I have a gut feeling either or both the Laurel School Board and superintendent and DOE are pulling the wool over our eyes when it comes to the physical condition of the 1920 High School. Nor do they respect or can accept the mandate of the people living in the school district.

This crap that it will cost more to upgrade the building than build a new one doesn’t fly with me. The claim; the building is outdated and won’t support the technology needed in today’s world. HOGWASH!

A good example that they are wrong is 15 minutes away from us; the middle school in Georgetown. That building was completely renovated inside. I have two grandchildren going to that school, and they tell me they can use all the technology of the times with no power failures.

The original study from DOE did not to anyone’s I have spoken to knowledgeable of the studies say anything about the fact the Laurel school could not be rehabbed. I and others were told the back addition of the school would be demolished and the original building would be used for administrative offices, and rooms available for meetings for the community organizations. Now a complete turn around; suddenly the building is obsolete.

Talk to the board members and they are not even interested in talking to you about the change of heart.

And the first referendum was for a combined schools and athletic field. It was defeated. The second referendum separated the two; the school passed the field did not. The voice of the community right?

The bids for the schools came in some $3 million under budget. What did the administration decided to do with the surplus? Build a new athletic complex. The bleachers on the field are the only problem with the field. The field drains well, new lights have been installed: why the expense?

I believe the board should have held another vote telling the community they have this extra money; would they agree to spend that money on a new athletic complex, up or down. It is our money, we should have a say.

This Wednesday, March 5th, 7:30 at Centenary Methodist Church in Laurel will be the General Membership Meting of the Laurel Alumni at which I understand the status of the former high school will be discussed. Plan to attend whether you are a member or not.

Incoming president Bill Campbell made a presentation to the school board last month to keep the school. Superintendent Ewald said in response they might attempt to incorporate some of the façade of the old school into the new building. If we can believe anything the board and administration says, since their track record is not the best when it comes to telling the truth.




  1. great article, frank. i don’t know what to say that i haven’t already said. this current group of bd. members are certainly not honoring the trust the community placed in them. democracy should be of the people, by the people, and for the people. when people run for the school board they sound ‘for the people’. either they are lying or weak. not going to the citizens about the surplus is like a grain on sand on the beach.

  2. Very good article Frank, and I am in complete agreement with what you’ve stated here. Sadly, I am unable to attend the meeting tomorrow night, but I pray that many others do, and that the school board will honor the people of this town and use the monies as they were originally allocated.

  3. I think the real issue here is the poor leadership in our district, once again. Certainly, the community should be heard, but under this board and superintendent, they haven’t bothered to listen to us. We entrusted them with our money, obviously, mistakenly, and they refuse to listen to us. This is nothing new. They have refused to hear us on any issues this year. When we wanted respect and support for our teachers they responded with continuing arbitration, which begins next week. And yes, Mr. Ewald under the board’s direction could have stopped this. When we opposed the tremendously high salaries and renewal of District Office personnel contracts they responded with yes votes that followed a finance report from Mrs. Smith stating that the Laurel School District is losing hundreds of thousands of dollars in grant funds.

    Clearly, this leadership and board have no interest in respecting this community’s wishes, on any issues. And friends, things will not change until our leadership changes. Mr. Ewald talks about community partnership but shows no evidence of it. He is listening to someone else as he makes decisions affecting our children and this community, but refuses to listen to us.

    Keeping and restoring the old high school will just be another issue handled behind closed doors, glazed over with lies and excuses.

  4. My opinion was and still is demolishing the middle school(old high school) is the right idea. However, that is not what was voted for. What was voted for was “Selective Demolition of the existing middle school including but not limited to the field house, and Selective Renovation of Remaining School Facilities.” That portion of the project totals 3,168,200 dollars. Question #2 on the ballot was specifically the athletic fields for a project total of 3,591,400 dollars. I was told that the district is getting their bonds at a lower interest rate than expected as well. Even without the lower rates on the bonds the difference between the projects is negligible. I wonder how long the district had been planning to do this switcharoo during a December(a week before Christmas no less) board meeting.

    I fully expected and warned of this situation that is growing now. I would not want to be a school board member the day the wrecking ball is put to that building.

    I also ponder that if this is what’s happened and they are redirecting the funds from the middle school renovation to the athletic fields then where’s the extra money from buying the bonds at a lower rate and just how much is there?

    • Ed your last paragraph is the hot button question circulating and as usual no answer from the Superintendent when he was asked that question. Many are saying the bonds were to be sold at 5% but came in just over 3% and that difference should reduce the amount of taxes we are paying. The principal of the bonds should be the same, but the payments should be considerable less.

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