I have had a couple of community members ask me why we haven’t been paying attention to facilities over the last couple of decades. I took their comments as being both critical of past administrations and skeptical of today’s need. Being a person that really doesn’t spend much time looking back, I try to explain that previous administrations did deal with facilities. That’s why they are operational and well-maintained today without any public debt to make it so. I remind them that previous administrations dealt with the realities of the time. Studies have been done and action has been taken to include closing/opening schools and upgrading as finances allowed. GFPS has never settled for a “do nothing” attitude. That is as true today as it has always been.

As to the skepticism of today’s need, I remind them that sometimes an issue comes to light when there are fresh eyes studying it. As a first-year superintendent, last year I looked at a plethora of challenges GFPS must face in the future. My fresh pair of eyes cycled facilities to the top of the strategic plan with a process for addressing it. Our Trustees are supporting the process and we are moving forward.

The facts cannot be denied. Our aging buildings, increasing enrollments and programmatic expectations make it a necessity to act. I really can’t see any reason to delay these conversations. If not now, when?

I was heartened by the staff attendance at the meeting last Wednesday. I sensed that these folks really want to be part of the process to ensure our public school buildings are viable educational facilities for generations to come. I invite all staff members to the discussion meetings to be held in March. The first one is tonight. You can find the agenda here: http://www.gfps.k12.mt.us/sites/default/files/03-02-2015%20Facility%20Agenda.pdf. I am excited to do this important work with you by my side. If not us, who? See you soon!

Take care. Be safe. Stay well.