Mayor responds to School District claim on discord on closed schools

February 29, 2012

Yesterday I posted an email from a concerned citizen about his request that the playground at the close Allie Yniestra Elementary School be made available to neighborhood kids. He stated the Deputy Superintendent Norm Ross said that the School District wanted to make the resources available but “there is a divide between the Mayor’s Office and City Council and he would want to work with both parties.”

I asked Derek Cosson, Public Information Officer for Mayor Ashton Hayward, what he thought about Ross’ comments and is there any discord with the Pensacola City Council and the Mayor’s Office over the closed school properties. Hayward reiterated that he is still waiting for a response from Supt. Thomas to his September 2011 letter, and there is no division between his office and the city council on the use of school playgrounds or the reuse of closed school facilities.

His official response:

Mayor Hayward has raised the issue of vacant, taxpayer-owned, School District buildings and property several times, both publicly and privately, with the Superintendent and his administration. We are still awaiting a response to the Mayor’s September 2011 letter asking the District to adopt an acceptable facilities reuse policy. There is no division, real or perceived, between the Mayor and Council on the use of this playground or the reuse of closed school facilities in general, and any suggestion to the contrary is just not accurate.

At some point, Supt. Thomas and his team are going to learn that the public and this newspaper have the ability to check their statements, and he can not bully other elected officials like he does teachers and the African-American community. Their game of “we-they” –something that Quint Studer has written about in his “Hardwiring Excellence” and “Results that Last” — doesn’t work when parties outside of Thomas’ control communicate and share information. I doubt Norm Ross ever thought his placing the blame on the Mayor’s Office would become public.

Facts and truth win out.


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  • Ames March 1, 2012 at 8:03 am

    Maybe the PTA can form an advocacy group and make presentations before both the public and the school board addressing the needs of the students, teachers, and community.

  • james March 1, 2012 at 6:26 am

    oh I am sure anyone put in that job and attempting to effect meaningful change would receive backlash from the entrenched administration. We don’t need another tender of the existing system – we need a change agent and you will never get that as long as this is an elected position.

  • Leroy Carter February 29, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    A number of years ago there was a supt who was a retired Navy educator, can’t remember his name but he got lots of flack from teachers etc.

  • jim davison February 29, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    people – electing a new superintendent and board members will change NOTHING because the only people who run for the positions are entrenched insiders of the very system that needs a radical overhaul. The only way to change the cycle of doom is to make the change to an appointed superintendent WITH NO TIES to current administration and let them bring in a big broom. The definition of insanity is….

    Just like changing the city charter which appears to be the best thing that has happened here in decades.

  • Eric2 February 29, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    I think the Studer Group’s methods are a good start at improving the school system.
    Here is a link to their bookstore:

  • What a way to run a school system February 29, 2012 at 11:10 am

    September 2011 the Mayor writes a letter proposing use by the taxpayers of a taxpayer funded unused and idle property.

    Thomas and the school board – continue working on their collection of vacant properties and excuses.

  • observer February 29, 2012 at 10:51 am

    We have a chance to change Superintendent and 2 board members in November….

  • Leroy Carter February 29, 2012 at 10:16 am

    The school district never changes, it does not matter who the supt is. They don’t feel like they have to work with any other gov entity. We need a new supt and board members.

  • jeeperman February 29, 2012 at 8:43 am

    Until there is a response from Supt. Thomas to the Sept. 11, 2001 letter, there most certainly IS a divide between the City and the School District.