At our last meeting, the board decided against any middle school closure options for the 2008/2009 school year by a 6-3 margin. The consensus opinion was that we didn’t have sufficient information to make such a decision within 6 days of the latest McKissick study update, and we instead opted to consider building closures for the following school year.
Earlier this week, we received clarification that we can still consider building closure for the upcoming year without having to make a final decision at this moment. I’m sure many of you will be confused and concerned by this development, and I want to reassure you of exactly what this means and what will happen next.
No later than the February 26th meeting, the board must agree to consider (emphasis on the word “consider”) closure of a particular building in order to keep our options open for the upcoming school year. The next step will be to hold a public hearing sometime in March, followed by a 90-day period during which the board has an opportunity to collect more information about the various options discussed in the McKissick study (keep in mind that the board still has yet to decide between the 6 options covered in that report). At the end of the 90-day hearing period, the board then will take a final vote on whether or not to close the building for the 2008/2009 school year.
I regret any confusion or anxiety this situation causes, and it’s imperative you understand that my position in this matter has not changed. I have always committed myself to fact-based decision making after a thorough examination of necessary data. The reason I voted no last week is because I understood (as most other board members did) that would represent the board’s final opinion in the matter, and as of that moment I did not have all the information needed to decide otherwise. By agreeing to consider a building closure now, I am simply giving myself and the other board members the time and opportunity to make the right educational and fiscal decision.
The last thing I would want is for you to become skeptical as to why the board may agree to revisit a building closure for next year. When something like this occurs, it’s natural to assume that something sneaky or unethical may have happened, or that we buckled under some sort of political pressure. I promise you that neither is the case. The only reason this is happening is exactly as I described above.
The important thing now, and always, is that you stay informed and stay active, and come to the board meetings in person. Don’t leave it to the Courier Times or your neighbors or even this blog to tell you what’s going on. There is no substitute for YOU.
As always, I value your feedback and encourage your comments to this post. If you prefer, please feel free to contact me directly via email.