Muskogee parent Lynette Gunn says she’s impressed with projects proposed in Muskogee Public Schools’ upcoming bond issue.
“I just hope that they finish it the way they describe it and that they also ensure that the inside of the classroom is as good as the outside,” said Gunn, mother of a recent Muskogee High School graduate.
Parents expressed similar concerns Thursday at a town hall meeting sponsored by the NAACP.
The meeting focused on the district’s $110 million bond issue election, set for Oct. 8. Improvements proposed include six major projects:
• A “Rougher Village” featuring a new football stadium, new basketball field house and other athletic facilities, possibly across Shawnee Bypass from Muskogee High School.
• Demolition and reconstruction of much of Alice Robertson Junior High, converting it into a Freshman Academy. The present gym, New Tech building and band/choir room will be kept.
• Demolition and reconstruction of much of Tony Goetz Elementary, adding classrooms, library, gym and new kitchen.
• Remodel and add classrooms to Sadler Arts Academy. Remodel would incorporate an alumni center for Manual Training High School, which the building was originally.
• Muskogee High School remodeling, to include a new band/choir room, new entrance and new hallway.
• Convert former Harris-Jobe Elementary School into an Early Childhood Center and a day care center for MPS staff members’ children.
Other projects include improvements at each elementary school and $5 million for technology.
MPS School Superintendent Dr. Jarod Mendenhall and a representative of GH2 architects detailed the proposals at the town hall and answered questions submitted on index cards.
NAACP Branch President, the Rev. Rodger Cutler, said the NAACP executive committee will issue an opinion on the bond issue on Monday.
On Thursday, Cutler quoted Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., saying “our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
“Our students matter,” Cutler said. “Our schools matter, our community. As we leave this conversation tonight, I want to encourage you to answer this question from your own perspective — does this bond help our children matter?”
Teressa Johnson, who has one child at MHS and one at Sadler, said Muskogee also needs to concentrate on keeping good teachers.
“My concern is making something pretty on the outside when the inside needs help, as far as paying the teachers and people staying,” Johnson said. “We want to keep good teachers.”
Johnson talked about friends who are college graduates, but who do not want to come back to Muskogee “because of the pay.”
Carnelle Brooks echoed the concern. He said he wants to know what types of programs the schools will offer “for the kids to better themselves, as well as just having a nice place.”
“Are they going to have home ec, are they going to have wood shop, are they going to have things students can do with their hands?” Brooks said. “Because not all the kids are going to go to college.”
He said MPS does need the improvements “and the growth.”
Dawn Blue, who has a daughter at Muskogee High, said the bond projects could bring a positive change.
“I like the change because when you feel good about yourself, it helps you move toward being successful,” Blue said. “I’m just a believer in positive change.”
Michael Nicholson said he saw good ideas and hopes people will vote “yes.”