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The UnifiEd Student Voice Team's School Board Blog
I (Carson) recently went to the facilities plan community input meeting at Hixson High School. The presentation that was made was very...
similar to the presentation made to the school board and the county commission this summer, just with less background information about how they came to their numbers and categories. If you want to know more about the initial meeting check out our blog post about that meeting.
A lot of prominent leaders in our county came to this meeting, including Commissioner Greg Martin, School Board Vice Chair Joe Smith, Chief Schools Operator Dr. Justin Robertson, and School Board Member Rhonda Thurman. This meeting was set up to be a presentation and poll meeting to provide feedback instead of an open forum. The presenter encouraged everyone to fill out the survey online in order to give their feedback. This was the first of many indications that MGT is looking at the numbers, not so much the emotional or practical aspects of this plan. So, if you are interested in providing feedback on the plan, make sure you fill out the online survey.
The main concerns expressed at the meeting was that MGT does not know our community and that the survey was very confusing. Many community members also questioned when the school board would be able to modify this plan to ensure that it was practical for our county.
I was somewhat unsettled by the attitude that was taken by many community members. MGT was brought in to try to help; however, the reality is that they don’t know our community. That’s kind of the point. Since we live here and are used to the way that our schools are, we don’t see a problem and we certainly don’t see innovative ways to change them. The fact is that the school board will change this plan to ensure it reflects our means, wants, and history. People don’t like change, but if we don’t change some things then we are eventually going to be teaching the future of tomorrow in buildings comparable to ancient Roman ruins. The biggest single thing that community members had a problem with seemed to be... everything.
On a more specific, less sarcastic note, one large flaw with the proposal community members found was the lack of consideration of costs that would be associated with the growth of schools, such as new smart boards and more teachers. However, other members pointed out that most of these aspects would work out with the closing and downsizing of other schools. The point remains that we really just don’t know exactly what this proposed plan will cost. One thing I noticed during the meeting is that the cost is given in 2019 dollars, so it does not include any inflation that will occur over the likely ten year period of this plan being enacted. Other major problem areas included: