School board apologetic for not engaging public

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As school officials prepare for another Jefferson-Houston school community meeting, they again apologized for prematurely discussing a possible private-public partnership to pay for the upgrades.

Assuming a school needed to be built, we went right to how to fund a new school, said Superintendent Mort Sherman. By our eagerness to do right, I think we put together plans that are now off the table Its with humility that we go out to the community and seek input.

Neighbors of the Jefferson-Houston School for Arts and Academics blasted district officials during the boards first community meeting earlier this month. Talk about replacing the school between the board and city council in June raised the idea of trading retail space on the site to a developer for construction money. 

The board and division administration are starting from scratch and looking to the public for suggestions and ideas, he said. 

Board member Arthur Peabody said Septembers community meeting was cathartic for residents and neighbors.

It was an opportunity for people to get things off of their chest. It was an excellent meeting and provided nice venting so now we can get on the substantial topics, he said. I would observe we have apologized adequately and now we have to move on to what is the need, what is the benefit of this school that is exceptional and a real asset to the community and neighborhood?

Officials will return to the tightly knit neighborhood for further discussion of a new school and how the city can pay for it on October 4. 

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