Long process before new Chapin school materializes, citizens to be vigilant
“It’s one piece in our puzzle of great schools in District Five”, said Board Chairman Robert Gantt. “We have overcrowding in our district, it just seems like the right decision to address the future growth of this district.”
While the district set aside $1 million in its reserve fund to purchase property for a new elementary school, there is a lot of work to do before any construction begins.
PHOTO: More than 200 turned out for Monday’s meeting. (Sandy Coots Photo)
“The administration will work on finalizing the purchase of the land, then creating a proposal on how to best fund construction of the new school,, explained Katrina Goggins, the district’s director of communications. “No timetable has been set when the funding proposal will be presented to the Board or when the new school will open.”
The district has a policy that outlines the selection of contracted entities.
“This is the policy that governs how the district chooses an architect and contractor to build schools”, Goggins said. “No contracts have been entered into at this time.”
Another discussion that must be had involves rezoning and how the district will determine who attends a particular school.
“A new school will obviously include some rezoning”, noted Goggins, “but we are several steps in the process away from this.”
While district officials work through the process, citizens groups vow vigilance.
Many Chapin area residents were opposed to the site on Amicks Ferry Road for the new school. Dozens attended school board meetings since the beginning of the year to question the board and voice their opposition. Despite the vote not going their way, opponents said they are grateful for the coalition created.
Mike Whitehurst posted the following on the ‘Save Amicks Ferry Road’ page on Facebook, “thank you to our great community for your support at last night’s board meeting. Though last night’s decision did not go as many of us would have liked, I was so proud of our community’s involvement. As Chapin goes through its transformation, I am encouraged to know that our community is willing to engage in the process.”
“We have built strong relationships with some wonderful people in our community, and we plan to keep those relationships going”, said Charli Wessinger who created the Facebook group. “As we move forward, we will be following the school board to ensure they follow their own policies in regards to their initiatives, continue to focus on community relations and work to collaborate with various agencies.”
“Although we are all disappointed in the board’s decision, it is wonderful to live in a country where civil discourse is possible,” said Mark Timberlake via Facebook. “I’m very proud of the way our community stayed composed tonight. I do not agree with the decision, but I can sleep well knowing we did our best to make sure our voices were heard and hold the board accountable to its citizens. If the voters don’t like how the board is being run, it’s up to us to make changes.”