Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Let's "Save" W Ridge By Closing Parkland

 
Out of all of Greece's elementary schools, Parkland Elementary School is the most under-subscribed, historically. In the past, waiting lists for Pinebrook were filled with names of those seeking to exit Parkland, more so than the other elementary schools. Parkland's reputation seems to be clouded only by its proximity to a very large housing complex for low income folks where many of its students reside. 

On the other hand, West Ridge's popularity remains strong 20 yrs. after reopening as a school-of-choice. Despite the ongoing controversy over this type of school format, the school's parents and staff claim they welcome diversity and that there is no discrimination in how schools-of-choice seek out or select their student body.

That's absolutely perfect, in my mind, because West Ridge parents now have an opportunity to put their money where their mouth is! I'll bet Parkland's incoming Kindergarten could easily be accommodated at West Ridge this Fall ... especially after we watch horrified West Ridge parents flee for other schools in the district ;)

Let's close Parkland School and move their students to West Ridge School ASAP. 
 

71 comments:

Anonymous said...

OMG I love this idea! It's a win-win for everyone. West Ridge parents get to keep their school and Greece administration gets to close a building to cut their budget.

Anonymous said...

If this were a legitimate suggestion with all the pros/cons outlined, I may agree with you 1:28 but Scats comment "I'll bet Parkland's incoming Kindergarten could easily be accommodated at West Ridge this Fall ... especially after we watch horrified West Ridge parents flee for other schools in the district ;)" renders the "suggestion" mean spirited and, therfore, unworthy of serious consideration. Take out the sarcasm, SCATS, and perhaps you may have landed on an idea that, with some work, could actually be viable.

SCATS said...

To 2:04PM ~~ The truth hurts, doesn't it? If the idea weren't "viable" you wouldn't have reacted as you just did.

Anonymous said...

It would be more viable if you were suggesting it without the "elitist" mindset that WR parents would not want their children co-mingling with, God forbid, Parkland children. I, for one, don't think it's a bad idea. You would know that if you really read what I stated and didn't come out with your claws bared, as usual when you're challenged. You DO know that PL parents will be just as self righteous about their school closing as the parents of WR students, right? I can tell, by your commentary initially, that you may believe that PL parents don't care. Sit back and see what happens if this truly becomes a serious item for consideration. There are ways to close schools - greece has done it before - but pitting one "class" of people against another isn't the way to do it.

SCATS said...

To 2:40PM ~~ Where were you when Greece opened Pinebrook and the vast majority of Parkland's middle class parents either "opted" to attend the new school or got their name on the wait list? Where were you when Parkland's enrollment fell so low because of Pinebrook that closing Parkland was considered before? Where were you when the district created a discriminatory system that has divided neighborhoods, segregated children by race and economic standing, and created a district where elitism is what keeps places like West Ridge going? If you don't think that elitism is alive and well at West Ridge, then please take some time to read their comments about how good they are on the Facebook page. Adding insult to injury, some of them actually think it's too expensive to bus THEIR KIDS to two different schools, but they don't seem worried at all by the glaring fact that most of Greece has to suffer through having their kids split up AND pay for the extra busing, too. I'd say that's about "elitist" as it gets ... selfish, too.

Anonymous said...

The "way to close schools" is to do what the city does - just do it. Don't allow emotions to linger over years with a phase out. Just announce it and do it. Based on reduced enrollments, we should be closing about three of them and laying off three schools worth of employees too.

It's not scats that pitted anyone against another group. That began in 1993 when West Ridge opened.

I'm waiting to hear what West Ridge parents suggest the super cut from the budget. They only need to find $12million.

SCATS said...

To 3:35PM ~~ WR opened in 1990 ;)

Anonymous said...

2:04 I think you need to get off your own high horse. You say the idea is unworthy because it's mean-spirited. That's your opinion, but who put you in charge of deciding what's worthy? You admit it's probably viable. I haven't heard anyone else offer an idea that's potentially viable, not even you. So let's not throw it out without some serious consideration OK?

Anonymous said...

Anybody knowhat happened to the study on school structure that Achramovitch was supposed to do?

Anonymous said...

I personally will LOVE it when these Westridge parents can start feeling the burden (as I and others have been) of paying the extra tax dollars to support lottery/school of choice, despite their kids no longer being "the chosen ones"! How quickly their support of open enrollment will change. It was all fine and dandy as long as their kid was a beneficiary of this wasteful spending. Oh, and for what it's worth Westridge parents, Parkland school was made up of 68% white children the last time I looked it up. Enjoy!

Anonymous said...

They should just eliminate the schools of choice all together.It's time to go back to neighborhood schools. Just the savings in transportation alone would be huge. District wide these buses are lucky if they pull up to the schools with ten kids on them. I'm pretty sure they are designed to hold alot more than ten kids....

Anonymous said...

What happened to shared decision making? Why was there no group of stakeholders that could study the use of space and the enrollment? Why was this a top down edict? Does the administration confuse our school district with a religious organization? At least they pretend to have committees with input. There was not even a pretense of community involvement in this decision, only the ability of the community to react once the decision was made.

SCATS said...

To 5:26PM ~~ Community involvement??? What do you mean? The West Ridge "community? If you want to see the entire community's reaction, let's put the schools-of-choice question (to keep or to go back to neighborhood schools) where it belongs: ON THE VOTER'S BALLOT.

The West Ridge community "reaction" certainly took long enough! It came a full FIVE DAYS after the idea was floated to the BOE. In the past, the reaction would have been much swifter, much harsher. I think the delay shows that not only is WR's enrollment down (as it is districtwide), but so is parent participation and parent awareness of what's going on within the district as a whole. Enrollment has been falling off for years and WR parents said nothing. The budget has been under development for months. Again, WR parents said nothing. We don't need to study enrollment to know what headlines have been screaming for the last decade: People have moved away!

Anonymous said...

You have to remember that the BOE makes all the decisions in this district. The super has been a lame duck ever since they over ruled his suspendsion of the "alleged" drunken hockey coach.

SCATS said...

Here's an example of the elitism quoted from the petition for WR: "My Nephew attends West Ridge school and it is a wonderful school.When my sister informed me of the possability of certain grades being cutI was very dissapointed. I wonder if the people considering these ideas under the effect that this will have on the children at the school. There have been numerous studies that show children that move around to different schools in elementary grades have more of a chance of failing in academics and socializing skills. This would be devastating to both the parents and most of all the children. I understand that there may be financial motives behind this but find a better way to save money! Do not ruin children's academics!"

So then, it's fine for Greece's majority to be moved around and possibly fail or lag behind in socialization skills during elementary school, as long as we insulate certain pupils from the same possible fate?

Anonymous said...

Why not start by closing Barnard?
Sell it to the town or anyone for a dollar.

Anonymous said...

Try this on for size.....

1. End schools of choice & secondary option. Starting next year, students will go to their neighborhood schools. All students will only be guaranteed transportation to the nearest school.

2. Allow students to stay at their current schools until they pass on provided that parents provide transportation. If not, they go to their nearest school. In a few years, this will make all schools neighborhood schools.

3. Eliminate the sibling rule for any remaining schools of choice. If it is a lottery, make it a true lottery.


These steps should have an immediate savings in bussing. It will also give time to come up with some long term solutions.

One caution: Perhaps another term such as sector schools should be used since many schools are not in "neighborhoods" any more due to their location.

What do you think?

SCATS said...

To 7:31PM ~~ I'm not sure that you can require parents to provide transportation to school since that is tied to a family's ability to pay. That might be against NYS Education Law.

Anonymous said...

Barnard school is shut down. It's now a luxury fat farm workout center for the teachers and administrators. I believe the cost of the equipment was $150K+

Anonymous said...

With the drop in school population it would be good to close one school and consolidate. I can't see any reason to pick one school to close other than to minimize transportation costs. If that means closing WR or Parkland or any other school, I'd suggest letting the data drive the decision.

SCATS said...

To 8:33PM ~~ With a loss in enrollment of well over 2000 pupils in the last several years, how do we justify closing just one school, instead of 2-3?

Anonymous said...

Not sure that the drop is as much as 2000 students. In 96-97 the K-12 numbers were 14,258. In 08-09 the numbers were 13,127 or about 1131 less. That might be two schools worth, but you'd have to look at which grades have the decrease to see if you could really eliminate two schools.

SCATS said...

