The abstract certainly became concrete tonight. The little dots on map mapping program represent actual kids, some backed up by verry vocal paraents. As suspected, this evening’s public forum for the new district attendance lines was much better attended than last week’s. And, as observed last week, those that had the greatest concerns were the ones that showed up. We had the usual contingent of principals and district office staff, but this time we didn’t outnumber the parents.
The audience listened attentively to our superintendent’s presentation. It was hard to judge from their expressions how receptive they were to the new plan. During the question and answer session, some valid questions were raised. One question dealt with safety issues, particularly, whether or not traffic signals could be installed at Highway 101 and Berry Shoals Road. For some questions, parents weren’t happy, and that definitely came out in the wording of some questions.
Not all of the questions were from parents. Some district teachers asked how staff assignments would be handled. One real estate agent was there asking about how this might affect property values. The questions turned quickly back to the parents, though.
It amazes me how some parents refuse to listen or accept the numbers that are presented. One woman actually stood up and said, "Don’t let him mislead you!" The questions started flying on top of each other, and most weren’t giving time for the questions to be answered. They just wanted to be heard. I was glad I wasn’t up front having to field these questions. I certainly couldn’t have kept my cool.
Most wanted to know how they could keep their keep their kids in the school they attend now. Regardless of whether or not the question dealt with test scores, demographics, or any other factor, everything boiled down to this one issue. When one’s children are involved, emotions get hot.
I really wish a more structured format for this forum had been offered. Some raised their voices, and once or twice it looked like things might get out of hand. Also, it seemed that the same individuals kept asking and interrupting. After awhile it seemed like the same questions were being rehashed. If they didn’t like the answer, they would ask the question again. This went on for nearly an hour.
The entire upshot of the meeting was, "Do it to someone else. Don’t do it to me." I just don’t know whom else to do it to. Regardless, I’ve got my software ready in case I have to draw more maps.