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Editorial: Be true to your school; play a role in change

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Too often people complain about government action or inaction but go no further than complaining. They don’t even write a letter of suggestion or protest, let alone work to alleviate the problems they complain about.

When it comes to local schools, though, individuals have several opportunities coming up in which they can make a significant and long-lasting difference in their communities.

The biggest is the general election Nov. 4. While there aren’t as many contested races as in the past, there still are a few races. And it is important for people to become acquainted with the candidates and what they stand for and then to vote.

Not voting means throwing away the opportunity to influence the direction the respective school districts are headed in.

In the Center Grove school district, Superintendent Richard Arkanoff wants at least 100 Center Grove parents, business owners, residents and taxpayers to attend two hourlong meetings this school year. At the meetings, the groups will share their opinions about everything from construction projects Center Grove should consider to changes school officials can make in kindergarten through 12th-grade courses to the food served in the cafeteria.

“I want to go into this with a completely open agenda,” Arkanoff said. “Tell me what you’re thinking and what you want.”

School officials and the strategic planning committee, a second group of nearly 100 Center Grove residents, will use those suggestions to create an updated list of goals for the school district by the end of the school year. These will be goals Center Grove can work to achieve within the next three, five and 10 years, Arkanoff said.

“The purpose of this is to get that input, and to then refine it, to make sure we’re on track with what we’re hearing from the community, or what we think we’re hearing,” Arkanoff said.

This is the second time Arkanoff has reached out to the community to create a list of long-term goals for Center Grove. The first was shortly after he was hired in 2011, which is when he originally reconvened the school district’s strategic planning committee with between 50 and 60 people.

In the Nineveh-Hensley-Jackson school district, supporters and opponents of an expansion plan at Indian Creek Intermediate School are circulating petitions.

If supporters of the $10 million project succeed, an addition will be built to house students currently attending the elementary school on Pearl Street. If the opponents gather more signatures, the project will be shelved for at least a year.

Both sides have until Sept. 26 to gather signatures of district residents and property owners. By signing one of the petitions, school district residents can make a statement about what they want administrators and school board members to do.

As we said, too often critics are content only to complain. But in doing so, they abrogate their responsibilities as citizens in a democracy. By availing themselves of one of the opportunities for action, residents can have a real voice in the future of local school districts.

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