To 8:55PM ~~ There are currently under 12,000 students enrolled, as discussed at the recent BOE meeting. The losses have been at all levels.

SCATS said...

Oh and don't forget that extra space was added with the CIP project. It might require reconfiguring at many if not all schools to close 3 buildings, but that doesn't mean it couldn't or shouldn't be done. The money saved in salaries/benefits, utilities/bldg maintenance & groundskeeping would be huge!

Anonymous said...

Imagine what the numbers could be if the district actually persued ridding itself of ILLEGAL students. I still say that going to a wistle blower program (the snitch gets $200 for blowing in a proven ILLEGAL student) would pay for itself in the first bust.

SCATS said...

To 9:12PM ~~ we can't do that. It would adversely impact the basketball, track and other sports teams we actively "scouted" for ;)

Anonymous said...

I guess most of you folks weren't around back when the Feds gave the Town of Greece the wonderful English Village complex to enhance the Town. It's a wonderful place built to plans for a complex in Virginia, with damn little insulation and electric heat.

Naw, I won't even mention what it costs taxpayers to keep them welfare apartments at 80° so the nontaxpayers can be comfortable.

Then some group of feel good folks at Greece Central noticed the little darlings being bussed out of English Village simply lacked academic skills, so GCSD put a nice new primary school right next to English Village. What could be more accomodating than a dedicated school for welfare kids?

Now folks want to close that special school. Why? Have the welfare folk stopped having kids?

Anonymous said...

Last week driving on Latta at about 7 pm was wondering what the blinding lights were just east of Lakeshore school. There is a lighted field there. There were about 10 people playing some sport in the middle of winter on that field and the homeowners on the other side of Latta could have read by that light. When did the town install those lights?
And did anyone notice the people against Walmart are calling themselves some other acronym and are suing Greece for not protecting the world from runoff water when they give out permits. Now that's nothing new in Greece. How about those people that live just north of the old folks condos just west of Greenleaf on Latta.
The solution to all runoff problems in Greece is to create detention/retention ponds which then attract migrating waterfowl that decide to stay and necessitate the hiring of geese wranglers.

SCATS said...

To 8:20AM ~~ I think Greece should permit hunters to take geese in Greece at least 6 months of the year. If they happen to take a politician or two in the process, we can just consider it the cost of doing business as usual: retaining the status quo.

SCATS said...

CORRECTION I rechecked on enrollment numbers and although we are down by over 2000 students, we are at 12,500 currently, not under 12,000 as I stated yesterday. It's my understanding that some continued fall-off of the current enrollment level is anticipated. I apologize for the error.

SCATS said...

To 8:20AM ~~ Sounds like Bill Selke got confused and lost when he was hanging his "holiday" lights ;)

Is there a town owned field in that location or is it GCSD property?

Anonymous said...

Town owned. There is a leaf drop off place just behind it in the fall. There are games there in the summer. It is adjacent to the lakeshore school campus.

SCATS said...

To 1:37PM ~~ Thank you for clarifying. I know exactly where you mean ;)

Anonymous said...

It will be sad for any family/staff/students if a school has to close. But... life is sometimes like that. Throwing another schools name into the mix does not help the situation. Going back to home schools and redistricting seems to be the only solution. I am sure it would disappoint many parents that want their kids to go to these "special" schools. Oh well! The truth is that Greece is one of the few districts that even offer this kind of choice for public education. It has created a system where the schools are definitely separated by class. If you are that determined that your child go to the "best" school, then you should pay the money to send them to a private school or move to another district. If you choose to live in Greece, then you choose the Greece School District for your children. That is your choice.

SCATS said...

To 8:17PM ~~ You may be surprised to hear that a parent openly admitted that K-5 is "the standard" in other school districts and then called it "the Golden Egg" here. Perhaps what everyone needs to remember is that one part of the "experiment" of opening West Ridge 20 yrs. ago was to provide a buffer to limit needed boundary changes and reduce the number of students who had to move schools each year. That is no longer the problem that it once was. Basically, WR has outlived it's purpose. In reality, we should be closing 2 to 3 schools to make up for the 2000+ pupil enrollment loss.

Anonymous said...

