Fox C-6 School District: Is Spending $3.3 Million on Sports Stadiums Appropriate?

Advocate asks Fox School District officials if $3.3 million is justified for updating the high school football arenas.

After reading the news in a recent Patch article by Denise Bertacchi, which stated that the Fox C-6 School District has plans to spend $3.3 million on a sports stadium, it seemed that some questions need to be asked of the public school district officials, which includes but is not limited to Dianne Brown, and the elected school board members. 

1) Do you think that a $3.3 million sports stadium is appropriate for your district?  Looking at the demographics, the joblessness, the depressed economy and so forth, is the $3.3 million best invested in a pretty-to-look-at sports arena?

2) Have all schools in the Fox C-6 School District ceased systemically practicing separate schedules for students with disabilities? You may recall that one of the reasons given for the practice of the separate schedules was that the district could not afford to provide enough "special ed buses." This was but one of many attempts by district officials to justify the systemic early dismissal of students with disabilities to International Coalition for Autism and All Abilities (ICAA) advocates, as well as education officials.

3)  Have district schools been provided enough copy/printing paper? For several school years in a row, parents were told that some school notes and handouts weren't coming home due to a "paper shortage" at the schools.

4) Do students still have to share books, or rely on books that are falling apart, or are outdated?

5) Have all schools been meeting federal and state standards academically and otherwise?

6) Have all schools been in compliance of all federal and state laws?

7) Have all students who need assistance with school mandated supplies (like specific planners for different grades) been able to access such assistance? Some schools were unable to supply these planners for students, and budget cuts were cited as the reason in the recent past.

8) Have all schools in need of paraprofessionals been able to hire them? Many schools have been in need, but have been told they cannot afford the additional staff.

9) How will a $3.3 million-bill for a more attractive sports stadium solve all these problems in the district?

10) Is the school district still considering cuts to programs and staff, such as various supports or programs for students?

11) How are the taxpayers in the community going to be affected? Will they benefit more from the better looking sports stadium than they will adequate books and appropriate learning tools for all students?

12) How will this decision affect teachers and the overall school community?

It would be appropriate (and much appreciated) for the Fox C-6 School District officials to answer these questions.

Perhaps the decision-making officials in the district believe the $3.3 million decision is appropriate. After all, there has been very little (public) protest of the superintendent's annual salary, which is reported to be nearly a quarter of a million dollars (public record).

Do the taxpaying citizens believe $3.3 million should be spent at this time on high school football arenas?

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Anne Zachry October 10, 2012 at 01:00 AM
I think it might be interesting to do a request for public records under the Missouri Sunshine Law (http://ago.mo.gov/sunshinelaw/sunshinelaw.htm) for the District's financial records, including the payroll information of administrators involved in this decision and then turn them over to an independent auditor.
Mindy Black October 10, 2012 at 04:19 PM
This is unbelievable!! Not only the district wanting to spend that amount of money on a sports stadium, but special ed kids having separate schedules??? This is a violation of IDEA law and is discrimination! Let me guess...the schedules are shorter than those of their typical peers? Just another way for the district to spend less time educating those that need to be educated the most! It sounds to me like there are numerous problems in this district that need to be looked at. I agree with Anne, but suggest that further action be taken with the Office of Civil Rights, OSEP/OSERS, and DESE. This is supposed to be the "Show-Me" state....so district official, SHOW ME where this is legal and ethical, or we as advocates in the state will SHOW YOU!
Mindy Black October 10, 2012 at 04:23 PM
By the way, great questions by Emily Malabey...questions that I would like answered by the district as well! Thank you Emily for addressing these issues and for fighting for the kids' rights. Please continue to speak and defend those who are unable to do so for themselves! :)
Gabby B October 10, 2012 at 05:49 PM
As a parent who has children in this district I cannot fathom this kind of money being spent . I have witnessed my taxes go up every year in the 18 years we have lived in this district . I personally think if money need to be spent it should be spent on more teachers and for educational tools. Bullying is a huge problem among the schools and I think more emphasis needs to be put on teaching the children the harm it does to all persons involved . Also drugs ! I don't think I can address this issue strongly enough . Kids need to understand it's not "cool" nor is it "fun" . Drugs do so much damage . Educate , show pictures , whatever. Send in the K-9 dogs to do random checks at the schools to catch who is selling and who is carrying them . These are my thoughts :)
Melissa Barton October 10, 2012 at 06:57 PM
Emily, great job....a little investigate reporting could go along way here...
cliff October 13, 2012 at 11:32 PM
lets see. shouldn't a sports program be at least a good one with a good record before they talk about this expense? shouldn't the programs do more than break even or be a loss for the district before getting these upgrades? maybe we should ask the athletic directors and the superintendents.
Emily Malabey October 19, 2012 at 01:58 AM
Here is a quick and easy way to see how school district's stack up in general: http://www.schooldigger.com/go/MO/districtrank.aspx It is interesting to me, and to many other education advocates, that Fox C-6 intends to spend 3.3 million on sports arenas, but has thus. Is there any way that Dr. Brown, and associates, and the School Board, can think about improving education first? What is in it for each of them to spend the money on the sports arena?
Educated Citizen December 07, 2012 at 11:52 PM
The school days are not short for the special eduction students. They start earlier and receive services from all of their special education staff until the general education day starts. Then the students either go to their general education class and start their day or they continue on by staying in their special education class. The students only leave early because they start their day early they have just as many minuets of education in a week as all other district students in MO.
Emily Malabey December 08, 2012 at 03:51 AM
There is a separate schedule in operation. The separate schedule includes an earlier dismissal for children with disabilities. This is not in dispute but fact. Further, we have seen these children leaving as others (on the actual published school schedule) look on. It's not simply about a discrepancy in "number of minutes" (though there is often a difference there too) but about actual systemic discriminatory behaviors. What do you have to offer towards the rest of the post? Any idea how the district can justify such gross expenditures in light of all these other issues?
Jeanne Bata January 22, 2013 at 05:58 PM
As a past employee for special education students they do arrive earlier and leave alittle earlier but they are learning from time off bus to time back on social skills manners organization skills so they are getting their time but maybe not traditional academics. Special education students are not losing out.
Emily Malabey January 23, 2013 at 03:40 PM
Thank you for your comment, Jeanne. I agree these social interactions are important for all students. However, they are not counted as "educational time" for any other students. Of course, this is also not the goal of this time. It is simply transportation, and not a matter of monitored, goal oriented social interaction, as which may happen in the classroom, during actual class time. Ultimately, the law doesn't count transportation, only classroom time. And the law demands equal classroom time. Perhaps you feel that five, ten, thirty minutes per day, or even per year, is not a big deal,but the law is very clear on this matter. Students with disabilities are losing out. Thanks again for your comment.
Gregory Myers January 25, 2013 at 06:11 AM
My thoughts..As a high school student in Fox High, I feel, who ever decided for the money to go on sports.. should be FIRED. WHAT IS A SCHOOL FOR..? EDUCATION? up to date stuff.. how about more school space? the high school is really full!
Emily Malabey January 25, 2013 at 11:16 PM
Gregory, although I am sad to hear you are disappointed with some aspects of your school community, I am heartened to see a civic minded student taking the time to speak up. Paying attention and speaking up does help make a positive difference on a larger scale. Thanks for your comment.


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