Letter: School board needs new plan

Ignoring the results of their own constituent survey, and aided and abetted by a consultant, the Unionville-Chadds Ford School Board appears to be moving toward approval of a $10 million long-range spending plan for “outdoor facilities,” even though no significant shortcomings in the current facilities have been identified. By large margins, participants in the District’s constituent survey, conducted earlier this year, said that current facilities for parking and traffic, physical and outdoor education, and athletics were adequate. Nonetheless, the consultant’s draft study recommends that the district make major new outlays for outdoor facilities. These include $3 million for a “double-size” artificial turf field to take pressure off of “overused” grass fields—even though any “overuse” comes from outside groups and can be managed with higher levels of maintenance.  Of course, the consultant is eager for a large design contract and has little interest in working with what is already in place.

When confronted with these issues at the last board meeting, some members brushed them aside, stating that the “sophistication” of the board was being underestimated.  Yet during two consultant presentations, no board member or administrator raised any question about the disconnect between the constituent survey and the draft plan, or whether what is being proposed is really needed. Only Director Carolyn Daniels seems concerned, and she was the only director member to vote not to continue funding the consultant.

It is time that both the administration and board awake from their passivity, take ownership of the facilities plan from their self-serving consultant, and develop a new proposal that focuses on what is truly required to serve the educational mission of the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District

Mark Stookey
Chadds Ford
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