Bartlett will hold a town-hall meeting in the high school’s theater at 6:30 p.m., the Harrison PTSA confirmed in an email blast Friday afternoon.
“We hope to have a good turnout to show Ms. Bartlett the level of concern in the community over this issue,” the PTSA’s co-presidents, Dana Douglas and Janie Dollar, said in the email.
The meeting comes four days before the school board is scheduled to revote on a $14.5 million Harrison construction project that would include the ninth-grade academy. The Harrison PTSA and school leadership have rallied the community to lobby for the revote and for a different outcome this time.
What do you want to ask Alison Bartlett? What do you hope to hear from her?
On a motion from Bartlett, the board voted 4-3 March 22 to postpone the ninth-grade center indefinitely and move ahead only with the other renovations and improvements proposed for Harrison under SPLOST III.
That decision, if it holds, will delay any work at Harrison by at least a year while the architects and engineers go back to the drawing board. At least $460,000 in planning for the project will have to be redone.
Bartlett has steadfastly opposed the ninth-grade center, leading the unsuccessful effort to stop it in February 2011. The board voted 4-3 at that time to proceed with the architectural work for the project.
Bartlett has argued that the expense of the ninth-grade center doesn’t make sense because the growth projected in West Cobb hasn’t occurred, and the student population at Harrison has fallen sharply since Allatoona High opened.
Kathleen Angelucci and Tim Stultz joined her on the losing side in voting no last year.
They were part of the winning majority in March because Vice Chairman David Morgan of South Cobb switched sides without explanation and voted against the ninth-grade center. Lynnda Eagle, David Banks and Chairman Scott Sweeney voted for the full project.
The Marietta Daily Journal’s About Town column speculates today that Morgan’s vote was payback for Eagle’s opposition to hiring 50 Teach for America teachers for South Cobb and that Morgan will switch his vote again Wednesday in return for support for TFA.
The political twist to all of this is that the General Assembly redrew the school board’s districts for this year’s elections.
Eagle represents Harrison now, but under the new map, Bartlett’s central Cobb district has moved westward to encompass Harrison.
That means Bartlett needs the support of the community she has angered if she is to win re-election in the fall.
The Democrat’s opposition to the full Harrison project has inspired at least one parent to run against her. Heather Ryan, who spoke in favor of the ninth-grade center at the school board meeting April 26, has said she will run as a Republican, the MDJ reported.
Bartlett, who also held a town-hall meeting with her central Cobb constituents Thursday, has never been one to shy away from critics. She faced her critics during a town-hall meeting in early March 2011 after leading the 4-3 vote to end the balanced calendar.
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