In diligently researching Stafford County's past redistricting shenanigans, we came across this little gem from all the way back in 2005. It was a different time: George W. Bush was just starting his second term in office, Lance Armstrong won his seventh Tour de France before we all found out he was a doping cheater, Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston announced they were divorcing so that Brad and Angelina Jolie could eventually go on to have enough children to start a basketball team and then split up as well. Mariah Carey, of recent New Year's Eve debacle fame, was topping the charts with "We Belong Together." On the big screen, we watched "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" or the movie where all the boys were going through a Justin Bieber phase and desperately needed haircuts.
Back then, a concerned citizen named Michael Rhodes submitted a letter to the Opinion page of the Free Lance Star entitled "Stafford needs to plan carefully for the growth ahead." In it, Mr. Rhodes discussed how a lack of planning to adequately prepare for population growth in Stafford County would leave us playing catch up to provide proper educational facilities and safe roads. Sound familiar?
He says, "Stafford's growth (has) uncovered dramatic shortcomings in our road infrastructure and road safety. We cannot defer action on strategic long-term requirements or we risk a situation of perpetually trying to catch up."
In discussing the School Board and High School #6, he states, "Previous board actions resulted in deferring construction on the county's sixth high school by two years....We cannot let this happen again. It negatively affects the learning experience, fosters overcrowding and trailers, and increases painful redistricting." Remember, this was in 2005 and HS6 was already being pushed back. Granted, MVHS opened in 2005 and it's likely that there wasn't much pressure to open yet another high school right away. Also, the School Board of the time couldn't foresee the huge growth that Stafford has seen since then.
Still, planning is the job of both the School Board and the Board of Supervisors, it is literally what we pay them to do. If HS6 was already being discussed by the SB in 2005, and being delayed, then future boards should have recognized the need to get the ball rolling on development. Kicking the can down the road has gotten us to exactly the place where Mr. Rhodes warned us we would be. Mr. Rhodes, we hope that you are still in Stafford County spreading the gospel of common sense to those who will listen. We need you.