Friday, May 29, 2009

Pres. of Shoreline Historical Museum's Board responds to Shoreline Schools concerning future of Ronald School

A letter from Bob Phelps (President pro tem of the Shoreline Historical Museum Board of Trustees) concerning the Ronald School/Shoreline Historical Museum brouhaha:

To quote Shoreline School District spokesman Derringer from a recent RonaldBog blog about the Shoreline Historical Museum: "Museum leadership was specifically notified of this process as far back as April 2008. Members of the Museum staff and board have been present at all of the Community Outreach meetings for the Shorewood design planning, where the process has been transparent and inclusive."

As President pro tem of the Shoreline Historical Museum Board of Trustees, I have considerable interest in what Mr. Derringer has said. First, an April 30, 2008 letter from Superintendent Walker was indeed sent to the Museum, stating that the District leadership would recommend "that the District not enter into any agreements and/or obligations that would limit future options with respect to the Shorewood site." This does NOT say that the Museum would be kicked out of the historic Ronald Elementary School! The words "future options" were not elaborated upon. Second, several of us from the Museum attended the last Community Outreach meeting (on March 19) where four possible designs for a rebuilt Shorewood High School were made available for public comment. All the designs showed that the Ronald School would remain and there was absolutely no hint whatsoever that the the Museum would be evicted from the building. This cannot be said to be "transparent".

It is quite possible that the Museum would still be unaware of the School District's plans if I hadn't seen an announcement in Boeing Creek Park of a meeting that the Richmond Highlands Neighborhood Association was to have with Superintendent Walker on April 5, to discuss the future of Shorewood High School. Since any rebuild of the high school could impact the museum, I attended the meeting (along with ten or so other people from the neighborhood) and naturally asked about the future status of the Museum. I was stunned when Ms Walker stated that she could find a couple of other sites where it could be located in the future. That is absolutely the first time anyone connected with the Museum knew of the School District's plans. Moreover, I hadn't introduced myself at the meeting as a member of the Museum Board, simply as a retired math professor (since Ms Walker introduced herself by saying that she had started out teaching math at Shorewood).

It is very difficult for me to conclude that "the process has been transparent and inclusive"; quite the opposite.

Bob Phelps

Link to read all posts about this issue

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