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Old 05-29-2014, 10:33 AM
 
136 posts, read 157,253 times
Reputation: 114

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Quote:
Originally Posted by SMAHER View Post
Never heard anything about such a plan or idea for Waxhaw, I have heard about the airport rd idea as well as somewhere in mineral Springs.

IMO, the school system may need an ES or two along with better utilization of other ES and not be so concerned with the number of ES feeding into MS/HS. We do need to renovate the aging schools as top priority, and as part of those renovations add on the those schools if present need or projected future growth warrants it. After that and ONLY after that should newer schools be added on to (IF) if is shown that present or future growth warrants it. I do not agree that brand new clusters need to be developed, not at this time or foreseeable future. There are 9 MS/HS clusters in this County. The newer schools should have been built larger to accommodate future (predicted) growth when they were originally designed. The aging schools were built to the needed size at the time but should be enlarged a bit to accommodate present and future growth. I understand the philosophy behind those who designed the newer schools as they are (smaller, more open areas create better learning environments) - I just do not agree with it. 10 - 12 more classrooms (250-300 student capacity) and a slightly larger footprint for capacity areas (media, cafeteria etc..) would have greatly reduced the need for the current and/or future redistricting.

Aging schools should be given estimated renovations from top to bottom, including additional space if needed. If the renovations would be more costly then building new, then and only then should a new facility be completely constructed for the cluster(s) in question. With regard to the newer schools, all of them would have a less expensive financial budget, if they had small additions put in place (over time) to combat future growth expectations. However, none of the newer schools should have work done until the aging schools are taken care of first. The only new facility (if any) construction that should take place would be that of ES that may be needed in areas around the County. A new HS cluster in Waxhaw would be expensive and unwarranted. Proper steps must be taken to reduce the knee jerk remedy to simply redistrict in the future. If facilities moving forward are corrected and future development handled properly then the redistricting issue could become a thing of the past with only minor movement at future times to handle immediate needs if they arise. Our School district has redistricted many times over the 12 years and if a new approach with different steps to handle growth are not adopted by this school district then we will be redistricting and continuously adding new schools every few years. If the UCPS Admin seriously thinks that is the way to go and we claim to have a District model, then they need to make every cluster on par with each other if they want a true district school system. I am not talking tests scores or demographics or socioeconomics, not at all. I am talking about academic courses, technology and extracurricular actives that should be available to each and all clusters across the County, currently that is not the case.
Making a lot of sense here...

Every long term plan is going to include growth and new schools. I like the attention to short-term goals to get us to that point. Continuing to borrow $MM to subsidize residential growth (and concomitant increased burden of services) is taking us away from these goals -nowhere but towards becoming a cautionary tale about fiscal mismanagement. We should do a better job of putting schools where they're needed, putting Cluster "D" (Cuthbertson) where it stands created this reassignment nightmare... so stupid. Should be more thoughtful with Cluster "E" ("E" was squashed back in '08 after outside financial consultants gave strong warnings about the maximum debt capacity).

We have to maximize our current facilities investments (I like what Redd Jedd brought up), and need to build -on where we can. We need to carefully examine our current expenditures and initiatives to decide which are priorities (remember- new capacity goes on our list of priorities too). Do we need three facilities just to house administration? -just asking... I certainly don't know.

 
Old 05-29-2014, 01:35 PM
 
43 posts, read 46,533 times
Reputation: 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by WaxhawMike View Post
The Western side of the county is clearly where a new school would have been needed... now with pushing students East, voila the "overcrowding" is a county wide problem and a new cluster can be justified further to the East.

Nothing to see here, move along.
I completely agree with you WaxhawMike

Quote:
Originally Posted by WaldoKitty View Post
Seems a bit pointless to be discussing potential new schools, when the likelihood of funding construction of those schools is almost non-existent.

