Pastor: Goshen wants a voice, too

Published 10:03 pm Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I would like to take this opportunity to analyze the situation involving the Goshen schools. I have been a resident of Goshen for two years. I have a B.S. degree with four courses in psychology, four courses in pastoral counseling in getting my master’s degree, plus listening to a great number of individuals with problems in my 33 years in the ministry.

Now, for the analysis. The Goshen community is a proud community of people who support the activities and the institutions in the community. As parents, they want what is best for their children and are willing to work and provide it.

The hiring of a head football coach that has made the news is not the major problem. As the old saying goes, “It is only the straw that broke the camel’s back.”

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In my two years here I have listened to parents, who are not connected to the football program, discussed the leaking roof at the elementary school and the number of years it has been leaking. I have listened to parents and community leaders discuss the windows in the gym that would not close properly. And again, not all these people are connected to the football program. In my walking around the block, even I have noticed the windows and wondered about it raining in the gymnasium. In attending football games, I have seen the poor condition of the bathrooms at the field house.

I have listened to parents and community leaders talk about the construction going on at the other county high school and the neglect at the Goshen High School. In my travels, I have taken the opportunity to go and see personally the construction there.

What do the people of Goshen want? They want to be treated fairly. They want the board of education to involve the parents and to listen to them in matters concerning their school and their children.

Take, for example, the hiring of the principal at the elementary school. Why couldn’t the superintendent have met with the PTO and said, “These are the applications we have. Who do you like? Who would you like to see as the principal? Which one best fits your school?” Why could this have not taken place in the hiring of the elementary principal at Goshen?

I was involved in the PTO for 14 years while our sons attended school. I served as the PTO president for two years. In a similar situation, the last year I was the PTO president, the board sent, with no type of communication with the parents or school, a principal to the school. That turned out to be a disaster.

I have only been involved in the hiring of one head football coach. The principal met with the quarterback club and gave the names and qualifications of the applicants. A discussion followed and the coach recommended by the quarterback club was hired. He is in his 18th year as the coach and has one of the best programs in the state. Why couldn’t the principal meet with the quarterback club and discuss the hiring of a head football coach?

In my 33 years in the ministry and having served six charges, I have found out good communication is the key to making a program work. As I reflect and observe this situation, better communication on the part of the Pike County Board of Education is greatly needed here. Please let us all work together for the good of the children of the Goshen school system.

Rev. Donald Phillips