BOWLING GREEN, OH (WTOL) - Bowling Green City Schools are handing over the reins to their community. Neighbors came together Tuesday for the first time to discuss the district's future.
Bowling Green students returned to school just a week ago, but Tuesday afternoon all you could hear through the halls were fans blowing. The hot temperatures shut down their buildings.
"I don't want to release at 12:30 when the heat gets over 90 degrees," said Jeff Dever, Principal at Bowling Green High School. "I don't want that to happen, so I want to be able to continue education for these kids."
Tuesday nearly 100 people gathered for the first facility meeting. Community members voted down the districts past two ballot initiatives, so the school board handed the power back to the people. Allowing them a voice in what is ahead for their buildings and ultimately their students.
"I think we've got some serious issues with our schools," said Barbara Keller, a BG resident. "Doing nothing is not an option, there needs to be something done."
"I want to know, what's the options? I mean can we improve on what we have or do we have to build new," asked Sara Moomaw, a BG resident.
"I believe that we have to continue to make our district attractive to other people that want to move into our district," said Jeff Dever.
Neighbors will form two committees one will focus on facilities and a second on funding the facility plan. Funding is one of the biggest concerns for some in the BG community.
"I'd like the information to get out to the people because it is a big raise in your taxes and people at my age have to watch where our money goes," said Sara Moomaw. "So we want to make sure it goes in the correct places."
"I think there are a lot of self-serving people that are not looking at the kids," explained Barbara Keller. "Education is going to cost money, it costs money to build buildings, but that shouldn't hold us back."
After a contentious election, neighbors on both sides will dedicate several hours to investigate options, learn about the process, decide what's best and prepare a recommendation. They will work with experts along the way too, outside consultants. The financial team will work with Rockmill Financials and the facilities committee possibly with Fanning Howey.
They are excited to get to work.
"Very few school districts take this approach," explained David Conley, president of Rockmill Financials and outside consultant for the committee. "It's a great opportunity to sort of start over and review all of the needs to answer questions that some people felt didn't get answered last time. It gives them an opportunity to meet with other experts to provide the advice that they feel like they need to make the best decision."
Consultants said neighbors will set the pace of their plans and have full control over what they recommend in the end.