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Free Lance-Star reporter Amy Umble covers Stafford County schools and other education issues

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Petition for a new Stafford High

Togie Payne, who served on the Stafford County Board of Supervisors from 1978 until 1982, is circulating a petition to have Stafford High School rebuilt.

Payne, whose four children graduated from Stafford High, says he’s collected about 400 signatures since Feb. 12.  On Saturday, he was outside the Giant grocery store in White Oak for 6 1/2  hours with his petition.

Most people he’s asked have signed it, he said.

“It’s not like Stafford can’t afford this building,” Payne told me today. “Stafford is a very, very rich county. If we don’t spend it on education, we’re not going to stay where we are today.”

Payne said others, including former Falmouth District School Board member Robert Belman, have collected signatures in support of a brand-new Stafford High. He plans to present his petition to the School Board and Board of Supervisors.

The School Board tonight is scheduled to approve a revised capital plan. The plan currently includes extensive renovations and an addition for Stafford High, but a majority of School Board members have said they want the school to be rebuilt.

Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/chalkboard/2011/02/22/petition-for-a-new-stafford-high/

  • Dean Fetterolf

    The BOS approved a new Comp Plan that has a High School in 2010 and 2011. Presumably HS#6 and a CTE Facility. Also there is an ES for 2013. It is time to make the BOS stick to THEIR plan. It is time for more than 400 parents and citizens to get involved. There are parents for SHS 2000 students. HS #6 was to have been built for Sept 2010 now its not on the CIP until sometime after 2018. It is time for the school board to stand up for the schools and not the BOS. THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE !!

  • Jasmine Jelesoff Larimer

    Hurray for Togie! My first teaching experience was in 1984 at SHS – at that time the “open school concept” design of the school made it difficult to teach there. This past summer I had the opportunity to revisit the school when my daughter was participating in a field hockey camp there & honestly, it looked exactly as it did in 1984 with the exception of re-painting! The architectural design of the school is flawed for today’s teaching environment and no amount of renovation will help it! I think BOS need to meet with City Schools & talk with them about the new James Monroe (I graduated from the old one & my son is at the new one). I confess that I actually paid tuition to the city for a whole year to send my son to JM until we moved back to the city because I did not want to send him to SHS. I have quite a few friends still teaching at SHS and quite a few friends whose children are attending SHS or will attend & for their sakes, please do the right thing — rebuild on the SHS site don’t renovate!

  • Dean Fetterolf

    We can’t stay where we are much longer. As the 10th largest school district we rank 117 out of 132 in per pupil expenditure. BOS local contribution has has fallen 16% since 2006. Since 2006 more than 75% of the budget items have been reduced or eliminated. We are at the bottom of the barrel. Over 1000 computers are 5-7 years old, 88 busses in need of replacement, 5 ES requiring major renovation. Wake up parents of 27,000 students. Let your voices be heard now and in NOV at the ballot box. SUPPORT BOS and SB candidate who are ready to put education as a priority in Stafford. I will how about you?

  • Concerned Mom

    Dean – Thank you for continually reminding everyone to get involved. You are absolutely correct. Stop the apathy and WAKE UP! While I believe the school board should rebuild SHS, I am afraid that just like everything else, they will delay a decision. And that is what the question asked… what will they do… not what SHOULD they do? We must all let the supervisors know that we are willing to invest in education so that the school board can affect decisions.

  • VJW

    Where would the rebuild take place? I have heard of different locations and would like to know the correct one!
    Thanks.

  • http://mgbcrowe@aol.com maureen monaghan crowe

    I am sure that Stafford High School should be rebuilt, but I question where these funds will come from. It has been proposed to table the renovations at Moncure and Ferry Farm Elementary Schools to be able to swing a rebuild. This is beyond belief! The improvements required at these schools are not just cosmetic but will improve the overall academic experiance of the children that attend those facilities. Parody among schools is a must! The quality of your eduacation should not be determined by where you live in Stafford county! The schools that think these decisions don’t effect them need to wake up! Think about your property values and what will happen when your school finally ages! We need to confront the BOS as a united front until they stop behaving like Dead beat Dads to our schools. We are a wealthy county who doesn’t provide for our schools….that is just tragic!

