To the Editor:
Today is the first day of school for USD 383. Well, it’s the first day for most of our school district. My kids will start Friday, contingent upon the construction crew at Woodrow Wilson Elementary School getting a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy (TCO) from City of Manhattan Code Services on Monday, Aug. 22.
No TCO was issued Monday; nor was a TCO issued on Tuesday. This was after months, not weeks, of delays and various recent promises made by a cavalier construction company apparently with no real local leadership and very little local accountability.
I realize no construction project is without its bumps or missteps, but I and many other parents are frustrated by the perceived lack of executive leadership by our school board. Not until our principal, Eric Koppes, went back to work this month was any sort of contingency plan brought forth for our students. Kudos to Mr. Koppes for getting several plans up and running, many at the last minute.
While many are pleased by the time, money and effort spent to renovate Woodrow Wilson, this lead-from-behind policy by our school board is typical of Woodrow Wilson’s renovation experience. Any parent could have told the board of the lack of urgency of the construction team.
Only very recently did construction workers begin to come early, stay late and work weekends. Not until after parents aired their concerns at the last two school board meetings was any appearance of accountability given by either the school board or the construction company.
I know school will eventually start and our wonderful, resilient kids will have another great school year at Woodrow Wilson. As many at WW are fond of saying, “Our school isn’t about the bricks and mortar; it’s the people that make it great.”
We have a wonderful staff, an excellent and dedicated faculty and a top-notch administration. I just wish the excitement of getting our shiny new school wasn’t mired in the muck of broken promises and missed deadlines.