What in the world is going on with the Enterprise City Schools Board and the superintendent?
At the July 30, 2019 EBOE work session, several capital projects were discussed, including replacing the grass in Wildcat Stadium with artificial turf. Fast forward to the September 2020 EBOE meeting. The board approved the school’s five-year capital plan with Superintendent Greg Faught saying among the renovations planned could be the inclusion of a synthetic turf at Wildcat Stadium, which would be considered in the next few years.
The next few years turned into the next few months, passing at warp speed. At the Jan. 26 BOE meeting, the board approved the purchase of a new synthetic turf for Wildcat Stadium.
What’s the rush? Replacing the turf now will disrupt the boys and girls soccer team’s schedule and those seniors will not be able to finish their high school careers on their own home field. In addition, it is extremely doubtful if they begin work today, this project will be completed in time for the 2021 seniors to graduate in their home stadium, not Bates Memorial Stadium as has been suggested.
It’s amazing to see how things have changed in the last 14 years. After the tornado of 2007 destroyed Enterprise High School and Hillcrest Elementary, the administration and school board at that time bent over backwards to make sure students could finish the school year as normally as possible, including graduation ceremonies at Bates. Volunteers from out of town even came on the weekends and picked glass, nails and metal out of the grass so there would be no danger of anyone getting hurt.
Those reporters from our publication covering the 2007 graduation fought back tears and raw emotions while seeing this class standing gratefully and humbly after surviving unimaginable horror and destruction of the school they loved in shambles next to their stadium while losing two of their classmates in the storm.
But Bates was THEIR venue for graduation. Wildcat Stadium is the class of 2021’s stadium. This school year has brought a different kind of struggle to these students. A pandemic totally uprooted their whole senior year, from distance learning to cancelled pep rallies, no travel to away games and limited tickets to see their own Wildcats play for a state basketball championship.
If the grass is going to be replaced by artificial turf, why in the world was this project not bid and started at the end of football season in the fall of 2020? The anticipated completion of work is supposed to be after 70 days. If work had begun the first of November, it would be done, probably in time for soccer season to start. We won’t even discuss what was the projected completion of the baseball and softball fields on campus.
Where are the members of the board? As far as we know, they never have work sessions. If they do, we are never notified. There seem to be no questions asked, no debate about issues that are brought before the board.
At last Friday’s board meeting when the superintendent announced the construction would move ahead, no questions were asked of him. No comments were made by board members when given the opportunity.
One of the board members even posted on his Facebook page Saturday morning that his desire was for the seniors to graduate in Wildcat Stadium. Why didn’t he speak up during the meeting? Why did no one question Faught when he said the turf must be immediately installed?
The same board member posted Monday that he wanted to call a special meeting to postpone the turf installation but was blocked by the superintendent. The board makes policy; it is the job of the superintendent to implement that policy.
It seems the board and their leader have lost sight of why they are there: for the students. They are there to make sure everything is done first and foremost for the betterment of our students.
Kicking the seniors to the curb sends a message–and it’s not a very good one. Someone needs to stand up for these students, or get out of the way for someone who will.