The Commissioners refused to let us have a school bond vote in the fall of 2013.
THIS MEANS AN ENTIRE YEAR LOST FOR OUR KIDS.
The next chance we have to pass this bond is May 2014.
They AGAIN ignored our requests to let us vote on the new school.
Please continue to share this story as there are still many people who will
assume this will pass in May without them getting actively involved and voting themselves.
After all, when a school is needed in the United States it seems to get built, but not here.
Let us show these folks that we aren’t being pushed around anymore.
They have already pushed our RIGHT to vote back as far as they possibly could.
Now we need to talk to our neighbors and the new people in the area and let them know that they have to be at the polls.
It had plenty of room for the rural county’s children.
Soon word got out about what a lovely place Davie County was.
Builders came in and built beautiful planned communities.
Families moved into these homes and the neighborhoods soon began to fill up. The families began to grow.
The schools also began to get filled up too.
They brought in trailers to accomodate the expanding population.
And more trailers.
And before they knew it there were 26 trailers that they laid down onto the tennis courts, parking lots and just pretty much wherever they could.
There were over 1,770 students trying to learn in a school that was built in 1956 for 750.
They were learning on parking lots and where the tennis courts used to be.
They were storing their supplies in tractor trailers.
Without an auditorium they had to find other off campus locations for school plays and they had to pay fees to those facilities. Having to pay people caused school events to lose money. There was no stage for students to walk across to be inducted into the National Honor Society, after the students had worked so hard to earn it. There was no extra space anywhere. The land wasn’t even close enough for what the State recommends for that many students. Most of the schools athletic teams had to leave the school campus to participate in the school’s sports.
There wasn’t even a space for all of the students to be together for an assembly.
They sadly couldn’t even accomodate all of the students for a pep rally to bring the student together and celebrate.
And so the county did the right thing, knowing a new school was inevitable, and built a new school in the heart of the county!
Davie County invested in the future of their children.
The commissioners would take corporate executives, who were thinking of relocating to our area, through the shining star of the community.
Davie High School, home of the War Eagles!
The modern school showed visitors that Davie County invests in their youth and in all of our futures.
The new Davie High School was where a new generation of Davie children would make memories.
The county officials felt that the school was fine and because they didn’t want to find a way to build a new school that wasn’t falling down around the children’s heads, literally….
…they spent tax payers money on repairs instead.
Those repairs began failing because the fact is, how many times can you patch a roof?
How many more trailers can you bring in while mold is being removed?
How can you make a school handicap accessible that has 80 exterior doors?
- Imagine walking with crutches and having to manage the maze of doors and ramps outdoors and during poor weather.
How can you have a school that isn’t handicap accessible in this modern age?
It is safe to assume the county commissioners have never had a handicapped child or grandchild.
How can you make a school SAFE that has 80 exterior doors? How can you monitor who is coming in and who is going out?
How can you make a school handicap accessible that has hallways so narrow they have chained the lockers closed because even able-bodied students couldn’t walk through the masses of students that have to traverse the halls between classes?
How can you make a school safe for an evacuation that has hallways so narrow that you chain the lockers closed and render them unusable?
To make matters worse, having no lockers means the students have to carry all of their belongings to every class.
That means backpacks, books, coats, hats, sporting equipment for after school athletics and lunches, all went to every class and with every student.
Which makes the already narrow halls feel all the tighter.
Some parents have begged the County Commissioners to build the students a second high school that was centrally located so that some students wouldn’t have a thirty-minute drive to school and then back home. They suggested removing the trailers from the existing high school and using it as a vocational school for a smaller population.
The County Commissioners have refused.
They didn’t want to raise the taxes to what some figured was equal to the cost of one pizza a month for the average household.
Some of the commissioners had allegiances with residents who felt that the taxes should remain low.
They didn’t want to see increases despite the fact that the county had one of the lowest tax rates around.
The county also has one of the lowest unemployment rates around.
Building a school will have to happen eventually, right?
