Cumberland Times-News

March 25, 2014

New school is a bad hand; now is time to fold and discard it

To the Editor:
Cumberland Times-News

— The Allegany County Board of Education needs to learn from the gamblers at Rocky Gap: “Know when to hold and know when to fold.”

It is time to fold the “base model design drawings” of the new school.

In the March 9 Times-News (“Board of education justifies new high school,” Page 1A), “Following the announcement of a $6.2 million shortfall for the new Allegany High School ...  Mr. (board member Mike) Llewellyn states that “We are not over budget yet because we have not bid out the project.”

The March 13 headline (Page 1A) reads, “School board OKs base model design for new Allegany.”

The base design cuts nine classrooms, auditorium, all sports fields. Can this really be called a new high school?

Did the original plans have nine classrooms that were not needed? Are the students going to be bused to the old Allegany for all the extracurricular activities; down Braddock Road to the Dingle to Fayette Street? What are the plans for these activities?

Ms.(school board president Laurie) Marchini states that the base design meets the educational plan and these extracurricular activities were not in the original plan?

So the original design was a Cadillac plan and the school board really didn’t need the $9 million from Allegany County?

Mr. (board member Nicholas) Hadley states, “We now know we have a new school coming. We just don’t know what it is going to look like.”

Mr. Llewellyn thinks we should keep the $27 million from the state and somehow in the future find the other money from somewhere to complete the school.

Are all of the school board members of the same opinion? From the beginning it was felt by many that building a high school where the hospital is, was not a good idea.

I live in front of Washington Middle School, and there are over 22 buses that bring students there.

I can only imagine what that would look like up and down Braddock road twice each day, in the winter time, and the traffic jam at the Dingle. Safety is an issue.

All of the school board members are college graduates, some with multiple degrees.

Perhaps we need to elect some community oriented people that have only a high school education, or perhaps a trade, or a business person who understands how to make difficult decisions, or a gambler from Rocky Gap who knows when to hold and when to fold. It’s time to fold and shuffle the deck.

Richard Beeghly