Letter to the Editor: The Devil is in the Details

Aug 12 Written by  Keith Tripp

I want to again thank GoLaurens for printing my views on the school bond issue.

What are the main differences between the "yes" people and the "no" groups? Though I am firmly in the “no” group, Common Sense Coalition for Better Schools, I attended the "Yes" rally on August 1.

After reflecting on that event, I want to share some of my thoughts as to the differences between the "yes" and "no" voters for your consideration. One of the speakers mentioned the need to be careful of judging the motives of those on the opposing side. I completely agree. But, I remind us all that motives are important. Over time, as we listen to what people say and observe what they do, their motives may be revealed. 

In the spirit of care in judging, we will grant that both sides desire better education for the children. One of the main differences between the two sides can be seen in the proverb at the top of this letter. Dictionary.com defines "the devil is in the details" as "even the grandest project depends on the success of the smallest component."  Note "this version of the proverb implies that the details might cause failure." 

As to the broader issue of better education, the school district and board, by words and deeds, have cast their lot on the grand project of bigger schools, grand facilities with all the bells and whistles as the path to better education. On the other hand, I believe most of us on the “no” side, understand quality education is about the details, quality teachers who are fairly compensated for their heroic work, sound curriculum, discipline applied equally to all, and other fundamentals we have discussed from the beginning. It’s not complicated, but it is really, really hard work. Perhaps that fact may be factored in for some in choosing a different emphasis.

"The devil is in the details" truly applies to the grand construction plans.  As to the actual plans I will defer to another time due to lack of space. The Administration in the presentation at the Ridge placed emphasis, as the architect said, on a place where the students would have so much fun they wouldn't want to go home. The glossy photos and glowing words will clearly be front and center through September 5. That's fine. I want to focus on what the Administration has said, is saying, and what they are not saying, regarding the building plans. These are important details. 

On February 10, 2017, Dr. Peters said that we will identify the location of the school before May 9. It is now August 5. We still don't know. It does appear we will not know the location for the new high school before the vote is taken. Do you think that's an important detail? We have been told that the $109 million would cover all the new school costs, building a new gym in Gray Court, constructing an early childhood center at Ford, renovating the "dilapidated" (Administration's word) current high school building, and various other improvements at other sites.

We were told at the "yes" rally that all of this other construction not at the new school could not be done unless the money was left over from completion of the new high school. Now I know some won't like this, but a common sense question is necessary. When will we know if money is left over?

At the bottom of a handout page it says, "new construction, and renovation on other campuses will be undertaken concurrently with construction of new high school. Now I'm just an old country boy, but I believe the word, "concurrently,” means “at the same time." So, if it turns out that no money was left over, I suppose they know where to get it. They can just have another bond issue and say, “Oh, it's for the children.” You see, it really is “the devil in the details.”  that’s important.


Keith Tripp 

Last modified on Saturday, 12 August 2017 23:51