Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Greenwell Responds to School Board - "Board Agenda / Opinion Polls"

The following is another excerpt from an editorial in the Birmingham Eccentric, April 1, 2007, from School Board President, Steve Weiss, in response to Don Greenwell, Jr. Editorial published March 25, 2007. Below each excerpt is Mr. Greenwell, Jr’s position.

Mr. Greenwell also wrongfully asserts a "board agenda," involving input from 211 citizens. Yet, the truth is the board had no notion of our ultimate recommendation when we began this investigation approximately 18 months ago. We conducted an open inquiry designed to heal the prior rift in the community, and urged public participation, including sending invitations to each district household.
We held nine community meetings and conducted three public opinion polls. The input we received consisted of easily 1,000 residents, and we welcomed even more. Our board members live in all corners of our district, and after listening and working diligently, we all reached the conclusion that this is the right plan.

Mr. Greenwell, Jr. Responds:

The reality is that in the six input sessions, only 211 district residents participated (not including district employees), and only a fraction of those wanted new schools! The follow up “information sessions” were not a forum for input, but rather to outline the district’s intentions. Finally, the polls would not be a favorable point for the district – less than a majority of those specifically selected to poll were in support of this plan.

The concept that the district invited each district household and “welcomed even more” shows they may have tried to some degree and failed. Remember, only a portion of the 211 people fashioned this plan to their needs, and the leadership of this district failed to put cost or size restraints on the wish list.

Finally, by Mr. Weiss' own admission in the next excerpt under "Remodeling", he wrote that other plans "failed to meet our instructional and space needs". "Our" needs? Obviously the Board and the Administration had an agenda that they are bound and determined to implement.