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Board member still questioning project details

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Forrest Buell
A member of the Clay Community School Board of Trustees ongoing inability to review previous minutes has resulted in additional costs related to the building renovation project.

A 5-1 vote during the Nov. 13, 2008 meeting, in which Dottie King was not in attendance, continues to be questioned by board member Forrest Buell.

Buell was the only board member to oppose the continuance with the building renovation project and approval of the establishment of the Clay Community Multi-School Building Corporation (CCMSBC).

The CCMSBC will own one or more of the elementary schools to be improved during the project financing. At the end of that lease, the property will be transferred back to Clay Community School Corporation from the building corporation, as required by law.

During the Aug. 13 board meeting, Buell said the November minutes did not include the appointment of Jim Deal, Frank Farmer and Tyler Fischer to CCMSBC. Buell said the three individuals met for the first time before the meeting, then once the meeting began, the board voted to approve them.

"The truth is members of the building corporation were functioning before the appointment of the board," Buell said at the time.

Board president Ted Jackson assured Buell everything was in the minutes, including the names of the individuals, their job description and reminded him how he voted.

"I don't remember the dates exactly, but I remember Dr. Schroeder asking us for suggestions for people to be on the committee," board member Terry Barr said. "I know we voted on it sometime and it was before they met."

Although Barr and other members have tried to tell Buell the information was readily available, which requires looking in the correct location within the school board minutes to find, Buell has continued to send letters to the corporation's attorney.

The corporation attorney charges a total of $100 an hour, which includes the research of information, the drafting of letters and phone calls, made to request information.

"I think the point that (Corporation Attorney) Jeff Boyll is trying to make is the information is available if we look in the right place and then we don't have to pay $1,500 of the taxpayers' money to get these questions answered," Barr said.

Though Buell continued to deny any information being shared with him about the appointments of the individuals and the vote, board members continued to reaffirm everything did take place according to plans.

"We've spent more money for less than that," Buell said in regards to the amount of money spent to answer his questions.

The letters written by Buell and the responses from Boyll were entered into the minutes of the meeting.

The next meeting of the Clay Community School Board of Trustees will be at North Clay Middle School, Aug. 27, at 6:30 p.m.

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This indiviual is nothing more than a naysayer who delights in keeping the Clay Community School system mired in the dark ages. When he was on the board before he held up the building of Northview High School when all of the other buildings were falling in. I graduated from Brazil High School in 1970 and that building was falling in then. I know that the other buildings were in just as bad shape. I do not understand why he was elected again. He definately does not have the best interest of the students of Clay County at heart. He is pursuing his own agenda to the detriment of the children. I hope the rest of the board will be able to stop him.

-- Posted by virginiagrace on Tue, Aug 18, 2009, at 9:48 PM

While Forrest Buell may not understand everything that is happening, I believe that he has the best interest of the students and the community at heart. That said, I must also say that he is out of his league as far as new technology is concerned and may well not know how to access information that is not printed and presented to him.

As to the comments about his actions concerning buildings, both at present and in the past, it doesn't take a lot of savvy to look at the facts and figures concerning the school corporation's mode of operation to understand that there is a great disparity between the educational opportunity offered at Clay City and Northview high schools. The smaller school just cannot offer as much because you do not have to spend as much, per person, to provide common services yet how much you have to spend is determined by sheer numbers.

If you cannot understand why he got elected you must not understand elections in America. He was elected because a majority agreed with his ideas and voted for him.........LOL!

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Tue, Aug 18, 2009, at 10:17 PM

My opinion [yes take it for what it's worth] is that Dr Buell sees that academically, students aren't being served by the buildings in this corporation and he just doesn't know how to object to that fact in any other way other than coming out against spending any more money on buildings until academic ceiling is raised. While many insist publicly that the two pots of money aren't connected, in reality they overlap quite a bit as for each building there is a set of staff to administer it as well as the upkeep of it. Those thing DO come out of the same pot as teaching staff that could help with the academics.

Many of us are frustrated that the corporation continues to pay attention to what the schools look like while at the same time the academic side continues to decline when most school distracts are realizing the need to raise the celiing. as well as the difference between clay City HS and Northview, Northview's opportunities have decreased every year for the past 5 years. Whether it's the reduction of class sections, elimination of Early bird, or combining two courses in a class at a time. All of these reduce the opportunities for students within that school. If I can see it at Northview where my kids are, I'm sure that it is discreetly occuring at the other buildings as well. It's like the ghettos of Poland. The Jews were gradually limited to what they could do over a period of years so it was accepted rather than putting up a fuss...but if you look at the opportunities a student at Northview had 5 years ago and what they have now, it has been quite a reduction.

