In May, I attended a meeting at Wheeler High School which I thought was intended to let the parents of the school know what would be done with the $9 million allocated to Wheeler in SPLOST III. Instead, we were given a presentation showing a complete $23 million renovation to the old school, raising our hopes that finally Wheeler would be brought up to the 21st century like most of the other Cobb County schools.
Unbelievably, after the presentation, the CCSD representative told us there was now no money to do what was just presented to us! Apparently, the $14 million additional from excess SPLOST II money had been pulled by the CCSD lawyers that morning. The CCSD then listed some of the things the SPLOST $9 million would go for by itself, giving us a list of things that couldn't amount to more than $1 million. The CCSD then told us the current $9 million would only be a Band-aid for the school and that if we would wait for SPLOST IV, we could "probably" get the extra money then (in four to five years). Otherwise, if we spent the $9 million now, we would get nothing in SPLOST IV.
This is the most brazen con job I have ever witnessed in the school system. Wheeler is in dire need of renovation. We have a serious mold and rat problem and the library, classrooms, auditorium and cafeteria are substandard and unhealthy. The football stadium wouldn't pass an OSHA inspection and is very unsafe. The baseball stadium has a retaining wall on the verge of collapse, possibly on parents and fans sitting below. It is embarrassing when comparing Wheeler's facilities to most other CCSD high schools. But SPLOST III money is down in 2010. What better way to get the Wheeler parents and community to buy in on again not doing anything for Wheeler than to promise something four or five years from now in SPLOST IV, as if SPLOST IV was even a certainty.
This will be our 11th and last year having at least one student at Wheeler. It has been 11 years of being ignored, except for new facilities built primarily for out-of-district magnet students. The rest of the school is in shambles. It's partially because of the lack of political power in our district but mostly because of the CCSD's continual neglect of older and minority schools. We couldn't even be one of the first to get field turf, but the CCSD made sure Walton and Pope were taken care of.
This is a public school system, for crying out loud. There should at least be some semblance of equality in facilities. But once again, Wheeler gets the shaft and even if SPLOST IV passes, there will be more excuses four to five years from now that will result in Wheeler again getting nothing. Maybe they'll need a domed stadium at Walton then.