After only one of three scheduled public meetings, Scott County Superintendent Kevin Hub has tabled his efforts to finance construction of a second high school to alleviate crowding at Scott County High.
Hub, who started in his job July 1, said Friday that it became clear during a school board work session Thursday that the so-called nickel tax increase he was seeking to pay for construction was going to face opposition.
“Based on the feedback received by all of us, it appears that the community wants to take more time,” Hub said Friday.
About 50 people attended a town hall meeting Tuesday to discuss a tax increase to pay for the proposed school, which had tentatively been called Great Crossing High School. The majority of those who spoke seemed in favor of the new high school but shared concerns about the $48 million construction cost. A second high school has been discussed in the fast-growing county since at least 2012. Scott County High is one of the largest in the state.
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Kevin Kidwell, board vice chairman, said Friday that while the high school had been in the works for years, some basic alternatives have not been discussed.
Kidwell said when he joined the board a year ago he raised questions about the comparative cost of the excavation prep work on different sections of the land set aside for Great Crossing. Those and many other basic questions have not been answered, he said. He wants the board to explore short-term measures to alleviate crowding while discussing alternatives to the proposed second high school.
“Let’s just step back and put some fresh eyes on this,” he said.
The business community is disappointed a new high school won’t be moving forward, said Jack Conner, executive director of the Georgetown-Scott County Chamber of Commerce. But he said there is now time for business leaders to help shape the kind of education that the second high school will ultimately provide. Great Crossing could offer more “work ready” training like welding or internet technology. Those offerings could serve students who would thrive outside of the traditional track that leads to a four-year college education, he said.
In 2015 the the board had a plan and a location for the high school and seemed ready to move forward but pulled back, citing the lack of the ability to put in appropriate athletics fields at the second high school.
At that time board chairman Haley Conway said the board would wait for the new superintendent to lead the way. Former Superintendent Patricia Putty retired June 30, Hub’s message until Friday was “move forward.”
The community isn’t ready to support a tax increase, he said. He expects the tax issue won’t be discussed again until at least the spring of 2017, pushing back the opening of a second high school past the 2018 school year. The tax increase would have averaged about $75 per household.
Meetings scheduled for Monday at the Scott County High School auditorium and Aug. 16 at Grace Christian Church are canceled.