Helping others would also help ourselves

 I often see my neighbor out watering her plants, working in the yard, fetching the morning newspaper, etc. As an educator, I find that analogy and metaphor assists in the understanding of concepts. Therefore, please consider the following.

I imagine seeing my neighbor out one day following her routine, except that this time she slips and falls. What would I do in that instance? I imagine I would immediately cross the street and run to see if she was OK, if I could offer some assistance. As I come closer, I realize that she is holding her upper thigh and moaning, weeping even. I ask if she needs help, and she says, through gritted teeth, “Yes! Please call 911, and wait with me.”

I, and I hope that everyone that I know, would immediately follow through and fulfill both requests, and anything else that she required in order to make her more comfortable until the ambulance arrived. I cannot imagine that anyone would say, “I’m happy to do those things, but first I need an assurance that I will get something out of it later.”

Would you say that? I certainly hope not.

Then why would anyone say they will not vote for a bond unless they know they will get something out of it? Yet I have heard that statement, and many like it, frequently.

I find it to be selfish and disingenuous. Our neighbors and our friends need our help. Our children need our help. We should help them and, in so doing, help ourselves.

I urge you to vote “Yes” for the Fayette County School Bond on 13 June.

Dr. Joseph Dangerfield


Valley High School will be next

After attending the various Fayette County community bond meetings one thing is abundantly clear…..Bigger is better in the eyes of the Fayette County Board of Education. Dr. Starcher’s reply to questions ranging from travel time to curriculum is that students will receive a better education in a larger school.

Why should this be important to the Valley High School students and parents? After all if the bond passes, Valley High School will finally get the football field it has been waiting on since 1977.

I would caution voters in the Valley District to be fully informed before casting a vote. Voting for a football field could ultimately cost the valley its high school. Remember the Fayette County Board of Education mindset is "bigger is better." Passing the bond will do away with Fayetteville and Meadow Bridge High schools, making Valley by far the smallest high school remaining.

Dr. Starcher has commented numerous times about how curriculum will be greatly improved in a renovated Midland Trail. She has also stated the Midland Trail and Oak Hill High schools will be magnet schools, meaning they will offer specialized curriculum. Dr. Starcher also commented about how many ideas the newly formed curriculum committee had already come up with for Midland Trail and Oak Hill.

Improving Valley High curriculum has never been mentioned! This should be a red flag for the Valley District. Remember the 10-year plan, commonly called the CEFP, has to be redone in 2020. The 2010 version of the CEFP is what was used to formulate the current bond calling for the closure of Fayetteville and Meadow Bridge High schools. How easy would it be to put the closure of Valley High in the 2020 version?

Don’t think for a minute the location of Valley High will cause it to be excluded from consolidation. Valley vocational students are bused every day from Smithers to the Fayette Institute of Technology in Oak Hill. What’s to stop all students living along Route 61 going to Oak Hill High? Communities along Route 60, including my hometown of Falls View, could easily be bused to Midland Trail.

Don’t let the Board of Education fool you, they have a bigger plan. Voting for the bond could very well get you a football facility but at what cost? Is it worth losing your high school? Remember when it comes to educating kids in Fayette County bigger is better.

Kelly Garris Gladwell


Support our children by voting for bond

I am speaking out on behalf of all of our students in Fayette County, to speak to the hearts and minds of all of our registered voters and citizens living here. We have to get out and support our children by voting for the school bond and I will tell you the how and why.

I have been hearing some murmuring about the cost of the bond. I sat down and figured how much it would cost me in taxes per year and the cost amounted to what I would pay for a meal once a week for a year. I know that many of you visit our local eateries, restaurants, etc. and that is what you would spend a week, if not more. (You can call the County Assessor Eddie Young’s office and the good clerks will tell you what your cost will be in taxes.)

I know that you have heard through the media about the bad conditions of many of the facilities that house our students. Now is the appropriate time to help fix the problems by voting YES for the Fayette County School Bond.

I, like so many of you readers, am a senior citizen and my husband and I live on a fixed income as you do. However nothing is more important to me than doing what I can do to help children.

Please invite your neighbors to go with you to vote YES for the school bond and make a difference in a child’s life.

Sylvia L. Allen

Oak Hill

Take the opportunity to let children know they deserve better

I am a parent of two children, both currently under the age to attend school. God-willing, both of my children will attend Christian school through 8th grade and I am prepared to pay tuition for that privilege. Whether the bond passes or not, I am also prepared to pay taxes that will support the thousands of children who attend public school in Fayette County.

The catch to that statement is this: Will Fayette County have a school system, or a viable economy, at that time to ensure that I am still living in the area paying those taxes?

There is little doubt, or argument, that Fayette County has failed our children in the past when it comes to providing the educational facilities they deserve. Every community, big and small, encounters a time in their history that will define both their legacy and impact the future of their children and grandchildren. This is our time, the tipping point that will determine Fayette County’s future.

