This is in response to the �letter “Save Our Community Schools,” which appeared in the Feb. 23 edition of the Observer-Reporter.
It seems to me that, first of all, even if those dilapidated buildings were opened up, they would no longer be community schools. Quite honestly, they haven’t truly been community schools for many years. Those buildings would, and have been, used by more than one community and therefore would remain district schools, much like a new building by the current high school would be.
Second, I’m very curious why there is this “Save Our Schools”� campaign now. Where was the public outcry and concern a few years ago when those buildings were being closed? Sure, some folks were a little sad and sentimental, but there was no public outcry. Why start now, after they have been closed and vacant?
Finally, it is mentioned that the cost to build a new school two years ago was $42 million, and that figure was for a new high school and renovations to the current high school to remake it into a middle school. The current proposal from the architects, as of last month, puts the cost of a new centrally located middle school at about $28 million. Incidentally, the most recent cost to renovate the two closed buildings is about $27 million with an increased operating cost to the district of close to $400,000 a year.
As for the Ringgold taxpayers not having a say, there is a Ringgold Board of Directors meeting every month. I have been to just about every meeting for the past year and there have been very few people addressing the board about saving their so-called community schools. Rather, the overwhelming majority of citizens addressing the board have been in favor of building a new, centrally located building.
There are times for sentiment and nostalgia to take an active role in a decision; there are also times for logic and common sense to play a leading role in a decision, especially when millions of taxpayer dollars and children’s health and education are concerned. Now is the time for logic and common sense. The future of our children depends on it.