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I'm in it to Win it! Transylvania School Bonds and Consolidation.

I had the good fortune to be in attendance at the most recent School Board meeting in Transylvania County. (November 20, 2017) There were several issues to be discussed at that meeting.  The first item on the agenda though were presentations by architectural firms making proposals about how they would address the issue of the county's aging structures.

All of them spoke eloquently of the effort they would make to build support and take input from all stakeholder groups before finalizing the projects and projections.  A good practice, don't you think?  All the firms were well qualified to do the work.  Each was asked about likely cost per square foot for the renovations.  Their answers ranged from $145.00 to well over $200.00 per square foot.

A few years ago, one of the teams had even been hired to write up a needs assessment and estimate of costs.  That firm pointed out that inflation and competition with other school systems for a limited number of construction firms had driven the originally estimated price of $93,000,000 up considerably.  That would be inflation and the law of supply and demand at work.

All the firms made it clear that they would help with selling the idea of a bond issue to the voting public.  Very few questions were asked.  However, board member Marty Griffin, asked about the difference in cost between new construction and renovation.  That got a variety of responses, too.   

Mr. Griffin's message referred back to the shocking question posed by my opponent, Chuck Edwards at a School Board gathering.  In short, he wanted to know if anyone had ever researched the possibility of consolidating the two high schools.  Anyone living in this County for any length of time could have told him that he put his foot in his mouth.  What surprises me is that he was totally unprepared and knew nothing of the needs of the people of Rosman and Brevard.

I learned about the controversy surrounding consolidation when I ran for School Board many years ago.  Rosman and Brevard have a history that makes each community unique and the culture of each community is distinctly different.  Both communities have pride in their schools and the long story of the schools in their areas, which is told best by parents, grandparents, and great grandparents. 

I applaud the School Board for responding professionally to Edward's question in the Transylvania Times.  They spoke of costs, community pride, and the academic pros and cons of consolidation.  It is true that there are both pros and cons.

I am in the election for State Senate to win it.  Just so you readers know, I would never press Rosman and Brevard to consolidate their high schools.  If history helps one predict the future, I would caution both communities to watch out for Mr. Edwards.   He likes to impose his opinions on communities (i.e. Asheville voting Districts.)  I prefer to be certain that to whatever extent possible our local governments have the benefit of self determination, even in this Dylan's Rule state.

 


Bossert for State Senate
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