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Carthage school board member suggests informal meetings for projects


Many of those who responded to an exit poll on the Carthage Central School District’s $16.9 million capital construction proposal felt uninformed about the project, according to the district’s compilation of polling data.

At last Monday’s Board of Education meeting, member Mary Louise Hunt said a possible solution to getting future projects passed could lie in informal community meetings.

“If we could get a dialogue and have some meetings, I think we could propose another project, even before the fall,” she said.

She proposed multiple meetings throughout the district to promote dialogue between residents and school officials. She said a community member with whom she spoke, whom she did not identify, said it could lead to an approved project.

“I found it mind-boggling, but there’s a lot of truth to it,” she said. “People wanted more specific information about how safety and maintenance would be affected.”

Mrs. Hunt said residents also wanted to know why the school expansion was switched from Carthage Elementary School to West Carthage Elementary School.

The last capital proposal, which residents defeated 431-311 in mid-March, was actually two projects. The main project, deemed essential by the board members and administration, was $13.2 million and included maintenance as well as safety and security upgrades. The second proposition would have piggybacked on the first if both had passed for a $16.9 million total. That proposition included technology infrastructure upgrades and new classrooms at the West Carthage school.

The unidentified person also told Mrs. Hunt the meetings’ location would be critical.

“The auditorium is not a great place for a forum because it feels like you’re telling them,” she said. “You have to hit where people live. What we need to figure out is what kind of forum we want.”

She also said a neutral moderator could host it to make sure everyone has a chance to share an opinion.

“At the time, I thought about Jay Boak, but Jay’s tied to the school systems,” Mrs. Hunt said.

Jack J. Boak Jr. is the Jefferson-Lewis Board of Cooperative Educational Services superintendent.

District Superintendent Peter J. Turner said he plans to ask Mr. Boak for moderator suggestions.

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