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Contract being negotiated for Edinburg school project

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Shenandoah County is currently proposing to renovate the former Edinburg school. County supervisors recently received an update that would include turning part of the building into a school for emotionally disturbed and autistic students. Rich Cooley/Daily File

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Douglas Walker


By Kim Walter -- kwalter@nvdaily.com

Shenandoah County supervisors received an update this week on the status of the old Edinburg school project, which would include turning part of the facility into a school for emotionally disturbed and autistic students in the valley.

County Administrator Douglas Walker said the county has completed evaluations of the organizations that responded to the RFP for education services.

"Our most preferred is the Charterhouse School, an affiliate of United Methodist Family Services," he said. The county is now in the midst of negotiating a contract with the group so that it can be brought before the board for approval at its Aug. 28 meeting.

The county is now acting as the "landlord" for the facility, Walker said. The school system's relationship to the selected tenant would be strictly operational. Additionally, the facility could be used by surrounding counties that wish to participate.

During a Board of Supervisors meeting in June, Superintendent B. Keith Rowland explained that these groups of students who would benefit from the new facility are already being transported outside of the county, sometimes as far away as Manassas and Harrisonburg, so having an option closer to home would save money.

Walker said if things go as planned with the Charterhouse School, then the county can maintain that the project is self-sustaining, in that the tenant's rent would cover the cost of necessary renovations.

"We're optimistic that we'll be able to maintain that," he said.

The committee reached a consensus that the Charterhouse School would best serve the designated special education students, Walker said.

"Emotionally disturbed students and autistic students require two different settings and methodologies," he said. "The Charterhouse School provided an overall better approach that could serve both of these groups."

On it's website, charterhouseschool.org, the Charterhouse School describes itself as an educational service for students ages 11 to 22, and emphasizes "introduction to the skills they need to be successful in life." One of the goals the school lists on the website is to "identify and strengthen resiliency in order to return students to a less restrictive setting."

Walker pointed out that the project hasn't changed since it was first presented in Feb. 2011. He added that the facility should be available to the community for use during after-school hours.

"We are comfortable moving forward with this project," he said.




12 Comments



IF YOU ARE AGAINST THIS PROJECT, BE AT THE AUG. 28,2012 SHEN. CO. BOARD MEETING 700PM, AT THE GOVERNMENT AND BE HEARD!

The Old Edinburg School project, which they are advertising as a school for special needs children, with a cost of more than $4.5 million tax dollars, is also being planned as a Community Center. I have talked with parents who see this project as segregation. Many of the children referred to as special needs are currently in a public school in this county getting the help they need and no one is questioning "why are they there?" Administrator Walker apparently did not say there was an age limit as the above article states. Where the 5 – 10 year olds with special needs going to school? I met with Dr. Rowland recently and have seen the plans. They plan to have half the old school for special needs children and the other half as a community center. I have a problem with mixing adults off the street with our special needs children. It is a safety concern for me.” And by the way Dr. Rowland told me that some of the severely disabled children that are transported out of the county for care/education now, will still be transported to those facilities, the new school would not be able to accommodate them. So, I asked why the new school, if it still does not meet “all” our special children’s needs?
County Administrator Douglas C. Walker asked for an 8 cent tax hike; the board approved 4 cents. This tax increase does not include paying the following: jail project, Edinburg school, renovating Old Court House to name a few. Please explain how putting disabled children in a community center where adults off the street will have continued access to these children through other programs offered at the school/community center is safer and more secure than the public schools?
Any reasonable person would determine that this project does not have the best interest of these special students in mind. If anything, these special children potentially will be exposed to a more serious threat due to the community center in the same building. This project has been promoted by Board of Supervisor David Ferguson as a revenue producing program. Is the public getting all the information? There seems to have been a lot of talk behind the scenes regarding this project. A community center/school for the disabled does not sound like an appropriate and safe environment for our most vulnerable citizens in Shenandoah County.
Fearing that declining real estate values would force them to increase the tax rate, Shenandoah County supervisors decided to discontinue the practice of reassessing property every four years. The county administrator told the commissioner of revenue that supervisors had discussed the impending reassessment. If supervisors have held such a discussion, it was not done at a meeting open to the public as far as I can tell.
Local government, including schools, depends heavily on real estate taxes for funding. Supervisors would have no choice but to increase the tax rate significantly to collect enough money to finance the cost of government that continues to grow in spite of a poor economy.

Did you know you cannot be taxed for more than the fair market value of your property?


