'No' vote dooms Aiken County schools to further problems

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Thanks to those who voted against the Aiken County school bond referendum, substandard facilities will continue to deteriorate while graduation rates and test scores remain firmly in the toilet.

For years, teachers and students at North Augusta High School have been subjected to deplorable and shameful conditions. There is no reason to believe conditions have improved. The facility is so overcrowded, it's a wonder nobody has been trampled to death between classes.

Rotted and moldy ceiling tiles caused by leaking roofs get repaired with trash bags that then leak into the classrooms. Broken doors are held together with bicycle chains. Many classes lack adequate numbers of desks. Paper rationing is constant and book shortages are common. There are no functional science labs, leading to severely curtailed science instruction. Crowding means limited lunch breaks and no recess.

A group called We The People Aiken put out a flier urging rejection lest property taxes increase by $118 to $174 a year per $100,000 of assessed valuation. Their particular whine was about how this modest increase might impact their businesses and second homes. Apparently they need the extra $200 to $600 a year for Tea Party conventions and cruises, or for similar self-serving activities devoid of importance. ...

Many of you are fortunate enough to have inherited wealth and all the privileges that go with it. Or you have high-paying jobs or successful businesses. But you selfishly chose to act irresponsibly. Your vision of the future is, metaphorically, a nasty and divided dystopia of gated communities for yourselves and misery for others.

I guess We The People Aiken includes only those who can afford private schools and second homes. It certainly does not include those who understand that the bedrock upon which a decent, just and successful nation rests is, first and foremost, an adequate public school system.

Joni Ellsworth

North Augusta S.C.

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johnston.cliff
2
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johnston.cliff 05/30/10 - 05:45 am
0
0
The rotting and molding are

The rotting and molding are caused by leaking roofs and the leaking roofs are caused by the government's insistence on building flat roofs that hold water and leak. To this day, new schools being built have flat roofs, as do most other government buildings. As far as this causing the graduation rates and test scores to plummet, well, I think there may be some other reason. And in response to the overcrowding at NAHS, it's long past time for North Augusta to have a second high school.

hirg_cola
0
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hirg_cola 05/30/10 - 06:06 am
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Ms. Ellsworth needs to

Ms. Ellsworth needs to educate herself. The advent of wide-spread public education in America didn't happen until the early days of the 20th century, long after this country had achieved status as "a decent, just and successful nation".

Posted by an education major, former public school teacher and long-term home schooling parent.

apex24
0
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apex24 05/30/10 - 06:10 am
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Raising my taxes won't help

Raising my taxes won't help with raising these disrespectful children we have these days. If you want to raise graduation rates learn to raise your child.

NewHere
0
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NewHere 05/30/10 - 07:32 am
0
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Thanks the aces for their

Thanks the aces for their opposition to the bond issue.

augusta citizen
10080
Points
augusta citizen 10/19/12 - 09:46 am
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0
..

..

orgpsych
0
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orgpsych 05/30/10 - 08:14 am
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Unfortunately, this topic and

Unfortunately, this topic and the "discussion" that will surely follow will only serve to create a "class warfare" situation. Those who have money will be determined to keep it because they obviously deserve it. Those who don't have money are certainly not entitled to any or they would have more. AFter all, someone has to be a peon. This is a pretty stupid position but so are most of the trite soundbite comments about "wealth envy" and delinquent kids that will predictably appear.

A solidly educated citizenry is the bedrock of a modern and progressive society (Note: I didn't say liberal). It is our lliteracy level that has allowed us to succeed in the past. It is our declining level of literacy in this country that is quickly allowing other countries to catch up to or surpass us in almost every area. The United States of America ia quickly on its way to becoming the largest, wealthiest Third World Country on the planet.

Our problems with education are much larger and more complex than most people here can imagine. Throwing money at the problem is not the solution. Neither, though, is denying that system any money or abandoning the system altogether. The solutions have to include decent facilities that are not health hazards. They don't have to be the fanciest we can buy, but they do have to be safe.

