Swope isn't totally against the plan - he feels the board should construct a new Central Elementary, with some of Fannie Bush Elementary's students redistricted there to ease overcrowding. He said needed elementary school renovations could be completed for much less than the $50.5 million high school project.
But he is against the rest of it. The element he disagrees most with is the merging of Clark and Conkwright Middle schools into one, which he says will lead to more pranks and other problems in addition to combining athletic teams.
"It (the plan) needs to go back before the facilities planning committee," he said.
Despite his opposition to the plan, Swope is careful to distance himself from Clark County Citizens for Quality Education, the local nonprofit group that has sued the Board of Education twice over the facilities plan. The group announced Monday that it plans to sue the board again because of its adoption of the growth nickel tax.
Members of the group, including its director, Leonard Shortridge, campaign door to door for Swope, but he said it's Shortridge "the person" who campaigns for him, not the group. Swope said in an e-mail to The Winchester Sun that he has "never attended any meetings of the Clark County Citizens for Quality Education. â?¦ (and) never donated to or rendered services" to the group.
In an Oct. 25 letter to Spangler, Superintendent Ed Musgrove and board attorney Henry Rosenthal, Swope asked that Spangler "cease and desist" making statements about his involvement with the group.
"I am my own independent person," he said in an interview Monday. "I listen to the people of Clark County, (and) I listen to what they have to say."
Swope said buses drive right past dozens of students on their way from the bus garage on Lexington Avenue to Trapp, Providence and Pilot View Elementary schools.
"Why can't they take kids out to those schools, or station buses out in Trapp?" he said, pointing to Fayette County Public Schools, which has several bus garages around town.
If elected, Swope won't be able to vote until January, giving the current board two more months to move forward with the plan. But Swope said he can still have an influence on how it is implemented.
The board agreed to purchase 89 acres of land between Boonesboro Road and Old Boonesboro Road for the new high school, at a cost of $2.075 million.
"It does not surprise me where it's at," he said. "(They are) putting it out there with coal trucks, rock trucks and a valley that floods."
Swope said he would ask architects to update the board monthly or weekly on the progress and any unforeseen problems, and he would keep a close watch on the funding.
"I'm a hands-on type of guy," he said. "I'm the outside guy. I don't have any experience in education, (but) everybody brings something different to the board."
To gain more knowledge of public education, Swope said he will visit schools to observe teachers and attend site-based decision-making council meetings.
"I like to listen to teachers," he said. "That's the solution to most of your problems."
Funding for textbooks is one of the top priorities for Swope, who said he has talked to teachers who have had to choose between books and workbooks, and parents who can't help their children with homework because there aren't enough books to send one home.
He proposed giving old textbooks to help students in lower grades
"(I will) go to the schools, see what I notice, and see what they have to say," he said.
Swope said he will bring a businessman's approach to the board. He has worked as a factory welder at Dodson Company Inc. for four and a half years, and he is president of Swope's Boat Repair, a local business his parents started in 1956.
Swope was previously employed by Americana Companies in Plattsmouth, Neb., from 2000 to 2004, and Lexmark from 1995 to 2000.
The experience taught him how to communicate with representatives of large corporations, hire and fire employees and make tough decisions.