I am in awe over the original post as well as some of the comments here. First off, I am a proud parent of a Parkland student and I am VERY involved in the school! My husband and I own a home in a very nice neighborhood and pay a hefty amount of school taxes too!We chose Parkland for our son and we also plan for our daughters to attend there in a few years. Yes, there is a questionable housing complex next door to our school, but with the choices all of us Greece parents have, those parents also have the same exact choices as us taxpayers! Trust me, there are children from the "complex" scattered into every school in Greece, including Pinebrook! We have had a wonderful experience at Parkland and there are some very fine families- my son has classmates whose parents are doctors, nurses, lawyers, government workers, business owners, accountants, law enforcement, and middle class hard-working families who are able to afford women like me to stay home with my children and be involved in their lives. Unfortunately, not every child has 2 parents. I have met single parents who are divorced trying to make ends meet that live in that complex and are wonderful, active and caring mothers and fathers! And by the way, it is some of the children who are from the less fortunate homes in this school who are the best behaved as well! It is for reasons like the few disheartening posts I have seen here that we wanted our son to attend Parkland- diversity! We are not raising our children to grow up to be prejudice against people because of their nationality, the color of their skin, their job title or their bank account balance. Just because some of these families are poor (and yes, even some on welfare) does not mean their children don't deserve an education too! You will find that in any town in the USA! Public schools were developed to meet the standard of an education for every single child. If you have any issue with your children attending school with other children who are less fortunate than them, maybe you need to put them in private school so you can be more selective about who your children are socializing with. Better yet, put them in charter schools and get involved so you can control it too! It appears that segregation (in many forms)is still so much alive right here in our very own backyard! You wouldn't have to worry about running from my little Parkland child if our school is closed because I will put my children in private school before I let them be surrounded by ignorant people like you!

SCATS said...

To 12:11AM ~~ Re: "It appears that segregation (in many forms)is still so much alive right here in our very own backyard!"

Indeed it is! It happens without question at the schools of choice. I'm told that at the West Ridge meeting tonight where around 150-200 parents assembled that ONE black family and one oriental family were observed in the audience. How's that for "diversity" at a school that supposedly prides itself on it?

SCATS said...

By the way 12:10, my original BLOG post suggesting closing Parkland is fact-filled. If that causes you to be in awe, then I've done my job of educating another Greece parent. I've watched how things work here for about two decades now ;)

Anonymous said...

12:10 is really not a parkland parent. Union writing assignment. Good job.

Anonymous said...

To 6:28 - It is quite hilarious that you would think I am not a Parkland parent but a Union Member given an assignment! Let me guess, is it because I am an involved parent who cares? Is it because my husband and I live in a nice neighborhood? I guess "involved parent" and "homeowning, educated, taxpaying middle class family in a nice neighborhood" aren't synonymous with "Parkland Elementary" in your opinion! Maybe it is because you think that all of the Parkland parents would not put a fight equivalent to the West Ridge parents if our school was under the same attack. Do you think that we don't have any concerns of our own about if more children arrive at Parkland for kindergarten, our classroom sizes will become too large and our children will receive less one-on-one instruction and individual attention! All you seen is the housing complex next door to Parkland when you drive by. What about opening your eyes to the very nice neighborhoods behind the school (that cut through to Latta I believe) and on both sides of the school (English and Fetzner)?

The signature schools was a wonderful idea in the beginning- allowing parents to choose areas that may allow their children to express their strengths, however, all it has done is backfired and become a segregation of the social classes! Apparently, in this township, children are ostracized for the zip code in which they reside, their address or the money that their parents have or don't have! It saddened me to see nothing but negativity surrounding Parkland and I wanted to clarify that there are parents who CHOSE to send their children there based on the curriculum and standards set forth in the signature schools brochure. I wanted West Ridge parents to understand that there are good people at Parkland, staff, parents and children alike and I think that Parkland hasn't been given the credit it deserves simply because it has a batch of apartments next to it that people feel uncomfortable about.The principal, staff, educators and involved parents at Parkland are a sense and feeling of community and family. It is a school that believes in encouraging parents to be involved, as simple as having lunch with your child to helping out "hands-on" in the classrooms, not just holiday celebrations, but every day experiences in the classroom, which allows us parents to see and understand what our children's day is like and what and how they are learning!

