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Your Opinion: Board has not listened

Your Opinion: Board has not listened

March 31st, 2013 by Jackie Coleman, Jefferson City in News

Dear Editor:

I urge you to vote no to Questions 1 and 2 on April 2. Voting no sends a message to the Board of Education that voters want input in the future of public education in our community. As a 15-year former member of the JCPS Board of Education, I am concerned about the board's lack of transparency in developing their proposed Mega High School Plan. The JCPS Board of Education has not listened to the community regarding a two high school option or the concern with academies.

The community first learned about the board's intent to sell Nichols Career Center, Jefferson City High School, Simonsen and Adkins Stadium in an article published in the News Tribune April 2012. In an 11-month period, starting April 2012 the board brokered deals to sell our heritage, purchase land to build a Mega High School, and pursued an expensive marketing campaign to force their plan on voters. In contrast, when the two middle schools were built the Board of Education presented a plan to the community. This process took several years and included voters every step of the way. Why is this JCPS Board of Education taking such a different approach?

The JCPS Board of Education has not articulated a comprehensive plan to explain staff development in preparation for academies. Furthermore, there has not been sufficient information to support students entering a career track or how a student can exit the career track if it turns out to be a poor match. Equally vague is the explanation the board has given regarding the inclusion of the vocational technical education component.

Asking taxpayers to incur an $80 million tax increase for a plan that has too many unanswered questions is not the way to build the rigor, relevance, and relationship that the school board keeps touting.

I will be voting no on Questions 1 and 2. Let your voice be heard on April 2.