Orange County School Board Continues To Misinform The Residents About Jones High Closing
- Category: Education
- Published: Saturday, 10 May 2014 04:00
- Written by Clinton Salters
Intro by Staff writer:
So I went to the meeting Thursday evening at Jones High School scheduled by the Orange County School Board. The meeting was called to inform residents and parents about the zoning adjustments needed to get more students into Jones, because it's enrollment is less than half capacity.
Half capacity is where the school population was at the end of the 2013 school year.
So why didn't the school board make the adjustments then? Maybe this is just a smoke screen to make the community believe that they are trying to save Jones High when there is a plan to close the school in the same manner that they closed Richmond Heights Elementary.
The school board actually orchestrates the enrollment problem by zoning kids that live in walking distance of Jones High to other schools that are out of the area. This causes several issues in the community, none of them are good.
Clinton Salters was at the Zoning meeting and had these comments:
After attending an Orange County School meeting regarding the Zoning adjustments needed to zone students into the newly rebuilt Jones High School, odd it seemed to restore my questions regarding the district's actual intentions regarding the future role of the school. There was a room filled of very concerned residents that voiced interest in policy decisions over moving pools of students. The old anti-segregation boundaries are still in place but are too constrictive on the schools growth plan. Now instead of really bold plans to stabilize the student base, one school zone feeder for Evans High was discussed though it doesn't solve the dilemma.
Nearly $6,000 in annual funding per student, follows the child to their school, yet Jones is 550 students off peak operating budget= $ 3.3M per year shortfall. Now it's important to have booster spirit and get on the street corners and ask for donations in a helmet, or even have a fundraiser and that helps too. The best, most sustainable is too have the student population increase through drawing the zoning lines correctly and allowing the school board to then allocate additional incentives for meeting the performance bar. The school can only improve if it has the $$$$ to make that happen and though I believe in miracles.... I also believe in proper use of OUR tax dollars.
The performance and achievement gaps are a singular goal for our community groups. Kat Gordan, Vice Chairman of the School District Board, seems to agree with the staff there and they are apprehensive as to the need to move quickly to a resolution on the zoning catastrophe. I have to believe that the Area Superintendent and the staff is giving a glance because the resulting low attendance drives the budget for the school down and yet they are confused.
They have a(n) historic site at Jones and the community support for the school's survival is at a high level and not just among the older 50's- 70's graduates but even among the younger families of grads. The core of any community is the value if it's school and the performance of the community school's students as they are now ranked and rated gives rise to newer families of school-aged youth.
Orlando Jones has always given the region some notable grads, and the demographics has always been economically challenged community of blue collar, that will go the distance for that legacy of scholarship, athletics and plain old myths that form the collage of mixed imprints and the various backgrounds can help OCPS get it Right. The community is awake Now and tired of having it's iconic academic legacy vanish or remain a lethargic shell of it's past greatness.
The discussion in public hearings sometimes borders on mixed subjects and you have to moderate your impatience regarding the different motivations that build upon the passions, BUT there are innovative partnerships that bring money to these worthwhile collaborations yet it has to be anchored by a need for the OCPS to have a higher buy-in to the need for our Urban schools.
It appears to me that the school board is processing the closure of Jones High School just as they process the closure of Richmond Elementary School. The reason that this quickly called 'Zoning Town Hall Meeting' was done, is to try to convince people that they are really attempting to save Jones's community when the real goal is to destroy it.
Oh, and of course they want you to past the half penny tax extension. Then you, the residents, get to pay for that destruction yourselves, as a bonus.