"We do have a lot of concerns, and there are a lot of angry people,"
said Spring View resident Fred Frangente. "Spring View people are up in
arms over this."
But the district's problems with residents date back much further than
the recent Spring View problems. Supt. James Tarwater, who has felt the
brunt of the criticism, came under fire in 1995 over his agreement to
lease the closed Crest View site to Wal-Mart and the district's decision
to allow youth soccer groups to use the Meadow View School site has
resulted in complaints and vandalism at the school.
"You develop a thick skin," Tarwater said. "The superintendent of any
district will be the lightning rod."
Having jumped on the bandwagon later than the other communities, the
Spring View neighborhood group is now the most vocal during meetings,
echoing many of the same concerns previously raised by other residents.
"These other groups are caving in, but we won't," Frangente said. "Our
main goal is to prevent the gyms."
While the gyms have gained support with some residents -- as long as
the district works with the neighbors to iron out the details -- each
neighborhood has a faction that is keeping its arms closed to whole idea.
None are as adamant as the Spring View neighbors.
"We're not open to anything except complete abandonment of the
project," said Frangente, who calls the project "flawed." "We want no
Other residents are also opposed to the project. However, they feel
that it shouldn't be a priority.
"We think there are a lot of other needs," said Stefan Rubendall,
spokesman for the Spring View residents group. "We want to be assured
that all 15 schools have everything they need for educational purposes
before they go off on the gym venture. If everything is perfect, and
they've got this extra money sitting there, then a gym is a good thing
for the children if done in a proper way."
Residents in other areas agree.
"The priority should be modernizing all schools before building the
gyms," said Mesa View Middle School parent and resident Ed Falzon. "We
need to modernize first, then build the gyms."