Monday, June 4, 2007

The Future of Fayetteville High School

An important public meeting will be held on Tuesday evening, June 5, at 6:30 pm, in the Fayetteville High School auditorium. The alleged purpose of the meeting is to help the school board decide whether the one huge high school that they have decided on should be a renovation of the present school in the middle of town or should be an entirely new school out in the far northwest suburbs beyond I-540. Several options will be considered. Hopefully, they will pay more attention to the concerns expressed by citizens than they did when they closed Jefferson School and built Owl Creek out beyond the by-pass, but individuals will each be allowed only three minutes to voice their opinions.

It seems that the deck is stacked from the get-go. The Board has already decided to add 9th grade to the high school and only to consider a single high school for 3,000 students, and they make much of the fact that the District already owns a 100-acre site far removed from the center of town. If they push through this idea, it would ignore City Plan 2025 by adding to uncontrolled sprawl and would make it even more difficult to persuade voters to increase school millage rates. They should remember what happened the last time they tried to raise property taxes -- a rare defeat for public education by residents who have always supported our schools.

Anyway, it would be a good idea to show up and voice your opinion. If you can't make it, at least watch the meeting on Fayetteville Cable Channel 14 then contact your school board members to let them know what you think. I am still of the opinion that Fayetteville should reconsider the good sense displayed by Springdale, Rogers, and Bentonville in building two smaller high schools instead of one mega-school for athletic reasons. If they're set on that, then I support Alderman Nancy Allen's suggestion to relocate the District administration to the former Jefferson School and to construct additional classroom space on the present campus.

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