Views expressed in letters to the editor
do not represent opinions of The Gazette-Virginian or staff members.
To the editor:
A camel is a horse designed by a committee, my bird-colonel commanding officer liked to remind us struggling young Air Force lieutenants back in the day.
Through the years that bit of wisdom has stuck with me and today I find it most appropriate for the new $105 million high school high school being proposed by our school board. And, mark my word, the cost will exceed $150 million before it’s over. And our school board wants to build this new Taj Mahal on a small 4-acre, postage stamp size lot half-hidden behind two all-night gas stations. It won’t even face the highway.
None of our school board members have any building or construction experience, so you’d expect them to consider advice from some of the local professionals in that field. That did not happen and what we have is a very ugly camel being shoved down our throats to the tune of mega-millions of our hard-earned tax-money.
Our neighbors in Mecklenburg were much smarter; they built a $100 million mega-school complex on a 40-acre tract overlooking 4-lane U.S. 58. It is a beautiful structure surrounded by a complex of athletic fields. It would be a worthy new college campus.
Our Halifax County schools rate very low by most standards and that well-deserved poor reputation has caused many professionals who work here to live in neighboring North Carolina.
Their public schools are far superior to ours. I’m told that we give students a high-school diploma who can’t even read and write coherently — building a new school will not change that.
A good education is not about big new buildings; our greatest generations came from one-room schools with a pot-bellied stove. And remember this: the 1% sales tax money can be spent on refurbishing any or all of our schools — it does not have to be spent on a new high school.
Buildings do not wear out; they have no moving parts. Our present high school with proper maintenance will last for thousands of years. I have stayed at multi-story 1,000-year-old buildings in Europe that are as good now as the day they were built — buildings do not wear out!
Some of us still remember when the school board imbalance was created by the sudden resignation of one school board member on the very day the school board voted to build a new school. That little maneuver created all the mess we have today and “We the People” is requesting a review of that situation by law enforcement.
We the People of Virginia, Inc., by this open letter, is asking our school board to delay any further plans to build a new school until the above issues are resolved, along with and including the improper handling of many other issues along the way.
Jack Dunavant, chairman, We the People of Virginia, Inc.