We all live in the same township, in the same community, and reside in the same school district under the same Board and Super- no matter what school we choose to send our children to! If a school is failing in attendance, enrollment, etc.- look for answers at the common target- THE BOE and Super! Please don't point fingers at parents just because of their demographics! I am a concerned Greece parent whose son attends Parkland, a Greece Central School District school and who wants the best for my son and my other children when they make their way into the district. Instead of segregating like this, we should be pooling together as a community to achieve the best standards and education for our children. Nothing good or productive is going to come of us pointing fingers at each other or working against each other. We all share a common goal- to get our children the best education we possibly can from the VERY HIGH TAXES we are already paying and to hold those district officials accountable when necessary!

SCATS said...

To 2:50PM ~~ I didn't write the comment you are responding to but I want to react to a point or two that you made.

Based on the horrible beating up Greece parents take in the board room (comments from admin., GTA & BOE too), your words aren't synonymous with how we're viewed regardless of school, except Pinebrook: "I guess "involved parent" and "homeowning, educated, taxpaying middle class family in a nice neighborhood" aren't synonymous with "Parkland Elementary"" In their minds, the "typical" student comes from a one-parent home that pays little to no attention to disciplining their children while the kids eat a free lunch, have costly special needs, disrupt classes repeatedly ... I'm sure you get the picture. It's not entirely their fault because resolving the problems is the mainstay of their duties. They overlook (possibly intentionally) the fact that there are parents who have tuned-into what's going on and send their kids to school prepared for the day. They are NEVER EVER mentioned.

You must also remind yourself that when you read comments on here, some are left by teachers, or school board members (past or present), or administrators, or other parents, community members and even some from far away places like PWC - Where Steve Walts lives with FREE health care paid for by us.

Anonymous said...

2:50 That was not implied. But you did the assignment admirably and we don't care.
Parkland is not a nice place to be. We don't believe you.

Anonymous said...

To 2:50 -- Spoken like someone who has never been there or had any kids go through the school. What's your experience? Anything more than being 30 feet away at 30 mph?

And to SCATS: I don't always agree with your positions, but I always appreciate the fact that you create a dialog on the important topics.

Anonymous said...

Scats, thanks for your points. I agree with your take. We saw the looks on the pre-k parents faces when we told them where we chose to send our son last year. All but 3 of his pre-k classmates chose Pinebrook, 2 students chose West Ridge (or just fell within the home school address of it) and then there was my son, sent to Parkland by choice. We moved to Greece 3 years ago from another suburb here. We have only been "residents" of the Monroe County area for the last 8 years. I guess we still have so much more to learn. We came to Greece when there was scandal after scandal being exposed! I just wish there was an easier solution to these problems we face. So, does this mean I need to pull my child from Parkland during the next "roll-call" for signature schools and place him elsewhere so he is not "branded" for life with a Parkland rep???

SCATS said...

Thanks, 8:42 PM :)

Anonymous said...

This is so sad! Parkland is a great school with great kids, great families, and a great staff! Sure, there are challenges at Parkland that some other schools do not need to deal with. But... the focus there is on the kids, not just pleasing parents. Thank you to the other Parkland parent for posting. You have so many good points!!!! You are not alone in your feeling that Parkland is a great community!!!

SCATS said...

To 10PM ~~ What is so sad?

By the way, 8:42 ... if everyone agreed with me, this would become very boring reading. What people don't seem to catch onto is that I sometimes play Devil's advocate to get people thinking. It usually works ;)

Anonymous said...

To 10:00- I wish more Parkland parents would speak out, but I am sure if we were in the same position as West Ridge, there would be an overwhelming response from us as well.

To 5:26- I really don't care! My opinion is that Parkland is a great school that has educated my child and has done their job of that well and beyond! And you can believe what you want but I am NOT going to reveal my identity just to prove my point that I am a parent... you can bait me all you want, this fish isn't biting!

And finally, to 8:42- Actually, it sounds like the other way around. I am assuming you are not a parent or never had the pleasure of having any of your children attend Parkland. And by the way, now that you have announced you are one of the drivers who still does 30 mph whipping through in front of my child's school, PLEASE SLOW DOWN! You know, those Greece Police Officers and I do wave at each other every morning and afternoon while they watch traffic in the side parking lot of Basil Marrilla park (next to ice cream hut) and I am pulling out from either dropping off or picking up my son or leaving from volunteering my time! After all, we wouldn't want you to get a ticket! :)

Anonymous said...

