Letter to the Editor: MPS new school community advisory meetings
I attended the Dec. 3 pubic meeting to hear a presentation about the proposed new elementary school building and the tax levy necessary to fund it. Representatives of the architectural firm were present to present the proposal, hear concerns and answer questions. Members of the advisory committee formed earlier this year were invited to attend and members of the pubic were also welcome. I was the only one in attendance that was not a member of the advisory committee and feel that it was a very good meeting. I would encourage more members of the community to attend the Dec. 17 meeting. Unless I am mistaken it will be held at Southeast Elementary School at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 17.
At this meeting I learned several things, and asked one question and make one suggestion. The first thing I learned was from a list of things presented by the representatives of the architectural firm that needed to be addressed and resolved as part of a strategy to make the proposal successful in the upcoming election. Item number one on this list was "mistrust of the Board of Education." The second thing I learned was the teachers and staff had been ordered to not attend any of the scheduled meetings. The third thing I learned was, committee members were upset about the high rate of teacher turn over the last few years. There were other items on the list and additional points brought up by those in attendance; but these to me seemed to be their major concerns.
I asked the representative a question about the proposal. This question was, does the proposed levy include a provision for all furnishings and also is there included a provision to maintain and restore salaries for all staff members. The answer to this question was that furnishings for the buildings were included but that the proposal does not include any provision for salaries. I pointed out that a number of years ago the salaries in our district were more than competitive and have declined to an unacceptable level during the past several years.
After listening to much discussion I made the suggestion that it be wise to put the vote for the levy off until August. This would allow time for the public to have a clearer picture of the economy and for questions about the Affordable Care Act to be cleared up and perhaps with this additional time confidence in the School Board might be restored.
-- Roger Blakely, Marshall