Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Beginning of The End for West Ridge?

  
13WHAM news reports that Greece parents are  upset over elimination of kindergarten at West Ridge Elementary School.
  • Families want their children to attend school together.
  • Some hope to persuade parents on Pinebrook's waiting list to enroll in West Ridge instead.
"I just hope that more parents get on board with telling the school board how great of a school West Ridge is and telling the School Board that it's the wrong decision." ~~ Mark Knowles, parent

SCATS ~~ February's BOE meeting should be MOST entertaining to watch, as GCSD tries to cut school-of-choice educational programs BEFORE cutting sports & other extra-curriculars. 

A showdown between sports boosters and school-of-choice parents would be just desserts for a district that's repeatedly failed to get its priorities straight and its budget under control ;)

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is going to get interesting and very heated. Methinks the board has awakened a sleeping giant.

Anonymous said...

Popcorn?

Anonymous said...

I could better argue the (educational) benefits of sports for students, than I could this school of choice crap, and at least with sports we actually find out the costs involved. I have always felt that the school of choice has never been beneficial, and in fact harmful to our communities/neighborhoods. It has been mentioned on here before, and a teacher family member (of mine) agreed, it's also used as a tool by the district to keep parents from talking about what "really" goes on in their kid(s) schools. Years ago, every interested parent on a given street knew what was going on in their neighborhood school (bad teachers/administrators, bad kids, ect.). Now, parents can't communicate the same way. The only time they come across one another is at school functions. This keeps the district less accountable for there problem staff members, as well dealing with problematic students.

Sports, however, is not without it's problems. The costs involved with it have also boomed. How far are taxpayers really willing to transport kids just to play a game. I read about some ofthe schools our kids are playing against, and I can't even find those towns on a map. I realize that the enrollment of individual schools are what dictate who plays who, but give me a break. When I was playing in school, which I did every year from 7th-12th grade, I didn't give a crap what the other schools enrollment was. You go out and do your best, win or lose.

So why Westridge and not Pinebrook's kidergarten? Remember this question, because you've probably already asked it in your own mind. These parents from Westridge are about to find out what many of us already knew. Westridge, and the school of choice system overall has been nothing more than a pacifier for those families that didn't win the real "lottery". Winning that "lottery" has always meant getting your kids into Pinebrook & Odyssey. When you lost the lottery, which means your not a district employee, not on the school board, not connected through business (Chamber), not a person of color, or don't make enough money... you always had Westridge and open enrollment to keep you quiet. Now it's time to whine!

SCATS said...

To 6:52AM ~~ Anyone who has kept up on this BLOG knows I'm no proponent for keeping the school-of-choice, signature school and school option idea going. I do believe the intention behind those options is a discrimination-based system for keeping neighborhoods and families split into the district's "haves" and "have nots." It's been harmful to the entire district and costly to the town. Having said that, I have to take issue with a few things you said.

First is the issue of how much sports costs. You claim "with sports we actually find out the costs involved." Do we really? Then please enlighten us all with some exact figures and tell us specifically what that includes!

You see, along with the Who/When/Where/How of the school lotteries, the true and full cost of sports is a very closely guarded and well-disguised BIG number! It's part of the overall Physical Education and Health budget. Based on how little attention is given to either of those state mandated classes in Greece, it's likely the bulk of those budget figures. And I'm pretty sure a big portion of it is also under the Building & Grounds budget for maintaining the fields which is quite expensive ... and that was BEFORE the news that we retain goose wranglers got out. Then we've buried LOTS & LOTS of the coaching costs under stipends that the BOE funds in an ongoing Chinese water torture "drip ... drip ... drip ..." fashion at each BOE meeting. And then there's the busing aspect, not only to practices & games but the early & late activity buses which exist predominately to support sports (as opposed to Math Team).

