Who owns the land?
If you pull the deed for the proposed high school property, it is currently owned by Dayton Street LLC, attn John Tumbleson. The contact address is in Tryon, North Carolina, but the LLC is registered in SC. He purchased the land in 2003 for $10 million from Lanyair.
Jim, I have not received a written answer to this, only a verbal one. If you are asking about the high school property, I was told that it was owned by a family and that they were negotiating directly with the District (i.e., no realtor). I haven’t received an answer yet about the elementary school property, we only saw a drawing in the presentation by the architectural firm. As soon as I get the answers, I’ll post them.
I have a question regarding the proposed architecture of the new elementary school which will combine Chapman and Houston schools. Why does the lobby of that proposed elementary school look like the lobby of a masonic lodge? It would seem that lobby with its checkered board floor and columns would do any Scottish Rite lodge proud. Why should any of us be willing to pay our hard earned tax dollars to support such ?
I’m surprised by the number of people I’ve heard say, “This is a done deal, why should I contribute?” It is NOT a done deal, you will be voting yes or no on March 15th, and if enough people vote no, it will not be done. The District appears to have spent money preparing architectural plans before the vote — is that normal?
And, I’m concerned that construction companies seem to have been chosen already. How can you bid a project that has not been approved.
According to D7’s web site, their total expenditures for FY 2015 were $105,360,640. There are approximately 7,100 students in D7. That comes out to over $14,800 per student. How in the hell do they spend that much money per student? That is more than the most expensive private school in Spartanburg County. Now they want more.
I have seen several problems with the proposal that D7 is proposing. But, mainly, it comes down to trust for me. I keep catching the administration in statements that seem dishonest. First of all, why build a school for 2500 when your current 9-12 enrollment is much smaller and the enrollment trend has been downward for over 10 years. Second, is SHS beyond renovation or not? In one breath, D7 claims they have done as much with the current facility as possible and in the next they propose to renovate the site as a middle school. Third, D7 claims the current budget is maxed out. But, the superintendent is paid a ridiculously high salary when compared to others in the state and when factoring in the number of students and schools overseen. The former superintendent is still on payroll at full salary–even though his job duties involved facilities management now. The only people not getting rich in seven are teachers, staff, student and taxpayers. VOTE NO!
The district has even proposed making two elementary schools into one–due to declining enrollments, but we are supposed to believe that they need a much larger high school. Not buyinh
One nit to pick. Dist #7 does not “pay” the retirement of teachers. The State of South Carolina does. My retirement check comes from the state, not the 3 school districts that employed me. That point you make is misleading, and should be corrected.
I may have missed it or it was removed, but where does anyone on this page say anything about retirement or retirement pay?
There have been myriad laments about the deplorable condition of the high school that I graduated from, including leaking roofs and single pane windows making for uncomfortable classrooms. Such comments definitely call for answers, and I would say that we first question the superintendent, principal, and director of maintenance. Collectively, they have failed to care for taxpayer-owned facilities, and I’d like to demand accountability because the Board of Directors has chosen not to do so.
Nobody I know can afford to bulldoze their house and rebuild just because the inside gets wet when it rains or cold when the wind blows. Dutiful public servants are expected to treat our property as they would their very own, and I contend that they have failed us. Whining that temporary classroom partitions don’t function like permanent ones is about as reasonable as complaining about the weather.
It seems this project is being driven just about equally by the failure to maintain our facilities and the desire to keep up with the Jonses. Dr. Booker may wish us to be the Jonses, but that’s going to be challenging given the demographics of District 7. Taking nearly a half billion dollars out of the district’s economy over the next 30 years will not, as he claims, cause our property values to increase, nor stimulate growth. It does have the potential to cause residents to move away and could have the same effect on small businesses. Some will fall victim to the tax increase and simply shutter.
Instead of considering a tax increase, we should be considering the leadership and staffing of the district. They are acting in their own behalf, not ours, and building their legacy while education takes a back seat.
