Without bond, what is board member's plan?

Lou Jones, the board of education member that I voted for in the Valley district, made a formal statement indicating that she is against the bond. When the bond was unveiled, Jones stated she was in complete support of the bond and would support anything that gave the Valley area students proper athletic fields.

She has asked for the football field we desperately needed here. Now she is saying she is against the bond because of student travel to MTHS from Backus Mountain. In the same breath she complained that we have been playing on a field with no water and only Porta-Potties. So without this bond, what is her plan? What are we going to do? WVU Tech is no longer allowing us to play on their field. Lack of their use of the venue, they can no longer maintain or insure it.

I feel very betrayed by Ms. Jones. the reason that we were only getting a football field is because that is the only thing, time and again, she stressed that we needed. Now she has betrayed us on what she asked for and stated that we would now be getting. I am so ashamed to admit that I voted for someone who has so little regard for those she is to be representing. Once she finished speaking I noticed residents from another part of the county cheered and clapped. I was not cheering or clapping. Lou Jones, you are doing a wonderful job seeking fulfillment of those residents’ wishes. In the meantime your fellow community members will figure out where they are going to play, practice, and hold community activities.

I ask you on June 13 to please vote Yes on the school bond. Let Ms. Jones know that she has let us down. We need the field for our sports, we deserve it. We need the field for our community.

We need the field far more than we need Ms. Jones. Let her know that her words and actions were not what we, the voters of Valley, want!

David Cooper

Charlton Heights


Feeling optimistic about bond, its effects

I am feeling optimistic with the June 13 bond election approaching in Fayette County.

I am optimistic about the possibility of a new Collins Middle School for the 800 students who have been placed in three different schools and two different towns.

I am optimistic about the possibility of three consolidated high schools that will receive renovations to better accommodate students and teachers.

I am optimistic about a new elementary school in Mount Hope, which is long overdue.

I am optimistic about Fayette County attracting teachers and administrators to fill the many vacancies.

I am optimistic about the boost to Fayette County’s economy that can be effected by these changes.

I am optimistic about the fact that Fayette County Schools have moved up four places in the last two years.

I am optimistic about the $25 million contribution from the West Virginia School Building Authority to Fayette County Schools if the bond passes.

I am optimistic about coming home from work and looking at my 11-year-old Collins Middle student and my 4-year-old son, knowing I did everything I could to provide them with a better education.

Finally, I am optimistic that the voters will support this opportunity for Fayette County.

Billy Gray

Oak Hill


Fayette officials using children as pawns?

The voters of Fayette County should read, then read again, the letters written by Randall Patterson and Thomas “TB” Brown before you decide how to vote on the upcoming school bond.

The citizens of Fayette County are already taxed to death! But the Board of Education is not happy with that; it wants more money to waste, just as it's done in years past. My husband and I have property in Fayette County that we worked and paid for; no one gave us the property, nor did anyone leave the property to us. Yet every year, out of $3,500 in real and personal property taxes, we pay more than $1,000 just in school current and school excess taxes.

The way I figure it, almost one-third of our property taxes go for some sort of school taxes. If we have it figured correctly, using the percentages posted in the paper by Eddie Young, we will be paying an additional $500 to $600 in school taxes. Where is the school excess and school current taxes going that we're already paying? Why would I vote for more taxes?

This extra tax burden may not sound like a lot for people who have good jobs, making good wages, but how many people in Fayette County are fortunate enough to be doing that? A large percentage are either unemployed and living on welfare or retired and barely existing on fixed incomes. When it's time to pay taxes, we must decide what we can do without in order to pay our them. Do we do without medicine, food, power, water or gas? Yet the BOE says the tax will only amount to about the cost of a “gumball a day.” Must be some expensive gumballs they're referring to!

When it comes time to cast your vote, remember. Could it be that the Fayette County BOE is using our children and grandchildren as pawns to get more and more money to waste? Some have already been brainwashed into believing this is really what's best for the children.

Before I would ever consider voting for the school bond, the entire BOE would have to be replaced, along with Dr. Starcher!

Loretta Munique

Oak Hill

Bond is opportunity to address issues

When the bond was made public, I was a little upset. It only addressed some of the issues, it contained funds for issues that I did not think were critical, and it included consolidation in areas that did not make sense to me. A bond is how a plan gets funded; it is not the plan. The plan is the Comprehensive Educational Facilities Plan (CEFP). I have come to the conclusion that my real issue is with the CEFP. Specifically:

1. Fayetteville Elementary needs to be replaced or students moved to an existing acceptable building (FHS). The current CEFP does not call for any renovation or replacement of FES, only further consolidation with Gatewood.

2. There is credible data that shows that long bus rides have a negative impact on education and participation in extracurricular activities. I don’t think we should continue to contribute to this problem by consolidating another remote community. Meadow Bridge SHOULD NOT be consolidated.

I realized that voting No on this bond is not a vote against the plan (CEFP) or consolidation. The CEFP can be implemented without a bond. Consolidation will happen either way. Despite the bond’s flaws it does provide a REAL benefit to parts of the county and it does address our MOST CRITICAL priority at Collins. I feel we have a duty and a responsibility, regardless of where in the county you live, to address our facility issues. This bond, despite its flaws, represents the best opportunity that we have now and in the foreseeable future to do so.