What's going to happen over the next 5 years? Will more kids be on computers and even less time spent with a teacher? Will three courses be taught in a single classroom? Will more kids be sitting on the floor due to overcrowding?

Every year I am astounded at how academics have been cut.

THAT'S how Dr Buell got elected. People agree with him that the corporation is headed in the wrong direction but he just is at a loss as to what to do when other member and yes members of the community are not willing to make the cuts in non academic areas in order to save academics. People will not vote for someone who is willing to close a school in order to put the money towards more teachers in place of non teaching staff. People will not vote in a board member who is willing to say goodbye to sports and other extracurricular support [and that includes athletic field maintenance and athletic staff but they are willing to see academics carved way each year...we got what we asked for..or what most of us would put up with anyway. Some of us, including Dr Buell, are still like that squeaky wheel. Maybe more will notice? I doubt it.

-- Posted by Jenny Moore on Wed, Aug 19, 2009, at 6:22 AM

I do believe that Dr. Buell had great intentions during his first tenure as board member. He was the voice for all Clay City citizens and fought for school equality. However, I now think that he is acting on his own accord. He is upset that many of his past ideas were never given consideration and now his motives are strictly out of spite. Dr. Buell needs to resign his position and realize he is a detriment to our future. I have worked with Dr. Schroeder and some of the board members on school related projects. One must realize that there is no way that the remaining school board members would compromise the education and safety of our children. I hope our board remains steadfast and perseveres despite the efforts of Dr. Buell to wreck the process.

-- Posted by cubbiefan on Wed, Aug 19, 2009, at 10:18 AM

What you dont remember is he block the building of the new Clay County High School. He blocked the elimination of Clay City High School. Thanks Dr. Buell that my children will not need to be bus to Brazil to go to school. Nothing is wrong with Brazil it would just be a 1-2 hour bus ride if you included all the stops.

-- Posted by Kirk Smith on Wed, Aug 19, 2009, at 12:21 PM

looks like a cantankerous old man...

sounds like a cantankerous old man...

he just may be a cantankerous old man...

-- Posted by washdcfan on Wed, Aug 19, 2009, at 12:28 PM

WHy does he keep getting re-elected?

-- Posted by sassypants on Wed, Aug 19, 2009, at 12:53 PM

do you all want some cheese with that whine that dislike buell; i do believe he was elected in by a majority of clay county residents on his platform and following them as he promised so why doesnt the minority who didnt vote for him get off his back. If memory serves me right isnt it the right of someone who believes otherwise to vote the way he or she wants and not conform to the pressures of the opposition after all we still have the right of dissent in America

-- Posted by brazil citizen on Wed, Aug 19, 2009, at 4:33 PM

In the 1970s Dr. buell never blocked the building of Northview but he blocked the building of a single Clay County school. I am so greatful for Doc buells efforts. Im from clay city and Im so glad we do not have to go to Brazil to go to school. Nothing against Brazil but I would have hated the long bus rides for my 3 kids.

-- Posted by Kirk Smith on Wed, Aug 19, 2009, at 8:25 PM

Brazil Citizen,

Isn't voicing your disapproval of an elected official dissent?

-- Posted by Anodos on Thu, Aug 20, 2009, at 5:46 AM

I'm all for wasting tax payer dollars and bringing progress to a grinding halt. Way to go Dr. Buell.

-- Posted by cubbiefan on Thu, Aug 20, 2009, at 9:17 AM

Actually, according to his own words, Forrest Buell did indeed try to stop the construction of Northview. He felt that it would create a disparity between the education in various parts of the county because of the size differential. That is exactly what has happened.

Some people like to "work with" members of the school corporation in the context that they rubber-stamp anything that comes out of the school corporation. Forrest Buell does not, he thinks for himself and, in his own way, researches the options. I see his only failing in that respect to be that he has not kept up with the new capabilities offered by the Internet.

His detractors don't like that he will not compromise what he feels in the best interest of the students.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Thu, Aug 20, 2009, at 10:51 AM

He no longer has the best interest of the students Leo. He needs to realize that he has lost touch with the facts and needs to resign. He is basically a lame duck board member.

-- Posted by cubbiefan on Thu, Aug 20, 2009, at 12:01 PM

The majority of Clay County citizens appreciate the efforts of Dr. Buell. The naysayers and complainers are the ones without the facts. It may appear he is picking at things not worth picking over, or that he is negligent in keeping up with the times, or technology or whatever.

Can't you see that his questioning of things is pointing out the lies and misrepresentation going on with this building project? When this building project was started it was intended to be just "rubber stamped" and passed through like everything else. They were surprised when Dr. Buell started bringing the dirt to the surface.

Folks, we are being duped. Way to go Dr. B. Thank you for caring for the interests of our students.

