PEORIA -- Back under Supt. Ken Hinton's administration, two new schools were constructed in Peoria District 150 and designed to be community schools, with services open to neighborhood residents.
Those knowledgeable about the district's history say a grant from Bradley University helped fund these new schools, Harrison and Glen Oak, as community schools.
Well, that was then. Today, at Harrison School, the fitness equipment in the weight room "has been moved to another location," a school official told the School Board at its Oct. 9 meeting. (Wonder where it went?) The weight room has been turned into a classroom.
Activist Terry Knapp brought up the disappearance of the community school concept during the public comments at the meeting. Though the meetings are now being streamed on the district's website, the public comments are censored out of the live streaming.
Knapp was the only citizen speaker at this meeting. He questioned the board's long term planning, when needed classrooms were required, causing the evaporation of the community school concept.
His five minutes of comments can be heard here.
Knapp didn't mention it, but if the board had done better planning, the district would not be short of classroom space. The board allowed its superintendents to close too many schools, disrupting students and whole communities, supposedly to save money.
But the deficits remain, the test scores are down, and middle class families continue to flee District 150.
Another question that was not mentioned: Has the district violated the terms of the grant funding?
-- Elaine Hopkins