Thursday, September 30, 2010

THOMASTON UPSON SCHOOLS

AT  A  WORK  SESSION  ON  A  PROPOSED  NEW  PERFORMING  ARTS  CENTER,  TUESDAY,  THE  THOMASTON UPSON  BOARD OF  EDUCATION  HAD  A  MOTION  AND A   SECOND  ON THE FLOOR  TO  ACCEPT  A  PLAN  RECOMMENDED  BY  A  PARENT  AND  STAFF  ADVISORY  COMMITTEE, BUT  THE  MOTION  WAS  WITHDRAWN.   VETERAN  BOARD  MEMBER  TERRELL   JACKSON  SAID  HE  STILL  HAS  SOME  QUESTIONS  ABOUT  THE  $7.5 MILLION  PROPOSAL.  ACCORDING  TO THE  COST  ANALYSIS  BY ARCHITECTS,  MANLEY,SPANGLER, SMITH,  THE  SO-CALLED  MULTI-USE  PLAN  WOULD INCLUDE CLASSROOMS  FOR  BAND  AND  CHORUS AND  A  GREEN  SPACE FOR  EVENT  DRESSING  ROOMS, IN  ADDITION  TO  THE  900  SEAT  AUDITORIUM. MR. JACKSON  HAD  SOME  RESERVATIONS  ABOUT  ADDING  THE  CLASSROOMS  AND  BUMPING  UP THE  COST,BUT  JAY  EUBANKS,  REPRESENTING  THE  ADVISORY  COMMITTEE  TOLD  THE  BOARD IT  WOULD  BE  A  DISSERVICE  NOT  TO INCLUDE  THEM, THEY ARE  NEEDED  BECAUSE OF  THE  LOGISTICS  OF  MOVING  BAND  EQUIPMENT  FOR  CONCERTS. JACKSON  SAID THE  PROJECT  HAD  BEEN ADVERTISED  TO  THE  PUBLIC  FOR  $6 MILLION, BUT NOW HAS  MOVED  TO  $8 MILLION,  WHEN  THE  ARCHITECTS  FEES  OF  $400,000  ARE  INCLUDED.  THE  SCHOOL  SYSTEMS  OPERATIONS  DIRECTOR, MIKE  MAJORS TOLD  THE  BOARD  $3.2  MILLION  IS  LEFT  FROM   THE  PREVIOUS  SPLOST,BUT  1.4  OF  THAT  IS  TARGETED FOR  A  NEW  BUS  BARN. THE  BOARD  HAS  NOT  DESIGNATED   A  USE  FOR  THE  REST, LEADING  TO SPECULATION IT  COULD  BE  USED  FOR  THE  PERFORMING  ARTS  CENTER. ACCORDING  TO  THE  MULTIPURPOSE  PLAN, THE  AUDITORIUM  WOULD  BE  24,800  SQUARE  FEET AT  A  COST  OF  $6.4  MILLION  AND THE  CLASSROOMS  WOULD  ADD  ANOTHER  $ I  MILLION, 8000 SQUARE  FEET.  COACH  MAJORS  SAID  THE  ARCHITECTS  ARE  ANXIOUS  TO GET STARTED WITH  DRAWINGS, BUT THE  BOARD  PUT OFF A  DECISION  UNTIL  THE  NEXT  REGULAR  MEETING,  OCT.  7TH.

31 comments:

  1. How can anyone read this! It is impossible.

    It is one long sentence and the writer must not know where the caps lock button is.

    Will someone please tell them to look at some other web sites and see how the pro's do it.

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  2. I agree it is horrible. You would think that the people responisble for this would want to look professional instead of it looking like a 3rd grader presented it.

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  3. The elected officials of the school board should not allow themselves to be strong armed by someone on any advisory commitee. They were put in place to advise, not decide. Given the current political environment and the public's complete distrust for elected officials, I only see adding over 20% to the original cost sold to the public as fueling the fires of public disgust for those elected officials. Don't forget that you were elected to uphold the public trust and that abusing the trust placed in you could result in a little extra time on your hands after the next election cycle. Meanwhile, those on the advisory commitee will have long since returned to their desk jobs basking in the glory of getting you to sacrafice yourselves politically for their self interest. Don't forget, you can be held accountable. They cant!

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  4. Is it me or shouldn't the Upson Beacon and Thomaston Times be a little more aggressive about letting the community know about the school board spending over 20% more on this fine arts auditorium than we were told? Good job FUN 101!!! When are the people in Thomaston gonna figure out that this whole idea isn't anything more than a sham! An organized effort by a few to pay for their private interest with public dollars. Not hard to get things like this done when less than 10% of the electorate turn out to vote for or against it. Once it was put on the SPLOST, it was a slam dunk it would happen. It's really sad that people can't get more involved in what happens to the dollars in their community.

