FAIRBORN — Fairborn’s City Council and school board plan to work more closely going forward on varying projects.
Members and elects from both entities met during a citizens forum Monday, Nov. 23, in which they asked the community what they expect of them and how they would like to see them work together.
“We’re all interdependent,” Executive Director Paul Newman Jr. of the Fairborn Area Chamber of Commerce said. “As the school goes, so do the businesses and as the city goes, so do the businesses and schools. We all have to play in the same sandbox and to address the question — what are the expectations — to continue the tight-knit relationship and ensure that when issues do pop up that you have to face and solve, either on the school side, city side or business side, that we make those problems visible and the problem-solving process transparent so we all know where we’re at and proceeding in a forward direction toward a common goal.”
City officials recognized its role in the district’s building project. Although no decisions have been made regarding whether the district will renovate its current educational facilities or construct new, officials have identified the community’s desire to see a campus concept in the future.
The city would then get involved by stepping in and acknowledging new roads and businesses that would be put in place nearby that location. Council hopes to identify whether or not citizens would desire a community center in the future, and if it would be appropriate to have it located within the school; it could get involved with the project in this manner as well.
“I really believe that it’s going to be ‘us’ from here on out,” Mayor Dan Kirkpatrick of the City of Fairborn said. “It’s not going to be the school board and city council doing their own separate things. We have come to understand that the issues we have in Fairborn, including the business issues, can’t be solved if we’re not working together.”
Citizens raised concerns regarding improving Fairborn City School’s image and ensuring that the community stays informed about the positive happenings within the district. School Board Elect Katie Mlod identified a working Facebook page that could serve as such.
Meanwhile, Board Elect Pat McCoart said each board member will serve as a liaison for other local entities, such as Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, the City of Fairborn and Wright State University, and that they are hoping to get the board meetings televised again and said, “this is probably going to be the most approachable board in a long time.”
“If we improve the district and improve the image of the district, that should draw more people into the city, and help bring businesses into the open store fronts,” Board Elect Jerry Browning said. “That’s one of our biggest priorities — how do we change the perception, especially externally from the community — of Fairborn City Schools, so we can attract more people into the city.”
Mlod, McCoart and Browning will begin their terms after being sworn in Jan. 14. They also talked of moving the school board meetings from occurring the second Thursday evening of the month to the first Thursday evening of the month, and having them take place at Fairborn High School instead of within the council chambers in the Fairborn Government Center. The location change will begin at the next school board meeting, Dec. 10, while the meeting night change will not occur until after the new members are sworn in.
“There is an energy within these two entities (council and school board) that I have not seen in this community in a long, long time,” Browning said. “It was always ‘them’ and ‘us’ — well, welcome to ‘we.’ That’s the way we’re heading, and it’s going to be fun.”
The next citizens forum will take place Jan. 25 at Faircreek Church, and will cover mental illnesses within the community and local available resources.
Whitney Vickers can be reached by calling her directly at 937-502-4532, or by following her on Twitter by searching for @wnvickers. For more content online, visit our website or like our Facebook page.