Monday, April 27, 2015

Update: Education Committee Plans Community Forum

Fairhope, Alabama. (

Kerry Flowers, EAC chairman

UPDATE: The city council has given this meeting the go-ahead for May 12th. No city funds will be expended.

At a meeting last week, the city's Educational Advisory Committee discussed final plans for a community forum to determine citizens' current thoughts about the future of the city's K-12 schools.

Through this committee, the city has been contributing $350K every year to the five Baldwin County schools; but members readily concede that is not enough to make a significant impact.

The committee will make a proposal for the forum to the city council at today's work session; if the council approves, it will be held at 6PM on the 12th of May at Fairhope Methodist Church.

Most committee members thought the event should be forward-looking and not dwell upon the results of the tax referendum; but others thought the negative outcome needed to be better understood, specific to Fairhope.

Dr. Chang
Tentative plans call for dividing attendees into five groups within the feeder pattern -- possibly city residents, outside city, retirees, community leadership, educators -- who will break into discussion groups after hearing presentations by Dr. Semoon Chang and colleagues about the economic benefits of strong schools to a community.

Dr. Chang is economics professor at the University of South Alabama; his talk will focus on
published studies of how quality schools affect housing values, growth, and the general well being of communities across the nation.

Fairhope resident Dan Lumpkin has agreed to be the facilitator for the event, if the city council gives the go ahead.

(At least two elected officials have expressed some skepticism to the Times about the need for the event, at this time.)


Anonymous said...

Seems to me those five groups are already divided. It might be wise to attempt uniting them for a change.

Anonymous said...

The plan is to break into sub groups for a discussion then re-gather to openly discuss the subgroups concerns.
Another community meeting will be needed after the results of this meeting are analyzed. If you have been to any of these types of meeting before you realize how hard it is to keep the conversation structured with a large crowd

Anonymous said...

If Fairhope residents cared about education and could comprehend the impact that good schools have on the community they would have supported the tax referendum.