Overcrowding has long been shown to be a significant factor in poor student performance. Those who would deny funding to the public school system at all are creating the very problem they complain about. The student-teacher ratio is so very important to a quality education.

Maintaining current facilities takes money. Building adequate facilities takes money. Managing this money properly takes the attention of dedicated professional managment. That also costs money. We don't want to waste money by throwing it into a hole. But we also have to fund the efforts to provide an adequate education to our citizenry.

Then again, maybe a lack of education is a good thing. After all, SOMEONE has to perform menial labor for the more deserving in society.

AGR354
7
Points
AGR354 05/30/10 - 08:51 am
0
0
North Augusta is a Benz

North Augusta is a Benz compared to Ridge Spring- Monetta Elem/Middle. The author of the letter is not helping the cause. The Board should cut the fluff from the bond focus on real problems, and get this passed before the federal government makes it happen

apex24
0
Points
apex24 05/30/10 - 09:28 am
0
0
Is it really about the

Is it really about the children or is it about the teachers wanting nicer classrooms. Teachers want a raise every year so why not a new school every few years.

iletuknow
8
Points
iletuknow 05/30/10 - 09:47 am
0
0
Plenty of savings to be had

Plenty of savings to be had by cleaning up the waste and removing the parasites.
Example:
There are enough Aiken Co cars sitting in the streets and driveways to run a medium size city in my neighborhood.

Dixieman
17635
Points
Dixieman 05/30/10 - 11:26 am
0
0
Rubbish. Throwing more money

Rubbish. Throwing more money at a bloated government educational bureaucracy and teachers' unions would do NOTHING to improve our kids education. Government schools = child abuse. Take a second job if necessary to get your kids into private school.

Sonja (Diane Keaton): "That is incredibly jejune". Boris (Woody Allen): "That's jejune? You have the temerity to say that I'm talking to you out of jejunosity? I am one of the most june people in all of the Russias!" - Woody Allen, Love And Death (1975).

Dixieman
17635
Points
Dixieman 05/30/10 - 11:27 am
0
0
Rubbish. Throwing more money

Rubbish. Throwing more money at a bloated government educational bureaucracy and teachers' unions would do NOTHING to improve our kids education. Government schools = child abuse. Take a second job if necessary to get your kids into private school.

Sonja (Diane Keaton): "That is incredibly jejune". Boris (Woody Allen): "That's jejune? You have the temerity to say that I'm talking to you out of jejunosity? I am one of the most june people in all of the Russias!" - Woody Allen, Love And Death (1975).

AGR354
7
Points
AGR354 05/30/10 - 12:45 pm
0
0
there is no union in sc,

there is no union in sc, Stop blaming the problems with Education on Unions. IN SC that want float. Dixieman the Private schools in rural SC don't meet the high standards of our public education. Also cut Neil Borz off and get a hobby.

DaddyFrog
46
Points
DaddyFrog 05/30/10 - 01:15 pm
0
0
If Ms. Ellsworth feels this

If Ms. Ellsworth feels this stong about the issue the next time her property taxes are due she can figure out what she would have paid had the bond issue passed minus what she has to pay and send a check for the difference to the Aiken Co. School Board.

jedex6
18
Points
jedex6 05/30/10 - 04:27 pm
0
0
The education major hirg-cola

The education major hirg-cola needs to get an education. The early 20th century brought us Jim Crow laws and decidedly very unjust conditions. For an educated person, you are living in a cocoon of home schooling and doing nothing for the greater good. Stay in your cave.

dwb619
105010
Points
dwb619 05/30/10 - 06:33 pm
0
0
johnston.cliff, I agree, it

johnston.cliff, I agree, it is time to split the school in North Augusta. The problem is they would have to geerymand the attendance area, so as to cheery pick the neighborhoods for NAHS. Also, the site the board had its eye on for the new school is in BELVEDERE!