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  5. Just heard this today. Thanks WTGA for informing the public. It seems the board of education has forgotten about taxpayer trust and their responsibility to taxpayers and voters in particular.

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  6. If you read into this subject further and do some research, you would understand that if the advisory committee's suggestions are accepted, the budget would not go over by 20%. The original proposals for the facility were $6 to $8 million. The adivsory committee's proposal was to include educational spaces in this facility while keeping with the original costs of $6-8 million. The proposed cost for this facility is $7.5 million. The committee was suggesting that if this was an issue, take $1.8 million from the previous SPLOST surplus of $3.2 million and add it to the cost that the Board would like to see ($6 million). If you do this, you can have $7.8 million to spend on this facility without going over budget originally discussed at the public forums concerning this facility. Also, this facility is for community and educational use, if the citizenry does not invest in our future, who else can we blame for the shortcomings?! In doing some further research, the fine arts programs for our school system work with approximately 1400 students directly each year. Additionally, every student is somehow indirectly impacted by the fine arts. With over one-third of our students benefiting from the arts programs within our schools, it only seems fitting that we invest in their futures.

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  7. There are many more needs for which the SPLOST surplus could be used. It is shallow to think that the performing arts center is the most important need that the school system has at this time. This is especially true in light of the current financial situation.

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  8. 6 to 8 million dollars kind of reminds me of the cable company telling you that they will be there between 12 and 5!!! Would you hire a builder who has a 25% variance on the price of building you a house? How vague can you be? And the casual way of saying just take 1.8 million from the existing SPLOST like it's no big thing . . . A million here, a million there, no big deal right? Not too difficult to say when there are members of the advisory committee who are from families of millionaires themselves. Not to mention it's not their money! News flash folks . . . we are living in one of the poorest communities in Georgia and are in the middle of one of the worst economic conditions this country has ever known. Furthermore, the second SPLOST was never intended to be used for this project. In fact this auditorium wasn't anything more than a burning desire in the gut of a few in the arts community here when the second splost was approved. I think it would be in the best interest of the board to go into closed session to vote on any future proposals for this project to avoid the pressure of having a room full of TUAC members squeezing them into making a decision that they don't necessarily agree with. Better yet, why not reach out to some of your constituents to get a more accurate portrayal of how the community feels about this proposal in general. It's as though you're caught in this bubble of people who only agree with one another! Don't just accept as gospel what the cattle call standing in front of you is telling you. BTW . . . I wonder if these teachers of the arts would be pushing as hard for these additional cost if they were one of the unfortunate teachers who lost their jobs due to budget contraints? And I guess we are all to assume that the new additions to the auditorium will be totally self sustaining. With the additional facilities comes additional maintainence, cost of electricity, water and lord knows whatever else. So where do you suppose these funds will come from? Maybe you could use the additional 1.4 million dollars left over from the second splost after you "magically transfer" the first 1.8 million over to cover these extra cost to build it! No big deal. After all, we apparently have extra millions just laying around anyway!

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  9. I can see it now . . . " The Jaye Eubanks Center for the Mediocre Arts " !!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  10. The above comment is a childish one!!
    Its ashame that the above person would call the people in our community "mediocre"..Why would anyone want to come to our great city to showcase their talents and only be viewed as "mediocre"??..You are such a fine representive of this town..i applaude you..

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  11. With our economy in shambles, why are we spending millions of dollars on performing arts centers, fountains, and losing high school football teams? If money grew on trees, these would all be wonderful projects, however, all this money belongs to our citizens. The government uses force to take our money and spend it however, they want. It makes me sick to see how a few members in our community can band together in the name of "the Arts" and bully their way into having our community foot the bill for their entertainment pleasures. And don't get me started on how much money we waste on a pathetic high school football team. Maybe if the players and coaches had to spend some of their own money like the other sport teams and band members do, they might put forth a little more effort.

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  12. Why don't we take the 1.8 million and build another soccer field? Football is about done here.

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  13. I'd like to take this opportunity to set something straight. The comment posted above in support of these additional expenditures gives the impression that the advisory committee was in lock step with these proposals. This person, whomever he or she may be is speaking for themself. Don't be fooled into thinking the committee was unanimous with this proposal for these additions. And someone really needs to get a sense of humor above as well . . .

