For the second time in six months, Superintendant Culp wrote a “superintendent speaks” story in the TVN that reminded us that the board really, really , really wants to build new school buildings. The board is so focused on getting new buildings that I’m surprised that all of his stories are not about the facilities at the schools.
He again mentioned the K-12 Business Solutions report, and again was deceptive. That report was an accounting of the projected costs for all facilities at the school, including the 700 Thousand dollars that will be needed for the athletic facilities over the next ten years. Culp wrote “Through this extensive research, we learned the yearly costs to maintain and upgrade our current infrastructure and classrooms will continue to rise and are not going away.” No – the report looked at all of the facilities at the school, including athletics, vans, and snowplows. It didn’t focus on costs of classrooms. There is no way to cleanly break out costs for classrooms, or contrast those costs with replacement construction, from the data in the report.
Culp wrote, “Ensuring our students have access to a modern learning environment, similar to the environments they will encounter in today’s colleges and the work force, is vital to their success.” While this is true of the curriculum inside classrooms, and the technology, I’m having trouble understanding how the interior of a classroom affects students. Sure, they need roofs that don’t leak, and warm rooms in the winter (something that not all schools in our country can expect, to out national shame). Grandview has good classrooms, and the latest tech (all students have laptops). Is Culp saying that shiny new buildings are needed for student success?
Culp ends with “Please know that we are only in the assessment phase of our K-12 facilities planning process; thus, no plans or discussions about our facilities have yet taken place.” Right. No discussion – except the board was holding meetings in May 2015 in which they said, “80‐90 years ago the people of Grandview invested in school buildings and infrastructure; it’s our turn now.”, and “Feeling of MORAL IMPERATIVE to do something”. That wasn’t discussion? More deception from Culp.
Watching the board group
The school board is obviously focusing all of its effort on getting new school buildings built. They have empaneled a task force that is supposedly looking at “all the options”, but are probably really just looking at how to get the levies passed that will be needed for the new construction. I don’t know what that task force is doing though, I asked to attend meetings, but the board has banned public attendance at the task force meetings.
The board will no doubt be holding multiple board meetings to make further plans for their new buildings, and because they have as many or more special meetings in the morning that are attended by no parents or press, they might as well be private meeting too. They are required to record meeting notes, but the records for those special meeting are sometimes no more than a couple lines for hours of discussion.
I am not against progress, I don’t have any attachment to the old school buildings. I do have major problems when a public body intentionally deceives the public and uses fraud to waste the taxpayers money. I’m hoping there are others like me in Grandview Heights.
I’d like to form a group, call us “Watching the Grandview School Board”. Our task would be simply to attend board meetings, and record what is said (all board meetings are open to the public by law).
There are too many of these board meeting being held for me to attend them all by myself. If we could get a group together that can attend as many as possible, we can improve the transparency and accountability of the Grandview school board – something that has been very much lacking in recent years.
Want to help? Can you attend a board meeting and set up a camera? Or if that is too much, simply attend and take detailed notes.
If you are interested, use the contact form on the “About” page. Thanks!