A school of thought

Friday, November 17, 2017

We urge everyone involved to pump the brakes a bit as the Cherokee School Board, Superintendent Kim Lingenfelter, and newly-formed 19-member “Facilities Review Committee” forge ahead with plans to sell the Roosevelt Elementary School property to the Cherokee Regional Medical Center for $4 million “with contingencies.”

There is talk of hurriedly fashioning a plan and putting a related bond issue to voters as early as next spring or fall. This is folly as fools rush in where wise men feat to tread.

To date, the figures bandied about are between $18-$21 million for a new K-4 elementary school that would be attached to the Cherokee Middle School.

To further justify this action beyond the CRMC’s fair offer, is a staggering total estimate of $12 million over an extended time for necessary repairs and renovations to upgrade the existing RES building, according to paid consultants utilized by the School District.

Many citizens are questioning that amount and to our knowledge, a detailed list and costs for RES renovations reaching $12 million has not been made public.

Others persist in pointing out that Washington High School is older than RES and will face similar aging woes in the future.

We laud the School District for creating a Facilities Review Committee that includes citizens well versed in business acumen, the construction process, education, and legal application.

We also hope any and all personal agendas of those committee members are checked at the door, before we can follow their lead and get to where we need to go.

Good schools and their facilities are as important a community amenity as any economic development could ever be.

Let’s invest the time and do this right.

(Paul Struck - Editor)