by Richard McNeill
When you think the education scene is depressing, do something! This is what we are doing in Alachua County to spread the word as the Citizens for Strong Schools lawsuit nears. A mom and a grandfather started this. I just help with background information. They are working through the parent organizations to spread hope that it is possible to make a difference. This is Richard’s announcement to the Alachua County School Board this week. Read how they are going about their project. You can help.
Madam Chair, Board Members, Superintendent– Good Evening.
I am Rik McNeill, a grandparent of two students in Alachua Public Schools next year and I am here because I realize it is harder and harder for you each year to provide every child an exceptional education.. As a former teacher, I care and I volunteer at JJ Finley. This year I was recognized as Senior Volunteer of the Year It helps, it makes a bit of a difference, but not enough. I want to do more– amplify my work.
I am passionate about public education and its importance in our community, state and nation. So, I have joined up with the PTA, League of Women Voters to spread the word about the Southern Legal Counsel’s suit against the State Board of Education- brought forth on behalf of Citizens for Strong Schools.
The suit was filed in 2009 and will finally be heard on March 14, 2016. For example of how much we have lost, during the time it has taken this suit to move forward to a court date, $1.5 BILLION has been diverted by politicians to voucher programs. $1.5 billion with no accountability. AND this is just the tip of the iceberg of lost money, programs, and people helping educate kids.
I want to ask you, invite you, to join me, each of you and all the community activists and leaders who care about every child getting a great education, to come to an information session about this suit- to learn how WE CAN MAKE A CHANGE.
We are scheduling one-hour information sessions at each of the high schools. We are asking the high school community and its feeder schools’ — parents, leaders, educators, and community activists to come and learn about this suit, our best chance at change and helping EVERY child! Once knowledgeable, we will ask them to spread the word across the community, the district, and the state. THAT’S IT, THAT’S THE ASK OF EVERYONE.
Tonight, I’m asking school board members and administrators to attend as many of the sessions as possible. We have a website that lists the dates and times as they are scheduled. So far we have three scheduled sessions: Jan. 12 at Eastside High, Jan 26 at GHS, & Feb. 2 at Hawthorne MS/HS. Each will last 1 hour, from 6:30-7:30. Please join with the parents, grandparents, and community members at as many as you can fit into your schedule. We won’t ask you to speak, just listen to the presentation and the parents.
Earlier, I mentioned the support of the League of Women Voters because they have been fighting for this case and supporting it since 2009. They have run a long race. I am a relative newcomer, this year. I would like to see a ground swell of folks join me on the track to the finish line in March.
What would CHANGE look like, if we prevail and force the politicians to adequately fund education for every child?
Please visit (the number) 5forChange.org. We are asking people to contribute $5 if they can, and for them to then spread the word to everyone they know in the state. Imagine the number of grass root supporters, if each one of us shared this passion for education change with all of our contacts.
Thank you for your time, please join me and others on Jan. 12 at Eastside High 6:30-7:30