For those of us who are skeptical of widespread consolidation, especially those in Meadow Bridge, I would say that defeating this bond should not be the priority. We should be focusing our efforts on getting yet another CEFP committee put together and FIX the plan. Even if the bond fails, your high school will still be consolidated and nothing will be done for my school under the current plan.

Help the kids in the county by voting yes on the bond. Help your community by demanding a revision of the CEFP.

Geoff Swafford


Let's take care of our own with bond

“Almost Heaven, West Virginia ...” My heart quickens and my eyes tear when I hear that song. The sentiment of the words rings true for many of us in Fayette County. We are a fiercely proud, loyal and independent people, and like many West Virginians, we take care of our own.

I am a native West Virginian; I was educated in Fayette County, attended college in West Virginia and retired after 30 years of teaching in Fayette County. I worked many years for the Fayette Board of Education. Were there times when I didn’t fully agree with decisions made on a county level? Of course. But I always knew that deep down the decisions rendered were made in an effort to “take care of their own.”

June 13 we have a chance to pass a bond that will offer our students an improved environment in which to learn, new facilities, state-of-the-art science and computer labs, a new football/baseball field and a chance for schools torn apart to reunite.

Let’s give our kids a reason to be proud of their schools; let’s show our kids that we want to take care of them, that they are worth the sacrifice the citizens of Fayette County will make with the modest tax increase that will come with the passage of the bond.

Let’s allow them to establish their own pride in our county and state. It is time to look to the future of our children, our grandchildren, our former students’ children.

I am nostalgic when I think of my life and career in this county, much of which centered around our educational system. I miss Schoolhouse Hill, the path I took to my childhood school in Glen Jean.

I mourn the loss of the Mighty, Mighty Mustangs of Mount Hope High, my alma mater.

I remember the beauty of the fog rising over the river seen from my classroom window at Gauley Bridge Middle.

I will forever carry these images with me ... links to my past … to Fayette County’s past.

Now, however, it is time for a new day. Help me imagine and create new images, images that are born in our past, will mature June 13 and will catapult us into an amazing future.

Let’s take care of our own. Vote yes on June 13.

Debra Ferri


Fayette bond issue is not right if it's wrong

It’s been said doing nothing about a bad situation is the worst thing you can do. But doing something that is wrong will make a bad situation even worse.

One man compared the bond issue to medicine in terms of risks vs. benefits. Certain medicines will help certain people. But if that same medicine given or forced on others can cause severe consequences up to and including community death, then that medicine is not for those people.

So why should voters support a bond when for so many there will be adverse reactions? Just because what is good for some should not mean all have to partake of it. Meadow Bridge High School should never have been included in this bond proposal. The end results for these students will not outweigh the sacrifices these students, parents and the community will have to make to justify the passage of this bond — catching bus rides at 5:30 a.m., not being able to participate in after-school activities, sports, being tired to the point of not performing well in school itself.

The school will remain open for a PreK-8th grade; where are the savings? Thousands more in mileage to our bus fleet as well as hours and dollars to bus drivers. Where are the savings? If consolidation hasn’t been proven to cause improvement in student performance, where are the benefits? Common sense states a tired student will not perform well. Why was MBHS even included in the bond proposal to start with?

The Fayette Chamber of Commerce wants to demonstrate that Fayette County is committed to moving forward in school improvement. We’ve had years to show this already, but failed. Transferring kids from one location to another when the negative outweighs the positive is not moving forward. What has the bond issue got to do with maintaining population and growth?

I thought the bond issue was to be about the kids, so why is improving the real estate market an issue here? And what do business opportunities have to do with a school bond?

I can not support something that would make the situation worse just for the sake of saying we did something. It’s never right to do wrong.

Joe Rozell


Remember all children witness our actions

There is a war taking place on your homeland, a civil war bringing to the front basic rights granted to all citizens in the U.S. Constitution.

The cause is the underlying distrust and tension surrounding the school board and administration’s management of an education system and facilities. The war was declared when it affected our beloved children and is evidenced by signs popping up all over Fayette County. Social and printed media stay hot with inaccuracies, rumors, opinions and hot tempers.

Certain soldiers are breaking rank and being surreptitious in their actions by taping “no” over “yes” on the opposition’s signs. Flyers were placed in opposition’s paperboxes under cover of night, the stir from such has been made so public it makes one wonder exactly what information was contained in the flyers.

A general in one army incites the other with words of “How can you oppose the bond and be for kids?” Further incitement comes in the repeated reference to children as numbers to show their importance — 811 must be more important than 257 — while forgetting that the lesser number is being sacrificed for the good of the greater number.

As very rightly pointed out at (a recent) BOE meeting by a sweet lady, the soldiers in this war are not actually soldiers, but neighbors! EACH citizen has the RIGHT to vote or place a sign in their yard or car indicating their choice. They do not have the right to malign one another or infringe on another’s property. That fallout is divisive on all fronts.

Once the election is over, neighbors will still see each other in the grocery store, at sporting events or over their hedges. I would ask folks to respect one another; remind yourself that you are not walking in your neighbor’s shoes. Listen to each other.

...Please remember that ALL of the children, including the 811 and the 257, witness our actions and will absorb those behaviors on themselves as they grow into adulthood.

Mistie Richmond

Meadow Bridge

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