The Charterhouse School-Edinburg is now open for business! As I look back, I see a successful win-win-win for Shenandoah County, yet a story that has not been written about in local newspapers or explained well by any government official. As Paul Harvey used to say, "And now, for the rest of the story!"
Talk of economic development usually includes a business bringing in high-paying skilled jobs, improvement in infrastructure, regional competitiveness, health, safety, literacy, and other initiatives. Charterhouse School-Edinburg qualifies in all of these areas.
Jobs: as the school opens, 13 skilled positions have been hired, all with requirements of a college degree and many with a master's degree or higher. There are also other jobs that have been filled from the local workforce.
Infrastructure: the Edinburg school was last used as a middle school in 1992. For more than 20 years this community landmark was used but in desperate need of a renovation.
Regional competitiveness, health, safety, and literacy: Charterhouse has set up the Edinburg school to serve and educate some of our neediest residents. The majority of students who will attend the Edinburg school were transported daily to the next closest schools last year in either Staunton or Manassas. Our students who will attend the Edinburg school will be closer to home and off some dangerous interstate highways.
Debt: much has been written about the debt this project will set our county back. That debt is over $4 million, or an annual payment starting at $300,000 (for the first two years). The remaining 28 years of the loan, the annual debt payment will decline. Charterhouse, however, will pay the county a minimum of $300,000 annually. Over the life of the loan, the county will see a profit in the millions of dollars, as well as a significant savings in transportation dollars.
The Edinburg school is a great example of public/private cooperation and successful economic development. If elected, I will use my skills as an entrepreneur to search for more opportunities and work to rebuild our local economy. We all must think outside the box for creative economical solutions like this.
Steven P. Shaffer, Woodstock