Friday, January 14, 2000

Hey, Ft. Thomas: Speak up on schools

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        FORT THOMAS — Community members who want a hand in shaping Fort Thomas schools of the future can offer their opinions at upcoming public forums.

        School administrators and board members want citizens to speak about drawing up a plan for the district.

        “At this point there is no ownership, unless you are a parent with a child in a particular program,” said Teri Morris, board member. “The whole community needs to be in volved, since the school is such a big part of our community.”

        Mrs. Morris is the driving force behind the idea for a strategic plan. She said she wanted the district to develop a master document that helps keep the focus on the big picture when making decisions.

        “When requests would come in for facilities needs or foreign language in the elementary schools or lowering class size, we never really had a plan” for how it all fit together, Mrs. Morris said.

        The district will work with the Kentucky School Boards Association in gathering input and creating com mittees to select areas for improvement including academics, extracurricular activities and others.

        Beginning Tuesday, the board will explain the process to residents in a series of public forums. One will be held at each school.

        From those meetings, an initial planning team of 25 to 30 people will form, said Lee McGinley, district spokeswoman. That committee will decide on focus topics for future planning. Action teams will form to develop ways to accomplish specific goals for each topic.

        A final master plan could be ready by August.

        “What it does is help to give us a vision and mission for the future,” said George Frakes, Highlands High principal. “How it will help us specifically is what the committees will decide.”

        Mrs. Morris said she thinks now is a good time to start the process. The district is set to begin building a new middle school and plans for a new high school are on the drawing board.

        “Twenty years down the road, is this where we are going to want to be?” Mrs. Morris said. “...The community has changed, and we need more input from the people in the community.”

        • Tuesday: 5:30 p.m., Moyer Elementary.

        • Tuesday: 7:30 p.m., Woodfill Elementary.

        • Thursday: 5:30 p.m., Highlands High.

        • Thursday: 7:30 p.m., Johnson Elementary.

        • Information: 781-3333.


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