News and Tribune

June 19, 2008

Silver Street citizens start group to protect school, committee member says she�s open to ideas



- CONDENSED REPORT: The New Albany-Floyd County Consolidated School Corp. has posted condensed versions of the meeting notes online. Click here here to access the site

- FULL REPORT: To read the full version of April�s meeting notes, Click here to see the full notes..

- MARCH MINUTES: To read the full version of March's meeting notes, Click here to see page 1..

Click here to see page 2..

About 50 people gathered at Advent Christian Church in New Albany Thursday night to talk about saving Silver Street Elementary.

The meeting was organized after citizens found out about the Resources for Results committee, which is looking into ways to better utilize the corporation�s resources.

The goal is for the group to come up with some ideas to present to the NA-FC school board in the fall. Superintendent Dennis Brooks said at the minimum those ideas will include redrawing school district lines and at the most will close one to two schools. He said the public will be asked for input before the final decision is made.

But Silver Street supporters do not want to wait.

They found out their school was one of those being considered for closure and they have decided to form a group to keep that from happening.

Parents and other concerned citizens spoke at the meeting about why the school should be saved, including a representative from Mayor Doug England�s office.

�We will actively participate (in this cause),� John Rosenbarger told the group.

He said the school�s �walkability,� since it is so close to homes, is something the city wants to preserve. He said New Albany Mayor Doug England is working on making the city more walker-friendly throughout.

Other members of the citizens group talked about how the Resources for Results committee meets in closed sessions, hiding facts from people. They also referred to the corporation�s three year capital projects plan and said it shows no construction plans for Silver Street, but has work scheduled on schools that were previously valuated as being in good condition. They said that hints that the decision about Silver Street�s future has already been made.

Resources for Results committee and school board member Lee Ann Wiseheart was at Thursday�s meeting. She said the committee was never meant to be top secret and that nothing is final.

�This is not going to be done behind people�s backs,� Wiseheart said about school closures, referring to public meetings that will occur before a final decision is made.

She said the committee is still formulating ideas.

�It�s about what�s the absolute best for the majority of the students in this corporation,� she said. �We are in the early stages of options. There won�t be any decisions made until we get the public�s input.�

She said she welcomed ideas and that people can e-mail her at the address listed on the corporation�s Web site.

But until the citizen�s group can have its formal public say in the fall, members are finding other ways of speaking out. They are considering making yard signs, bumper stickers and more to show their support for the school.

�I hope that something comes of it (the meeting),� Silver Street parent Amy Robinson said. �I hope that we can stay organized and can get something done. I think we will.�

Even those without children came, voicing their concerns.

�If this happens, it will take away from the vitality of the neighborhood,� Dana Lloyd said.

Even the smallest people in the audience said this is a big issue to them.

�If it was closed down it would be pretty bad, because the library would be closed down and they have the greatest books there,� first-grader Jed Robinson said.

�I don�t want to go to any other schools,� third-grader Tanner Grose said.

The citizens group�s next meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m., May 29, at Advent Christian Church.