-- Posted by __2--- on Thu, Aug 20, 2009, at 5:47 PM

xyz123, I would like to see what polling data you are looking at that gives you the ability to say, "The majority of Clay County citizens appreciate the efforts of Dr. Buell." You either have contact with pollsters or a majority of Clay County residents. According to the last census the population of Clay County is 26,556. That means you have had to ask more than 13,278 people on their opinion of Forrest Buell's actions on the school board. I take your word for it, however, seeing how you said that "The naysayers and complainers are the ones without the facts." How can someone make a bold comment like that when they don't have all the facts as well...

Some of you keep using the word majority, "He was elected because a majority agreed with his ideas and voted for him..." "...i do believe he was elected in by a majority of clay county residents..."

Well, I looked up the data from the election that put Buell in office. 2125 people voted in District 4. In order to claim that a "majority" voted for him, he would have to claim 1063 or more votes. He only received 805. So, my friends, you can all stop throwing out the word "Majority." So far, none of you have been correct with that assessment.

And Mr. Southworth. You said, "If you cannot understand why he got elected you must not understand elections in America. He was elected because a majority agreed with his ideas and voted for him.........LOL!" Interesting comment, however false. Because school board members are not officially affiliated with any political party, multiple people of the same political party can run for the office at the same time. That throws out the majority wins concept. Hypothetically, a person can win with only 10% of the votes as long as enough people are running and no one gathers a larger amount. Just thought I let you know how elections work here in America...

Some food for thought...

-- Posted by washdcfan on Fri, Aug 21, 2009, at 2:04 AM

Washdcfan -- Thank you for the anaylsis of the comments concerning "the majority" that elected Mr. Buell. I'll change my comment so that it reflects the situation more closely for those who didn't understand. He was elected because a majority (of people who were eligible to vote in his district and that showed up at the ballot box) agreed with his ideas and voted for him (instead of the other candidates that ran for the position).........LOL

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Fri, Aug 21, 2009, at 7:32 AM

I think that the MAJORITY of the people who signed the petition in favor of this renovation, are happy to see it going forth. I am!

-- Posted by sassypants on Fri, Aug 21, 2009, at 9:29 AM

Amen Sassypants. Amen.

-- Posted by cubbiefan on Fri, Aug 21, 2009, at 10:46 AM

What could that $1500+ been used for to help our students further their education?

Some of these comments make no sense at all. I don't have any problems with Doc Buell, he's been an incredible asset to all of Clay County as a doctor (for our family in the past) and as a public servant. But, how many people would support one of the other board members if they were costing the school corporation (who depends tax dollars) $1500 to ask the same question over and over and over again? Anyone know the meaning of DOGPILE?

I personally don't support wasteful spending no matter who's doing it, and that is what this is. Some of you have been spouting off for months the building project costs too much and it doesn't put education dollars first, now you want to offer support to a board member whom is wasting money stuttering around the same topic. (I think) A few people should reconsider their positions because how can anyone straddle the fence to stand firmly on two opposing positions?

-- Posted by Cy on Fri, Aug 21, 2009, at 11:46 AM

OOPS - should have said 4 elementary buildings (around Brazil) to be replaced in 40 years

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Sun, Aug 23, 2009, at 12:10 PM

For some reason, a posted comment seems to have gotten lost.

Like Sassypants, I agree that that the majority that signed the petition are happy to see the project go forward.

However, I will always feel that the public was duped into backing this project by the lack of disclosure of the facts by the school corporation. Who in their right mind would want to invest $11 million dollars in two fifty-year old buildings, worth approximately $8 to $10 million combined, to extend their use for about forty years when a new facility that would be usable for 80 years could be built to replace them for $15 million? Who would choose to staff the required support functions that must be duplicated at the building level that would no longer require as many people if two buildings were to be combined? Who would not choose to consolidate to provide the same level of education while saving money that can be used to hire more teachers so that students may be educated? Not a person who is truly informed who is truly concerned about education within the corporation, that is for sure! The opinion that a larger facility cannot serve the education of the students, even considering the demographics, by the facts shown in the databases of the Department of Education concerning schools in neighboring Greene and Owen counties. Of course, these facts were never published by the corporation prior to the proposal being adopted. I wonder if we would be proceeding with this plan, as it is, if the public had been fully informed about the building situation, the effect and costs of all of the options, and what is being done elsewhere in the state that is working.

Dr. Buell is going to ask questions. Actually, all of the board members need to be asking questions. One of the questions that needs to be asked is why we just spent money to modify the school entrances and then changed policy to not allow students to go to the parking lot during the school day and instructing the students not to open the doors. Wouldn't the change in policy have eliminated the need to expend money to modify the entrances? Even if asking just that question cost $1500, we would have saved money.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Mon, Aug 24, 2009, at 11:53 AM

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