Posted 03 February 2016 - 06:53 AM
I think this is an argument that begs a conversation about spending and strategically planned spending. For the sake of comparison, please indulge me in drawing a comparison outside of Greater Clark. I do this to make a point at a higher level and avoid getting bogged down in specific examples.
Start with general spending practices. Let's look at New Albany-Floyd County Schools. They recently lost a referendum in an overwhelming fashion similar to GCS. Prior to, during and after that loss, they have spent millions of dollars on things like turfing their football stadia, overhauling sports locker rooms in a manner that could be considered the envy of many low-major to mid-major Division I NCAA universities, and renovating a closed elementary school. All of that is without consideration of spending they have done in the school corporation's general fund by allowing certain coaches to teach less than their colleagues. They are now considering another pass at a referendum.
Now let's shift the focus to strategic spending. NAFCS will try to sell the community of a "strategically planned" spend that will be at least as much, if not more than their last effort. They have engaged and/or will engage in a thorough facilities study to guide their decisions on scope for their strategic spend. They will likely hire a communications consultant to help them sell this strategic spend to the community, and they will work like the dickens to get it accomplished.
My point in that rambling is that all of what is in the last two paragraphs sounds crazily familiar with what has and is continuing to happen at GCS. GCS like NAFCS routinely pursue general spending that excites special interests (sports, radio, ROTC, etc.), is done in a rather unstrategic manner (regardless of the fact that school corporations do these flimsy 3-Year Capital Project Plan that they would argue is strategic), and done without regard to how those spends would cohesively fit into a true strategic spending decision-making process that would have appeal beyond those special interests. When they do pursue a referendum that is the result of a "strategic facilities plan" the community pushes back because it sees money spent on special interests as opposed to those things that the school corporation says it needs in the strategic plan. That creates the pushback you see on this thread.
To take this a step further, what if GCS used its Capital Project Plan and funds to force the GCS facilities and maintenance leadership to keep schools maintained, cleaned and appropriated updated so that strategic spending could do what it is supposed to do? I digress, but that is a personnel issue as well as a fiscal planning issue...
To conclude, the issues of Capital Project Fund spending and strategic facilities planning for the purpose of a referendum should be done together in order to avoid these conflicts that arise from spending decisions and referenda planning and pursuits. This comprehensive approach could go a long way in eliminating the divisiness in the community over these issues.