OXFORD – One thing is clear after a second public forum held by the Oxford Academy School District: The superintendent and board of education will have a hard time finding support for their capital project proposals if they intend to move students out of the historic middle school building or raise the local tax levy.
More than 100 residents of the Oxford Academy School District, three times the number who attended a similar meeting in December, turned out Thursday despite the inclement weather to express their views on three building options being explored by the district.
“If we lose the middle school as a vital school ... it will contribute to the gross deterioration of this community,” said district resident Liz Wonka, a statement which was applauded by those in attendance.
“You can’t just walk away from this building,” said another resident.
“I’m glad this meeting is taking place, but I think it should have happened a year ago,” said McDonough resident Fred Bateman, noting his frustration over what he saw as a closed process. The board and administration have been working on the project proposal for close to two years, but public input has been limited until this point.
Bateman had done his research prior to the meeting, going so far as to contact the district’s State Education Department representative, Kurt Miller.
Those who attended last night’s meeting were given a much different presentation than those who attended the first public forum, held Dec. 3. Statements viewed as inflammatory during the prior event, questioning the advisability of investing in a 78-year-old building and the claim that classroom usage would drop in the building by 50 percent in the near future, were notably absent from Superintendent Randy Squier’s abbreviated slides.