If any candidate for the BOE is promising such things, then unless they have a clear plan for how it will be paid for, they are wasting your time.
So true - seems pretty far off to me as well, but what sort of timeline do you all think we are looking at for new construction? I would also agree that repairs need to take place first, then additions, then potentially new construction if still needed....but just curious what everyone is thinking re: potential timelines.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SMAHER View Post
IMO, the school system may need an ES or two along with better utilization of other ES and not be so concerned with the number of ES feeding into MS/HS. We do need to renovate the aging schools as top priority, and as part of those renovations add on the those schools if present need or projected future growth warrants it. After that and ONLY after that should newer schools be added on to (IF) if is shown that present or future growth warrants it. I do not agree that brand new clusters need to be developed, not at this time or foreseeable future. There are 9 MS/HS clusters in this County. The newer schools should have been built larger to accommodate future (predicted) growth when they were originally designed. The aging schools were built to the needed size at the time but should be enlarged a bit to accommodate present and future growth. I understand the philosophy behind those who designed the newer schools as they are (smaller, more open areas create better learning environments) - I just do not agree with it. 10 - 12 more classrooms (250-300 student capacity) and a slightly larger footprint for capacity areas (media, cafeteria etc..) would have greatly reduced the need for the current and/or future redistricting.

Aging schools should be given estimated renovations from top to bottom, including additional space if needed. If the renovations would be more costly then building new, then and only then should a new facility be completely constructed for the cluster(s) in question. With regard to the newer schools, all of them would have a less expensive financial budget, if they had small additions put in place (over time) to combat future growth expectations. However, none of the newer schools should have work done until the aging schools are taken care of first. The only new facility (if any) construction that should take place would be that of ES that may be needed in areas around the County. A new HS cluster in Waxhaw would be expensive and unwarranted. Proper steps must be taken to reduce the knee jerk remedy to simply redistrict in the future. If facilities moving forward are corrected and future development handled properly then the redistricting issue could become a thing of the past with only minor movement at future times to handle immediate needs if they arise. Our School district has redistricted many times over the 12 years and if a new approach with different steps to handle growth are not adopted by this school district then we will be redistricting and continuously adding new schools every few years. If the UCPS Admin seriously thinks that is the way to go and we claim to have a District model, then they need to make every cluster on par with each other if they want a true district school system. I am not talking tests scores or demographics or socioeconomics, not at all. I am talking about academic courses, technology and extracurricular actives that should be available to each and all clusters across the County, currently that is not the case.
This line of posts makes a lot of sense to me too & sounds great. Sean- I think a focus on getting the older schools repaired is a must before any new construction takes place...kudos to you for seeing the importance of that. I also think it will be very important for the BOE to be thinking long-term to minimize future redistricting (& re-redistricting - haha), but to have a specific plan in place instead of vaguely thinking long-term - you seem to be thinking along those lines and I like that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by waxhawdoc View Post
Do we need three facilities just to house administration? -just asking... I certainly don't know.
I certainly don't know either, but I seriously can't imagine that is necessary or efficient. Anyone?
 
Old 05-29-2014, 01:52 PM
 
44,481 posts, read 17,762,937 times
Reputation: 18703
Quote:
Originally Posted by hope923 View Post
So true - seems pretty far off to me as well, but what sort of timeline do you all think we are looking at for new construction? I would also agree that repairs need to take place first, then additions, then potentially new construction if still needed....but just curious what everyone is thinking re: potential timelines. ..
I don't think such a time line could be developed until there is a reasonable county plan that controls growth. Without that, the same imbalances will develop over time, that have forced the current pupil reassignment. i.e. always trying to catch up.

Union county is popular right now because developers know they can propose almost anything and it will get approved. This is because Charlotte is already built out and what land that remains in Mecklenburg is subject to tough restrictions imposed by the towns to halt this same problem faced by them 20 years ago. Plus, NC/SC has placed a lot of restrictions around the Catawba basin which make new development expensive.

Union is going to need to do the same thing, but doing so requires a lot of tough political choices and ATM I don't see the BOCC or towns making any moves to control things. There are a lot of farmers in UC sitting on inherited land which they see as a goldmine and the county telling them that it can't be used for development doesn't go over real well.
 
Old 05-29-2014, 03:10 PM
 
136 posts, read 157,253 times
Reputation: 114
Agreed, but I wouldn't be so quick to view 'farmers' as the enemy here. I know plenty, and not one has the 'gold mine' mentality. In fact, most are willing to live in or near poverty to keep their way of life (and pay a disproportionate amount of taxes to subsidize the residential communities in the west). The farmers I know would rather die than turn their land into McMansions and lose their way of life.

This is also a root of the problem. They will die, and their heirs will sell out. Economic development has been so slow in the county that few find work here. We've produced a crop of the best educated graduates the county has ever known - nearly all have to leave to find work. The vicious cycle continues, and UC starts to feel more and more like NJ (taxes escalate and 2/3 of graduates leave). Residential construction can't be our only industry.
 
