June 6, 2011

I went to the recent Board of Supervisors meeting where the members of the School Board were there to get their resolution passed for authorization to spend over $30M of our money "renovating" Fauquier High School.

I was there because I am in agreement that this High School is in need of work, however, I did not hear anything remotely like a plan to accomplish that objective.

What I did hear was a School Board strategy designed to get a lot of money to spend without having to seek authorization from voters via a referendum.

I assume the School Board's detailed plan had been presented to the Supervisors prior to this meeting making me wonder: what was the purpose of the meeting? Was it all for show because the three required "yea" votes were predetermined?

The summary presented by the School Board was that they won't know how much money they really need until they have to actually write the checks. I expect to hear that nonsense from Nancy Pelosi, but we're a long way from California.

Of all the years I have been in business, first managing another company's resources, and for the last 19 years managing my own company's, the lack of professionalism on display was well beyond any I have ever observed at such a meeting. Of course that assumes the meeting was actually to review a business-plan.

I have presented papers at scientific symposia and made numerous presentations to get projects funded in a large multi-national corporation, yet I sat in the back of the room and heard nothing familiar. No list of objectives with associated costs and contingencies, no dependent assumptions, nowhere near enough information to allow any attendee make an informed decision regarding the ostensible purpose of the meeting. And most disconcerting, there was no attempt by any School Board member to build a case justifying the spending of tens of millions of our dollars.

For example, one page showed the cost of Geothermal Heating, Ventilation, & Air Conditioning (HVAC) "upgrade" to be $1,716,000. Is that really an "upgrade"? If so, what part of the existing structure gets upgraded and what is the justification for a much more expensive Geothermal approach?

Three Supervisors were OK with the School Board's "trust us, we know what we're doing" plea, while Graham and Stribling appeared to be dissatisfied with that approach, as was nearly everyone else in attendance. In my opinion, the three "go along to get along" supervisors were derelict in their fiduciary responsibilities.

I urge every voter to get involved when the School Board and Supervisors come up for reelection.

Rex A. Hoover