What comes next for the fire-damaged Greater Naples YMCA, sports and a name change at Edison State College, and Collier County Public Schools’ after-school activities and Common Core?
Guests on this week’s "Naples Daily NewsMakers with Jeff Lytle’’ are Paul Thein and Guy Blanchette, CEO and chairman at the Y; Edison President Jeff Allbritten; and schools watchdog Erika Donalds, who says schools officials are not listening.
*Video highlights will be posted Monday at naplesnews.com/newsmakers\
Lytle: You have issues overall with the official conduct of the school system. You see a breakdown in communication, where the School Board might see things differently; they think the communication by the superintendent and with the community is fine. You take issue with that.
Donalds. I do. I think there is a lack of communication from the district to the parents. Well, I should say, in the opposite direction — from the parents to the district. I think one of (Superintendent) Kamela Patton’s strong points is that she communicates a lot outward. She tells people what’s happening and what’s going on, and that’s great. But what we’ve seen over the past several months is that the communication going into the district from the stakeholders, like parents, with regard to the after-school activities issue, the cellphone tower, the several things that are going on, is not being well received or acted upon by either the district or the School Board.
Guy Blanchette and Paul Thein
Lytle: You say the fire insurance will not cover all the damage or all of what you want to achieve. Let’s also have the community understand something else. That you guys are not made of money.
Lytle: And you’re still coming out of some real financial headaches and still have some real financial problems.
Lytle: But you are turning it around, and then this happens. So the good news is that the plans for expansion were in the works, but you still weren’t out of the hole yet.
Blanchette: By the grace of God this occurred after we resolved a lot of our financial crises; otherwise we probably would be not even thinking about rebuilding. But we’re in a strong position, and we’re looking at a bright future.
Thein: In our facility and membership, you know, it’s the gas and the engine that allows our mission work to happen. It allows us to go to Golden Gate. It allows us to Shadowlawn, and Parkside and put on the programs that really aren’t generating revenues for us. They’re not part of the revenue. It’s a service that we’re putting on.
Lytle: Just because you’re the Y.
Thein: Yeah. We’re the Y.
Lytle: So how much will your planned new sports program cost?
Allbritten: We’re still working on that. We won’t do, we obviously will not take any dollars out of academics or operations. It has to be what can be done with the students’ support. Everybody right now is excited about the opportunities. We hope in mid-October to have sort of have an outline of feasibility about what we can do.
We’re going to dip our toes into the water. We’re still in the minority. We’re only one of five schools out of 28 that don’t have it. So it’s ... this is a huge region, as we’re trying to go more regional, you think about the students who don’t go off to universities, who, you know, go through their high school career and they have to end here. This gives them an opportunity to play more and we can work with FGCU as feeder for their program. So it’s pretty exciting.