We have asked the commissioners to do it now because all the studies that had been done, expected even more growth.
There are still more county commissioners that do not want to build a new school than who did.
Some residents didn’t want the large school divided because of the athletics. They wanted to remain a large powerhouse in sports.
How shameful that these are the only showers for a gym class in a school with nearly 1,800 students?
They didn’t realize it would give twice as many children a chance to play sports if there were two schools.
Soon though the school gymnasium didn’t even have enough seats for the parents to watch their children play sports…
…and so they put a sign on the door telling them the gym is full to capacity.
The county has been divided.
It is divided for all of the wrong reasons and from what I can tell, they have nothing to do with our children.
There were people accusing the parents who wanted a second school as being “The Haves” and the school that would keep the original school “The Have-Nots” when it was taken to the voters.
That time we were voting on a second school on the other end of the county and to remove the trailers and update the existing school.
People were angry.
Residents turned on each other over the proposition of raising their taxes and others were insulted that anyone against another school didn’t feel our children’s future was worth the cost of a pizza a month.
There were a lot of us that felt it was simple, and that when the time came to vote that others would make sure the students would have a safe and academically inclined facility for the future of our county.
Some of the counties resident lived in larger neighborhoods and in pricier homes and had a longer drive to the old high school. Many people felt that the taxes were already low compared to so many other places in the country and that for a mere extra $5 – $15 a month per family, a new school could be built.
Many felt the interest rates were at an all time low and this would be the time to secure a loan to build. After all, the land had been bought for years to build a second school on.
I felt that the children’s educations were paramount in having a successful population of residents in the future.
Some residents of the county were large landowners or retired and didn’t want to pay more in taxes. They felt the school was fine or that it could be updated. There were people who thought the school was good enough for them, and it’s good enough for the kids now, (even though the kids have literally outgrown the walls.)
They have been quarreling for years and have voted again and again and every time the parents asking for the school to be built thought the residents would do what was right for the students, the county and the future success of Davie County.
Every time it was refused for reason varying from raising taxes or splitting up the athletics teams.
Some county residents gave up on our local government and reached out to the State of North Carolina to intervene.
The residents asked for the State to step in and do what was right.
After all, we only have one school to choose from.
The School Board applied for special funding by the State.
The State conducted their own study and they recommended a new school be built!
Davie County met all of the criteria to get special funding to build a school..BECAUSE IT NEEDS IT!
BECAUSE IT NEEDS A NEW HIGH SCHOOL.
When the time came for the State to make a decision, no one notified Davie residents that the decision was being made in Raleigh.
Rumor has it that a wealthy, well connected Davie County resident and without children of his own to worry about their educations, talked to his contact in the State Capital and a decisions was made to not force the county to build a new school.
It was the first time in the State’s HISTORY a school was denied AFTER IT HAD MET ALL OF THE CRITERIA FOR THE STATE TO STEP IN.
Why do we today still send our kids to class here, today?
It was denied because a couple of INCOMING (not even seated yet – elected but not sworn in) Commissioners told the State that they would not repay COPS loan and they would let the loan default once they were in office.
This is one of the officials campaigning just before this occurred.
It was not denied because there wasn’t a NEED.
It was denied because two people took it upon themselves to deny our children what even the State felt was needed, a new facility.
The same person who preaches he will take important issues to the voters never asked the voters if they wanted to REFUSE THIS OPPORTUNITY. He and another gentleman did and even before they were officially commissioners.
He refused the help our kids were going to get, and he never asked me, one of his voters.
They say they are pro education.
These are the same men with their hands down NOT VOTING TO FUND THE SCHOOLS BUDGET.
Do these 200 teachers and residents look like they believe these men are “pro-education?”
One of these men has never even put his child in school outside of his home and he is telling me what is best for my three children in our school district?
Sometimes we have to be held to STANDARDS.
Our high school did not meet the STANDARDS of the State.
These men decided they knew better than the people who specialize in ensuring every child in North Carolina get the best education with the tax money we pay.
The incoming county commissioners told the State that they would not honor the loan and default.