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  14. Ohhh . . . Ohhhh . . . I know where the extra money is going to come from to maintain this monstrosity! (Talk about overkill . . . geesh!) It's sure as heck won't be from SPLOST money. I'm thinking it'll probably come from my property taxes after they go up . . . again!

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  15. Isn't it ironic that throughout the entire debate as to whether or not this fine arts auditorium would come to pass, those in the so called arts community constantly referred back to the amount of money spent over the years on a "mediocre" athletics program in Upson County? The second you refer to their endeavours in like terms, they get their respective panties in a bunch. So whats the difference? Apparently a delicate psyche is one of the side effects of blue blood.

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  16. Thank goodness for people like Jaye Eubanks and Mayor Hays Arnold. They are people who want a good quality of life for our youth and community. Communities that thrive have leaders like them and more who aren't afraid to step out and lead, knowing that with leadership comes criticism. If we let the people who always say "we can't" or "no" have their way, Thomaston/Upson County will never be a top flight community.

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  17. A quality of life to accommodate their desires with others money. We have a leader in the White House right now and leaders in both houses of congress who have " stepped out and lead " over the past couple of years as well. Not unlike whats going on in Upson County right now they've chosen this path against the will of the electorate. I'm afraid you're confusing leadership with entitlement due to ones ego. Citizens are tired of these so called leaders going against their will because in their mind they know better what to do with our money than we do. Turn on the television or read a newspaper sometime. This form of "leadership" is fast falling by the wayside. Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from Dwight Eisenhower "Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it" Right now looks as though this community doesn't "want to do it". Frankly, I'm not opposed to the auditorium per se. What I am opposed to is the willingness of a politician to take from me because they can't bring themselves to actually work within a budget. Where I'm from thats called theft. You can call it leadership if you'd like.

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  18. Don't forget to add over 1 million dollars to the total being thrown out there for professional fees. It looks like they are casually leaving that out of the conversation whenever possible.

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  19. God bless Steve Sadler for having the courage of his convictions! Standing on ones word in the face of opposition. Such a refreshing quality sadly lacking in todays elected officials.

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  20. I'm not sure what money you think is being spent on our football team, but as a parent of a football player I can assure you it is not cheap. By the way the 1/2 time show is the most pathetic part of the game!!!

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  21. I will preface my remarks by saying that I am not a fan of the public school system. It is not an insult to the teachers, but against the system itself. It is ridiculous that the school system can raise the millage rate at will because they don't have enough money, yet they seem to have little accountability as to how the money is spent. This proposed fine arts center is a good example of this.

    Folks, there is a vast difference between "needs" and "wants". Given the econimic uncertanty that we all face in the coming year, and given the number of local businesses that continue to close, it seems the money should be spent on core educational needs, especially considereing the R.E. Lee auditorium is still standing and available.

    When the Thomaston-Upson Arts Council (TUAC) was founded, it was a member-supported entity that had great community support. Where is this support now? It seems to me that if the arts crowd wants a new venue, they should do what other organizations like them do: start a building fund and don't move the first rock until all the money is there with zero risk or liability for the taxpayers!

    As for those offended by the comments about money being wasted on mediocre athletics, it's hard to argue against the "wasted" comment when you are paying 16 football coaches. That's more than most schools have for all athletics combined!

    These types of decisions as well as poor testing results compared to national averages led me to enroll my children in private school. However, I didn't go to my boss and pass along a pay hike to cover my additional expenses. I had to sacrifice things that I "want" for things they "need". The school system should be run like a business, not an entitlement!

    I know that a fine arts center is a nice thing to want, but until basic educational performance improves, the money would be better spent ensuring the kids can read and write.

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  22. God Bless the above poster. Perfectly said! I sent a child off to college who only thought he would be the smartest kid in the class. Why wouldn't he? After all, he always had been while in the Upson County public school system. After his first semester he realized how much that system failed him and how unprepared he was for college life. He's since adapted and is doing well. Fortunately I learned more from his struggles than he did. My remaining children will be in a private school even if I have to work a second job to put them there. A telling point in the systems failure is the amount of teachers and administrators who currently have their children in private schools. If there's a God in heaven, the passionate response to this article will find it's way into the hands of the board before they vote again. There really needs to be an organized effort to go before the board in opposition to this madness like the TUAC crew does with their talking points. The board is just being overwhelmed by the chatter standing in front of them. Fun 101 needs to repost this article with all of the responses. Please Fun 101 DON'T LET THIS ISSUE GET LOST IN THE SHUFFLE!

