Hickman Mills Superintendent Strikes Again

Apparently the Smith-Hale Middle School property isn’t all the Hickman Mills School District is attempting to dump no matter what the community’s feelings or thoughts.

What once was the administration building is actually on the chopping block as we speak. Many will think this was a school board decision so the superintendent isn’t to blame, but in my many years of observing local school districts, that’s not exactly the case. Superintendents generally have a way of getting what they want. The Hickman Mills School Board has sadly been fairly political the last few years, so maybe the problem is that the Superintendent simply isn’t savvy enough to run this district. Guess that would be another reason to hire locally.

While he will tell you the trails are important to the district and the community, it doesn’t seem to matter that

-this is an award-winning building
-the land has been consecrated by Indigenous Peoples from Haskell Indian Nation University
-it sits on the alignment of the 3Trails: Santa Fe, California, and Oregon
-the trail route actually runs through the building
-it sits on part of KC’s Metro Green initiative

Several trail organizations have been working to preserve what they can. Even MidAmerica Regional Council is involved in the trails project and acknowledges how important this link actually is. Just off school district property there are still actual swales. You can’t get more authentic than that; but apparently the superintendent isn’t concerned. To him it’s an empty building he doesn’t want to think about anymore.

He professes to believe the trails are important and says he would like to incorporate the district’s and community’s history into the curriculum to help students learn about that importance and how lucky they are to be living right here. Now he’s trying to sell off an important piece of it all. That just goes to show words are meaningless.

It also doesn’t matter that the property which is currently zoned residential will need to be rezoned office; something opposed by the community. Of course, no one from the school district even bothered to talk to neighborhoods. They had to find out about it by watching the City Plan Commission dockets.

This superintendent, who came from Vermont and is just finishing his third year here, obviously hasn’t, himself, become a part of the community. This quote appears to be from his Vermont school district: “Goal oriented leader focused on making data-driven decisions,”

“Data-driven decisions”, maybe that’s the issue. Pragmatism isn’t always a good thing.

From what I’ve been able to gather though, his best use of this once proud building was simply going to be for storage anyway, so I’m sure he’s happy to have it off his hands. Perhaps if you think about it, he’s savvier than I’m giving him credit for and the board is simply a scapegoat.