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Citizen input sought on future of middle schools

By MELINDA WILLIAMS

melinda@southwesttimes.com

 

Regardless whether the county’s two middle schools are renovated or the two are merged into a newly constructed building, it will require “some level of tax increase” to fund them, according to county officials.

As a result, Pulaski County Board of Supervisors will hold a public meeting Monday, Jan. 13, to discuss the future of the middle schools and hear input from the public. The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. in the County Administration Building on Third Street in northwest Pulaski.

Pulaski County Administrator Pete Huber said the school board is obtaining proposals to determine the estimated cost of renovating or building. Since the cost will be contingent upon which option is pursued, he said, no estimate has been made as to how much of a tax increase would be needed.

A public notice advertising the Jan. 13 meeting states that “it will cost a significant amount of money” for either option. “The Board of Supervisors would like to hear general comments from the public about the debt obligations needed to pay for improvements and the corresponding tax requirements to meet this debt,” the notice adds.

Detailed information about a study the school board commissioned comparing renovation of Pulaski and Dublin middle schools to construction of a merged school can be viewed at the county website, www.pulaskicounty.org.

Comments

comments

56 Responses to Citizen input sought on future of middle schools

  1. Billy J

    January 11, 2014 at 10:56 am

    After reading all the comments on this and other articles about the school, it seems to me that the big disagreement is the condtion of the schools. Several people have said that they have been in the schools and they are in terrible condition. Well I have been in both schools in the last 6 months and I really see nothing wrong with them. Sure the style and décor is straight out of the 1950s, but SO WHAT? I do recognize that we should find a way to add HVAC, but other than that I really don’t understand this belief that we must have new schools. Most of our country’s most prestigious colleges and universities have academic buildings that were built50-100 years ago or more. The Wren building at William and Mary was built in the 1600s! This whole argument that we need new schools, as opposed to simply updating what we have, is ridiculous.

    • pchsdad

      January 12, 2014 at 7:52 pm

      Billy J, great post. Ceiling height in both middle schools is around 10 feet. There is more than enough room to put a drop ceiling in and accommodate any hvac and wiring needs.

    • Janet

      January 13, 2014 at 9:02 am

      As a history major I can appreciate the value in preserving buildings. To equate public school buildings with University buildings is like comparing apples and oranges. Universities collect tuition which they can use to maintain and update buildings. THe buildings do not decay as quickly because fixes are made as necessary. Public school systems are not able to maintain the same level of repair and updates. The problem is that the expense of maintaining and repairing these buildings has been so costly that only basic repairs and maintenance have been possible. This is why the schools are so far gone as to make it financially insane to try to renovate and repair these buildings. Energy efficiency, updated infrastructure to accommodate for technology, as well as improve functionality so that we are at least providing our students with the same level of services as other counties is very costly and while in the short term it might be a little cheaper to renovate, in the long term it just doesn’t make financial sense.

    • Jennifer

      January 13, 2014 at 9:22 am

      My son attended Dublin Middle school several years ago and I remember walking into this 6th grade classroom the night of parent/teacher conferences and there was a crack from the floor almost to the ceiling on the first floor. Then as he went through the other two years, there were some classrooms that other than out dated were fine and others had the cracks in the walls and these were on the second floor. My son has been out of that school now for 9 years and I have a hard time believing that these cracks have totally been repaired to the point of them being gone. As to the person that mentioned the 10 year plan, that is ridiculous! I understand some people do not want their property taxes going up and I am sure that my taxes will go up considerably as well but these schools cannot be put off for 10 years! I have talked to many people I work with that do have kids in elementary schools and most of them said if they decide to put off building new schools or a new school they will move out of the county so their children can attend better schools. When I ask where most are saying Christiansburg or Blacksburg and when I point out how high the taxes are there, the common response is, “You get what you pay for and if my taxes are high but my children have good, safe schools to attend and the use of rec centers and the aquatic center then that is fine.” So by putting off building schools you could lose even more of your tax base so in 10 years, you will need two new middle schools, a new Dublin Elementary and a new high school. Good luck with that when you are losing tax payers left and right.

