Free Lance-Star reporter Robyn Sidersky covers Caroline County government and schools. You can reach her at 540/374-5413 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow coverage on Facebook or Twitter as well.
11/23/10 BOS recap
BY PORTSIA SMITH
Caroline County’s supervisors and school board members agree that the schools are in poor condition, but raising taxes may be the only way to pay for any improvements.
The boards met together Tuesday in a joint work session to discuss the school division’s five-year capital plan.
School Superintendent Greg Killough walked both boards through the $67.4 million plan.
The top priority listed is replacement of heating and air conditioning rooftop units at the high school at a cost of $3.75 million. Killough said those units were last replaced in 1992 and upgraded to have a propane assist for heating.
Second on the list is $9 million worth of renovations and upgrades to Bowling Green Primary School that would transform it to a pre-K through fifth-grade school housing 750 to 800 students. Bowling Green Elementary would close and possibly house the Governor’s School or school board office.
Five of the county’s schools would get upgrades or expansions under the plan. Although Lewis and Clark Elementary opened in 2008, the five-year plan calls for a new $18 million elementary school in the Carmel Church area.
The $67.4 million plan would have to be approved by the Board of Supervisors to receive funding.
Members of both boards discussed various aspects of the capital plan and the key component of how to pay for the projects proposed.
One idea that was floated was a bond referendum—which would specify a proposed tax increase—to allow the citizens to vote for or against an increase for the improvements .
“If we’re willing to go forward with this, you’ve got to realize, we have to raise taxes,” said Madison District Supervisor Wayne Acors to the school board.
School Board Chairman Mack Wright said he could support a bond referendum as long as other non-education projects were not attached to it.
At the supervisor’s meeting later that day, Lynda Keath, Jacqueline Richardson and her 8-year-old daughter, Rachel spoke about the deplorable conditions—specifically the restrooms—at the school and demanded that they be fixed now rather then later.
Those comments sparked Board Chairman Maxie Rozell to ask the board to see if there was any money that could be found for an emergency appropriation.
“This needs to be addressed as soon as possible,” Rozell said. “I just want it fixed and it needs to be fixed now.”
Supervisors will continue discussion on the entire county’s capital improvement plan at a work session that precedes its Dec. 7 meeting. The official proposal will be included in the county administrator’s budget submittal in February.
Other matters before the Board of Supervisors at its regular meeting that followed:
- Recognized Arlene Mills, Administrative Assistant in the Planning Department, upon her retirement on December 1.
- Approved a data policy for the County’s new Geographic Information System.
- Agreed to consider in January appointments for a citizens committee to review the 2011 redistricting process for establishment of Election Districts.
- Approved a three-party agreement for the Carmel Church Station that involves the George Washington Regional Commission.
- Advanced to public hearing on January 11 an ordinance amendment to provide a reduction in personal property taxes for active volunteer Fire and Rescue personnel.