  • Rufus

    Stafford homeowners are already paying DOUBLE taxes, far above all other counties. Does the building of this new school mean that our property taxes will go down?? If not, then we need to assemble and protest like the people of Egypt.

  • jpjinx

    The re-build site would be on the current site just like JM did.The changes to SHS are not purely cosmetic either. They can’t teach there any better than they can teach at the Elementary schools that need remodeling. We are a rich county and nothing needs to be taken off the table. The heck with the BOS. We will just go Public/Private Partnership.

  • L Whitesell

    A new school is NOT investing in education… sorry. Well paid, happy teachers and staff is what creates a good education. A school is just a building! I am sure it would be easy to get tons of signatures on a petition… how many of those folks are from the area? Stafford needs to learn to live within it’s means just like the citizens do.

  • Aquiamom

    No school should be sacraficed over another. This is what happens when you put things off and don’t stay on top of repair and replacement issues. You wouldn’t band-aid your home repairs, why do it with taxpayer owned infrastructure? Build it correctly and take care of it like you would your own home to preserve its life and usefulness. Double taxes? 1.26 in PW, 1.09 in Fairfax….you want lower taxes and no services, maybe Spotsy is the county for you, .86. But as soon as VRE fees are tacked on and water services begin expanding into outlying areas, they’ll be higher than Stafford too. 1.10 is where we are at. How is that double?

  • —-

    A school building can only do so much for a student’s education…I think renovation of the existing building would be sufficient. Maybe the county should start investing money in things that affect the students; new textbooks, better computers, calculator batteries (sadly hard to allocate money to), higher pay for teachers (teaching salaries are much higher in neighboring counties-where would you want to teach after accumulating 5+ years of college debt?)…per pupil expenditure is supposed to drop but we can get money to rebuild a school?

    I wonder what the environmental impact of destroying a school and rebuilding another would be.

  • Rufus

    See the movie, “Waiting For Superman”. The first thing that will come to everyone’s mind is the Stafford School System and the problems of learning that the County kids are experiencing.

  • Karen

    A building doesn’t educate a child, the materials and teachers do.. I live in stafford, but child didn’t go to school here. Where she went to had no a/c, no heat, no gym,but all money was put into computers, books, teachers, trips, buses, materials. Would rather see that happen then a new buildiing..

  • http://tchr1993 tchr1993

    Nobody wants to destroy the old SHS. It was supposed to be converted to the CTE center some years ago. The county already owns land off of Leeland Road for a replacement high school, but the county has continually drug its feet on the HS matter. The CTE is so needed in this area. Not everyone is going to college and they need to learn a skill so they are employable in the future.

  • Dean Fetterolf

    VA State Law on Teaching and Learning Environments

    § 22.1-79. Powers and duties.
    A school board shall: ….
    3. Care for, manage and control the property of the school division and provide for the erecting, furnishing, equipping, and noninstructional operating of necessary school buildings and appurtenances and the maintenance thereof by purchase, lease, or other contracts;

    § 22.1-253.13:1. Standard 1. Instructional programs supporting the Standards of Learning and other educational objectives.

    A. The General Assembly and the Board of Education believe that the fundamental goal of the public schools of this Commonwealth must be to enable each student to develop the skills that are necessary for success in school, preparation for life, and reaching their full potential. The General Assembly and the Board of Education find that the quality of education is dependent upon the provision of (i) the appropriate working environment, benefits, and salaries necessary to ensure the availability of high-quality instructional personnel; (ii) the appropriate learning environment designed to promote student achievement; (iii) quality instruction that enables each student to become a productive and educated citizen of Virginia and the United States of America; and (iv) the adequate commitment of other resources. In keeping with this goal, the General Assembly shall provide for the support of public education as set forth in Article VIII, Section 1 of the Constitution of Virginia.

