s not the lavish and ornate building that are important, but what happens inside of them.

  2. Stormy,
    AMEN! You are absolutley correct. I think of it like this….

    Say a big company comes to town and builds a facility (let’s say FedEx). The FedEx guys come to the BOE and say, “Hey, we’re civic-minded and we want to build you a school so kids get a good education in a safe environment.” The GCS would turn back flips and sing the praises of the FedEx proposal.

    But wait – FedEx says, “Even though it’s a public school, we’re going to run the operations and have a board of teachers and parents to make the administrative decisions.” Now the GCS folks object saying, “You can’t take our power and control away! Who do you think you are?”

    It’s a power thing – not an education thing to GCS.

    My oldest niece attended Greensboro Academy and she’s performing at the top of the senior class at Grimsley this year. My youngest niece is getting the same excellent education at GA. That’s what’s really important, isn’t it. Not who gets credit or how fancy and ornate the building is. It’s about excellent education.

    Also, as Stormy mentioned – it’s a safe environment. No locks on the lockers. Kids are taught respect and are expected to follow the rules. It’s so refreshing to see kids walking down the hall pause to pick up a piece of paper on the floor and put it in a trash can. I know that’s such a little thing, but it says a lot about the character of the school, teachers, and parents.

    It stikes me that for $400 million in bonds we could build about 90 schools using the Greensboro Academy plan of construction. Charter schools are public schools, and schools like Greensboro Academy have earned our support.

  3. The story about the Greensboro Academy just blew my mind. They’ve managed to build a top-performing school for just $4.5 million (in 2000 dollars). Meanwhile, Guilford County Schools is asking for $25 million to build a comparably-sized elementary school.

    Clearly, there’s only one conclusion to be drawn here: the Guilford County Schools are spending way too much on school construction. If Greensboro Academy was underperforming, that would be one thing. But given that school’s success, it’s apparent that lavish facilities aren’t needed to either educate students or keep parents happy (Greensboro Academy has a long waiting list).

    So the next time the pro-bond crowd says, “Guilford County isn’t overspending on school construction,” let’s ask them to reconcile these numbers.

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