In an effort to gauge the public’s thoughts and to attempt to get something passed by district voters, the Greenbush-Middle River School board members agreed to visit with different community groups throughout the district. Per request of Superintendent Tom Jerome, at its December 18 meeting, board members Carrie Jo Howard and Laurie Stromsodt presented a list of different organizations that board members could meet with in the near future, and some of the initial thoughts and questions they heard from some of these groups.
Board member Howard worked to identify groups from the Greenbush and Strathcona areas.
“They were all, for the most part, very receptive to meeting and meeting soon,” Howard said. “I tried to impress upon them that we want to do this quickly and not drag it out.”
Some of the groups Howard contacted expressed several concerns and other questions related to these meetings.
“More than one of the organizations were concerned about confidentiality,” Howard said. “They didn’t want names put to comments made. And more than one organization asked if we were looking for them to endorse something and I stressed that board reps would be there to listen to what they had to say.”
Board member Laurie Stromsodt worked to identify groups from the Middle River area. She also reached out to area churches, all expressing concern about the district’s future and wanting to be part of these meetings.
Stromsodt expressed some of the questions and concerns brought forth by these different committee groups.
“They also wanted to know who was going to be charge of the meetings, who was going to be attending,” Stromsodt said. “… (They asked) why does the board want to meet with us and are they going to listen to us.”
Some of these committees, Stromsodt highlighted, also asked several other questions, including whether or not these meetings would be recorded. They also requested that certain board members attend, including the board chair, clerk, and another board member, and certain individuals not attend, including board members Joe Melby and Stromsodt, and Superintendent Tom Jerome.
After board members attempted to work out different dates to meet with these various groups, Jerome asked about themes or topics and any data board members would like to have available to present at these meetings. Board member Howard mentioned getting historical enrollment and financial data, including how long the district has been deficit spending. She also asked to provide those at these meetings with the district’s operating levy tax numbers to compare with other districts’ numbers.
Board member Melby brought up discussing the future of the district at these meetings.
“(We should ask) what changes they would like to see,” Melby said, “as far as getting a referendum passed and why we’re lacking support for referendums.”
To see the complete board story, read the January 3 issue of The Tribune in print or online.