Brumby Elementary School PTA had a town hall meeting Tuesday night where about 40 parents came out and asked their most pressing questions to county officials, only to hear that there were few, if any, immediate solutions.
Cobb Board of Education member Scott Sweeney, as well as Robin Lattizori, the east Cobb area assistant superintendent; and Nick Parker, the district’s SPLOST director, addressed questions Brumby parents had, ranging from nutrition, to class sizes, bus routes and trailers.
They were joined by Commissioner Bob Ott and Noreen Deady, a transportation field coordinator for the school.
Parents from Brumby Elementary have been vocal at Board of Education meetings, wearing bright T-shirts and complaining about overcrowding and maintenance issues at the school.
Within the next few months, the board will pick two elementary schools that will be rebuilt with funds from SPLOST IV, and Brumby parents asked if they were in the running to be one of the schools selected.
“I have been fighting for Brumby. I can’t tell you today it will be one of the schools, but I can tell you I’m fighting for it,” Sweeney said.
Parker echoed Sweeney’s optimism, saying, “Brumby is on our list, I can assure you that.”
A new school building would not be built at least in the next two years, and parents had pressing concerns they said need to be addressed sooner.
Like the morning bus line.
“I have to leave my house at 6:50 a.m., I get in the car line at 7:03 a.m., and I don’t pull out of the school until 7:15 a.m., and I have to be at work by 7:30 a.m.,” said Joann Horton, a parent of two children at Brumby.
She and many other parents begged the panel for immediate solutions, including more police officers and a crosswalk for families to park across Powers Ferry Road where they could cross the street with their children to reduce traffic in the car line.
Ott promised that he would look into their requests, and jotted down a note for himself. By Wednesday afternoon, Ott said that he had worked with the county to install an electronic message board in front of the school, warning drivers that students would be crossing.
Extra police officers had been sent out to enforce the speed limit in front of the school, Ott said, and the county’s transportation department was visiting the school this week to see what could be done to ameliorate the traffic in the drop-off lines.
There were also complaints about class sizes.
One parent noted her child’s kindergarten class was 27 students, another complained that her 1st grader was in one of 17 trailers at the school.
Brumby has grown by 200 students in the last year, said Principal Amanda Richie, an increase that mandated additional trailer classrooms. She said that the school could hold about 700 students, and currently had around 1,100 students.
Lattizori answered, “It’s a budget issue. Believe me, we all feel the same way, we agree with you 100 percent,” but there is no money to decrease class sizes at this time.
Sweeney agreed, and told the parents, “We are going to be in this situation for a long time. It’s going to take a while to burrow our way out of this” budget situation. Board members, “just don’t know where we are going to come up with the money right now,” he said.
Parents seemed relieved to have their questions answered, although they were not offered many immediate solutions.
It will take patience and time until solutions for Brumby are found, said a longtime member of Brumby’s PTA, Pilar Kornegay.
“A lot of the parents come in and want things done immediately, but I know that’s not how it works. The process takes time. It’s hard. It’s frustrating, because you want to see changes happen immediately, but I’ve learned they don’t happen overnight,” she said.
Kornegay said she appreciated the honesty the panel members used to answer her questions, but was frustrated to hear some of the answers.
“Did I want to hear that class sizes are going to remain high? No, but everybody appreciated that they were there last night,” she said of the panel members.