It's not easy being green...

especially when green = money...

The Bridgewater Raritan Regional School district has a lot of parents ranting and raving! They are pissed off... at another attempt for the District to market something in a misleading way.

Call a Spade a Spade...

We're not being green... if you mean environmentally friendly

We're being green... if you mean saving money - the DISTRICT'S money.

As I write this procrastinating parents across town are all doing the same thing. While the kids are planning their outfits, packing their backpacks and worrying about if they will like their teachers, parents are forced to do what they should have done weeks ago: filling in pages and pages of paperwork.

I know I'm not the only one doing this. How do I know? Because the website is super slllooooooooow. The website isn't designed for 6,000 procrastinators like me (in my defense - worse that being a procrastinator, I'm a disorganized mess. I printed out these forms WEEKS ago and have since lost them!).

I just filled out and signed SIXTEEN forms. I only have two kids. Imagine the families with LOTS of kids. The papers jammed the printer - I fixed it. But if it took more than 30 seconds, I'm quite sure I would have given up on the entire paper-filling-out-project.

There are lots of required forms:

  • The Emergency Form (where they can get in touch with us during the day, and who they should contact if we see it is the school calling and hit IGNORE)
  • The Weapons Agreement (N's response: but I bring a deadly weapon every day - my hands)
  • The Computer Agreement (thou shalt not download porn-on school computers)
  • The Walkers Form - what we do who don't get bused
  • The "Agenda form" - the school gives them an agenda for keeping their assignments. Somewhere in this book are the school rules innocuously called "the Handbook". Including the DRESS CODE. (For you 1st time middle school families - ERR ON THE SIDE OF CONSERVATIVE! They mean business with the short shorts and short skirts)
My son's school also requires two separate forms regarding permission for children to be video taped AND photographed. (You have different options, like: Ok for my kid's picture to be on the internet, without his personal information, and then the same for video taping).  I also got a letter from a district department requesting that I send in the "enclosed form" with my e-mail address. Since all my other information coming from this department is via e-mail, and I know they have it, isn't there a missing link somewhere? Can't I just e-mail my e-mail to them? I threw away the letter and e-mailed the Supervisor at the Wade Building, CC'ing my contact at my child's school. Ridiculous waste of paper and time! 

Then there is the PTO. My son's school has three forms - which aren't formally required, but highly suggested... with a check. My daughter's school is slightly more streamlined. PTO membership and the directory form are a single form. For several years I begged the PTO at my elementary school to allow parents to send in a form saying "this is my kid's updated homeroom information. The directory information is otherwise the same as last year". Can't we save HOURS of everyone's time and only send in forms to update things that need updating? Isn't that much more green? 

Both schools' PTOs also requested a check for the membership and a donation. I spent two hours at the Middle School helping but I sent a donation "in lieu of my time". N's school doesn't get a donation (beyond the $9 to join the PTO). They traditionally get more both of my time and our funds (I usually drop $100 just at the Book Fair - my daughter doesn't want me to come NEAR the Middle School book fair, so they miss out. Nothing is lamer than your Mom coming to school to help you pick out books to read.). 

This blog may seem like I am peeved about filling out the forms and checks. I'm not. I'm peeved that the district has the audacity to call them not printing forms GREEN. I am sending in 17 pieces of paper to the school tomorrow. I printed them and signed them and sent them in (plus the checks, which a paper too). The district has ALL of this information already! It's in the new Parent Portal. I can see that my 2 emergency contacts are there. I haven't changed this information in YEARS!

There are so many things we can do online. Pay bills, fill in tax forms, apply for jobs with our resumes. Why can't we streamline this information? That way parents aren't spending hours printing forms that they sent last year, and administrative assistants aren't spending weeks re-processing the same forms. If my kid promised not to use a weapon last year, can't we assume she promises it again this year, or change the form to say "until I graduate from BRRHS, I promise I won't use the internet inappropriately"?

OK schools. You can have our kids back. Be kind to them. Be patient with them. Clearly our collective patience has run out and we are ready to hand them over to you!

And don't lose these papers - I don't want to reprint them!


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