Community members express concerns with DD2

  • Friday, April 18, 2014

At a called-in board meeting April 13, members of DD2’s Citizen Oversight Committee expressed concerns over the level of communication going on between board members and the public.

Christine LaRue, vice chair for the committee, took the podium during public comments to address the board about its decision to terminate the district’s contract with M.B. Kahn, the contractor hired to handle the district’s building project.

DD2 made the decision in March to terminate its contract with M.B. Kahn, citing budgeting conflicts when the contractor began estimating prices that were above what the district had anticipated for the building project.

LaRue told the board she and other committee members were worried about the decision to fire M.B. Kahn.

“We’re concerned about the risks that that entails, and we just want the district to know that those kinds of things are what we all went into this trying to avoid,” she said.

LaRue said in the future there will be more schools to be built and another referendum, and that passing or not passing those future referendums will be determined based on how the board currently goes about making decisions.

“The trust level that is out there in our community is very high,” she said. “They trust the board and think you’re doing a wonderful job, but there are some concerns, and there is an opportunity to keep that trust level high or to take a different path.”

LaRue went on to say that she does not necessarily feel that the board should re-hire M.B. Kahn, but that all proposals for the district’s building projects need to be considered – the same goes for the aquatic center, which still does not have a site location.

“We just want to make sure the board is listening and is giving concern and care to all those different proposals that are being put forth out there,” LaRue said.

After LaRue was finished other Citizen Oversight Committee members, and Joe Braund, chairman of the Dorchester County Taxpayers Association, added on to what LaRue said about M.B. Kahn.

“Your credibility is eroding – it’s eroding really fast because you’re not communicating effectively, and that’s it,” Braund told the board.

The board also received feedback from Tom Wallington, director of development for MeadWestvaco, who is working the new middle school of the arts and elementary school project on Summers Drive.

Wallington said MeadWestvaco is excited about the ongoing project.

“I think the planning works well together, I think the team you have and we have work well together, and we’ve really created a great place,” Wallington said. “I just wanted to express our support of what you’ve done and the way we’ve all worked together.”

Board Chairwoman Gail Hughes thanked everyone who came to speak to the board.

“Know that you have been heard and we do appreciate you coming and speaking,” she said.

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