Tempers flare over TPS minority contractor stats

By Tanieya Lewis - bio | email

Posted by Lisa Strawbridge - email

TOLEDO (WTOL) - Tempers were on edge Friday, April 10 as serious questions were raised on the progress of the Toledo Public Schools (TPS) "Building for Success" project.

What was supposed to be a quiet meeting quickly turned to a squabbling session with former TPS Board Member Larry Sykes pointing fingers. "How do we get this school board in line? I think the fact that they're here is... How can somebody sit up and say with all the money that they spent with their attorney, that they didn't know they could break it out."

Current School Board Member Lisa Sobecki retaliated. "I have something to say here. Larry, I was never invited to this meeting. Never knew about it. Heard about it through the grape vine. But I showed up, because I care."

The issue is the lack of minority contractors building schools that are part of the district's Building for Success program.

To fix the problem, the director of the Ohio School Facilities Commission (OSFC) said the contracts could be broken down.

The push didn't sit well with Sykes. "We're tired of it. I'll speak for myself, I'm tired of it. As a professional, and as a citizen, I'm tired of it. I don't want to meet anymore."

As tensions heat up, Michael Shoemaker warns anything that slows down progress will put funding for remaining projects at risk. "Particularly with Scott because we've worked hard on that project, to get that back into the box."

Sykes said, "I don't think they get it, and if it takes us holding up a stimulus package, if it takes us denying bonding, so be it. If it takes us voting you out of office, it's going to happen."

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