Every registered voter in the county has the right to vote yes or no on June 13th and I urge you to vote yes. It is a vote for our children; our economy; and our future. Without a viable educational system, businesses will continue to bypass Fayette County and move on, leaving us empty-handed.

In my profession as a commercial banker, I am fortunate to have the ability to interact with businesses, both large and small. Their response is a telling one for our future: If the school facilities don’t improve, we’ll have no choice but to relocate (taking their tax dollars with them).

I am asking all residents of Fayette County to leave their emotions at the door and vote yes for the future of our county. This is OUR opportunity to tell our children they deserve better!

Aaron Kemlock

Oak Hill

School bond vote a unique opportunity

We have a unique opportunity that we have never had in Fayette County before. We have an infrastructure which would allow us to grow our economy and our communities.

Our neighbors to the south, both Charleston and Beckley, are having a boom in the medical industry. CAMC Memorial is building an addition and is completing a new cancer hospital. This will attract new young professionals to the area along with the continuing advancement Beckley is making in the same industry.

The roads of I-77, I-64, Rt. 19, and the WV Turnpike give the communities of Fayette County the opportunities to become the bedroom communities of these cities. However, our crumbling schools are keeping us back.

If Fayette County would pass this bond on June 13, we could rebuild new and improve our schools to attract these new young professionals to our area. These new and improved schools are the standard that these professionals want and expect for their children. We have the affordable housing, churches, league sports and outdoor activities these professionals seek. Our area is full of the things young professionals want, too, from hiking, kayaking, whitewater rafting, rock climbing, and just enjoying the outdoors.

We cannot let this pass us by. This bond is not just about schools or my community. It is about building our economic market and bringing the life and people we need to survive. This bond could improve our school system and build our economies in all our communities from Meadow Bridge to Montgomery to Mount Hope to Oak Hill to Fayetteville and even Ansted and Hico.

We have to have the vision to see the possibilities that it will bring. We cannot only rebuild our schools but our economy and our communities. Vote Yes for the bond and you are voting yes to better schools, better economy, better communities and a better life for all of Fayette County. Do not let it pass us by.

Gary Crouch

Oak Hill

No need for bond if matters had been handled correctly

In the early 1970s, Collins High School had one principal, one assistant principal, one secretary, one clerk and one part-time guidance counselor who served over 1,200 students. Today, Oak Hill High School has less than 900 students and has one principal, three assistant principals, two guidance counselors, one secretary, and three clerks. The Fayette Institute of Technology has one principal, one assistant principal, two guidance counselors, and four secretaries. Does this look like effective cost management?

When Oak Hill High School was first occupied, it had over 1,400 students. An addition was added in 1993 that added 10 more classrooms and an enclosed courtyard and storage area that could have been six more classrooms. At one time there were over 1,600 students at Oak Hill High School. Now, the board claims that this high school can only handle 1,080 students. Did this building shrink?

Starting in 2001, all of the county’s middle schools were closed and moved into the high schools except for Collins and Ansted middle schools. This was done to save costs for building maintenance, utilities and other costs associated with the middle school buildings. What costs have the Oak Hill schools saved us taxpayers?

An engineering report used by the CEFP committee last fall stated the following concerning the now-closed Collins Middle School building. “The buildings have been well maintained and are of sound structure and considered to be in average condition needing moderate renovations.” Does this sound like this building needed to be closed?

When New River Elementary was built, it was not built big enough so that the fifth- and sixth-graders at Collins Middle and all students at Rosedale Elementary could attend the new school. This would have closed two buildings in addition to the buildings that were closed at East End, Scarbro and Oak Hill Elementary. Were they trying to keep Collins Middle and Rosedale open?

If the board had previously closed Collins Middle like the other middle schools, we wouldn’t be facing these issues. If the board had put all of the seventh- and eighth-graders in Oak Hill High, there wouldn’t be justification for this bond issue. And why didn’t they reopen East End Elementary for the kids rather than busing them to Fayetteville? Again, there would not be a need for this bond issue. 

Leland D. O’Neal

Oak Hill

Education left student unprepared for college

I am a 2013 graduate of Fayetteville High School, and a current student at Marshall University. I love my home very much, and it pains me to see what has happened to our school system.

As a member of the FHS band, we were without a band director for some of my time as a student there and had four different directors each year of my high school career. I watched as our very small program began to waste away.

What I learned about my instrument, I had to learn myself, and I was happy to help the other students learn their instruments, too, and to overcome a difficult situation.

When I got to Marshall, I discovered very quickly that I was woefully unprepared, not just for my music classes, but also my general courses. I always feel like I am behind and trying to catch up, and it is a terrible feeling.

I want to do so many great things, but my school system really did a disservice to me, and to my classmates. I can’t help but wonder how much further ahead I would be if I had been properly prepared for college.

Please consider voting yes for the school bond on June 13. I don’t want other students to go through what I did. I want them to be ready for the world, and the future.

Tyler James


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