State Rejects Funding For Arbuckle Site School
The State’s School Building Authority (SBA) announced that it will not fund construction of a new school at the Arbuckle trust land, but funds for the Linn Gilmer-Lewis joint school site were approved.
A recommendation for new schools at the two sites was recommended by the Comprehensive Education Facility Plan committee headed by Ms. Naisa Butcher, the Gilmer County High School’s principal.
Mr. Ron Blankenship, the State’s superintendent of Gilmer County schools, lobbied Charleston for the two projects.
With the decision made by the SBA the Coalition’s members emphasize the necessity for everyone at all levels to work together harmoniously to get a comprehensive school system plan developed for the remainder of Gilmer County not affected by the joint school decision.
An independent blue-ribbon group is needed for the planning.
It must have a proven record of success with school system planning while functioning with strict objectivity and full transparency.
To ensure success with the planning it will be essential for the group to listen to the County’s citizens to gain valuable input.
When a comprehensive plan is completed, it would be unrealistic to guarantee that everyone in the County will be pleased with the outcome.
However, through adherence to principled problem-solving practices the challenging task can succeed to get a plan citizens can live with.
Appreciation is extended to the hundreds of Gilmer County citizens who supported the Coalition in various ways including making telephone calls, writing letters to elected officials, giving words of encouragement and advice, and providing information for dissemination to the public.
Normantown/Rosedale citizens who sent their petition to Charleston were excellent examples of community involvement too.
A special person to thank for the Coalition’s endeavors is Mr. Dave Ramezan who through the Gilmer Free Press allowed voices of Gilmer’s citizens to be heard.
Also, Dr. David Corcoran contributed by involving Ms. Dendra Miller with investigative reporting for the Democrat/Pathfinder.
The question now is what will we do now?
Without doubt the challenge will require good faith collaboration from all parties including Dr. Marple’s State Department of Education.
~~ Dr. Bill Simmons - Gilmer Schools Coalition ~~