Anti-Bonds group formed

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I’m not sure what’s more incredulous in this Rhino Times story of the week…people forming a group to oppose the bonds (for the wrong reasons), Walter Childs’ rather eyebrow-raising comments, or the figures on how much we’re spending on school construction in Guilford County.

Nonetheless, we have to deal with all of this…

http://www.gcsnc.com/images/childs.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. http://www.gcsnc.com/images/hayes.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. A new anti-bonds group has formed this week, which includes GCS Board members Walt Childs and Deena Hayes. A mailing is scheduled shortly.

Here’s the gist of this group…Rhino excerpt:

Hayes described The People’s Choice as an ad-hoc organization of people opposed to racial and ethnic disparity in the schools. She said the group opposes the bonds because minority residents of the county will not benefit from it as much as white residents, who she said are getting “palatial” schools such as the Northern Guilford middle and high schools.

Hayes said, “Taxpaying citizens of color are asked to support the school system, and their kids are getting the least benefit from it.”

Uh-boy….

Here’s my thing…if you’re going to oppose the bonds, oppose the bonds on principle, such as $412 million is too much, or this Board (which you, Deena and Walt sit on) constantly squanders taxpayer money and we don’t want to give you anymore of it.

More:

Hayes and Childs also said The People’s Choice opposes the bonds because the construction contracts from the 2003 and 2000 school bonds went disproportionately to white construction companies.

“We’re making sure that moneys that are allocated for schools are equitably distributed among all the contractors,” Childs said. “It needs to benefit the black community as well as the white community.”

Guilford County Schools has a program in place that is supposed to ensure that minority contractors get a share of construction contacts. Childs, however, said that many of the contracts arranged under that program go to businesses owned by white women.

//www.gcsnc.com/boe/images/childs_b.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. “We don’t know if those were fronting for large white companies,” Childs said.

Stop the tape…Large…WHAT? WHAT did Walt say?

//www.gcsnc.com/boe/images/childs_b.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.“We don’t know if those were fronting for large white companies,” Childs said.

Walt had better be glad his term is up. I’d like to know exactly what a “large white company” is.

***********************

These are the people that run your schools. Please remember this when you cast your primary ballot in a couple of weeks.

http://www.gcsnc.com/images/quick.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. BTW, Amos quick had an interesting quote in this article:

Another school board member, Amos Quick, who represents District 9, said he is also against the bonds but is not part of The People’s Choice.

We’re talking about an airport-area high school but not addressing the renovation needs we have,” Quick said. “I think we need to address some of those needs before we sink $80 million into a high school.”

See, Mr. Quick is opposing it for the right reasons.

The Rhino’s Paul Clark has also done an excellent job in this article of laying all the numbers out on the table as to why it is so expensive to build schools in Guilford County.

More from the article:

The cost comparison Guilford County Schools likes to cite the most, cost per square foot, does not address the overall cost of the schools the system is building. At the dedication of Northern Guilford High, Guilford County Board of Education Chairman Alan Duncan told the audience that the school, which is the model for the airport-area high school and other future high schools in the county, was built for slightly less per square foot than the state average.

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI), however, maintains cost statistics on all new schools in the state. And according to the NCDPI, Northern cost $166 per square foot to build, more than the $161-per-square-foot average for the five high schools put out for bid in 2005.

Those figures include site work. Guilford County Schools cites $149 per square foot for Northern and $159 as the state average excluding site work.

In any case, the cost per square foot tells only part of the story. Guilford County Schools is also building larger schools.

The schools claim that many local factors can affect the cost per square foot of construction projects, although it’s hard to believe that cinder block is a lot more expensive in Guilford County than in Forsyth County.

There are two other cost comparisons that seem more relevant – overall cost and building area per student.

When it comes to overall cost, Guilford County Schools has built two of the five most expensive schools built in the state since 2002. Of the 170 public schools built in the state between 2002 and 2008, Northern Guilford High was the third most expensive, at $45 million, and Eastern Guilford High the fourth most expensive, at its original bid price of $40 million.

The two most expensive schools in the state during that period were Wake County’s Heritage High, at $50 million, and Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s Mallard Creek, at $46 million. But Heritage High has 1,600 students and Mallard Creek has 2,000, many more than the 1,200 students Northern and Eastern were designed to hold.

Adjusting for the number of students shows that Northern and Eastern cost more per student. Northern cost $37,500 per student to build, and Eastern cost $33,333 per student. Heritage came in at $31,250 per student, despite its higher overall cost, and Mallard Creek at a relatively thrifty $23,000 per student.

Well-done, Paul.

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E.C. )

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10 Responses

  1. UNBELIEVABLE!!!!!!!!!

    I’d like to know what drugs Deena Hayes is on. Really, if they’re prescription she needs to up the dose. If they’re street drugs, she needs to lay off and quite sharing with Walter!

    NUTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. I’ve been beating this drum for 2-3 years about school construction costs in GCS, but no one has been paying any attention.

    I suppose that Deena and Walter’s group will hold-out with their anti-bond campaign until someone rolls over and agrees to give it all to a “black” minority group…a true minority in their eyes. Saying that white women only are a front for a large white company reflects a gender bias on their part. It seems that white women can not be given a piece of the pie because they are just pawns of white men, I suppose.

  3. These people are DISGUSTING!

  4. Is it appropriate for school board members to align themselves with a group such as this? Forgive me if I’m wrong here but isn’t the school board the ones who want the bond in the first place? So the entire board is not even on the same page with the bond? If i’m understanding this, 11 members of our school board cannot come to a consensus on this but they want the whole county to buy into a bond package? What the hell are these people drinking? What a shame these people are running our system. I’m dumbfounded and embarrassed for our community!

  5. I’ve never understood why Deena has never stood up for the Latin business owners, the Native American business owners, and the Asian business owners.

    Are they not also minorities?

  6. anon,

    In Deena’s book…..No. There is only one minority group of interest to Deena….black contractors.

  7. Deena and Walter apparently want GCS to have a certain amount of “set-asides” for minority contractors, which is probably not allowed under federal or state law. I wonder where their fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers to see that money is spent in the most frugal, proper way has gone; i.e., to get the most bang for the buck. I guess if minority/women contractors cannot bid themselves into contracts up front the two think the school board should fix it so they can compete. This is taking the social engineering in the schools out into the construction of schools itself. Unacceptable.

  8. How many hundreds of GCS employee and school board hours have been spent debating this minority contractor issue? Too many. And what has any of that done to improve education? Absolutely nothing.

    Bottom line: The school system’s goals should be to educate children, not to fix 400 years worth of race relations in America. Focusing so much on race (and this school system and board seem obsessed with it) only distracts from what should be the district’s real priorities.

  9. just saying,

    Maybe the board’s real priority is racial diversity and social engineering? None of them know how to educate, so spend their time and throw your money on social issues.

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