Tuesday, June 18, 2013

P.A.M.S. members getting word out to vote YES for Millington Schools

By Thomas Sellers Jr.

It appeared the mission of People for the Advancement of Millington Schools was done when U.S. District Judge Samuel ‘Hardy’ Mays issued a ruling stopping Shelby County’s suburban municipalities from proceeding.
But members of P.A.M.S. knew the battle wasn’t over and now the group is visible once again all over Millington getting the word out about the upcoming vote on the school referendum. P.A.M.S. is encouraging the residents of Millington to vote YES on June 29 and July 16.
“Phase two is necessary because of the decision that was made by the judge basically to make null and void the vote that took place last summer,” P.A.M.S. member Barbara Halliburton said. “Essentially we’re not starting from scratch. We’ve made a lot of headway with letting people know why the issue was so important last summer.
“Having to get the votes done again, so P.A.M.S. is so very needed to people so that the issue is not put to rest,” she added. “First that there is still a need and two, to know that there is a vote. A lot of people don’t realize they need to vote again.”
There will be one day of early voting at the June 29 at the Baker Community Center. And July 16 is Election Day. Halliburton, an executive assistant, joined P.A.M.S. nearly half a year ago. Her and husband Benjamin have two children heading to the first and fourth grade.
“It’s very important to me that they have as solid of an educational foundation as they can have,” Halliburton said. “And I believe the school system being joined together, the Unified School System, is too large to be effective. I believe Millington will lose it’s voice and not be able to have any impact as far as our children are concerned.”
The Halliburtons have been active in their children’s education from day one. With the issue of Unified School vs. Municipal School, Barbara started to do research and attend P.A.M.S. meetings last year.
She said the political wrangling and lack of planning geared toward Millington forced her to get involved for her children and other Millington youth’s futures.
“It’s important to us and me personally because I’m very involved in my children’s education,” Halliburton said. “People know me up a Lucy Elementary. They know my husband. It’s important to us to be involved.
“My concern is for all the kids, if there is going to be a unified system, there’s no holding back of funds in certain area because what you think their future intentions are,” she continued. “That really bothered me. I thought I really need to get involved in this.”
For months, two of the most visible faces of P.A.M.S. has been Doug Dakin and Bobby Percer. Since the group’s creation, all the members have been out handing out information, conducting meetings and using social media to promote the benefits of a municipal school system for Millington.
The group of about a dozen members has a diverse makeup. Halliburton said that is an appropriate representative of the Millington population.
“Different people bring different things to the table,” she noted. “Not even just from a racial standpoint. Even from the standpoint of the age diversity, it’s all very important. I have a different concern because I have small children. Somebody else might be retired and they’re concerned about they’re property value. So that’s one area of the diversity.
“It’s also important because of the Millington School System I’m confident we’re going to have will educate a diverse range of children,” Halliburton added. “So we have to reflect that to make sure we’re supporting all the kids. Just so people will know in the city of Millington it’s not a racial issue.”
Halliburton noted her children’s school and Millington Central High School as example of Millington’s diversity.
“For Millington that’s not even a question,” she said. “Millington is a very diverse city. For me personally, I am a black woman, I have no desire for my kids to be educated in Memphis City School system. Now because of the children that go there. It’s because of the way the system has been run. The results are not there.”
Halliburton said if Millington votes for its own school system, the residents will have a voice on the impact of the tax dollars, who is hired to teach and run the schools and more accessibility.
“People should vote yes because one thing it allows us to have control of our tax dollar,” she said. “It allows us to have access to those people who will be using those tax dollars. It allows us to have some input in the type of curriculum and the activities we would going on in the schools.
“The people sitting on the school board could be my next door neighbors,” Halliburton added. “I can walk over and talk to that person without having all the political backlash of being in a bigger system.”
Halliburton said Millington is in a prime position for economic growth with Veterans Parkway and room for business growth along Navy Road and Highway 51 as well. Her fear is if the school system is subpar, current families will move and new resident won’t come to Millington stunting that growth.
“A quality school system is the bedrock of a growing community,” she said. “If there is no quality school system, then that community is not going to survive because people will start taking off, particularly younger families. When younger families pick a community, buy a home, and choose a place to live, they’re going to choose a place because of the school system.
“If that system is poorly run and the money is mismanaged, then people will not move here,” Halliburton concluded. “And the growth will be stymied. The time is now for us to take advantage of this opportunity and have some control over the future for our children and the city of Millington. It can go down really fast, the city, if this opportunity is missed.”
For more information, visit Facebook site: People for the Advancement of Millington Schools or e-mail pams38053@yahoo.com.

P.A.M.S. member Barbara Halliburton stands in front of one of the organization's signs encouraging residents to vote yes for Millington Schools on June 29 and July 16. The Lucy resident has two school-aged children attending Lucy Elementary.
P.A.M.S. member Barbara Halliburton stands in front of one of the organization’s signs encouraging residents to vote yes for Millington Schools on June 29 and July 16. The Lucy resident has two school-aged children attending Lucy Elementary.


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