Rutherford County Schools Branding and Transformation Strategy: Ensure all students’ equitable access to safe, modern educational facilities and appropriate learning resources.
(Editorial Note: RC Catalyst has published numerous articles regarding the current deplorable physical state of Cliffside Elementary. Despite many promises, Cliffside seems to have been pushed aside for other projects. All children deserve a functional building for their education. Below Educator Thomas Crawford presents the timeline of past events leading up to our current state. GC)
In 2016 the first school bond referendum for the ¼ cents sales tax failed.
The second bond referendum in the spring of 2018 passed. It was pre-sold and marketed as a new RS Middle (built), a new Cliffside?, and a new school bus garage at the site of the old RS Middle (ground broken in summer 2023.)
“Building a new R-S Middle School is the first priority, and will be constructed on property adjacent to R-S Central High School on Westbrook Street in Rutherfordton. The new transportation/maintenance/nutrition facility will be located at the site of the current R-S Middle in Rutherfordton. The new Cliffside Elementary will be constructed on the site of the current Cliffside Elementary School” (Daily Courier 2018).
It appears that the school bus garage and the renovation of the old RS Middle building for housing has “jumped” ahead in priority. In addition, bids are being accepted by the school system for new restrooms at the athletic fields at CHASE and East middle. A new CHASE and East High was promised in PHASE II, is largely forgotten.
Equitable access to safe modern facilities in Rutherford County? The students at Cliffside K -5 school do not have access to a functioning restroom in the vicinity of the gym/playground area. Students must exit the gym, walk outside, be allowed entry in the auditorium area, walk down a hall to use the restroom. The heating system still employs steam through radiators. I was in the room when the “sausage” was made to divert 2 million dollars for the HVAC upgrade to renovate the Cool Springs Administrative complex.
Now, the Rutherford County School Board is paying for a firm to assess school facilities and enrollment and recommend closing and consolidation options. (OREd, Operations Research and Education Laboratory) What was promised and voted on by the taxpayers in 2018? PHASE I, as enumerated above, RS Middle, bus garage, and a Cliffside K-5 school.. PHASE II: A new CHASE and East High. It is evident that Rutherford County School leadership need to attend some in service training on breaking promises to children. You disappoint them, lose trust with them, make them feel unimportant and create a new generation of promise breakers. When you promise a picnic or modern and safe facilities, a promise is a promise!