On the issue of why West Ridge's Kindergarten & not Pinebrook's, the easy answer is that West Ridge's enrollment is down and so are the waiting lists. The public only learned of this last Tuesday night. What is driving that decrease? I've no idea and I'm not sure District Office knows either. I think it would be a VERY GOOD IDEA TO FIGURE IT OUT THOUGH ... before closing down anything! It could be as simple as an overall drop in district enrollment (doubtful) to parents not liking the principal or a bunch of other things.

Which brings me to another statement you made: "Winning that "lottery" has always meant getting your kids into Pinebrook & Odyssey." That is not true although I recognize that those two schools have come to represent the whole mess revolving around schools-of-choice. West Ridge & Odyssey were the original schools-of-choice, both opening in 1993. West Ridge had waiting lists from day one. Odyssey suffered through a number of years where it was vastly under-subscribed, especially at the high school level, despite long lists for grade 6. Often those waiting lists for 6th grade evaporated during the course of the Summer months as people moved up and had to decide to send their kids there ... or not. Many chose not to. I know a family who was last on that waiting list for 6th grade in May one year, but their child was placed in Odyssey by the end of July!

Anyway, I don't disagree with your overall take on things, but seriously, if you have the figures for the overall sports budget PLEASE SHARE!

SCATS said...

I see someone named "Steve" has cut and paste 6:52's comments to 13WHAM's website ... NOT cool!

Anonymous said...

To scats at "the true and full cost of sports is a very closely guarded and well-disguised BIG number!"

I agree. And don't forget the non taxed fund raising involved in all of the sports from the concessions to the door-to-door to the car washes. Sure real estate tax dollars don't count here but they could not do the fund raising tax free without the sponsorship of the school district.
(That goes for the music and theater programs too BTW.)
And think of how few students get to participate in the sports teams because many don't want to and many are not accepted on the teams. Lots of money for very few compared to the total student enrollment of 13,000. Uber Mann investment?
And there is an administrative salary cost for the vice principal at each high school whose job it is to oversee the sports.
If you add all that up and divide by the number of students involved in sports teams(and don't count them 2 or 3 times for all the sports they might be playing) you might find that the per participating pupil cost of this is enormous. This would be especially true if you segregated the results by middle school or high school where the teams are very selective.

Anonymous said...

"Moving" students from a waiting list at Pinebrook to WR doesn't solve the problem if the problem is an overall drop in the number of students in GCSD. An overall decrease in the number of students SHOULD result (ultimately) in closing one school. If we're not sure of the long term student population, we could just mothball the school; that should be less costly than keeping it open.

Anonymous said...

I am not understanding what the "problem" is.
Why are sports a part of the discussion on schools of choice?
Mr. Knowles says changing Westridge is the "wrong direction" which is fine. Should he have a responsibility to say what the "right" direction is?
What is it the district is trying to accomplish?

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't it make more sense to just eliminate one of the under populated school areas like parkland and distribute those students to the other schools rather than closing the westridge school of choice? That could begin with their kindergarten year. Close that school and sell it to the apartment complex for a daycare or offices or apartments.
Since they are choosing dismantling the lottery school, can we infer that there is a cost savings to phasing that out? Or is it that Christa wants it to be the westridge building that is available to them? Why Westridge? With the whole district of buildings to choose from are we that gullible to believe their BS explanation?

Anonymous said...

SCATS: Has it occurred to you that this Steve is also anonymous who posted on here at 6:52 am?

SCATS said...

To 1:09PM ~~ It sure has. And if this Steve read the note above where you write your comments, as well as the Terms of Service on WHAM's website, then he would realize cutting & pasting such a lengthy entry isn't a good idea.

Anonymous said...

Geez, just when I thought our country was starting to become too litigious---copyrights on the blog. Worse yet, someone offended by my unknowing infringement. Sorry for the drama this has created. Don’t worry, I’ll go elsewhere from now on. Way to take to divert attention off something important (the topic) and down this road!

Anonymous said...

