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Thursday July 24th 2014

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Mayor responds to School District claim on discord on closed schools


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.

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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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