Harrison Ninth-Grade Center Revived?
The West Cobb high school's full $14.5 million project will get another vote for school board approval May 9.
Harrison High School’s full $14.5 million package of renovations has another chance.
Cobb County Board of Education member Lynnda Eagle, who represents Harrison as part of her West Cobb district, asked Chairman Scott Sweeney to add the SPLOST-financed project to the agenda for the school board’s May 9 work session. Sweeney agreed, and David Banks also backed the move.
Sweeney added the Harrison project as an action item, meaning the board will reconsider its March 22 decision to delay the school’s proposed ninth-grade center indefinitely and proceed with other planned repairs and improvements separately.
Eagle’s request, in the final moments of a 2½-hour meeting, might offer real hope for the Hoya Nation.
She had explained during the board’s work session April 11 that she wasn’t bringing the ninth-grade center back for another vote because it was pointless unless one of the four members who voted no had a change of heart.
Now she is seeking the revote.
What should the school board do May 9? Let board members know in the comments below.
The 4-3 vote March 22 pushed all Harrison renovations back by at least a year to redo $460,000 worth of architectural and engineering work and rebid the job. It also raised doubts that the ninth-grade center will ever be built.
Alison Bartlett, Kathleen Angelucci, David Morgan and Tim Stultz formed the majority that night, but it sounded as if Angelucci supported Eagle’s request Thursday night to bring the project back for another vote.
The school board initially approved proceeding with the full, bundled project on a 4-3 vote Feb. 17, 2011. That night, Morgan joined Eagle, Banks and Sweeney in the majority.
Harrison Community Anger
The reversal last month outraged the Harrison community.
Parent Tim Paradiso spoke at the school board’s April 11 work session and called the decision a “waste.”
Principal William Griggers sent an email message via the PTSA this week urging parents to turn out for Thursday night’s meeting either to speak to the board or simply show support for the full project.
Six parents, including Paradiso, answered Griggers’ call to action by addressing the board and calling for reconsideration of the March 22 vote.
They cited the deplorable condition of the school’s track, the lack of any major renovations in the school’s two-decade history, the absence of room to significantly expand the cramped cafeteria, and the need to add trailers, up to a total of 19, if the new chorale facility goes in the existing building instead of a ninth-grade center.
"Do the right thing for our children," Heather Ryan said. "Do what you committed to do."
New Electoral Map
Under the redrawing of school board electoral lines, Harrison families likely will get to unleash their wrath at the polls against Bartlett, the member who proposed breaking up the SPLOST project and delaying the ninth-grade center.
The reapportionment of the seven Board of Education districts, enacted last week when Gov. Nathan Deal signed H.B. 1208, shifts Bartlett’s central Cobb Post 7 westward to encompass Harrison while shifting Eagle’s Post 1 northward.
Eagle, Bartlett, Banks of Post 5 and Morgan of Post 3 are up for re-election this year, starting with the primary July 31.
Bartlett spoke against the new districts Thursday night, saying they break up communities of interest and weaken minority voting power, but Board Attorney Clem Doyle is moving ahead with seeking Justice Department pre-clearance for the new electoral districts under the Voting Rights Act.
Doyle said anyone, including the board, could go to court to challenge the map, drawn and approved by the General Assembly.