$34 Million for a high school football stadium is outrageous

$34 Million for a high school football stadium is outrageous
February 16 15:48 2018 Print This Article

Charleston County School District (CCSD) is poised to spend $34 Million for a 6000-seat football stadium to be shared by four North Charleston high schools.  By contrast, Spartanburg County School District 7 has plans to build a 7500-seat stadium for $8.6 Million, according to a Post and Courier report.

I opposed the 2014 school capital fund referendum, because I had no confidence in the CCSD management to spend the money wisely.  The referendum listed the stadium cost at $14.1 Million.  I looked back at the 2010 referendum, which was not set to expire until the end of 2016 and noted that CCSD chose to rebuild Sullivan’s Island Elementary for nearly $30 Million, rather than renovate it for $9 Million, as listed on the ballot.  The district also chose not to use the fund, paid for by a 1% sales tax increase, to rebuild Stono Park Elementary, a decision which has since been reversed.

In October 2014, I debated Patrick Bryant from the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce on the referendum on the Tara Servatius radio program on WTMA.  I made it clear that we needed new schools for a growing population but that more community input was needed on the project list and that CCSD needed to re-gain the public’s trust before going forward with the second round of capital projects.

I would like to see an outside forensic audit conducted on CCSD’s $500 Million in capital fund projects.  I also believe that a new construction management company should be hired, following a competitive bidding process.  Oceanside Collegiate Academy, a public charter school in Mt. Pleasant, recently built a new building with the capacity for 600 students.  A similar structure in a CCSD school would cost taxpayers three times that amount.

I encourage members of the public to attend the Charleston County School Board meeting Monday, February 26 at 5 pm (at 75 Calhoun St. downtown) and sign up to speak out on this.  Let’s put the brakes on this wasteful stadium project and get a dose of fiscal sanity.