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Monday, May 2, 2016

Remonstrance request filed against CCSC

Monday, March 24, 2008

Brazil resident Leo L. Southworth filed a petition remonstrance request against the Clay Community School Corporation and proposed building project Monday with 166 signatures from community members.

In an e-mail to Superintendent Dan Schroeder and building principals dated Feb. 27, Southworth explained he was filing the petition because the cost of renovating East Side Elementary School and Meridian Elementary School is more than combining the schools and building an entirely new building.

He also asked the corporation in the e-mail to, "justify (its) expenditures with the law, with recommendations from the government, and with recommendations from organizations devoted to education."

"I think Leo's been up front all along, so it's not a surprise," Schroeder said about the request.

The $26 million building project was unanimously approved by the board at the Feb. 18 1028 preliminary determination hearing.

The project would update security features at all buildings and renovate seven elementary school buildings, including additional space at three buildings.

According to Jeff Qualkinbush, attorney from Barnes and Thornburg, Indianapolis, the request for a remonstrance sets a new timeline for the project, and possibly new costs.

First, the county election office and auditor have 35 business days to verify that all signatures on the request are from registered voters or property owners within the corporation.

Then, a report is made to the school board. The board must make sure all legal procedures have been followed in the request and, if everything is in order, make the decision to withdraw the project proposal or continue with a petition drive.

If the board withdraws the project, they must wait one year from the date of withdrawal to hold another preliminary determination hearing.

If the board moves forward, a new 60-day period will begin, with the first 28 days as a holding period.

Beginning day 29, petition forms would be available in the county election office, and from days 30-60, signatures from registered voters and property owners would be collected either for or against the project.

The election office and auditor would then have another 45 days for the validation process and then the board would recheck the legal procedures.

If those against the project receive more signatures, the project stalls and no other projects can be determined for a year after the date the board receives the county's report.

If those for the project receive more signatures, the project moves forward.

What does this new timeline mean for the project?

In order for the board to be able to include the levy on 2009 taxes, the bonds for the projects must be sold before the end of 2008.

This means, if all available time is used to verify signatures, the corporation would have from the second or third week of July until the end of the year to design the project, take construction bids and sell bonds.

According to Qualkinbush, this is "almost impossible."

That means if bonds are not sold until 2009, the capitalized interest from the year 2009 must be paid with money from the bond.

Qualkinbush estimated $800,000-$1 million would need to be appropriated out of the bonded money to pay the interest.

"It's very disappointing he's gone down this road, because it makes for a very inefficient project when paying for capital interest," Qualkinbush said.

The project would need to be cut back to be able to pay for the interest. Architects and the school board would make the decision as to what would not be done.

Southworth, who was unavailable for comment, has also filed a petition with the Department of Local Government Financing (DLGF) for a field hearing, based on its limit for spending by square foot on newly constructed elementary school buildings.

According to Qualkinbush, Southworth did not accurately figure the cost per square foot in terms of the DLGF limitations.

The limitations are set for "hard" construction costs, such as the materials, labor, general conditions like trash removal, construction management and construction contingency.

Qualkinbush said Southworth also figured in the 30 percent increase for "soft" costs, like inflation, into his calculations, which the DLGF does not take into account when looking into square foot price limitations.

No date has been set for the field hearing, as it depends on the results of the petition remonstrance.

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Leo, You say that your best interest is with the kids but your actions certainly do not demonstrate it. You really need to stay oout of this and allow the properly educated people make the decisions.

-- Posted by smooth on Tue, Mar 25, 2008, at 6:45 AM

So... the security and safety of our kids is now on the back burner so 150+ people can worry that this might cost them a few dollars? IT IS GOING TO COST THEM MORE!!!! WAKE UP! This is what is wrong with this county! You had the chance to attend meetings and voice your opinions with this. Where were you then?

Several seats on the school board are up for grabs! Pay atenttion people! This is the future of your kids, your schools and your county!

-- Posted by madmom61 on Tue, Mar 25, 2008, at 8:41 AM

Mr. Qualkinbush has a valid point, in my opinion. It makes no financial or educational sense for Clay County to operate so many tiny elementary schools in very outdated buildings. It would make more sense to consolidate a few of these small schools and build state of the art facilities at less cost that fixing up and maintaining multiple buildings, but once again small thinking on the part of the community and board will never allow this to happen. The problem with common sense is that it isn't common at all.

-- Posted by Kudzukiller on Tue, Mar 25, 2008, at 1:31 PM

A "super" new school that has over 500 elementary students is really not full of common sense either!

-- Posted by madmom61 on Tue, Mar 25, 2008, at 3:22 PM

Smooth: Are you saying that the Board of Trustee's (School Board) is the "properly educated people" that should be making the decisions?

-- Posted by Conservative Dad on Tue, Mar 25, 2008, at 5:10 PM

Could someone explain to me why a county of our size needs SEVEN elementary buildings? What is wrong with the possibility of four classrooms per grade level in a building? Doesn't Jackson Twp. and Clay City Elem. have three classrooms in most grade levels right now? Our buildings are old and out of date. Our children could have better, safer, modern schools if people would leave sentimentality out of the picture and really practice what they preach and do what's right for the taxpayers and students. One could easily redistrict and send students from outside Brazil city limits to Staunton, Van Buren, and Jackson Township and then redistribute the students residing within the city limits to eliminate one of the three city schools. This distribution would have slight impact on each of the schools. Then, money would not be poured into one of the buildings for remodeling. I think people would be surprised to see how many taxpayers are honestly opposed to the building project as presented. I pay PLENTY of taxes, and I can't say that I'm in support of the building project. That doesn't mean I'm anti-education or not for the children of Clay County. It just means that until our Board is willing to rethink the "necessity" of remodeling and maintaining seven elementary buildings I can't speak out in support of the plan.

