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Carmi Schools Forced to Make a Decision Soon as Buildings are Deteriorating; Open Houses Planned This Week

The Carmi-White County Unit #5 School District is at a crossroads and is asking for the public’s advice as it approaches an important decision concerning the best action to take to resolve the deteriorating condition of three Carmi public school buildings.  Superintendent Brad Lee, Washington Attendance Center Principal Amy Atteberry, and Jefferson and Lincoln Attendance Center Principal Dr. Amy Dixon were guests on Friday’s Open Line Program and Superintendent Brad Lee told WROY how the determination to take serious action came about…

“Back in November 2016, there was a community group that looked at a strategic plan for the school district over the next five years and there were four areas that came out of that we wanted to focus on. One of those was our facilities. Part of that strategic plan, the architect did a study of all our buildings to look at what their needs were. Shortly after that, we went ahead and had him put our district on the school construction grant list with the State Board of Education. We got a buiding facilities group together, made up of a couple of board members, administrators,  some parents, grandparents, and business people in the community, to kind of look at what direction we want to go in order to get the community involved with some possible options for our facilities as the board moves forward. That started back in the early spring of last year. This is not something that just started. It’s been an ongoing process. Now we are to the point where we would like to invite the community into our three buildings.”

Washington Attendance Center was built in 1940, Jefferson in 1939, and Lincoln Attendance Center in 1950, so as one would expect as the buildings get older, problems have developed with the structures at an accelerated pace. Dr. Dixon said the cafeteria at Jefferson still floods due to the old plumbing that is under the basement floor and the boiler is old and breaking down. She explained what Building Pride for Future Bulldogs means to her…

“I just feel, just to cut to the chase, as a building principal it’s my job to advocate for my kids. I feel that my kids deserve, and by my kids I mean the ones Mrs. Atteberry and I are in charge of every day. My personal kids are at the end of their career. They won’t see renovations or a new building or whatever the community decides. I do feel like our kids deserve a better educational environment than what were currently providing. I think the board truly is at a crossroads. Do they put a significant amount of money into our current structure?  Or do they build new?  Or yes, I know the third option is to just continue to put a Band-Aid on the problems, but I truly don’t think that’s acceptable because I feel like our kids are the best thing we’ve got going in our community. I think they are truly our greatest resource. Not to sound cliché, but I think they deserve it. Our teachers, our custodians, our board, our superintendents, in the past, they’ve all done a great job making the best with what  we’ve got. But, in my opinion, it’s time to either put some significant money into the current structures, so that we can better educate our students or build new, whatever the community chooses to do.”

Amy Atteberry encourages the public to come to one or all of the open houses…

“I do encourage everybody to come because, the decision hasn’t been made. I think that’s kind of floating out there. We are just going to give out information from the architect and the financial people. We just encourage everyone to come in and have an informed opinion on what is actually going on in the buildings. I think some other things like, why all of a sudden just now, and I think what Mr. Lee talked about, the talk of this started back in 2016. A few years ago, when the state wasn’t paying the bills, we were at a real financial crisis here in the building. Our focus was on the actual staff to educate our students. So now it’s like where we’re kind of able to provide that now, it’s what are we do we need to look at to really continue that excellent education.”

Open houses are scheduled for these dates and locations:

  • 5-8 p.m. (tonight) Nov. 4, Washington Attendance Center
  • 5-8 p.m. (Thursday) Nov. 7, Jefferson Attendance Center
  • 9 a.m. – Noon (Saturday) Nov. 9, Lincoln Attendance Center


You are not just invited, bur urged, to attend one or more of these events and learn about the challenges facing teachers, students and those whom you’ve entrusted to plan the future of the Carmi-White County Unit #5 School District.