School Board to Build $315,000 Parking Lot at Fallston School-While Talking Laying OFF Teachers!!! — Report, evaluation and analysis by Robert A. Williams

The highlight of the May 11, 2015 Cleveland County School Board meeting was this ultra expensive parking lot and new entrance and exit paving that is planned to be built at the Fallston Elementary School.

I will disclose right now that I started the First Grade and Graduated Burns at Fallston High School. My residence for the past 20 P or so years is right next to the traffic entrance and exit to Fallston Elementary School. I truly believe I am the best expert on the traffic concerns at Fallston Elementary School of any other person on the planet.

Every day the school is in session there are two major traffic jams during the day and often smaller traffic jams in the evening if the school is having a program and often when the school is not having a program. It is very seldom, day or night and on weekends that I can walk out my door without several cars passing into or out of the school property and by my home. I have no idea what traffic is doing going into the school at 2AM in the morning, or 3AM or 4AM but it happens a lot. I have reported to the Sheriff’s Department suspected drug dealing going on with the wee hours of the morning traffic and Sheriff’s Department patrols appear to have lessened that problem. I have spent about $2,000 building two privacy fences along my house because of all this traffic. I have planted a row of crepe myrtles and installed railroad ties along my property lines to discourage traffic from using my back yard as an overflow parking lot. Rain or shine. I would be the first to say something needed to be done about the traffic which sometimes backs up to surround my house, back through the stop light in Fallston and sometimes down Highway 18 all the way to the Bank. I have ideas on what to do to alleviate the problem at the least cost, but nobody ever wants to listen to that.

Nevertheless, I was totally flabbergasted as I watched the School Board discussion of this ultra expensive entrance and exit modification and parking lot addition. (Click here for the video link to the CCS Board Meeting-Slide the cursor to 53:35 minutes to hear the whole episode.) Although the board asked questions about the cost (as they were totally unprepared to discuss the details of the plan and especially why the plan didn’t use property CCS already owned near the school bus entrance) and board member Danny Blanton begged the rest of the board to hold off on the vote to spend a ton of money until he could call Raleigh to check on the possibility the Department of Transportation might share some cost, board chairman Phillip Glover was bound and determined to force a vote on the project that night–even though the present entrance to the school has been in existence for about 100 years. (I can personally vouch for the past 60 years.) Why not wait another day to see if money could be saved and some teacher’s jobs saved??? was what I thought.

As for myself, being the most offended by all this traffic, I would have been glad to endure another day, week, month or year to save teacher’s jobs. But apparently only because it was listed on the agenda as requiring board a board action that night, as the CCS Board agenda are always crafted to shut down discussion from board member Danny Blanton and the public. And certainly not considering the teachers the CCS Board is saying will have to be laid off because of state budget cuts, when the state has not made any such budget cuts. So a vote was called by Chairman Phillip Glover.

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