Sunday, December 14, 2008

I'm not buying a snafu, but I'm paying for it

From the Olentangy Valley News:

Communication snafu puts squeeze on Shanahan
* Board-approved upgrades accidentally leave students with an undersized library.

Published: Wednesday, December 10, 2008 9:06 AM

District officials are looking for solutions after a lack of communication led to cramped quarters in a district library.

In the midst of upgrades to Olentangy Shanahan Middle School and district offices approved with the passage of 2001's bond issue, students at Shanahan have found themselves accidentally downgraded to a smaller library.

The Shanahan building formerly included two libraries: one on the west side that served as the old high school and middle school libraries, and a smaller library on the east side that served as the elementary school library.

Officials decided to consolidate both libraries into the east side of the building and remodel the west-side library into offices to expand the district's curriculum department.

Board members approved upgrades to the west library, believing they were upgrading it for continued use as a library, not converting it to offices."

I think the promise was to upgrade the facility where it was to make it in line with facilities that are offered at our other middle schools," said board member Jennifer Smith at the Nov. 25 school board meeting. "Instead, what happened was this library got moved to a smaller space that isn't on par with what we're offering students at our other locations."

While three classes can fit in the libraries of the other district middle schools, only one can fit in the new Shanahan library -- and "not comfortably, I should say," Smith said. "It's just not a good environment or a good space that's conducive to learning."

Board member Julie Wagner Feasel said there was an obvious lack of communication."

I've been in enough meetings in that room to tell you I don't need to measure square footage -- that room is much smaller than the room that it came from," Feasel said during the Nov. 25 meeting. "As a parent who doesn't even have a kid in this school, I'm concerned at the inferior quality of that library."

Interim Superintendent Jennifer Hooie said she would be the first to admit there wasn't enough communication on the plans.

"None of us are happy with the space as it is," Hooie said Nov. 25.

Communication on the plans was hindered because most of the people who developed the original plans are no longer working in the district."

Somewhere in the midst of construction, the board was not informed," Feasel said. "All the people who knew about it are gone."

"It sounds like we kind of blew this one," said board Vice President Dimon McFerson during the Nov. 25 meeting.

Board President Scott Galloway said an immediate solution will be to use locked storage space across from the east library to store audio-visual equipment currently stored in the library.

The board tossed around a few ideas, including moving the library again to the building's second gym or the current team room. Moving the library back to its old location is not an option because work already has begun on converting it into offices.

Hooie said they would need to work with faculty at Shanahan to come to a solution."I would expect relatively quickly to solve this," Galloway said.

Copyright © 2008 - Columbus Local News

This whole article is full of whoppers, but I think my favorite is the one from Hooie: "None of us are happy with the space as it is." Yeh, right, the administrators have new offices and you think they are unhappy.

Miscommunication. Please.


Anonymous said...

This is what happens when a Board trusts the administration. More offices for more and learning be damned.

Stop the project now...investigate who is responsible and terminate the individual(s)for wasting taxpayer money.

Hey Dimon ...this isn't micro-management(see meeting audio from 12/9/08)...this is accountability and responsiblity of the board...something you know nothing about!

Anonymous said...

I find this comment to be most entertaining....
I've been in enough meetings in that room to tell you I don't need to measure square footage -- that room is much smaller than the room that it came from," Feasel said during the Nov. 25 meeting. "As a parent who doesn't even have a kid in this school, I'm concerned at the inferior quality of that library.

Well that's great to know. All this time I thought Julie only cared about herself and her kids.... oh, and her husbands stipends. But I guess Julie does care about the rest of the district after all.

Julie - For the record, you represent every tax paying citizen in the district. It is irrelevant that your kids don't go to that school. Even if they did, that fact alone wouldn't justify a bigger library. You see, you aren't on the board for your own interests.

I wonder though, if your kids were going to SMS, would the rubber stamp vote to approve the frivolous waste of money had happened in the first place? Or would you have taken a much greater interest in the project, ensured it wouldn't have impacted your kids, and upon learning the truth, voted against the project? I suspect that to be true... and that's sad.

Micromanagement is acceptable when the board's personal interests are impacted, but only then.

9:40AM I agree 100%. I would add that those who are ultimately responsible are the voters of this district. You see, we voted the people who are ultimately responsible for this wasteful spending into office. Only a whole scale swap out of incumbents in November of 2009 can fix this problem.

Anonymous said...

Gerish used to be the one reporter who the community could trust to be truthful and fair. That no longer is the case. Ever since his piece on the deceitful superintendent search of last spring, which shined a light on that cockroach Dimon McFerson and his minions on the board and sent them scurrying for political cover, he's become a squawkbox for the administration.

Matt--what happened? Did you get threatened or paid off? I'd really like to know.

Any reporter worth his/her salary wouldn't have bought the administration line of "miscommunication". What was miscommunicated? Doesn't Hooie have constant contact with the board? Yes, she does. The board was misinformed by Hooie and Kerr about the nature and scope of the renovation. It's that simple.

Of course, the administration stated that the renovation was to accommodate the districts "expanding curriculum department"--that intones that the work is "for the kids", after all, and serves as the perfect obfuscation. But the renovation was not for that purpose. A teacher I am friendly with at Shanahan is beside herself about this and she said this issue was the source of a lot of resentment by teachers and librarians at the school. She described to me in detail what the renovations were about, and that the purpose of it was for senior central office staff to get bigger digs, period--including the conversion of conference fooms for HR, and other non curriculum personnel.

The nonsense will never end as long as the local press covers up their deceptions.

Matt--I'm sure you read this blog--honestly--what's your deal?

Please do your job.