Thursday, July 21, 2011

Escalation: Robertson County Schools & City of Springfield

An escalation
The Springfield Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted to seek legal counsel on its next move in spurring improvements to the city’s schools.
The mayor, aldermen and city manager expressed disappointment in failed requests to the Robertson County School Board to take immediate action on overcrowding at the middle school and issues of diversity at the Tuesday, July 19 meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

“It is a problem,” Mayor Billy Paul Carneal said. “They have to take ownership of this problem, to ensure our schools are as good as all the other schools in the county.”
Calling the school board “arrogant and insensitive,” Alderman James Hubbard made a motion to sue the school board. After his motion failed for lack of a second on the motion, the board looked to its legal representation for help.
The board unanimously passed a motion to have City Attorney James Balthrop examine the best avenues for help, which could include filing a complaint with the United States Department of Education.
The decision comes a week after the school board voted down a plan that would have moved about six dozen Springfield school children out to Coopertown Middle School, alleviating some of the overcrowding issues at Springfield Middle School.
“Instead of spending tax money on a lawsuit, see who we can contact at federal level,” Alderman Ann Schneider said.
The city also discussed ways to change its representation in both the school board and the county government.
City Manager Paul Nutting said some changes need to be made with the release of the new census numbers and the subsequent redistricting that accompanies them.
“We want proper representation on the county commission and we want proper representation on the school board,” Nutting said in a telephone interview on Tuesday, July 19.
Read more about the city’s actions in the next issue of the Robertson County Times, available on Wednesday, July 27.
I have not yet seen the “second and third meetings” between Robertson County Schools and the City of Springfield. It was this third course of action I had personally hoped for in this discussion – not a seemingly brash escalation of tensions between the two entities.
As the story also indicates, I hope to share more as I find out more.
For the previous discussion, check out the ‘Table of Contents’ post I had created.


  1. Who is the winner in a lawsuit????

  2. I would take issue with some of the characterizations made in this article. As reported at the board meeting (I was there), the move would not truly assist with overcrowding at Springfield Middle, and would create staffing issues (spend county $$$) at Coopertown, and could even harm the students involved. Plus, in my conversations with Coopertown administrators, the perception that there is "extra space" is incorrect.

    I also agree that no one wins with a lawsuit. Another concern I have is the impact this discussion is having on the Springfield students. The city leaders clearly don't believe in their collective academic abilities. What message does that send? The kids are surely watching to see how the adults respond in this situation. Education can come from outside the schools as well.

  3. I believe that something does need to be done, but it seems that with whatever comes up, schools or anything else, Mr. Hubbard wants to turn it into something racial. Mr. Mason usually has no opinion except to say that he agrees with Mr. Hubbard.

    There also seems to be other problems at Springfield Middle besides overcrowding. Apparently their test scores haven't been where they need to be, maybe they need a change of administration at the school. When I went to school, we were overcrowded as well, but we still learned and still did well on State and Federal testing.

    A great percentage of our county budget goes to the school system. Most anytime they request something, they get it. They need to be not only held accountable for the funds they receive, but for the job they are doing. Test scores seem to be better when Mr. Ellis was superintendent. Perhaps our school board needs to examine the possiblity of a new superintendent.