Last month members of the Morgan School Board unanimously signed a letter asking for us as Morgan County residents to vote YES for the school expansion bond to address the student growth in the county. We are writing to express our gratitude to the school board, Superintendent Jacobs, school district employees and many county resident volunteers.
Collectively, they have completed years of research, performed due diligence and sought resident feedback.
In a recent letter to the editor, the author referenced several points to create skepticism of the process, mistrust of the school board’s spending and to division among residents based on their spending habits.
We have helped coordinate and financially support the “Morgan Kids Bond 2017” initiative. Before joining the effort to support the bond, we asked questions regarding the same issues the author mentioned in the letter to the editor. Yes, the school board is asking double what the growth task force recommended. This is due to the school board taking a more proactive approach in planning for future growth, enrolment exceeding the original forecast the growth committee used, and building costs going up.
The school board publicly advertised and sent an RFP (request for proposal) to 13 companies, following state procurement regulations. Seven companies responded and six provided a fee proposal including Hogan & Associates Construction Company. This process was well documented, including being reported in this newspaper on March 28 of this year. As part of the bid process ALL construction companies who submitted proposals offered support and assistance to inform the county residents regarding the bond needed to support the school remodel and building costs. The donation from Hogan came several months after they had been awarded the contract in an effort to provide ways (signs, banners, fliers, etc.) for citizens to become informed, increase transparency and build trust. Of the $8,000 donated, $2,700 were unused funds and will be donated to the Morgan Education Foundation by Hogan & Associates Construction Company.
Regarding the location of Mountain Green Middle School, the land for the school was purchased for $11,500 per acre in 1994. The author referenced “living within your means” and cites that the school board is loosely spending. We believe the reason the school board continues to stand behind the location is that they own it outright and a better option has not been identified that is appropriate for a middle school. The school board and those involved should be commended for their foresight to have bought the land in the ‘90s.
Thanks again to the Morgan School Board, school district and all the Morgan County resident volunteers. Regardless of how this vote goes, we all owe you “thanks” for the work you have done and will continue to do. We support this bond!
Tom and Liza Telford