Your View 8/21: Another solution
The last few weeks, I have been studying the two letters written by Dr. Mike Barnes and the New Madrid R-1 School District and also the study commissioned by it for repairs to the Matthews School buildings. One of the letters was published in the Standard Democrat, the other in the New Madrid Weekly Record.
According to the "study," the total cost to repair the Matthews School buildings is $3,325,837. The items listed to replace range from the basketball goals in the gym to the roof on the former high school building. The R-1 School District used some of its vast resources to pay for a study that their own maintenance supervisor could have done with a pen and legal pad. A copy of the "study" and Dr. Barnes' letters are available to the public at Matthews City Hall, if you wish to read them. You may also read the letters on the City of Matthews Website at www.geocities.com/jsteve11/matthews
Dr. Barnes' letters state, "It doesn't matter who's piloting the ship. The renovation issues will not go away." Perhaps Dr. Barnes is correct, the repair and maintenance issues will not go away, even when he is gone, but they do not all have to be done at one time. Dr. Barnes' simple solution is to abandon the Matthews, New Madrid and Lilbourn school properties and build a new one! His thought is, float a new bond issue and let the people pay for the new building. Perhaps, as the failure of the two Missouri propositions in the last election showed, the people are tired of new bond issues or taxes.
Two things that I notice have never been addressed by Dr. Barnes and the present R-1 School Board are (1) the busing of very young children over 25 miles one way to school and (2) any thoughts on promoting the north end of New Madrid County as a place to live and raise a family.
A great deal of growth is taking place on the north end of the county and all the new businesses are looking for employees. Instead of fighting over this school issue, all the citizens of New Madrid County should be working together to promote the county as a great place to live and raise a family.
Gene Curtis, mayor City of Matthews