      • Jennifer

        January 13, 2014 at 9:39 am

        I will admit my time in both middle schools over the past year have been for band concerts and ball games so I have not been in the classrooms with the cracks up the walls for a good amount of years now. So if they have been repaired that is wonderful news!

      • pchsdad

        January 13, 2014 at 5:21 pm

        The schools are not unsafe. If this were the case the building inspector would not issue occupancy permit. The sky is falling mentality is not the smart way to handle this. As far as people saying they will move out of county if they dont get new schools..I say goodbye. THE REAL ESTATE OWNERS CANNOT AFFORD A 50 MILLION DOLLAR DEBT.

        • Jennifer

          January 14, 2014 at 11:26 am

          I own my home in Pulaski County, in fact along with my home I own three other lots of land in Pulaski County that I will have to pay the increased taxes on. My question to everyone that is so against this, were you at the meeting where the company came in and talked about the safety issues with the drop off/pick up flow of traffic, or the moisture in random bricks in places that is not common, how the brick crumbled in pieces from both middle schools when they were studying it? Or did you ever ask yourself if Blacksburg High School had the occupancy permit when the roof of the gym caved in just shortly after a group left? Read the reports and if you can go through the entire report and really feel comfortable knowing that your son/daughter, niece/nephew or anyone for that matter is in those schools day in and day out and you feel it can wait another 10 years, then by all means I pray you are right because if children are in those schools or being dropped off or picked up and get hurt or even worse killed then good luck affording the lawsuits!

          • pchsdad

            January 14, 2014 at 1:26 pm

            Jennifer, the traffic flow has ben this way since the schools were built. So to say this is an issue is 50 years late. In regards to the other issues, ask yourself this, if the schools are so bad off and on the brink of collapse, how do they keep their occupancy permet? In regards to Blacksburg HS, this was a contractors error that caused it to fail, not age. Like I said before, if this needs to be done, it needs to be done under a ten year plan, thus allowing time for the funds to be accumulated, and just not borrowed. Im glad you can afford any increase in ur real estate tax, your one of the few.

          • Jennifer

            January 14, 2014 at 1:54 pm

            Another thing pchsdad, where I work the salaries range from 75k to 200k a year and the 6 families I have talked to with kids in the elementary schools in Pulaski County both parents work so with one income being pretty good in my opinion with another income, do you really want to say goodbye to those taxpayers in the county? Then again if we do say goodbye to them and the average taxpayer age in say 10 years is 65 then who needs schools at all anyway?

          • pchsdad

            January 14, 2014 at 10:00 pm

            Jennifer, where do you work,I need to apply there!

          • @Jennifer

            January 15, 2014 at 1:05 pm

            Thank you for this. regardless of the reason that the roof collapsed at Blacksburg High School, our children face the danger of something like this happening each and every day. I own property in Pulaski also, and people like pchsdad is what is wrong with this community. I can promise you that if my child ever gets hurt from falling brick, I will own Pulaski County

  2. E.W. Harless

    January 12, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    BILLY J IT IS HARD FOR ME TO BELEIVE THAT YOU KNOW ANYTHING AT ALL ABOUT BUILDINGS. IF YOU HAVE BEEN IN BOTH SCHOOLS AND DIDN’T SEE ANYTHING WRONG IT TELLS ME YOU ARE ONE OF THE DO NOTHING FOLKS AND THEN STANDS THERE WITH THEIR MOUTH OPEN WHEN SOMETHING HAPPENS AND THEN GETS LOST IN THE CROWD AND BLAMES SOMEONE ELSE.

  3. PC Parent

    January 12, 2014 at 10:26 pm

    The bottom line is that we are going to have to renovate these two buildings or build new buildings (or consolidate to one building)in the very near future. We can not continue with the buildings in the current state much longer. To renovate will cost just as much as building a new school. Yes, colleges use older buildings but how much did it cost to renovate those buildings for modern use?…Another thing we need to understand is that our locality is being forced to bear this burden because our leaders at the state level have cut funding for education for several years now. So, praise your federal and state representatives for not raising taxes if you want but also be aware that their actions cause localites to pay a larger share of paying for necessities.