This felt like defeat.
Many of us began shopping around for schools in adjoining counties.
Schools where they valued the education of their students.
Some people even thought about selling their homes and moving.
That wasn’t an easy thing to do anymore because of the economy. Most people wont buy a house in this county if they have kids over ten years old that has a high school in this condition.
Some people asked family members who lived in adjoining counties to become their kids guardians so they could put them into a school out of county.
Some people paid tuition to other counties that would allow their children to attend their PUBLIC schools.
Some people left and enrolled their children in private schools.
Some people couldn’t afford private school tuition at a public school or have people they could “give” their children to, just for a public education.
Then a new group of parents had children that were approaching middle school or high school and they started taking a look at what choices they had for their children’s educations.
They started looking at their ONLY PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOL CHOICE.
They began taking tours.
They began taking pictures to show others what they found.
People were appalled.
What is the best way to share photos and stories?
They could share with others immediately the situation and bring it right into their homes.
They could bring the pictures into their offices and in the palm of their hands.
They started a “private group” On Facebook to keep debate out of it and to keep ideas flowing into the discussions.
“The Davie County Moms for Davie County Students”
But it wasn’t just moms, it was anyone who cared enough about the kids in our county to share ideas and take on work and expenses and give their time in order to see a school built, finally.
They kept it private and allowed anyone who wanted to come up with constructive ideas to help the students of Davie County receive the best education they could.
The concesus was that in order to ever get a school built there had to be one school, centrally located for all of the students to benefit from.
A school with enough room for future growth…
…and a school that wouldn’t need constant repairs…
…a school that would make all of the residents proud.
They shared the minutes from meetings so people who couldn’t attend knew what was being voted on.
That is how they found out there were discussions to sell the land that the county already owned to build a school on.
(READ THAT AGAIN)
The group organized large turnouts at county commissioners meetings to express their outrage that it was even being discussed.
When someone at a meeting threatened a mother she let the group know what she was told and to be careful.
The group called upon the local news channels to attend meetings and record what was happening, to shed a light and keep everyone honest.
They have shared ideas from car magnets to business cards to pass out with information to get to a website so that the CORRECT information is out there.
People have stepped up and worked the counties numbers to find surplus funds that are available now for a new school and additional funds that will be coming available. There are now accurate numbers that reflect the estimated cost of a $200,000 home to build a new school, could be a mere $5.00 a month.
Some of the parents involved in this movement, in this new social media age, were probably on their high school newspaper and now they are writing letters to the editor.
Some of us probably participated in our high schools debate team and now were debating with our county commissioners at their meetings.
Some of us were probably mathletes and now were crunching the numbers to find the best financial plan to build a school.
Some of us could have been volunteers in high school and now we are giving our time to help a community.
Some of us could have been in student government when we were in high school and now we are in officially elected positions and trying to use that to benefit the student in our community.
Some of us were probably cheerleaders when we were in high school, and we are still cheering each other on.
Social media is powerful.
People are powerful.
People are more powerful in groups and social media can be used to change the world and it happens every day.
Thanks for letting me tell our story.
YOU ARE NOW PART OF A SOCIAL MEDIA EXPERIENCE.
Feel free to share this story. Share it within your community if you live somewhere that people spent time and money to build or renovate a school for their youth. Let them be proud.
Share this story on Facebook,
Tumber, Stumbleupon or any space you think someone might see it and know of a way to help.
One New Davie High
Share it with someone you know who might be able to give us advice.
Share it with a national reporter so we can shine the light a little brighter.
Leave a comment, a suggestion or write your own story about helping bring about change you believe in.
BE A CHANGEMAKER!
The next step is to gain national attention and the final step is to gain a new school
This story is far from over!
March 5th we ask the county commissioners to allow the residents to vote on it THIS YEAR.
IT WAS DENIED
(SEE INTRO AT TOP)
One New High School For All
Here is my own personal front page changemaker moment
Abbie Gale is a writer at allthatmakesyou.com
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