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Students bring back environmental message; board to start running Craig campus

The Friends of King School Board meeting began, after a short Christmas blessing, with the entrance of about 15 members of the high school fraternity, Mu Lambda Kappa (MLK), who described a recent trip to Denver.

“We learned about the environment, ” sophomore Earl Thomas said, “and ways to make it better. They told us we can come back to our own communities, and showed us ways we can make our own community better.  It was cold.”

Group mentors described the fraternity’s recent efforts to help the community. Mu Lambda Kappa’s recent actions included visiting a fellow student who is homebound with medical problems, and mentoring students at the elementary school. The group then handed out small Christmas presents to board members.

Board President Hilda Young praised the group.

“I know you all have very, very high expectations. I ask them, ‘What are you doing?  Where are you going to school?’  They always have a minute to stop and talk with me.”

Next on the agenda was voting on the disbursement of incentive pay for the staff at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. School for Science and Technology.  The board decided in January to offer incentives for the end of the calendar year if student-performance objectives were met.

“I think it’s wonderful,” said Principal Doris Hicks.  “We checked our budget and everything is clear.”

Next, the board discussed the news that it will receive charter for Joseph A. Craig Elementary.

“It was not easy,” Young said.  “It involved four interviews with various people. We did get superior ratings in everything.”

Craig, a kindergarten through eighth-grade school, received an F in the most recent round of grades.

“It’s going to be a challenge,” Hicks said. “But I think, when you put children first, it’s going to be OK.”

Finally, the board discussed its fight for a building. The Friends of King board holds a charter for a high school, but it must still teach its students in temporary portable units. Board members were disappointed last month when the school had received no building assignment. A building under construction on the site of Alfred Lawless High School is listed as “TBD.”

Since that time, the board has tried to take what they feel is the community’s case to RSD Superintendent John White.  Board Attorney Tracie Washington described meetings between White and the community.

White said he’d heard from someone in the community, whom White didn’t identify, that there was opposition to the plan, Washington said.

To her and other members of the Board, the mission then became proving to White that the community was 100 percent united in wanting a Martin Luther King High School run by the Friends of King School.  For members of the board, there is little doubt that such support exists.

“We have a waiting list of kids who want to come to King High School,” Young said. “We just don’t have the facilities.”

Board members present at the meeting were Young, Secretary Cora Charles, and board members Gail Armant, Sandra Monroe, and Thelma Ruth. Tardy were Kenya Rounds and George Rabb.  The meeting began at 12:10 p.m. and ended an hour later.

The next meeting is scheduled for Jan. 11.

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