IF YOU ARE AGAINST THIS PROJECT, BE AT THE AUG. 28,2012 SHEN. CO. BOARD MEETING 700PM, AT THE GOVERNMENT AND BE HEARD!

The Old Edinburg School project, which they are advertising as a school for special needs children, with a cost of more than $4.5 million tax dollars, is also being planned as a Community Center. I have talked with parents who see this project as segregation. Many of the children referred to as special needs are currently in a public school in this county getting the help they need and no one is questioning "why are they there?" Administrator Walker apparently did not say there was an age limit as the above article states. Where are the 5 – 10 year olds with special needs going to school? I met with Dr. Rowland recently and have seen the plans. They plan to have half the old school for special needs children and the other half as a community center. I have a problem with mixing adults off the street with our special needs children. It is a safety concern for me.” Dr. Rowland told me that some of the severely disabled children that are transported out of the county for care/education now, will still be transported to those facilities, the new school would not be able to accommodate them. So, I ask why the new school, if it still does not meet “all” our special children’s needs?

Please explain how putting disabled children in a community center where adults off the street will have continued access to these children through other programs offered at the school/community center is safer and more secure than the public schools?
Any reasonable person would determine that this project does not have the best interest of these special students in mind. If anything, these special children potentially will be exposed to a more serious threat due to the community center in the same building. This project has been promoted by Board of Supervisor David Ferguson as a revenue producing program. Is the public getting all the information? There seems to have been a lot of talk behind the scenes regarding this project. A community center/school for the disabled does not sound like an appropriate and safe environment for our most vulnerable citizens in Shenandoah County.

County Administrator Douglas C. Walker asked for an 8 cent tax hike; the board approved 4 cents. This tax increase does not include paying the following: jail project, Edinburg school, renovating Old Court House to name a few.

Fearing that declining real estate values would force them to increase the tax rate, Shenandoah County supervisors decided to discontinue the practice of reassessing property every four years. The county administrator told the commissioner of revenue that supervisors had discussed the impending reassessment. If supervisors have held such a discussion, it was not done at a meeting open to the public as far as I can tell.
Local government, including schools, depends heavily on real estate taxes for funding. Supervisors would have no choice but to increase the tax rate significantly to collect enough money to finance the cost of government that continues to grow in spite of a poor economy.

Did you know you cannot be taxed for more than the fair market value of your property?


WOW! This woman complains about EVERYTHING!!!!

I think Cindy Bailey THINKS about the real issues and comments. She's one of the few who has the brains to state the case.

Why don't you get off the personal remarks and attempt to understand what she's saying?. Why is it always labeled a complaint, a whine, a negative thought when it's a woman speaking, Wazoo?

http://www.nvdaily.com/news/2012/08/community-christian-school-closes-still-looking-for-funds.php

If we need another school facility, how about the recently available (& discounted) Community Christian School?

Ready-to-go facility, less than 25% the cost....unless this is just another ploy to get taxpayer funds for the "arts"/"community" center. (tongue still securely in cheek).

Well Diana, since I am a woman I will say it. This woman whines and complains about everything.

Don't worry Wazoo, I think we understand perfectly what Cindy Bailey is saying. What Diana fails to realize is that some of us don't care what her feelings or understanding may be. I understand Cindy's argument. I happen to disagree with it. But that's not the issue here. Because in just a short while, Diana will no doubt spout how I'm ignorant and can't complete a sentence because I think they're wrong.

Whine, moan, complain, blah-blah-blah!

She does whine about everything!!

I agree, Cindy seems to complain a lot, especiall since she has little to complain about.

Shenandoah has one of the cheaper tax rates in the area, if anything they need to raise taxes in Shenandoah to match the others around, so she can pay her fair share of the Regional Jail.

Frederick 58.5 cents.

Warren, 59 cents.

Shenandoah 51 cents.

Don't worry, JT - you will get your wish as these projects continue to roll off the political plate. (Not to mention that both of your comparative counties have already decreased their assessments while ShenCo remains about 10-20% ABOVE market value and will for the next 2 years).

IMPEACH OBAMA - My, My - How refreshing!!!!

I don't see Cindy as whining so I disagree with most here. The Free Press reported this would be a 4.5 million dollar project for about 15, yes 15 kids benefitting. Does the fact that it also may serve as a community center make it worth it? I think not. Is this something we NEED in the worst economy I have ever lived through. No. Also does the fact we have a lower tax rate than neighboring counties mean we should have a green light to spend until we are at the same tax as them, no matter how we get to their level? I would think not. Instead of you guys calling her a whiner, take a few extra and enlighten those who read these post where she is wrong or where you disagree.



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