Letter: A golden tribute
All Hail King Kiser.
Let’s congratulate and stand in awe that King Kiser has managed, almost singlehandedly (let’s not forget about the support of his school board), to push to fruition an agenda and plan for a cutting edge, futuristic, new middle school on an untouched parcel full of wetlands.
The issue at hand is that a massive majority of the taxpaying citizens are against his plans to mortgage our kids’ futures to pay for this lasting memorial to his rule in Gloucester County. Yes, Ben Kiser for months, as required by law, held the mandatory public meetings to discuss his plans for draining and building in the swamp across from the old Page site, but has had no regard to the comments and wishes of the citizens that have been channeled through meetings, the media, and through many of the members of the Board of Supervisors.
Yes, King Kiser is determined to set his own course for this project and save us "country bumpkins" from making bad decisions about issues in which we are uneducated and unqualified to understand. Yet the irony is that once King Kiser has built his golden tribute to himself and moved on to a more lucrative position, we the taxpaying citizens (and our kids) will be left to pay for this tribute.
I have children in the lower school as well as the middle school, and a wife that teaches in the school system. I also have 15 years’ experience dealing in large-scale commercial development and construction projects. With struggling economies (specifically Gloucester County’s) everywhere, funding for this massive project is one of the major issues. Regardless of what kind of spin King Kiser puts on logic and reasoning, one cannot believe that developing a wooded wetland with no infrastructure, utilities, or graded land would not cost significantly (think millions here) more than rebuilding on an adjacent site that already has most of these amenities and would only require a building.
A typical budget for this kind of site development would be in the neighborhood of $200,000+ per acre. This number would not even address the costs of undercutting and hauling off unsuitable soils from the bottom of the "wetland." But again, King Kiser would not entertain the thought of building on the existing site, and proposes that we will pay for this cost long after he has moved to greener pastures.
I’ll defer to a later time to discuss the absurdity of the guidelines that King Kiser plans to implement for the building itself; all glass classrooms (security concerns) and a non-conforming gymnasium (no need for a basketball team to accompany a new school), and fully furnished classrooms with no teacher’s desks (maybe the school board offices should be without desks as well?).
In summary, I suppose the values and fiscal policy of our federal government have been passed straight down to the state and county level and Dr. Kiser himself; borrow and spend money you don’t have, and figure out tomorrow how someone else will pay for it.
Though Dr. Kiser is supposed to represent the people of the county, he continues without hesitation down his own path to implement his misguided agenda. Hopefully this will remain very fresh in the minds of the voters when the school board positions come back up for reelection.