From wall to wall and even the floor, about 100 concerned residents crowded a small room to voice their concerns to the school board about pressing issues within the Meridian Public School District.
They waited 2 and a half hours to speak after three extensive executive sessions. These residents said, however long it took, to call for action and change within the district, they were willing to wait it out.
Dozens posed questions about how the lowering of the accreditation status from fully accredited to "advised" would impact students and the district as a whole? Were board members going to draft policies regarding accountability with administration and teachers for the next school year? And would the board consider continuing to allow teachers to place their children at the schools of their choice?
Many said they thought they would get answers from board members and the superintendent, but that wasn't the case.
Board president Edward Lynch said the public forum is designed to listen to concerns, that it's not a Q and A session or a dialog. So many, like Cynthia Griffin, left the meeting saying they were frustrated.
"I can't get answers. I don't know if it's being followed up on," Griffin said.
A hot issue was uniform changes. While officials never confirmed verbally if the current uniform policy would be changed or not, officials already prepared a document addressed to faculty and staff answering that question.
The document was made available to those in attendance at the first community forum at Wesley House a few weeks ago. The letter states "the information included in this document is meant to provide factual answers to questions and issues of concern."
There are about 20 issues listed with answers including the uniform policy next year.
In the document, the question regarding school uniforms states, "What is the uniform policy for the upcoming school year?" The answer is, "Wildcats royal blue shirts ONLY. Khaki and black bottoms (pants/skirts/shorts). Copies of the dress code policy will be available at each school site during registration and on the district web site by July 1, 2009."
"I don't understand why parents were not notified and why we were not allowed to give input, and who are making all these decisions?" Griffin said.