I'm with Scats on anxiously watching for this drama to play out. It's been years in the making, created by past and present school board members. Too bad Carolyn Hauer isn't still on the board. She was one of the original West Ridge parents and proponents. Her own special place of "child centered education" (remember those words?) has gone to the dogs. Behavior problems disrupt too frequently for this to remain a paragon of educational virtue any longer. PLEASE CLOSE IT ASAP!

SCATS said...

To 3:20PM ~~ Had "Steve" posted on the other site first and then here, SCATS could potentially be sued. Since I make no income off running this BLOG, I will do whatever I must to protect my own arse from people who don't read & follow rules on either site.

Adios!

Anonymous said...

Well "Steve" didn't post it there first, and once again your taking yourself WAY to serious. It's a character flaw that reers it's head too often in my opinion. That said, the blog does help to keep people informed on the goings on here in town. Because of that, I'll keep my lips sealed tight as a "clam".

SCATS said...

To 4PM ~~ You're entitled to your opinion. I'm entitled to run this BLOG as I see fit despite your opinion :) The topic about what "Steve" did is closed meaning further comments about it will be deleted. Focus on the West Ridge issue please. There are many people this will impact ultimately.

Anonymous said...

There are several reasons why West Ridge's enrollment declined. First, the principal thinks everything is fine in the building. It's really hard to get attention to problems at hand. Like discipline. So many kids act out, but little is done about it. Teachers are fine as long as a parent "volunteers" in their room. As soon as you leave, there are problems. Ask them what needs to be done to settle the issue and you get the deer in headlights look. They have no clue. People try it out, see the reality then leave. It's become a pit stop for people who are on their way out of Greece Central for good.

Anonymous said...

I saw the news clip about West Ridge on TV last night and had to laugh that the parent was upset that his children would be ihn separate schools. Welcome to Greece, Mister!! Other than Pine Brooks and West Ridge and I believe Long Ridge, all the elementary schools in Greece do their best to separate families. I have two grandchildren three years apart in age who went through the Greece School system. The only year they were in the same school building was at Athena when one was a freshman and the other a senior. My daughter who was an involved parent ALWAYS had to divide her limited time between two schools. No wonder parents can't or won's get involved.

The other laugh I got was school board member Sean (the Boob) McCabe, speaking for the district. I distinctly heard him say that all of the schools in Greece have excellent programs. If this is true, why are we still at the bottom of the list. I also understand he recently commented on the attributes of Achramovitch, giving him credit for solving the problems of teacher discrimination in the district. Not only that, but he voted to raise the senior tax exemption and was not happy that it could not be more!!! I sincerely wonder what planet McCabe is living on, does he have any clue whatsoever about what is going on in the Greece Central District besides what he is told by his mentors. He is why we have a big problem with our school board members as he is a shining example of the mentality of the majority on the board. They are living in la la land where everything is just perfect.

Enough said!

Anonymous said...

Letting McCabe go before a camera is like giving a loaded gun to a suicidal patient except McCabe shoots from his mouth. All is not wonderful, wonderful in Greece Central. It doesn't take being a board member to get the scoop on what's really happening inside the schools. Ask any parent. District office phones were probably ringing off the hook today as they should be. All quite predictable. Can't wait for Res Forum Tuesday night. Maybe Steve will depart a few months early?

Anonymous said...

McCabe is a political wannabe and taking his cue from all the politicos here in Greece, he caters to the seniors, i.e., his wanting an even higher tax exemption for them. Maybe, just maybe if they stir up this hornets nest at West Ridge, some of the younger and middle aged voters will get out and show their disapproval for the idiocy that has been going on for sooooo long.

He made a stupid mistake(one of many) in catering to the seniors on the tax exemption, because the majority of seniors in town don't qualify for it anyway and will vote down any budget or board member who favors a raise in their taxes. You can't have it both ways, Sean. Stop listening to Bill Selke, he has the first dime he ever made and has no clue about the plight of the majority of seniors in this town.