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Patsy Johnson

Jefferson City

Dear Editor:

Superintendent of Schools Larry Linthacum has said he wants to hold more meetings in the community to address "recent events" and systemic racism. Fine, I have been to more than a few meetings with Linthacum that went nowhere. Before I meet with him again, I want to hear how with the benefit of hindsight he now views some of his actions.

I am part of the Roland Street neighborhood Linthacum tried to divide and turn into a parking lot in 2016. The Roland Street area has historical significance in the Black community; at one time, it was the only place in Jefferson City where Blacks could purchase land. And that wasn't easy either as many banks had the practice of redlining. When residents learned about your plans, they united, went to meetings and eventually stopped your hurtful plan.

A year ago, a tornado ripped through properties around Jefferson City High School, and you wasted no time buying up houses bordering the high school; some with relatively light damage. This area also figures into local Black history. I believe the district budgeted over $2 million to buy the low-cost houses, many of them rental properties.

Then COVID-19 hit and the district went to online learning and devices were provided to students. Unfortunately, not all students have internet at home. Many relied on the public library that was closed. Students without means were left behind. I wonder if $2 million could have provided a solution like paper texts and learning assignments?

In conclusion, Superintendent Linthacum, what do you think about these decisions now? Parts of this community do not feel the "together" part of your "stronger together" slogan. It is just more words to people you have shown little regard for during your time in Jefferson City. You need to come to terms with this before your listening sessions. Your stakeholders need to see results not more unfulfilled promises. We deserve better!

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