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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.

56 Responses to Citizen input sought on future of middle schools

  1. Dublin Resident

    January 14, 2014 at 6:34 pm

    Well “pchsdad” there are finances out there believe it or not called Bonds and Grants used for projects such building new schools and government buildings without hardly raising any taxes.

    After reading some comments made from citizens and parents assuming from the Town of Pulaski which I believe “pchsdad” is from, they would like renovate Pulaski Middle School instead of building a new school. You know what, if that’s what folks from Pulaski want to do save their almost eighty-year old school building that features a combination of mold,asbestos, and an unstable foundation, I say “More Power To You!”

    That idea would actually benefit Pulaski County Schools greatly in concentrating on constructing a new Dublin Elementary School and Dublin Middle School.

    Believe it or not, newly built schools in small towns attract national and international businesses and corporations in setting up shop. Honestly, the Town of Dublin, and communities such as Draper, Fairlawn, and Snowville would like to see progression while over in the Town of Pulaski, progression isn’t as possible, especially with a early 1900′s mind set. Just something to think about!

    • PULASKI COUNTY RESIDENT

      January 15, 2014 at 1:00 pm

      First of all, not all Pulaski Residents feel this way, I am all for building a new combined middle school for ALL THE CHILDREN OF PULASKI COUNTY. It is ridiculous that this issue continues to be debated, you have those people in all the communities who feel like the schools just need repairs, but with that said there are people in both communities who feel a new building is the solution. the last time I checked we all were from the same county! So if you would kindly not group us all together just because of our address. I have a unique prospective because I had one child who went to DES/DMS and another one that went to PES/PMS and I believe that ALL of our children deserve better.

    • pchsdad

      January 15, 2014 at 2:37 pm

      Dublin resident, you are incorrect on many points. I too am from Dublin. I have not brought up any conversation related to keeping a school or building one in any specific locality. I do feel as though moving a school out of Dublin and Pulaski will have a negative effect on business, but this is another discussion altogether. Grants and bonds are two very different animals. Grants are free money, from state or federal level that doesn’t require repayment. Bonds are a form of debt issues by businesses and municipalities to raise funds. Bonds are like a mortgages so to say, the have to be repaid with interest. The repayment comes from the county from funds raised from taxing the property owners via real estate tax and personal property taxes. My argument all along has been we (resident homeowners) cannot afford the increase to cover a 50 million dollar plus interest repayment. Such an increase would cause the escrow (taxes and insurance) portion of my house payment to go up $200 to $300 per month. I for one cannot afford this. My 10 year plan would satisfy all parties. In 10 years the county can; 1. Budget some money in the annual budget and create a “savings account” for this project. 2. Do some preliminary work like select the sight, perform the rough grade with county funds and labor. 3. In ten years much of our current debt will be expiring, thus creating some room to absorb new debt for a new middle school consolidation. 4. County needs to figure out what the savings will be from consolidation. Reductions in faculty and staff will be a large savings that can be put towards a new school. Any self financing we can do, the taxpayers will be better off and everyone gets their new school. 10 year plan is the smartest and most feasible option there is. Im sorry if you got the impression I was from the Town of Pulaski, but my argument pertains to raised taxes to build this immediately.

      • Lola

        January 15, 2014 at 4:08 pm

        Pchsdad raises very valid points. I’m sure he knows this but I just wanted to point out: grants are indeed free to the recipient but the grant money originates with the taxpayer as well. There are no free rides and the best plan is save for at least a portion of the cost to reduce the overall debt.

  2. heresthetruth

    January 14, 2014 at 8:47 pm

    The head of maintenance has told his workers for several years to not fix anything more than necessary at the middle schools so the public will see how run down they are and that will push a new joint middle school faster. I don’t see why a maintenance man would lie to the teachers he told this to. It sounds like the upper administration is up to no good and has been for years. Imagine that.

  3. Billy J

    January 14, 2014 at 10:11 pm

    The traditional method of collecting revenue that is primarily devoted to education is through property taxes. The reason is that real estate taxes STAY in the local county Treasurer’s office. Other taxes, such as state income taxes go to Richmond. A smaller amount of taxes are collected in meals taxes, hotel occupancy taxes and other charges and fees, but the real estate taxes are the primary source of funding for schools. There is also federal and state funding that comes to support the schools system, but those numbers are typically based on the number of students, which in Pulaski County, is in a downward decline.

  4. parent in pulaski county

    January 15, 2014 at 11:39 am

    Why not look at what Roanoke County did a few years ago and raise the meal tax for two years?That way it doesn’t fall to only property owners.

