"I don't know what's more distressing, the fact that the schools seem to be failing or the fact that the community cares so little."
Parents for Public Schools president Tommy Little is responding to the low turnout at Monday's public forum on the upcoming proposed budget for the Meridian Public School District. Although the final budget will ultimately affect the taxes people pay, Little and other district officials say from looking at Mondays attendance and also that at past similar meetings, many people don't seem to care and this includes parents.
However, outgoing MPS Parent Teacher Association president Connie Shanon says in general, the bigger issue is time. The parents we talked to agree.
"Being a single parent, I have 4 kids says Edna Grace. I care a lot but I just can't make it to the meetings."
"It's just a lot of pressure trying to be everywhere,” says Bertha Pierce. “You don't have time to go to meetings because when you get off work you've got to make sure they're fed, bath and it's there's no time left."
"I don't when the best time is to have such public forums,” says Shannon. “A lot of times people have to make a choice of losing work time or meet with teachers and administrators and it shouldn't be a choice that they have to make. Employers need to realize that it's vitally important for parents to be there and they need to make allowances so they can."
"We're just going to have to come together as a community if we're going to move forward on education," says Little.