THOMAS A. COLEMAN, JR.,
SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS
856/769-0144, EXT. 252 (firstname.lastname@example.org )
"Honor the Past ● Confront the Present ● Embrace the Future”
NEW $9.96M SCHOOL FACILITIES PLAN SET FOR VOTE ON NOVEMBER 6th
The plan will address emergent needs of the district at a fraction of the cost of past defeated referendums which were $67M, $28M, and $27M respectively. It will include new High School science labs, a new Middle School all purpose room, moving 5th grade to the Mary Shoemaker School, and the building of a new Early Childhood Learning Center on East Lake Road.
“You can’t always get what you want…but if you try sometimes, you just might find…
you get what you need.” Mick Jagger
During the course of my first year as Superintendent in 2009-2010, I was charged with the task of creating a long range facility plan to address the curricular and facility needs of our school district. This was presented to me within the context of three previous referendums that were defeated by the public. The people of Woodstown-Pilesgrove had sent a clear mandate. In spite of an impressive amount of research, promotion, and energy by previous board members and school personnel, their efforts were in vain. In my initial assessment of this situation, I found two basic elements that would be the foundation for the next plan. First, the constituents of our district were unwilling to approve funding on major new construction. Second, with the defeat of the three previous referendums, the curricular and spatial needs of the district did not go away; they still existed and needed to be addressed. So the formula became very simple: address the curricular and spatial needs within a much less expensive and less ambitious plan. Although the formula was simple, the design and implementation of such was very daunting. It would require that we collaboratively tap into the best of the creative and innovative talents of our stakeholders to meet this challenge. I found it could be best framed by a motto I have used in the past and one that I had gleaned from the leadership strategies of some of the most successful corporations in the private sector, that being “Honor the Past, Confront the Present, and Embrace the Future”. Guided by these principles, a team of board members and administrators assessed the data from past referendums, determined the current needs of our district, and formulated a plan to address them in the future. It has been a long and difficult process with counterbalancing needs creating taut dynamic tension among all the essential variables that needed to be coalesced to meet our goal. This plan is a manifestation of these dynamics. It does not fully address all of our wants and desires in terms of the long term future. However, it does address what we critically need now and positions us for the future. In essence, to paraphrase a famous rock classic, we may not be getting what many want, but it is essential that we try to get what we need. Additional information will be forthcoming to the public during the next month in the form of publications and through public meetings and via electronic media. However, if you would like to preview a more detailed description of the plan, it is available on our website. Simply click on the "Report for November 2012 Referendum" link on the homepage.