By Kristen Johnson, Multimedia Journalist/ Weekend Anchor - bio | email
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -
There was a passionate discussion Monday night over the future of Sioux City public school students. At issue, which schools to consolidate and what northside school to build first.
Without a good location, a new Bryant Elementary was pushed to the bottom of the list.
A Monday night's meeting, which focused on moving ahead with other school projects, parents tried to force the school board's hand.
"If we don't do it now, and make the commitment as a board and as a community to address Bryant, when are we going to do it," asked concerned citizen John Gleeson.
"How are we supposed to trust that you will get around to Bryant because it's been tabled for so long," asked Bryant parent Lacy Freeze.
"ESL teacher teaches in the hallway at a table. We had this huge science dome come and it was really cool, but we couldn't serve hot lunch that day because there wasn't enough electricity to plug in the science dome and the hot lunch carts," described Bryant PTA President Kathy Pappas.
The original recommendation was to design a new school to replace Lincoln, Clark, and Crescent Park on the former Hoover Middle School campus.
Because of passionate pleas from parents, the board voted on whether to move Bryant school ahead of all other projects. It failed.
While the community's comments showed a united front, division on the board led to a long debate.
"You don't trust us? You got to be kidding me. It just irritates the living daylights out of me that this is an organization, we don't get paid. There's no one up here making money. We're trying to make a decision correctly," retorted Dr. Mike McTaggart to the audience.
"What I don't want is to have a this won't work option. I want someone to say here's what we have available to us, let's figure out how we can make it work," said Molly Williams, who pushed to move the Bryant project up.
"What does that mean with regards to off-street parking, what does that mean with water retention, what does that mean Molly," asked Doug Batcheller of the project's outstanding issues.
"It means, figure out a way to make it work," answered Williams.
After two hours of discussion the board voted to move forward with hiring an architect for the Hoover site, with the caveat that they will simultaneously study options for Bryant School and make a concerted effort to get the 122-year-old school replaced sooner rather than later.
The board also approved plans to build a new Washington Elementary school at it's current site that school will look identical to Spaulding Park Elementary.
Some board members say it's financially feasible to build all three schools at the same time... others disagree.
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