A group of parents, neighbors, teachers, and friends have created a new organization that will focus on maintaining a strong school system in Oak Ridge.
The new organization, Friends of Oak Ridge Schools, or FORS, was founded on the idea that a great school system benefits each and every child and also enhances the socioeconomic condition of the city, a press release said.
“We believe a strong school system is important to draw and retain businesses, industries, and new citizens by providing a well-educated, diverse workforce,” said the release, authored by Fernanda Foertter, Linda Gilpin, Donna Butcher, and Jutta Bangs.
The release said Friends of Oak Ridge Schools was started on the knowledge and experience of a similar organization in Support Strong Sumner Country Schools, but FORS has its own mission unique to Oak Ridge. FORS is totally independent of any other group, including Oak Ridge Schools, Oak Ridge Board of Education, and Oak Ridge City Council, the release said.
“We will, however, seek to foster good relationships with each of those bodies, as dialogue is important to achieve the best cooperation in maintaining a great school system,” the press release said. “Over the coming months, we also will also work with our community to assess your ideas on education and to help you learn more about programs and issues pertaining to Oak Ridge Schools. We welcome active participation by the community. All ideas are important, but it is one of our primary objectives to insure our school system has the necessary resources to take our children, our future, forward in this decade and the one to follow. We will not advocate for unlimited funding and recognize that every tax dollar in important, but we will assist the community and Oak Ridge Schools in discussions of funding.
“We cannot tell the Board of Education how to use funding, though we believe that by establishing a dialogue with the community, school system, Board, and City Council, necessary resources will be made available and that they will be used for the singular purpose of maximizing the instruction of our children.”
The release said that FORS’ purpose is to provide children with a bridge to the future through education.
“In the immediate future, we will recommend for your consideration candidates for City Council and Board of Education that we feel will work to that end,” the release said. “We look forward to the future and hope all friends of our school system will take part in providing a great bridge to the future for our children. Our entire community will benefit.”