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Mack Pto Charges Promises Broken

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Firm critioKm marked the Mack School PTO's building needs presentation last night at the Ann Arbor Board I of Education briefing session. After citing specific examples of overcrowded classrooms, safety hazards, generally poor facilities and some bitterness, the teachers and parents representing the Mack group members were told by the board that they "would be given a fighting chance to have their entire recommendation for a new building if the millage and bonding proposal is accepted" by voters at the June 14 school election. The educational specifications for Mack School were submitted last March and required an expenditure of $2,490,000. The Elections Proposal Committee has recommended that a facility of a total project value of $2,242,000 be constructed and that this not include a community center as part of the school. Mack parents and faculty charged the board with a "breach of verbal contract" for promising for the past five years to improve the school. Mrs. Margot Ellis, Mack Building committee m e m b e r and librarían, I asked: "When will we reach to the top ' - C s f I U ' of your priority list?" She went on to say that several promises had been made in the last five years but little improvement taken place, and now parents have become angry because their children haven't been given the opportunity to achieve. She then read a parable which concluded that over the last few years Mack School "has been like a child who thinks he is going to Europe and finds out that he is only traveling to Ypsilanti - and this year it seems more like West Park." A Mack parent said if the school was high on the board's priority list in requesting federal and state-funds, then it should remain in high priority. "We're tired of being put off ... I'm tired of seeing my tax money going into other schools. If this board wants this millage and bonding proposal to pass within the community you should make it known that improving Mack is not just doing something for inner city residents, but it serves the central city and parts of the Wines and Haisley áreas too," he said. Another Mack parent emphasized to the board that the issue should not be made to revolve around blacks because white students and parents are also over half of the Mack school community. School Supt. W. Scott Westerman responded to the comments saying that he was very sensitive to the policy issue of equity for the entire school district in establishing where the community centers should be located. Westerman also said, "There is an urgent need for our first priority to be that of a new structure and we shouldn't start any controversy that would defeat this bond issue." But it was his opinión that the Mack Building committee should be involved in the redefinition of the plans if cuts must be made and that they must keep in mind that some sacrifices must be made if community support is going to be won. "I'm stressing that a new building for Mack is essential and that the Mack committee take the reductions in square feet and use this cut in cost for community support," said the superintendent. Questions over the involvement of blacks on the Election and Community Participation Committee for the schools were then directed to Dr'. John Hubley, assistant superintendent for community services. He told the audience that invitations had been issued to several black community organizations but had been refused. One person in the audience said that she belonged to three of the groups mentioned and the invita tions were declined because each of these committees had already been formed before Wacks were asked to join and also that the numbers were too small to be effective. "The board should evalúate why it isn't getting any feedback from the black community and consider a change in its system." "But don't put this issue just on blacks and poors," commented another member of the audience. A Mack teacher then spoke from her second row seat, "I don't see these chil-l dren as black or white but I see their I needs. I may be fired tomorrow for 1 ing all of this . . . then again I may quit I tomorrow ... but we need the $2,490,000 1 school with no deletions." Board President Harold Lockett said I the thrust of the board action is to get I the money for the proposed new school I buildings through public support.