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April 3, 2013

Clarksville school board voices frustrations with Popp's New Tech comments

CCSC pushes on with plans, still targets August 2014 opening

CLARKSVILLE —  

Whether the town partners with them or not, the Clarksville Community Schools board of trustees said they’ll have a New Tech facility open in August of 2014.

The message from the board came at their Tuesday meeting after Clarksville Redevelopment Commission president Bob Popp made comments to WDRB last week about his concerns with taking students away from Greater Clark County Schools and asking that the Clarksville school corporation merge with the larger neighboring district.

The board sought the old Value City building in Clarksville as the site for the New Tech school — a project-based, problem-focused educational model — for a couple of years. Bill Wilson, board president, said the redevelopment board has thrown hurdles in the way of that plan in recent months. 

Doug Wacker, board member, said he’s not sure why Popp made those comments, but also doesn’t understand why a partnership with the city has run into issues in the last three months or so.

“We just partnered up with our school resource officer in a wonderful partnership with town officials,” Wacker said. “But for some reason, this project seems different, and only in Mr. Popp’s mind. I don’t know what the difference is between partnering over school resource officers and bringing new educational opportunities to the citizens of Clarksville.”

The district planned on the town’s decision to partner with them by April 1. With that deadline expired, superintendent Kim Knott said the district’s administration has to move forward in seeking financing options for the facility and a number of deadlines coming up on May 1.

Bill Wilson, board president, said discussions with the town have largely been moving forward in the last few years on the New Tech project and the old Value City property. 

Jim Bemiss, board member, said the unexpected comments from Popp were unwarranted, especially since neither the town council or redevelopment board he sits on have the authority to force a merger of the two districts.

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