Wonderful, thoughtful, well-researched, and fair information throughout this website. Thank you. Doesn’t the City of Spartanburg need a new City Hall? Talk of that has not surfaced recently. How in this world will all of this be paid for? Has there been renewed talk about incorporating more of the eastside into the city limits to pay for this project as well as the usual day-to-day frivolous spending of District 7? What in the world will traffic become on and around the Plainview/East Main/Zion Hill Rd. and Fernwood-Glendale/Zion Hill Rd. to Glendale with these proposed traffic circles? Really? I see visions of traffic lights and tie-ups everywhere and interrupting the everyday life in the established neighborhoods surrounding this area.
There Is a new City Hall on the horizon (after elections?) and don’t forget the County Courthouse is in despicable condition. Then there are roads and bridges and water mains that are old and failing. There is still no SC DOT traffic impact study for the high school location that we’ve seen, but then that seems to be the same group of minds who wish to give us traffic circles. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out.
The proposed location for the new high school will result in a traffic nightmare approaching the likes of Woodruff Road in Greenville. The traffic circles will confound the situation. Ultimately, many will move away and property values will plummet. I spoke to two business owners yesterday who said they’ll be living in Cherokee County within 2 years!
This happy news brought to you by District 7 and its lap dog, the Herald-Journal.
I am a teacher and graduate of SHS (I don’t work for any Spartanburg districts, but live in D7). I think the school committee does not have a plan in place for making this district successful.
I have worked (again, not in Spartanburg) in an old building with leaking roof and no air conditioning, and no stadium of any sort. I have also worked in a new facility (nicknamed “Corporate Headquarters,” due to its appearance), complete with performing arts center, etc.
I am not saying an old, leaky facility is preferable, but I am saying this – that school was preferable to work in (and send students to) because of families that were engaged in the students’ education, professional & caring teachers, and administration with high standards for everyone. “Corporate Headquarters” was a horrible place to work – slack administration, ill-behaved students who did as they pleased. So, a building is just that, a building. It sounds cliched but it is the people who make a school desirable and effective.
One argument I keep hearing is that we need a new SHS building to draw in quality teachers. This is not true. Ask great teachers what promotes learning better and where would you rather work: a new building, or a building where there is professionalism of staff, support of wise administrators, and a view that all students can learn and are expected to do so?
In the past five years, there have been reports in the news of at least six SHS/Freshman Academy teachers being ARRESTED. If I were a teacher looking for a job, that would be a red flag…what is going on with the “professional climate” of the building/district? To me, that needs to be addressed before any building issues. (And the argument that this is evidence of quality teachers not applying is not true…I know of some very experienced, educated teachers who have been passed over for jobs at SHS/Freshman Academy for reasons unknown. I wonder if maybe higher salaries for experienced teachers played a role…and no, I have never applied for a job in D7, if anyone is wondering.)
Also, people comment a lot that new families aren’t going to move into D7 because of the schools. I wonder, is it because of the “buildings” or because of the perception of how the schools operate? When people do an internet search for SHS, until now they probably didn’t see a lot about buildings, but did see a lot about test scores, statistics, and “teacher arrested.”
One final point – D7’s history is haunting it…remember the golf course debacle under the prior superintendent? How about a Freshman Academy that was completed just a few years ago, but now is going to be used as a middle school? The school council seems to make very, very shortsighted, band-aid decisions.
Well the forum was a bust last night. The audience and panel , with one exception,were stacked in favor. This had potential to be a good informative session but there were more long winded pro testimonials than questions. People had to stand in line forever to speak. Some just sat back down due to this. The answers to questions were the same old scripted replies.