  4. Dave P.

    January 13, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    We need two more eyesores of abandoned, dilapidated schools about as much as we need the higher taxes to fund a new one. Good luck trying to find someone to use the old ones as they decay further, gotta be some sort of cost affixed to that as well. Renovate both middle schools and before some yahoo mouths off, I have two in elementary school and have been in both middle schools lately. If they are safe who cares? Aesthetically, who cares? Be more concerned who teaches your kid instead of the building he or she attends.

  5. Dublin Resident

    January 14, 2014 at 12:06 am

    This is how you solve this whole solution, instead of building a new middle school, a new high school needs to be built instead.

    As soon as the new PCHS is constructed and opened, the current PCHS building would become the new middle school. The only that needs to be done at the current PCHS is to replace the roof.

    Along with the building the new high school, a brand new Dublin & Critzer Elementary School should be constructed as well replacing the older buildings. Instead of raising taxes in order to fund construction for the new schools, bonds should be used to fund construction for the three projects. Simple as that!

    • pchsdad

      January 14, 2014 at 1:30 pm

      Dublin resident, how in the world does this solve anything? A 60 million bill would still have to be paid regardless of what grade levels are in it. 10 year plan is the answer.

  6. Dublin Resident

    January 14, 2014 at 12:07 am

    The only thing that needs to be done with the current PCHS is replacing the roof. Sorry, grammatical error.

  7. LA

    January 14, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    Both schools need to be replaced, but why is the cost to fall on the tax payers. There is a lot of citizens in Pulaski County that do not own any property and do not pay any taxes. Some have children that attend the schools. There has to be a fair way for everyone to pay their share and not have this fall on the property owners.

  8. Bob

    January 14, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    I have an idea. Privatize the schools. Send each parent a check each year to pay for tuition, since we are paying so much anyway. Promote good teachers based on performance and get rid of the union. I have no problem with most teachers, in fact there are some really great ones (and bad ones that will stay until they retire with a full pension). There is a better way.

  9. parent in pulaski county

    January 14, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    I have a student that is in second grade and hopefully will be in at least an improved middle school in a few years so here is just an idea. The town of Pulaski doesn’t want another empty building. A lot of people want to renovate buildings instead of building a new building. Has anyone looked at consolidtating to a Pulaski County Middle School where the Pulaski Middle School is now and renovating that building to a proper standard for a middle school? One we would only have the cost of renovating one building which as I have heard is big enough for consolidating the two schools or could be made big enough instead of two buildings. Second we could start the process of unifying our county. I am so tired of the people of Pulaski and Dublin being against each other. We all live in Pulaski County our children all end up at Pulaski County High School and are all Cougars in the end. The adults teach the children to hate and we should be ashamed of ourselves. We are one Pulaski County not two towns figting each other and yes I live in Pulaski.

    • Jennifer

      January 15, 2014 at 2:38 pm

      I see where you are coming from with this only renovating one school and moving all the kids there but at the meeting the company came in and talked either renovating or building new. The biggest issue if they built two new middle schools or renovated both where they exist right now is that Pulaski Middle does not have enough land for athletic facilities like Dublin Middle has and their suggestion gave Dublin so many more options than Pulaski so in my opinion to keep the schools equal if you build new and consolidate whether it be move the middle school kids to the high school and build a new high school on the land they currently already have there or build a new middle school, it would be in the best interest of the children to be in a location where they all have access to a middle school football field, soccer field, baseball field, track and so on. I know people seem to like the location of Pulaski Middle but is it fair that even now Dublin has more facilities available to them then Pulaski has at their school? I am personally for consolidating the schools one way or the other because it will teach them unity earlier than high school. I just feel at this point the best options is to put a new school on the land owned at the high school. And like I said whether they choose to do a new high school and put the middle school kids at the current high school I am fine either way. The high school set up in the 4 pods could easily be turned into the 6th grade pod, 7th grade pod, 8th grade pod and then electives or whatever in the other pod. Plus the additional room of the vocational building they could provide more classes than they can currently provide at the current locations.

  10. schoolgal

    January 14, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    Put this on the next election ballot. No group, board of supervisors, school board or whatever should be allowed , or have the authority to put the tax payers into so much debt, unless said taxpayers vote for the issue.

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