Former School Board member supports land purchase approval

Colette Decker of Laurel
Thursday, October 24, 2019

As a tax-paying private citizen, Michael Creeden has every right to voice an opinion that encourages a negative vote for any upcoming Laurel School District election.

As a duly-elected member of the Laurel School Board, he does not have to agree with and does not have to vote for every decision the board makes. And I believe the community will better support a candidate who vows not to be a rubber stamper.

But, I can only imagine the difficult environment Michael Creeden may be creating by publicly denouncing decisions and votes made by a majority of the Board. Future discussions, votes and decisions will be ever more challenging.

I always knew the Board I served with from 2003–2008 was exceptional and accomplished exceptional projects (new middle school, high school addition, Graff remodel and positive support for the stadium project.) We did not always agree or vote the same, but we always moved forward as a team and supported decisions once a majority vote was made.

My suggestion to the Board and to the Administration is that better communication, possibly through newsletters and surveys to every address, can help counteract the negative chatter that is always going to happen. Mailings are expensive, but failed elections bear a bigger cost.

I placed calls to the Superintendent, a building principal and a Board member to answer the questions I had after reading the mailing about the District Master Plan and the upcoming Election.

My questions included traffic and accessibility to the new location. The answer: 8th Avenue and 12th St. are already school traffic routes and a new bridge is in the plans. Also, it is ideal because city services are available there and it appears water tables would not be an issue as they would be in other Laurel locations. The community approved the money and is supporting the Board because Laurel is growing and bursting at the seams.

Will the public have a chance to voice opinions? The answer: The public will be invited to serve on a community committee and be a voice for the community.

My additional comments:

• Will Neighborhood Schools vs. Grade Leveling be revisited?

• How will we better serve the eastside grade school population if we repurpose Graff, Laurel’s only east side location?

• We are not a wealthy community and we need to continue using and caring for our old buildings, so closing buildings and selling school land needs to be solidly supported.

I agree that the land purchase is a good deal for the District and I encourage you to vote for it, but realize that your vote is not saying you support everything laid out in the Master Plan. There will be time for community input and opinions.

Colette Decker of Laurel

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