Booth replacement vote will be breaking promise to voters

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To the Fayette County Board of Education: I have had forty-six years’ work experience in four different school districts in Georgia with thirty-six of them in Fayette County.

That experience included teaching, administration and serving as a school board member. I worked with planning for bond issues and SPLOSTs in three of those districts.

I have not seen, until now, a school board walk away from the commitment they had made to use funds as promised.

You cannot honestly spin the need for a replacement Booth [Middle School] when there has been no documented deficiencies by the state or accreditation agency.

Residents in Fayette approved a remodel of Booth, not a replacement, and you did not indicate the need for one on the ballot.

There is no spin good enough to justify calling a replacement school a new school. A new school is for growth and a new student body. A replacement school is for the purpose of relocating a student body.

You did not ask for a replacement school in the call for the SPLOST. You certainly did not state a purpose for the removal of students from Booth.

Fayette is primarily a middle and upper income community where approximately ninety percent of students attend some form of post-secondary education.

Yet you are proposing to spend approximately seventy million to make way for a stand-alone tech center. This tactic allows for the spending of these funds without approval of the voters. I doubt that voters here would approve such expenditures since they have already funded the creation of tech centers at each high school.

Where are the architectural plans that show what a $20 million to $22 million renovation would look like. That plan would be in keeping with the SPLOST promise. Current enrollments and building capacities show that programs housed at Fayette Intermediate can be housed elsewhere.

Maureen Downey, with the AJC, reported there is no evidence to support what is currently being done with CTAE programs. Why the need for all students in certain programs to leave their school to complete a career path?

A school Board that wants to further develop and strengthen CTAE programs would use extensive research and input to determine program and facility needs. Where is the evidence this has been done? Shouldn’t this have been done before large expenditures for facilities are made?

Please remember when you vote for a replacement Booth you are not just wasting millions of dollars on an unneeded school, you are voting to radically alter the existing structure of the five high schools and their career tech centers.

Surely you and the administration will use your expertise and time to carefully study and analyze the full implication of these issue before you vote.

Bob Todd

Fayetteville, Ga.

[Bob Todd served on the Fayette County Board of Education from 1996-1999 and again for another two terms beginning in 2007. Prior to serving in an elected capacity, Todd served as the Fayette School System’s Director of Secondary Education from 1980-1994.]