Tebbano attempted unsuccessfully to have a cellular tower placed on school property in order to bring in what he estimated would be between $50,000 and $60,000 worth of revenue. A tower did eventually go up near Eagle Elementary, but on private property.
“That would have paid for one teacher,” said Tebbano. “The community stopped me from doing that because they didn’t think that was healthy. The fact of the matter is that was a big mistake.”
He added that he had to respect that the community said no to the idea.
As for finding other sources of revenue, Tebbano said there are none to pursue.
“We tried, and the community made it clear they didn’t want us to commercialize,” Tebbano said. “They didn’t want to see a cell tower up, and they were concerned about that quality of life in Delmar that would be affected by these things.”
Perhaps the most controversial decision during Tebbano’s tenure was the choice to close down Clarksville Elementary following the 2010-2011 school year.
Faced with declining enrollment numbers and a need to cut costs, the Board of Education moved forward with the closure, leaving the district with five elementary schools.
“There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t second-guess myself on that, because I know how much it hurt a lot of people,” said Tebbano. “Unfortunately, it made fiscal sense to close the building. It didn’t make emotional sense to the people who were affected by it.”
As an educator, Tebbano said he dreamed about developing smaller learning communities. However, with smaller class sizes at Clarksville compared to the rest of the district, the choice was one he believed had to be made.
“I could not at the end of the day actually feel comfortable with the idea, in this economy, which is terrible, to justify a smaller learning community with fewer kids getting as much of the resources as the other schools, which were packed and could not do half the things that Clarksville could do because of the resources.”