What is true cost of new Fayette schools?

Is the Fayette County bond asking voters to buy a “pig in a poke”? The costs for new buildings and renovations given to the 2014 review committee were $27,856,482 (new Collins); $12,690,193 (new Mt. Hope Elementary); $22,534,234 (renovated Midland Trail); and $14,029,335 (renovated Oak Hill High) for a total of $77,110,244, which did not include demolitions, portables, purchase of land and inflation increases annually. The committee was told the estimated costs of demolition and portables would be in excess of $2 million and the location of Mt. Hope Elementary had not been determined. What will be the cost when all these items are added? The committee did not discuss the bond projects at FIT, Ansted or Valley. However, the bond’s designers added these projects.

Is Mt. Hope Elementary being underbuilt? The bond calls for it to house 295 students while last fall it housed 306 and the comprehensive educational facilities plan indicates students will come from New River Elementary.

The bond call is $28,410,000 (new Collins with no portables); $12,775,000 (new Mt. Hope Elementary with no land); $17,877,000 (renovated Midland Trail); and $2,631,000 (renovated Oak Hill High), for a total of $61,693,000.

Will these four projects cost $77,110,244 or $61,693,000? Neither price includes portables, land and inflation. Inflation could increase the cost more than $8 million in five years. The bond call will not cover all the costs. What will be left out?

Did you know no schools will be closed, the preparers of the bond are not residents of Fayette County and will not help pay the bill, and proponents of the bond want their children to remain in their community while taking children from other communities?

School officials say, “Trust us!” How can we? What are the renovations to be at Midland Trail and what classes will be taught at Midland Trail that aren’t currently taught at our local schools? The officials respond, “I don’t know, but students will get a better education.”

Are you really getting what you think you are getting for a $90 million bond and interest, or are you getting the “Let’s Make a Deal” gag prize of a promise that cannot be kept with the bond amount? False promises, deception, and devalued construction projects spell out short change and stick the taxpayer!

Carolyn Arritt

Retired mathematics teacher and former Fayette County Board of Education member

Meadow Bridge