Voters to decide fate of $1.2B bond

caines | 8/23/2012, 5:30 a.m.

Responses from the Black community

School Board Member Dr. Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall whose District includes Liberty City called for sustained accountability as discussions move forward regarding the bond referendum. I appreciate the information from the pollsters but in some districts and zip codes we must be diligent overseers and we must deliver, she said. My hope is that the advisory board will mirror the diversity of our communities. I trust the Superintendent but must see it happen. We all have to play our parts to make sure no child or school is left out. School Board Member Willard Tee Holloway said, While we face great challenges, what we do now and how we approach the problems facing our schools and our students will illustrate the level of our courage. If not now, when? This is about doing whats needed to improve student achievement across the board and to reduce the disparity that exists between certain schools. Its a start its a needed start. But its not a cure all. T. Willard Fair, president and CEO, Urban League of Greater Miami, shared his views following the board meeting. I have no evidence from the past not to believe that Blacks will be treated equally and get our fair share of building renovations and technological upgrades at our neighborhood schools, he said. What we need to communicate to all the voters is how important this bond referendum is to the community. Ive been in every school in Liberty City and a lot of those schools need to be condemned and closed. What does that tell our children about how much we care about them and their future? This should not be looked at as a color issue. We have to show them that there can be something better than what currently exists. The problems facing our schools have become clearly apparent during our watch and we must be responsible and concerned enough to act and to act now. A summary of what the bonds will facilitate as outlined in the Facilities proposal includes: help to enhance the safety and security of school buildings; renovate or upgrade every school; guarantee technology equity across all schools; seek stakeholder input while minimizing the burden to taxpayers; promote greater public/private partnerships; provide economic development and employment opportunities to our community; and provide transparency and confidence with citizen advisory and oversight committees to ensure timely and equitable distribution of projects. By D. Kevin McNeirkmcneir@miamitimesonline.com