  • Dean Fetterolf

    There are MANY studies that show a positive correlation between a work and learning environment and acheivment.

    So is the appropriate working and learning environment at Stafford High the 10 cart teachers whose only classroom is the cart they try to push thru the jam packed halls when classes change to get to the next available classroom. Or is it students leaping over desks to get to their desk. Or is it the paper thin walls, no windows, and inadeqate ventilation. How about the days when teachers are lucky enough to have electricity to run their computers and projectors? Is it the visiting teams that call SHS the getto school and won’t even use the shower & locker facilities after sporting events? Is it the 20 minute lunch periods? How about the students sitting on the floor cause there is no more room for desks or students sitting at the teachers desk? How about the science labs (well really a closet) were if the students were any closer to each other and at a dance would be kicked out for dancing too close? Is it the virtual classroom of the 21st Century that really is virtually non-existant.

    Education is an economic incentive attracting new business and new families. The only way for Stafford to get out of this mindless, do nothing, funk is thru real, sustainable economic growth.

    Finally, per pupil expenditure can’t drop much lower. As the 10th largest School district we rank 117 out of 132 in per pupil expenditure. That’s the bottom folks!!

    Time to wake up and smell the electric cord or light ballast smoldering! Maybe its time for the fire marshall to pay a visit to SHS like a few years ago when they were cited for safety violations that still exist today.

  • L Whitesell

    SHUT UP DEAN….. YOU ARE A LOSER…. AND NOT MANY PEOPLE HAVE THE NERVE TO TELL YOU THAT! Stafford is NOT a rich county… it’s a rich county wannabe…. I am SICK of my taxes going up over keeping up with the Jones’…. TO EVERYONE ELSE: If you haven’t visited SSHS in person, than you really have NO VOICE….. go see it…. it’s an awesome school… a little bit of renovation, perhaps….

  • L Whitesell

    I AM SICK TO DEATH OF HEARING YOUR BULLSHIT LONG-WINDED CONFUSING STATISTICAL CRAP…. GO THE HELL AWAY FROM STAFFORD… It would be ok if you were select in your issues and you helped people understand, but you don’t, you make it more confusing with your big words and huge numbers…. WE DON’T NEED YOU…. GO AWAY

    think about it….did you even grow up around here? Take it back to where you came from!!! Call me if you want to discuss it, which I know you won’t because this crap has been ongoing for too at least five years and I have tried contacting you and you NEVER EVER responded…. GET A LIFE… outside of Stafford, please….

  • L Whitesell

    oh and make sure you check out the many renovations that were made to SHS during the past ten years…. at big buck costs… now they want to tear it all down and be rid of it… yea, the ghetto school…. give me a break.. talk to the locals… a building doesn’t provide the education… the teachers do… you have me so fired up…. I hope MORE people STAND UP and TELL IT PUBLICLY before it’s too late

  • Dean Fetterolf

    LW thanks for the kind remarks. Did you read Thurs headline? I imagine there will be 1000 signatures on the petition by the time it gets to the BOS!

  • L Whitesell

    yea, probably all people who have never stepped a foot through the doors of Stafford High. I spoke with a couple of supporters and found out that was the case with them… I urge everyone to go visit the school and see for yourself…

    ps… I do apologize for being so harsh… I feel just as passionate as you about certain issues….

  • Maria

    I DID tour SHS and I DID tour MVHS. The students at SHS have been lacking educational opportunities for YEARS!! Will a renovation fix that? NO! By the time you add in (and it is not accounted for) asbestos abatement and lead paint removal, and any other fun things uncovered, we won’t have ALL the money to renovate and update. Have allergy problems? Attention difficulties? Let’s add that to the lacking educational opportunities and you have the perfect recipe for a renovation DISASTER! Teachers are in the business to educate our children, but SHS science students are left to demonstrations instead of true experiments. I want my future HS student to be given EDUCATIONAL opportunities at that can’t happen at SHS.

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