Matthews Elementary parents: School in dire need of maintenance

By WVUA 23 News Student Reporter Giselle Hood

After many parents’ complaints, the Tuscaloosa County Board of Education will be addressing the condition of Matthews Elementary School at its next meeting April 10.

A parent group is calling for action from TCSS regarding the school’s lack of maintenance.

“We want the outside of the building to look just as beautiful as the souls and the kids we have on the inside,” said Kevin Shobe. “Kids are gonna act to what they see. If they feel like no one’s putting the love into them, they’re not gonna act right.”

Major concerns, parents say, include worn out air conditioners and a dirty exterior, which Shobe said the Church of the Highlands has been working to improve.

While it’s great that a local organization is stepping up and helping improve the school, it’s the school system’s responsibility. And when parents and students see the inequalities between their school and others within the system, it’s distressing, Shobe said.

“Pay attention and help us out, that’s it,” Shobe said. “We’re not screaming and hollering. We just want to allocate some of the funds, get some of the stuff cleaned up. So there’s questions we want to know from their numbers.”

TCSS Superintendent Keri Johnson released the following statement to WVUA 23 News:

“If voters had approved a local funding increase for our schools in last month’s referendum, the revenue would have supported the construction of a new building for Matthews Elementary students, as well as facilities improvements across our district. We have 35 schools, and Matthews is just one of several schools in need of renovations or replacement. With our current funding, we will continue doing smaller projects to improve our facilities. One of those projects includes new windows for Matthews Elementary and will take place over the coming months.

“We are extremely grateful for the work of our community in helping maintain and improve our school facilities and support programs for our students. Their support is absolutely vital to our students, and will be crucial as we look for ways to improve our facilities and services, without increased local funding.

“Community members with specific questions our concerns should always reach out to the TCSS Central Office to address those concerns with the Board.”

Shobe said the parent group’s goal is getting their concerns heard and raising awareness regarding the lack of funding for certain schools within the county.

“I live in this neighborhood. I want my kids to have just as much as the kids on another block, because they deserve the same things,” Shobe said. “We’ve got so many wonderful kids that are battling through things right now, but they’re fighting. And as long as they’re fighting, we’re fighting.”

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