Fri07252014

Last updateWed, 19 Nov 2014 8pm

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Citizens’ actions speak louder than words

Colonial Beach citizens packed the meeting room on June 12, to show support for the town’s school system. Comments were heard from about a dozen speakers supporting the school system. Those who did not speak showed their support with precisely timed applause, boos and other derogatory noises. At times, the audience stomped, clapped and booed in unison to drown out Council’s comments they didn’t want to hear. Residents, teachers and parents spoke in support of the school.

The most compelling citizen comment, however, came from a resident who spoke few words, but her actions said so much more - Kimmette Canady.

Canady is a longtime resident of Colonial Beach who lives by modest means, routinely comes to meetings and town-sponsored events and rarely has an unkind word to say to anyone.

Canady came to the podium holding a can in her hand, asking if School Board Chairman Tim Trivett could come up; she wanted to give him something.  

Canady was shaking, and her words were short, but her delivery and actions spoke volumes. As she spoke, her voice started at an even tone, and then became a mix of anger and sadness as she continued. Canady’s speech was broken by deep breaths, and she was shaken.

Holding up a can, she said, “In this can... to show my support... for this school district, I took up all the change... I had in my pockets and my wallet and I would like to give this. It may not be much,” yelling the last part, she ended with, “but at least we can start by grassroots. Thank You!”

Canady then left the podium abruptly, handed the can to Trivett and stormed away back into the audience.
Robin Baker reminded the council about a previous meeting where Council gave the public the impression that they would fully fund the school.

Baker said, “If you don’t fund the school properly, the children will not receive the proper education; they will not have a proper lifestyle, and that will lead to violence, disrespect and destruction. Now, is that what you want for our town? I know that is not what I want.”

Baker added, “If we fail these children, remember that not only will their future be affected, but so will ours.”
School Board Member and town resident Vicky Roberson read a letter from fellow resident Marcy Feltner, who wrote to the Town Council how she came to this town, fell in love with it and how important the school is to the town.

Angela Brann, whose deceased son was an alumni student of Colonial Beach and currently has two other sons who attend school here, asked, “Please consider supporting the schools and the kids all the way.” She appealed to the council not to take the sports programs away from the kids.

When Brann gave her address as simply, Ridge Road, Brubaker made the comment that she doesn’t even live in town.

Andre Watts, an alumni student of Colonial Beach who overcame great odds in his life while attending Colonial Beach Schools, stood before the council dressed in a suit and standing tall. He asked the council to support the schools and find something for the kids to do in town.

CBHS Teacher Veronica Reynolds began, “The good news is I’m not going to tell you how to do anything.”

Reynolds said she sent an email out to the council on her views. She said what she was there to do was to thank a whole bunch of people for support of the school and the children. Reynolds thanked supporters of the National Honor and Junior Honor Society Inductions, citizens who contributed to the school in time of need after the fire, continuing supporters of scholarships and the town council.

“I know the school has not necessarily gotten what we’ve asked for, but I appreciate your taking the time to fully think about this.” Reynolds told the council she would not want to be in their shoes.

Tracey Jones said, “On Monday, Council told us that no one on the council was against the schools; then an email went out the very next day that said that several people on the council were responsible for citizens and parents showing up at the meeting on Monday as a small special interest group. I don’t know why this person would assume that parents or citizens are not smart enough or capable of making their own decisions concerning the school.” Jones listed her relatives that graduated from and attended Colonial Beach Schools. Jones added, “It needs to be funded. It is not a sinking ship, as some say; the school is here to stay. And with your power have the ability to make sure it stays for years to come.”

Former Councilman Tim Curtin, who resigned his seat early last year, feels the town is reliving the same story and the school is being blamed for all the problems in town.

Curtin said the school has been called “mediocre” and “a sinking ship”. He asked sarcastically, “So it’s the school system’s fault that our water and sewer system was in such bad shape that we were willing to go $4 million in debt a couple of years ago, and are facing nearly that much more debt just to catch up on maintenance that should have been ongoing for the last three decades?”  

Curtin continued to list items that he said sarcastically, “I guess it was the school system’s fault...” Items listed included old police cars, the police working out of rented office space, the high school maintenance issues, the black mold in Town Hall and two other town-owned buildings on the same block that have also “met the same fate for the same reasons.”

“Could it be that all these things are not the school’s fault, but maybe the town’s fault?”

Curtin, who believes the town’s problems are the result of a lack of tourism, asked the council to recommit to tourism. Curtin’s other suggestions were cut short by the Mayor after Councilwoman Linda Brubaker’s repeated objections to allowing Curtin to speak after the allotted 3 minutes.

Citizen, William Flammer said, “I support the school system; however, I don’t support the school system in the event that it’s gonna ruin the whole town. But, I think we can do a better job of management of the town. We have a lot of people in this town that are way overpaid.” Flammer told the council he thinks they “do a piss-poor, at best, job” of managing the town. Flammer said he feels there is wasteful spending, which, he said, a lot of comes from the police department and public works.

Flammer said he “heard a bunch of parents and kids on Monday crying and complaining that their school was gonna shut down, and they were going to be in Montross going to school.” Flammer brought up that four boards have to approve, and the school board will not approve “so, that is going to make that a dead issue.”

Flammer closed by telling the council they have “the biggest inability to communicate with the citizens” and stated, “You work for us; we do not work for you.”

Town Council has a work session scheduled for Thursday, June 26, at 4:30 p.m.

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