With the new school year finally set into a groove, it has been PTO meeting season. While they do appreciate the funding that usually accompanies me on these visits, it’s always so encouraging to interact with parents and see how involved and enthusiastic they are, in particular throughout District 46.
It really does start at home, so many thanks to these parents and the parents of all the children in our district. In these meetings, we’ve discussed school funding - and how it’s never been higher than it is right now - and that I’m continuing to push for even more. Pre-K funding continues to go up, and I think that’s important.
We’ve also discussed school security, which isn’t always a comfortable conversation, but just because it’s uncomfortable doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have it. I’ve shared with these groups that five years ago, the only school that I was ‘buzzed’ into was Bluff Park Elementary. Not a single Homewood or Mountain Brook school required me to buzz in or have my information recorded. Now, five years later, just about every school has or will soon have a multi-layered check-in procedure, and Hoover has been recognized as one of the safest school systems in the country. And I’m proud to say that our efforts to bring SROs to our schools has been successful.
When it comes to where we’ve gotten with our school security and the procedures and personnel we’ve put in place - is this where I want us to be? Of course not - I’m not happy that these are the kinds of things that we have to do now. But, the safety of our children is paramount, and it’s not a simple solution. These are the things that we have to do today to keep our schools secure.
That said, I continue to be encouraged by the involvement of our local PTOs, and their feedback and input helps me to be more connected and be a better representative.