SC Dad
0
Points
SC Dad 05/30/10 - 06:45 pm
0
0
North August High School is

North August High School is significantly overcrowded, but the School Board decided to go with an undefined plan that did not outline where the money would be spent. In addition, they add funding for new sports facilities at the new high school. The state of our economy does not allow us to add anything beyond the necessities, and a new football stadium is not a necessity. North Augusta needs a High School that can accommodate the number of students attending, and the School Board should come back with a more fiscally responsible proposal to meet the need. Some thought should be given to acquiring the adjacent Walden Hall property and building a campus for the seniors or freshman. That would alleviate the overcrowding, and give some ability to refurbish the existing school over a period of time. Also, it wasn't only "rich" people that voted no! 70% of those casting a ballot voted no, and there aren't that many "rich" people, so stop with the class envy. Frankly, the answer to the education problem in America is not more government money, but COMPETITION! Let's have vouchers or privatize the whole system.

corgimom
38840
Points
corgimom 05/30/10 - 07:26 pm
0
0
"The education major

"The education major hirg-cola needs to get an education. The early 20th century brought us Jim Crow laws and decidedly very unjust conditions."

Jim Crow laws came about in the 19th century and it happened during Reconstruction. They were firmly in place by the 20th century.

hirg-cola is correct.

corgimom
38840
Points
corgimom 05/30/10 - 07:27 pm
0
0
You know, I keep hearing

You know, I keep hearing about "the state of the current economy". Folks, it's never going to go back to the way it was. So yes, you might as well spend the money now- it's not going to get cheaper or better.

Little Lamb
49372
Points
Little Lamb 05/31/10 - 08:43 am
0
0
Aiken County Board of

Aiken County Board of Education made a mistake in seeking the $250 million. Instead of trying to do everything all at once, a better approach is to seek voter approval to build just one school. Then when it is finished, seek approval to build one more, etc. This type of phased approach would not have nearly the amount of sticker shock.

Little Lamb
49372
Points
Little Lamb 05/31/10 - 12:47 pm
0
0
Joni Ellsworth wrote of the

Joni Ellsworth wrote of the people who voted no on the school bond referendum:

Many of you are fortunate enough to have inherited wealth and all the privileges that go with it. Or you have high-paying jobs or successful businesses. But you selfishly chose to act irresponsibly.

The vote against the bond was 70%! There are not that many wealthy and privileged in Aiken. I think a lot of po’ folks voted no also.

jedex6
18
Points
jedex6 05/31/10 - 02:03 pm
0
0
The key here is "70% of the

The key here is "70% of the people who voted". It's highly likely that most of those people who cast "no" votes could well afford the extra few hundred a year for a desperately needed upgrade of the school facilities. Just a hunch. No, of course 70% of the population as a whole are not wealthy.

KSL
145067
Points
KSL 05/31/10 - 08:35 pm
0
1
Who's fault is it that the

Who's fault is it that the people you refer to were apathetic and didn't come out and vote? Could it be for the same reason they don't stay in behind their children, make them study and behave and stress to them the importance of education?? Hmmmm?

KSL
145067
Points
KSL 05/31/10 - 08:44 pm
0
1
My husband and I were part of

My husband and I were part of the true baby boom birth year. America was adjusting to a post war economy and the building of the needed classrooms to accommodate us had not caught up. My third grade year was spent in a temporary makeshift class room constructed out of sheetrock in a corner of the auditorium in the Junior High. Two other class rooms for third graders only were in similar conditions in the Junior High school. Two new elementary schools were constructed in our town of 7000 that year and were ready by the time we entered the 4th grade.

I didn't get any the less education for it. But then it was a time when children in general behaved in school, were there to learn, and knew it.

lsmith
105
Points
lsmith 06/01/10 - 11:02 am
0
0
The school board failed to
Unpublished

The school board failed to make a case for the huge amount they asked for. If you want to have a successful school bond referendum give good numbers, specific uses for the money and demonstate true need. School boards are famous for slapping together bond requests without doing their due-diligence. It's been proven time and again that you can't just throw money at a school system and make definitive improvements. I think in this day and age when funds are tight for most everyone, we all expect belt tightening to go along with prudent plans for improvement.

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