Had a meeting like this been held in the beginning, there would have been great potential in an agreement by all. I inquired about the Chapman Whitlock property to Booker after the meeting and the implication was made people complained it was to far out and not big enough. Between the property owned and I am sure the surrounding property could be bought, this would be an ideal location. A compact redesigned campus could fit. Heck there is already a football field in place there. Even buying adjoining property would be cheaper than the golf course. They are just not open to backing up and rethinking this project. Dorman moved from the city to the county so why can’t SHS do the same? It seems they are catering more to the perceived “affluent ” neighborhoods like Fernwood, Hillbrook and surrounding higher end developments for the location. It would be out their backdoors.
What about all the kids being bussed in from the south and north? They have always had to travel a long way. I drove a school bus in school and lived on the north side so I know. It was quite a drive. If they would simply tweak this request for a cheaper solution, I think all would probably be on board and somewhat happy.
A Spartan High teacher engaged Beth and I after the fiasco at the “old” Spartan High building with the old admonishment that we should be doing for the kids the same thing that she asks daily of her students: their best. She would not be reasoned with, and is the biggest fan of Dr. Booker I’ve met to date.
Simply put, this is another round of FDR economics. Remove private resources, via taxes, from the private sector to be spent on public structures, whether they’re needed or not. In the process dollars will cross a lot of area palms as a way of Keeping Spartanburg Green. The Chamber of Commerce loves that, as do realtors, lawyers, and our well-paid district officials. Who’s not to like that? Well, how about anybody on an income that’s marginal already or small business owners already being squeezed by big box chains or franchises. Maybe it could be called simply income redistribution, only this time the fat cats are on the receiving end. In FDR’s day it took a war to end the depression his policies deepened and lengthened, but District 7 doesn’t have that option. Real conservatives and JFK Democrats understand what’s proposed. The uninformed and die-hard Progressive’s never will.
I find it mind-boggling that nobody has yet asked for an explanation of how this proposal will result in higher property values. But, as has been demonstrated millions of times, a lie, repeated often, becomes accepted as the truth. As we have also seen, the only questions asked of Booker by board members relate to the new school’s visibility and presentation (compared to Dorman). How did these trustees vote to approve the proposal without seeing the plans for financing it?
The raptors were at work in Fernwood around first light today. The “No New Taxes” signs took flight. My guess is that they couldn’t stomach the rights of others. What a shame we can’t agree to disagree without stealing something off others’ property!
A necessary police report was filed a short time later.
My kids got an excellent education at SHS and both attended a top 20 national university afterwards and did well. SHS is competing with Dorman for students. A few years ago they “spruced up” the high school by putting up a new facade and a fountain, yes a fountain, in the main lobby. They also built a new athletic field that is too short and narrow to play any sport on. When asked about it, the district claimed it was only a practice field. Why then does the field have concession stands and ticket booths?
What else is not mentioned is that the demographics of District 7 are such that it now is an inner city school. For years they have wanted to merge with District 3 which is predominately white. A new school large enough for both high school populations is the one being planned.
What really ticks me off is that for years, teachers who left the district or retired were not replaced. Tommy White, the superintendent before Russel Booker, is still on the payroll at full salary. Want to be there for the kids and to improve their education? Hire more teachers to lower class sizes. I’ve never voted against a bond issue in my life, but I am now.
About the field, it is a practice field. The reason it has concessions and things is because E.P. Todd School as well and J.V. and C-team football play their games on that field, because we can’t afford to rent Wofford for every single game. Not only football plays their games on that field, Lacrosse and Soccer also use it.
The dimensions are too small for a regulation size football, lacrosse or soccer field. Carver, Whitlock and McCracken also have regulation size football/athletic fields that can be used. My understanding is that the practice field with the track/lights at SHS by the athletic offices and gym are used for C-team and JV games, along with soccer. When I drove by that field the other night, a soccer match was being played there, not the field in question.
RE: Open letter to Spartanburg District 7 residents who voted YES for the $185M construction bond on 15 March 2016.
When was this letter written? If it is accurate, is there any way (through petition, for example) that the bond issue can be repealed?
Citizens for the Children's Future