Where We Are Now

Last Thursday was another Board of Education meeting with the “work session” scheduled to happen immediately before the voting session (it’s usually the week before).

Hang on, let me back up a second.

About a week before that meeting, the superintendent informed the faculty and staff of both the Intermediate School (which is next door to our Elementary School) and the Elementary School that the two schools would be combined as K-6 next year. The plan was to close the Elementary School and put a 36 classroom wing on the Intermediate school. The Intermediate School’s principal was offered the job as the principal of the new K-6. Building the wing will take a year, so at the work session Thursday, the board was supposed to discuss whether to leave kids in the “clean” rooms at our Elementary School* or put everyone in portables while the wing was being built. Board members were supposed to tour the Elementary School over the week to get a look at the building (since few of them had ever been there). None of our board members are building inspectors, contractors, or know anything about building care and maintenance. These were visual inspections.

The Board has said repeatedly that our Elementary School is the worst building in the county. They told everyone that during the property tax referendum. Just weeks ago, everyone agreed that a new facility was a top priority. But because the referendum was resoundingly defeated – two of the renewals as well – the school system has no money. Less money than before without the tax renewals. So a whole new building is out of the question. A wing will only cost around 5 million and they have 10 million in the bank for capital improvements. The Common Sense Campaign (Tea Party) that campaigned strongly against the referendum is in full support of the wing saying “it’s the right thing to do.” A wing is what the city wants. A wing is the logical choice, the affordable choice, and the choice that will restore some faith in a school board with a serious PR problem (a big cause of the aforementioned “resounding defeat”). Which will make what happened next boggle your mind.

Instead of talking about building v. portables, the Board opted to discuss whether to close the school at all. The feeling was that the building “had been neglected” but that it was all cosmetic and a couple hundred thousand dollars would fix it right up. One of the board members didn’t even go inside our school – he just drove by.

We left in disgust before the work session was over.

The superintendent resigned the next day.

*I’ve seen the mold report – which ones are the “clean” rooms again?

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