The Longview teachers union on Monday passed a resolution of no confidence in the process that led a citizens committee to recommend that the city’s two high schools be merged.
Longview Education Association President Jo Perkins read a resolution to the school board listing 13 complaints, including that teachers were not consulted during the process and were even told not to talk to students about it.
At Monday’s board meeting, members of the Longview School Buildings Advisory Committee formally presented their merger recommendation. The board is not expected to take action on it for months, perhaps not until late summer.
The 48-member committee is recommending that the district merge the two high schools into one at the Monticello/R.A. Long campus, combine the three middle schools into two and shut Northlake and Broadway elementary schools.
School Board president Jerry Stinger said the board will study the recommendation in depth before making a decision.
“This is not a race,” Stinger said. “We have time to look at this thoroughly.”
Building committee members Bob Guide and Jody Kirkpatrick presented the three-page recommendation.
“We’ve been waiting for you guys to come,“ Stinger said. “Now we pop the top off this thing and as a community we can begin to discuss it.”
Board member Jennifer Leach asked Guide, a member of the school board the last time Northlake was closed, if he had “any words of wisdom” for them.
Before he could answer, Perkins, the union president, called out from the audience, “Duck and cover comes to mind!”
Guide replied, “Pray a lot. I think we all need a little bit more guidance.”
The teachers union represents about 375 faculty members, and 89 of them participated in Monday’s vote of no confidence, passing it 86 to 3.
School board member James Campbell said he wants to make sure teachers’ voices are heard, but Perkins said after the meeting that she’ll “wait and see. The district has never gone out of its way to get teacher input on this process. This (resolution) was our effort in trying to make that happen.”
The board scheduled a study session at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 25 to assemble a list of questions members say must be answered before they do anything else. The session is open to the public.
The board also agreed with the committee’s suggestion that an independent consultant be brought in to verify the costs, classroom sizes, enrollment projections and other figures provided by the DLR Group, the consultant that guided the committee process.