After hearing a presentation at the most recent Board meeting about Leon County School’s proposed capital expenditures over the next five years, one board member was critical of what was not addressed in the plan.
School Board member Alva Striplin said, “this is painful, painful to me again…there is no forward thought to my district that is busting at the seams.”
Ms. Striplin represents District 1 which includes the area between Thomasville Road and Mahan Road.
Her concerns were, in part, based on the growth that will result from the Canopy Development within Welaunee, which is east of Fleischmann Road between Centerville and Miccosukee roads.
Ms. Striplin spoke about the current capacity issues at schools in her district and said “I feel like in five years this community is going to look back at us and say why were you not planning for this….we are busting at the seems..”
“I am extremely concerned about the high school situation….I do not see concern in the five year plan addressing the situation”, said Striplin.
Superintendent Hanna responded by saying he shared similar concerns.
However, he said the current priorities for capital investment include updating facilities at Fairview Middle and Rickards High.
Hanna stated these schools were previously neglected and need attention immediately.
The plan could give $8 million to Fairview Middle and $25 million to Rickards High by the year 2022.
Responding to Striplin’s concerns about her district, Hanna said looking ahead we are planning on adding capacity at W.T. Moore Elementary School and Cobb Middle School.
At this time, Hanna said students living in the Canopy Development will be zoned for Lincoln High School.
As far as a new high school in the northeast, Hanna said the district has $260 million in debt and $26 million a year for debt service and does not think it is fiscally prudent to borrow more money for construction at this time.
Hanna said after the work at Fairview Middle and Rickards High is completed the Board can look at possibly borrowing more money to address the high school situation in the northeast.