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Thursday, Apr. 28, 2016

Citizens create alternate way of funding project

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Clay Community School Corporation School Board has maintained the position that the renovation project proposal has not been decided on, and a group of concerned citizens have submitted their own solution.

After meeting at the open community meetings, Walt Moore, Joe Thomas, Bert Geswein and Ron Sherb realized they shared the same concern with the proposal; it is too much money and commits the corporation to the debt for too long of a time.

Moore and the other men created a proposal that solved these issues, with help from Greg Lovett at Fifth/Third Bank.

The proposal is for the corporation to bond $15 million over five years to begin renovations, at 3.65 percent interest rate.

This is in comparison to the current proposal of $53 million over 23 years with an interest rate of 4.6 to 5.5 percent.

Moore said the citizens' proposal would decrease the amount of interest paid over five years from $11-13 million to $1.4 million.

Moore also said the proposal would allow future school boards the flexibility to reevaluate the project and make decisions when the current project was finished.

"The interest is money we'll never see again," said Moore, adding that getting the most return for the limited tax dollars available is part of the goal.

The citizens have met with members of the school board, Superintendent Dan Schroeder and Business Manager Mike Fowler.

"I think we have to look at all options at this point," Schroeder said.

The school board will have time to look over and discuss the submitted plan, and decide if it is something to consider.

The board will have the final decision on the project, but the group of citizens as well as other members of the community has threatened petition remonstration if the current proposal goes through.

If enough members of the community sign the petition against the project, it would stall the project for a year.

There would be no discussion of terms, and as Moore put it, "If we win, the schools lose."

Moore has also proposed, if the school board does not feel the new proposal is appropriate, a committee to be appointed by the board made up of local businessmen and farmers who hold no immediate connection to the corporation and have experience with large sums of money.

Moore feels the 28-person committee that helped put the current proposal together was biased, because it was made up of relatives of CCSC employees.

Schroeder said that he appreciates the input from the group, especially the proposal that was presented.

"We want everything to be out in the open," Schroeder said.

The new proposal will be presented to the Farm Bureau board on Nov. 5, and the board will decide whether the bureau will back the proposal or not.

Bureau President Marshall Nuckolls said the school board will be invited, and it will be a public meeting.

"I like to work with board action," Marshall said, noting that he did not want to make any opinions before hearing the presentation.

At the annual meeting, the bureau conducted a survey of members about the current proposal.

Results indicated that the members firmly did not support the proposed renovation plan.

The Farm Bureau published the results in an ad in The Brazil Times.

Schroeder said the board would not discuss the proposal at the next meeting, happening on Oct. 30, at 6 p.m., at North Clay Middle School.

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I really liked Walt Moore's comment about the original 28 member committee being biased when voting on the 53 millions dollar project because they are relatives of employees and administration. I am glad that a local citizen has picked up on this because this happens all the time with committees in CCS. Also, administration has tried to pressure teachers to support the School Board Plan and of course we then have to worry about retribution if we don't do it.

-- Posted by 5longyears on Sat, Oct 27, 2007, at 6:18 AM

I respect Mr Moore's group and showing the public another avenue to look at. However I am concerned if their limited proposal addresses the issue of school security. We desperately need buildings to be equipped with classroom doors that can be locked,(some elementary school rooms don't even have doors) Improvements in the entry access to the buildings, especially when school is in session. Exterior and interior camera monitors to help prevent something from occuring and also to provide valuable information. Do away with the modular classrooms at our elementary schools and get the students all in one building. The high schools as well as the elementaries need desperate attention in these areas.

Melinda please,please!! look into the school security situation, for the students, teachers and staff. Find someone who is an expert in this area that is not associated with the CCCTA, the CCSB, or the Farm Bureau, that has no ties to this community who be totally objective. No one seems to listen,or care until a tragedy happens!!!

-- Posted by studentsfirst on Sat, Oct 27, 2007, at 7:19 AM

Kudos to the group of individuals who have taken the time to give serious thought to the financial impact of the currently proposed rennovation project for Clay Community Schools! I've followed the actions of the many school boards of Clay County for nearly 40 years, and I have serious doubts about the decision-making capacity of the current one. I do agree the buildings need updated, but doing them all at once just doesn't seem logical to me. I also agree that school safety is a concern, but doubt cameras inside and out will do the trick. Someone must be available to monitor the cameras, and unless making additions to staffing is in the proposal, then what good is a camera going to do? The buildings in our corporation are only as safe as the people working there make them. I understand most of the buildings did a remarkable job keeping students safe during the Van Buren shooting incident; however, the lack of interest on the part of the superintendent who chose to stay at a meeting in Indianapolis leaves one to wonder his sincerety at providing student safety. Thank goodness the schools are led by competent administrators (for the most part)who stepped up to the plate to keep the children safe. So, is it imperative that we pursue the proposed $53 million dollar rennovation project to assure student safety? Surely there is a better way with an affordable price tag!

-- Posted by Bigpappy on Sun, Oct 28, 2007, at 2:37 PM

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