Old 05-29-2014, 03:21 PM
 
397 posts, read 518,768 times
Reputation: 201
Quote:
Originally Posted by WaldoKitty View Post
I don't think such a time line could be developed until there is a reasonable county plan that controls growth. Without that, the same imbalances will develop over time, that have forced the current pupil reassignment. i.e. always trying to catch up.

Union county is popular right now because developers know they can propose almost anything and it will get approved. This is because Charlotte is already built out and what land that remains in Mecklenburg is subject to tough restrictions imposed by the towns to halt this same problem faced by them 20 years ago. Plus, NC/SC has placed a lot of restrictions around the Catawba basin which make new development expensive.

Union is going to need to do the same thing, but doing so requires a lot of tough political choices and ATM I don't see the BOCC or towns making any moves to control things. There are a lot of farmers in UC sitting on inherited land which they see as a goldmine and the county telling them that it can't be used for development doesn't go over real well.

Bingo and DOUBLE Bingo!!! give the man a smoothie.

I do agree with Doc that the Farmers are by no means the enemy. It's the job of the municipalities to make sure growth decisions are prudent. But if the towns/county continue to see residential as the their sole source of growth income...katie bar the door.

Last edited by raithfan; 05-29-2014 at 03:24 PM.. Reason: doc made a wise point
 
Old 05-29-2014, 06:14 PM
 
44,481 posts, read 17,762,937 times
Reputation: 18703
Quote:
Originally Posted by waxhawdoc View Post
Agreed, but I wouldn't be so quick to view 'farmers' as the enemy here......
I'm not sure why you would frame what I've said as making out the farmers to be evil or something. They are not. But they are looking out for their economic interests just like everyone else does. I was simply stating the realities of the situation.

What's going on in UC isn't new. It's happened all over the Sunbelt for decades. Sadly, despite the lessons that could be learned by these other endless examples, UC is poised to repeat the same mistakes.
 
Old 05-29-2014, 06:32 PM
 
631 posts, read 736,736 times
Reputation: 305
CAPS new slogan - STOP the Farmers!!!!

Can't blame anyone for wanting to make a buck and its a good supply/demand proposition in UC right now. As CLT continues to grow it spreads to all the neighboring areas. 485 provides fast and easy access (soon to be widened for easier access) to UC's doorstep. As those early spaces along the border filled in, we increased access further by widening 16, adding roundabouts in tight areas, etc. The availability of land kept moving south and east (sounds like a recent trend with redistricting, yes?).

Eventually families or farmers will sell and its their right too. It's up the the UC Gov to figure out how to manage/control/guide it all.
 
Old 05-29-2014, 07:15 PM
 
136 posts, read 157,253 times
Reputation: 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by WaldoKitty View Post
I'm not sure why you would frame what I've said as making out the farmers to be evil or something. They are not. But they are looking out for their economic interests just like everyone else does. I was simply stating the realities of the situation.
That's not what I meant... Sorry. I meant to point out that folks in the Ag sector will be our allies in economic development. Been burned so many times with school bonds for schools they'll never set foot in - probably won't favor one again. I agree that zoning regulations will be a hard sell, but in the right context - very possible.
 
Old 05-30-2014, 07:05 AM
 
527 posts, read 636,838 times
Reputation: 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by waxhawdoc View Post
That's not what I meant... Sorry. I meant to point out that folks in the Ag sector will be our allies in economic development. Been burned so many times with school bonds for schools they'll never set foot in - probably won't favor one again. I agree that zoning regulations will be a hard sell, but in the right context - very possible.
2 things... 1. Ag sector folks now make up a very small % of the UC population. 2. Farmers are largely protected from runaway property taxes through the Use Value Program. They still pay an incremental % increase but it's fractional compared to the average joe.
 
Old 05-30-2014, 07:32 AM
 
631 posts, read 736,736 times
Reputation: 305
Quote:
Originally Posted by WaxhawMike View Post
2 things... 1. Ag sector folks now make up a very small % of the UC population. 2. Farmers are largely protected from runaway property taxes through the Use Value Program. They still pay an incremental % increase but it's fractional compared to the average joe.
Agreed on the small impact from a property tax standpoint and a small % of the population. The issue here is the vast % of land that 'could' be developed (and eventually a lot more will). It's a double edged sword. Developed land would be taxed at the full rate and bring in more $, but if its all residential we take on the burden on the infrastructure (roads, schools, etc.)
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