  5. @Dublin Resident

    January 15, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    It is totally unfair of you to assume that all of the people from Pulaski feel this way. I for one wish that all of the debating would just stop and build a new combined school, I really don’t care if it ends up being a new high school or a new middle school, it just needs to be done. All of the communities that you have listed are apart of the same county as Pulaski. Just like Pulaski, there are people in these other communities that feel as people like pchsdad does.BUT NOT ALL OF FEEL THIS WAY. I had the unique experience of having one child go to DES/DMS and another to PES/PMS and I went to PMS. I am from Pulaski County period and both of the middle schools are well beyond their lifespans.

  6. schoolgal

    January 15, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    Companies that make presentations to our school officials Definitely have an interest in the outcome. We don’t elect consultants to spend our tax dollars. And if any board of suprvsr or school bd member had run on increasing our taxes and building even more new schools there would not have been enough support to be elected.

    We need for our local paper to research the information on how much debt our county presently has and how much of that is for schools.

    How much more is to be added to that.
    We need for them to check their archives to see if any supervisor mentioned taxes when running for office. In short , we really need for this newspaper to start reporting what is going on in our area instead of being a cheerleader for it.

    Surely everyone wants the best they can have, but you can only have what you can afford., or we would all be living in mansions and driving Range Rovers.

    When county taxpayers feel as if they have already been deceived or “misled” before about the same situation, then we need more independent investigation on what our situation really is. We were told Claremont School was unfit for a school. Lo and behold “Camelot opened a school there for “special children”.
    Northwood was not up to date to be a school . Now Governors school there.

    And now some company has come by and examined our school buildings. Do you think some team just decided to come by one day and examine our school buildings????
    No ,but it was vey convenient
    at this point in time.

    You don’t ask the people who are going to profit from the work if you should do the work. What do you think they would say???

    This is more important than a handful of people arguing one way or the other on a msg board about their views . There are about thirty something thousand people in Pulaski County and the ones who vote and have to pay for it should make this decision.
    Supposedly our schools have been “shored up ” and are safe.

    There is a 2014 election coming up and “Do we want to pay more taxes for new schools or do we want to update our present buildings should be on the ballot. whatever the outcome it would be the will of the people.

    And if anybody tells you it will cost as much to update and repair our buildings as to replace them, you run away fast as you can and get three or four more estimates.

    • pchsdad

      January 16, 2014 at 4:22 pm

      Great posting schoolgal..some great points made here.

  7. Jennifer

    January 16, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    If a company can say they can come in and do renovations A LOT cheaper on two schools (well three being Dublin Elementary is also included) than to build one new middle school and renovate DES and they can say this will keep the schools going for another 50+ years and they are 100% safe as far as structural and security and guarantee these schools are renovated for the learning changes over the next 50+ years then by all means have at it. If I have those type of guarantees and my taxes go up less then that works for me. I have a difficult time thinking with the current state of the buildings that they can renovate the three schools cheaper than renovating one and building one new one (given the county already owns enough land at the high school for another school so a land purchase shouldn’t be necessary). I also do not want to be in the same situation in 20-30 years because they renovated the schools but we have outgrown them or they were not renovated to be able to handle how learning/teaching will change over the next 20-30 years.

  8. Mike

    January 16, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    We were told Claremont School was unfit for a school.“Camelot opened a school there.A friend of mine showed me and my ex-wife the inside of Claremont before Camelot opened.My wife wasn’t from around here and wanted to see the inside.I went to Claremont in the 60′s from 1st grade to the 6th grade.When I went on a tour of the school again I was amazed at how good of shape it was still in.I ask my friend to show me the damage some people were talking about.He showed me the two worst rooms and a bathroom.I said you have got to be kidding me that they closed it for this.It wasn’t that bad.Water damage from a leaking roof was what caused the damage.He told me they patched the roof up with plastic from Bondcote.If the proper repairs had of been done on the roof at Claremont there would have been no problems.You think Pulaski is a Ghost Town now then if you go up that much on property taxes more people will leave Pulaski.The people on fixed incomes and some working people cannot afford that much increase or any increase.They are having a hard time making it now.

  9. Lisa Ayers

    January 16, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    Ok this will make many people mad but it is true.While raising property taxes will make many suffer more than they already are it will not affect all of the unwed single Moms on welfare that have children in school and there are many.They will not have to worry about the tax increases while we pay for their children to get and education.The children cannot help it and they do deserve and education but their parents will pay nothing.

  10. veryconcerned

    January 17, 2014 at 7:44 am

    I really found the post from Mike interesting.His post mentioned claremeont school. We were told the same things about Nortwood elmentary which is now the governor’s school.How many times and how much money has been spent over the years on the county administration bldg.which was not able to be renovated when it was central elementary?Then you have Draper,Jefferson and the list of buildings goes on and on.I believe the decision has already been made.I think the board of supervisors need to tour the schools all of them, and they may want to look at critzer the lack of maintenance in that building is also obvious.Hold these people accountable and make them do there jobs or replace them.In closing I think the Board also needs to look at future projects like the rec. center to see what they are going to be willing to do with out.These huge purchases I think should be done by a tax refferendum where all the voters decide.