Friday, September 30, 2011

Short term savings, long term idiocy

Update:
I published the part below a little while ago, then checked Facebook and my friend who (with a PhD in Ed from Columbia U) has built her career building schools in Africa published an important link. Thank you for reminding me to be grateful and to see maybe I should be putting my efforts elsewhere? My kids can probably read and write better now than the vast majority of children on the African continent. Read this.



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And now back to the scheduled blog:


If you ask people what irks them about the district, there are lots of answers. But native residents my age remember very clearly that they closed a high school due to low enrollment right just about the time that the Township handed out a boatload of building permits (with a conservative estimate that there would be 1 kid per household in these 3, 4 and 5 bedroom houses/condos). And thus a major overcrowding problem was born. (That's the short version, not all of my readers live in 08807, and if you don't, you might want to stop reading now).

So when my dear friend sent me THIS (before coffee) I truly thought I was going to be ill! I have been a huge proponent of fixing the class size-imbalance - but I have NEVER advocated for closing a school.

Here is what the Patch said:

The board came into the meeting with six suggestions outlined by the administration for possibly handling the redistricting issue. They are:
  • Moving the AI program from Adamsville to decrease enrollment, with the goal that it could be done by September 2012
  • Move 42 students from Adamsville to decrease enrollment there and increase it elsewhere, with the goal of doing so by September 2012
  • Perform a district-wide enrollment shift to balance the kindergarten through fourth grade schools, to be done by September 2013
  • Perform a district-wide enrollment shift to balance kindergarten through fourth grade, and the intermediate schools
  • Close one kindergarten through fourth grade school with a district-wide enrollment shift to balance the remaining schools
  • Close the Wade Administration Building with a district-wide enrollment shift to balance the schools for grades kindergarten through eighth.


To ME fixing the imbalance has to do with busing kids from more crowded schools to the less crowded ones. An inexpensive and relatively painless fix. It can be adjusted easily year to year - although families want continuity in their children's schooling. This doesn't have to be a very big deal - lots of kids from Milltown could go to Bradley Gardens (and similar fixes on the other side of 202/206) and the kids are literally going to the same school as neighbors a few blocks away. And the disparity between Eisenhower and Hillside? A letter going to parents at all elementary schools now saying their kids may be chosen to attend Hillside instead this fall, so parents are aware and not bamboozled. Then move 100 kids (or whatever is appropriate) when the time comes.

Again, quoting the Patch:


It was that sixth recommendation, to close the Wade Building, that drew the most discussion from board members.
“I think that one is untenable,” Brookner said. “We have facilities in the Wade building that would be too expensive to duplicate, and rooms that are set up specifically to be accommodating for meetings.”
“There are things in this building that would require a lot of money to move elsewhere and duplicate elsewhere,” he added. “I don’t think it’s worth the money when there are options that I think are better.”

Closing a school is a better option than closing an administrative building?? THIS IS THE SAME MENTALITY THAT HAS PISSED OFF PARENTS FOR YEARS! We asked for cuts to administration instead of the classroom, they cut 65 teachers (and outsourced the janitorial service). Now, people are complaining about class sizes, and they are saying "close a school, but keep the Wade building in tact!" Many schools around the country, my home High School included, have district administration in the wing of a school. That would also help one of the main "concerns" about our administration: it doesn't know what's going on at schools, because the Wade building is so far removed from most of the schools. This would force the administration to be face to face with both parents and students on a regular basis. More parents are likely to address an issue, if the access to the administration doesn't require trying to find the Wade Building (if you live in Martinsville, the Wade building is easy to find, for some of us,where Washington Valley Road isn't our Main St., it's harder to find).

I like Cindy Cullen's common sense approach, but I hope she has the volume to be heard over some of the male BOE members who like to be the loudest (ie strongest) voices. Her approach has worked before, so keep it up Cindy!

It's funny, I was just writing how I hope they will open up the process to parents beyond their "close circle of friends" (I've been on this invitation-only committee list before, but most of the BOE can't wait to wear a red tie to my funeral) and an e-mail came from my son's school inviting any parent interested to help.

Way too much stress before coffee!!!

Then finally, to ruin my first cup of coffee.....

12 people applied for Anda's job and went through an open interview. Several of the candidates would have been great, but only Anda had been a board member before. Now she's leaving. I don't know Anda personally, I don't know why she's leaving (I am sure it's legit... but I'd like to think that I'd have stayed on even with personal issues that arise, which is why it the position became vacant to begin with). http://bridgewater.patch.com/articles/board-member-anda-cytroen-resigns

All I have to say is:

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

How is moving children from Milltown to Bradley Gardens going to solve the overpopulation problem at Adamsville?

That solution would have the same impact on Adamsville as moving Liberty Corner students to Cedar Hill. That is, none.

Let me ask you this: do your children go to Adamsville?

Poppet said...

Obviously moving kids from School A to School B does not have a direct affect on School C. I am calling for more equity across the board. (Even in Liberty Corner... or schools in Alaska) Clearly if the BOE is going to look at BG or Milltown, it should look at Adamsville as well.

No, my kids don't attend Adamsville, but that doesn't mean that I'm not concerned. As soon as they get to the Middle School, the students are integrated and it helps the WHOLE district to have kids who come from schools giving a similarly strong start.