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  23. Yes we do need to focus on our school system and our low test scores. The comment about the coaches yes we have 13 football coaches like the other AAAA football teams we play. (research)

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  24. Well i believe that the preforming arts center will be good for the students of our of comunity that enjoy the arts,because the R.E. Lee building's stage is in horrible shape and the arts center would fix that. Secondly wouldn't it make sense to spend tax dollars on something that the students want? I mean seriously...most of the people commenting here have to have some sort of mental disability...I'm just saying, bro.

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  25. Well, I know for a fact that to be member of the band and visual ensemble costs each person over $300. After all their instruments aren't provided by the school. And I hear cheerleaders pay over $200 to participate as well. I am often approached by members of these programs who are also participating in fund raisers. However, I understand that the cost of playing on the football is minimal. The school even provides a shirt and tie to wear to the games. And to the above comment about the halftime show being the most pathetic part of the game. The band consistently wins awards in their competition, however, the same can't be said for the "football team". Now while I may agree that this year's choice of music is less than entertaining, these kids do perform the music well.
    The football team has always received preferential treatment and I'm not sure why. I've heard it is because many of the players can't afford to pay, however, members of the band and other sports teams find a way to pay their own way and the football team should have to do the same.

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  26. After reading many of the previous posts I am flabbergasted because I thought the focus was not on who wins or who loses, it's not who is involved with what community groups, it's not who has more money; the focus in on who the schools are here for - THE STUDENTS! It's also on what the schools (and community) are doing to help enhance the quality of education and the opportunities for THE STUDENTS!

    "Regardless if you win or lose, it's how you play the game that counts." This is where the real lesson/education is found! Every team, regardless of football, band, cheerleading, chorus, basketball, drama, track, literary, baseball.... received budget cuts. Some of the fine arts programs have been cut over 80% within the last five years and many of the sports teams have received similar cuts! But, what makes this educational is that these students are out there busting it each day to take part in these activities - they are learning to work for what they want and to survive when times are tough. When all is said and done, it only seems fitting that each team has as nice of a place as possible to practice and play/perform!

    I'm all for building a fine arts center. The money is there, the taxpayers voted on it. Why shouldn't THE STUDENTS be able to practice and have classes in a building specific to the fine arts. After all, the Physical Education classes have a few places (i.e. the gym, the field house, the track, the practice field, the softball fields, the multipurpose room, and not to forget the other classrooms) during the school day - these were all built when the money was available. So, it seems appropriate that the Fine Arts should also have rehearsal and performance facilities that are accessable, especially if (as an earlier post stated)"the fine arts programs for our school system work with approximately 1400 students directly each year".

    In closing, we may all bicker about who gets what and how much each one gets.... but let's again remember who the schools are here for and for whom the community should invest - THE STUDENTS!

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  27. I have kids that play football and the school does not supply shirts and ties for the boys, a parent donated them to us. As a matter of fact most of what is done for the football team is either donations from the community, parents or coaches. We have our fund raisers also! What is it that everybody thinks the football team gets? They do not get to keep their uniform, their equipment, helmets or even practice uniforms. We buy our own shoes, socks and any undergarments that are required which equals at least $200 or more. They might not win any awards but they give their all each week just like all of the band members, cheerleaders and every other athlete or child that participates in any extracurricular activity at UL. I agree not the best music selection this year but the show is spectacular!!! Great job kids! It doesn’t matter what sport or activity keep in mind that we all Knights and we need to support our boys, girls, coaches and teachers. I’m all for the performing arts center, if it is going to help our students then by all means build it!!

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  28. Doesn't it speak volumes about the sometimes mean spirited nature of some in this community when everyone who posted on this story felt the need to do it anonymously? Can't we have an open and honest discussion about something as important as this without having to worry about someone acting out against someone with whom they disagree? You shouldn't feel pressured to hide your identity because you're afraid someone will gossip about you, or even worse, try to cause you problems with your employer. I moved here a couple of years ago from Savannah so maybe I'm not totally in tune to what it is to live in a small community. I just don't get it. Wouldn't we all be better served to try to move this community forward rather than spending our time and effort back biting and power grabbing?

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  29. Go back to Savannah!

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  30. My point made above. The next time you drive through town though, take the time to look around you. Surely there are a few things that you would like to see improved upon. And sorry, but I have no intentions of moving back to Savannah any time soon. I do though have the intentions of helping to move this community forward doing whatever I can. Did I mention that my name was Steve Duke? Thats Duke with no S. Just curious. . .Is anonymous your first or last name?

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  31. Lighten up Steve. The go back to Savannah post was a joke by me.

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