-- Posted by Bigpappy on Tue, Mar 25, 2008, at 9:51 PM

I can not believe Mr. Southworth went through with the remonstration. He continues to speak about saving money well he sure isn't saving money now since he and whoever else signed the paperwork to do this step. Does he realize how much time and money is going to be wasted. Thank you so much for wasting my tax payers dollars to slow the renovation project down. I don't recall there being this much fuss over the other projects in the past such as Jackson Township Elementary. What is the difference between that school and the others that are needing renovated? As to the comments about building a "super elementary" what are you thinking. You would still have to build a new building, where? What would be done with the existing building, let them sit unoccupied like most of the old business' in Brazil. I attend the meetings, I also read what everyone is saying and I just shake my head. Thank you, Mr. Reberger for installing additional security cameras and using staff to install them instead of an outside company to move forward with the security issue that has been brought to light. Again if some people in the county had their way we would all have a "door bell" for security. Get a clue.

-- Posted by kibbemi on Tue, Mar 25, 2008, at 10:38 PM

I was referring to consolidating smaller schools and building a larger school. What would that put the enrollment at for these schools?

Talk is that Eastside would be closed and a new school built in place of Meridian....thus making it a "super" school.

What will happen when it needs repairs in a few years? Can we just tear it down and build again? If my car has a flat tire, I dont buy a new car, I buy a new tire. That makes much more sense.

And as for Jackson... I dont think that enrollment is huge. They have 3 classes in grades 1 - 4. Their enrollemnt is not at 500. Putting Eastside and Meridian together would put their enrollment at over 500.

And we will do FINALLY get this settled, why worry about money... this has just cost us a BUNCH with the waiting. Thank for putting kids first!!!

-- Posted by madmom61 on Wed, Mar 26, 2008, at 9:41 AM

This response is for madmom........A "super" school means what? Do you mean like Wendy's "supersize"? If so, then that often means more bang for your buck. Seriously, are you concerned about the total enrollment of an elementary building, or are you concerned about the education students are afforded? If your concern is for student education, then you might want to research the quality of education provided for Vigo County students who attend some of the "super" schools. Check out the size of Dixie Bee, Lost Creek, Terre Town, and Riley Elementary. Big schools do not necessarily mean poor education any more than small schools equal quality education. Perhaps our county would be far better off redistricting so that one of the city schools could be eliminated. This would indeed cut costs of the remodeling plan. Eliminating one of the city schools would not necessarily create a "super" school. Are you aware of the feeder system to the city schools of East Side and Meridian? Students attending East Side come from Harmony, Knightsville, Bee Ridge area, and north on 59 (Dick Johnson Twp.). Meridian students come from Dick Johnson Twp. as well. These county students could easily be sent to Van Buren Elementary, Staunton Elementary, and even Forest Park if one of the other two city schools would undergo closure. If you took away the county students from those two city schools, there wouldn't be enough neighborhood students to keep them open. Are you aware of how many unused classrooms exist at Van Buren? All I'm saying is why not reconfigure the school districts and eliminate one of the buildings in bad need of repair? I can hear the response already: "Our schools would be overcrowded." I truly believe if a study was done, findings would show otherwise. Besides, what's wrong with 4, 5, or even 6 classrooms at each grade level? To me, it's more about class size than the size of the total enrollment. Vigo County has several large schools, and they manage just fine as their test scores prove.

-- Posted by Bigpappy on Wed, Mar 26, 2008, at 6:54 PM

I read the article.....again, and it discusses the pros and cons of small HIGH schools. My comments are in regards to elementary buildings, not high schools.

-- Posted by Bigpappy on Thu, Mar 27, 2008, at 9:55 AM

I am pretty sure when Northview was built there was a swimming pool and a second gym in the plans. Obviously we do not have those two items. That's because we spent THAT money on a remonstrance twenty years ago. Does this guy have nothing more to do than waste my money? At least the school board is getting some things done. Pardon me ... trying to get some things done.

Do you think you can get 155 signatures from Meridian and East Side families to support your idea of building a new elementary? Closing schools does not appear to be in this Board's plans.

-- Posted by Gunslinger on Thu, Mar 27, 2008, at 2:06 PM

That is a very good point. I do not think parents of children at Eastside or Meridian would support this. A few years ago this whole idea of closing a school came up and it did not pass. Seems to me that the people wanting to close a school are not the people with kids in the school.

Sure our taxes are going to increase. That is just a fact. Progress takes money. Why worry about it when we have just been socked with a remonstrance that is going to take away from the projects mentioned.

And ROE... I am not equating what goes on in a classroom to the size of the school. I am just concerned with how OVERWHELMING it would be for a 5 or 6 year old to walk into a school of that size. My middle school kids had a hard time with it and they were 11 when they went to the bigger school. Small neighborhood schools offer a different environment than a big school. And sorry if the term "Super" school was not correct. It just seemed to fit the situation.

-- Posted by madmom61 on Fri, Mar 28, 2008, at 9:32 AM

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