Drake: is Superintendent Birdwell really hearing the Hopi community?

Wait a minute. Did I hear you say you “heard” the community and would not make the same mistakes again. Did you mean it?

The community at Hopi cafeteria last Monday night told you it felt excluded from the design process regarding Hopi School. You told that group that you heard it, and you would not make the mistakes you made at Hopi going forward.

Then, on Tuesday at the SUSD board meeting, you told the assembly that because you heard the community’s complaints, you were sorry that people felt you were excluding the community from the process. That was never your intent, you said, because you value and need community support.

You told us that you had reached out to four community members for input to the board. That sounded promising, although it seemed a rather small group. I even wrote you to volunteer my services and participate, and suggested you include some who had criticisms of the process to lend credibility to decisions or recommendations of your little group.

To date, you have not responded to that message. There is also a message Sondra took this afternoon asking that you call regarding participating on that group. Today, I learned that your little group consists of four people who were original members of the Hopi Rebuild Committee, and that you met with them today.

I guess they did such a good job getting the word out and representing the community the first time that you wanted them to do it again. No other or fresh ideas needed. By the way, have you posted the agenda or minutes of the meeting somewhere so people in the community can learn about the discussions?

Did you really hear us, Dr. Birdwell?

What the folks at Hopi asked for was an open and transparent process. What you are doing with this subset of the original Rebuild Committee is not open and transparent.

Why does it have to be that way? It makes people think there is something that you don’t want them to see or know. And, it makes them doubt your sincerity and credibility.

Open it up!

Editor’s note: Mr. Drake is a Phoenix resident

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