Wilmington board did not hear

I recently attended my first Wilmington Schools board meeting so I could hear the discussion on changing to grade-level center schools in our district. I knew this was a sensitive topic with many citizens within the community, and I wanted to see how well our board of education listened. Well it didn’t take long to find out — 30 minutes of verbal presentations to the board by seven of our voting citizens, urging the board to slow the process down, to do their homework, to make the right decision for our community and our students, and to review the stats that show this change has not given the desired results in many other local/state districts attempting this same change. At one point in the meeting, one of the presenters even had to urge the board to “pay attention” to what he had to say.

Well, the board did listen but they did not hear. They voted 4-1 in favor of moving forward with grade-level schools. Our school board which was elected by the tax-paying citizens of Wilmington basically “thumbed their noses” at the people, citing that they know better than we what is “best” for our children, regardless of the concerns expressed by the parents.

Since the board clearly will not publicly admit they made a mistake with hiring Ms. McCarty-Stewart as superintendent, and not to be embarrassed by their decision to bring her on, we do have an option to help force a better outcome, and that is to repeal the 1-percent Wilmington Schools income tax. If we can’t get the school board’s attention, and to take seriously our desire for well-thought-out changes in our school, and to listen to the people who put them in office, then maybe it’s time to hit them in the pocketbook, and see if then they will learn to listen.

Some may say the schools cannot survive without this 1-percent income tax, which could be true, but based on what’s happening in our Wilmington schools today, many parents are looking at alternative schools/options and “thumbing their noses” at the board of education.

Wake up school board. Start being leaders, and listen to the voters who put you into office. Listen, or your replacements will.

Jack Hatten