Letter: Flaws cited in Clintonville school study

To the editor:

As a member of the citizens task force on the Clintonville elementary school issue, I wish to share information and my perspective as one of the few members who was not a teacher, spouse of a teacher or parent.

At the last meeting of the group where a recommendation had to be made to the school board, new information was provided by the elementary school principal and the superintendent.

The principal shared her opinion that she favored the north side site so that students could be assisted by high school students, elementary students could make use of the swimming pool, and teachers who provide services at both schools would not waste time traveling between locations.

The superintendent also said that he favored the “campus” concept.

It was suggested that a survey could go out regarding a north side site. I was the only member who voted for this. By the way, less than half of the task force was present at this final meeting.

I understand that the effort was to get citizen input, and the staff pointed out they had not participated in the discussion so as not to bias the decision. However, I feel that we needed input from the people who are responsible for educating the students.

During the meetings of the task force, the architect from the design firm presented some very attractive and creative ways to rehab the old facilities, including preserving the auditorium and making the gym in the 1918 building the library.

The public who responded to the survey did not have information about what could be done with the existing facilities. The process the task force went through was developed by the construction firm that would get the contract for either remodeling or building new. They did a good job, but their bias certainly would be in favor of doing something resulting in a huge contract for them.

There were no farmers on the task force, and I do not feel the group was representative of the population who will pay for a new facility.

Now it is up to the school board to decide whether or not to place a referendum on the ballot at the spring election and what it should ask. I hope the board will deliberate further. As was pointed out when the survey results were reported, we are “on the bubble” as far as support.

Mary-Beth Kuester,