Diversity in a destination School of Choice is 3 or 4 dimwitted kids among every 300 potentially educatable kids.

Children are not admitted because of the color of their skin, but rather on a secretly conducted lottery. Them colored kids just ain't lucky. Of course if they can bounce a ball or run it might be a different story.

Anonymous said...

Entertaining comments on this blog. As someone with little care for the situation I find it amazing how many people are geared up to bash another that defends what they believe. A person, who I believe is probably truthful as a parent, has defended their school and is told to be a "union writer". Another said that they probably come as close as "being 30 feet away at 30 mph". Why defend it if you don't know it I ask?

2/04/2010 5:26 PM (the union writer basher) wrote that "Parkland is not a nice place to be". Really? You know this because you work there? Have children there? or is the skin color of some kids higher than you would like the reason you believe it is not a nice place to be? Maybe it is because Parkland is a Title 1 school and has a higher poverty rate than other Greece schools? Answer those before making assumptions again. Maybe you are right. Maybe it is a horrible school, but at least provide some facts instead of hiding behind a keyboard trying to make yourself feel a bit better about a very emotional and difficult situation for many.

How many of you have actually been to Parkland as a volunteer to see what it is like...or any school in Greece for that matter besides the one in which your child attends?
If I had an elementary school aged child again I would like to visit a few of these schools before making my decision.
Regardless of the outcome, Greece has destroyed the fabric of which all schools live by. Students come first. Sorry, as with everything, the almightly dollar comes first.

SCATS -- as always...keeping us entertained and talking. Have a fine weekend everyone.

SCATS said...

To 12:38AM ~~ You took the bait as evidenced by your wordy response ;)

GPD rarely gives speeding tickets in school zones. In fact, they are some of the WORST offenders! I live near several schools, so I have witnessed it many, many times.

To 12:42AM ~~ The word is "EDUCABLE" not educatable. That mistake was so glaring, I just had to correct you :)

To 4:20PM ~~ Why would you be surprised about people "bashing one another" in a district with a 20 yr. history of dividing neighborhoods with a lottery that pits the "haves" against the "have nots?" And then you have the audacity to bash another for "hiding behind a keyboard" and then not signing your own name? Talk about entertaining! LOL ;) Even more entertaining is this mistaken notion that a person must visit every school as a volunteer to know what they are talking about. Parents and neighbors and people in church & other community groups talk. They hear the stories without having to be there. Here's an example that recently happened at West Ridge and communicated by an acquaintance ~~ A child in gym class decides to not comply with the teacher and runs up the cargo net, refusing to come down ... not even the parent who gets called to school can get the kid to budge. So 911 is called and the pupil is retrieved, hauled off to the hospital (supposedly for evaluation) ... I'm stunned by the ridiculous lengths the district goes to in rewarding this child with LOTS OF ATTENTION. If it were my school, I'd hand the situation over to said parent, and continue on with class.

Marla.Graff-Mathis said...

My name is Marla Graff-Mathis and I have had the pleasure of teaching music in the Greece Central School district for the last 18 years. I have taught at Kirk Road, Barnard (before it was Barnard/Longridge) Athena Middle, Athena High School, English Village Elementary, Autumn Lane Elementary and now I currently teach at Parkland Elementary. I have been at Parkland for the last five years. I have watched many changes come to both the community of Greece as well as the school district. I had to read this blog for myself and see how the community was feeling and what was being said about Parkland Elementary.

All I know is that for the last eighteen years I have had the pleasure of working with EXTREMELY hard working, dedicated, child-centered, teachers committed to improving the lives of the families and children who have chosen to make Greece their residence. Our community is only a small part of our larger collective community; the United States of America. The United States of America has chosen to create a PUBLIC EDUCATION system where no child is denied an education. This is a testament to the character and sensibility of our nation's founders. Is it perfect? Absolutely not. But, we need to stay focused on a larger problem which lays ahead for all of us as Americans.

Education is an INVESTMENT period. If you don't front load and invest in the lives and the skills that these children and future taxpayers will need to compete in a global economy you are not only shortchanging our community, but our nation.

In case you haven't noticed, Kodak is a shell of its former self. Where did the jobs go? To other countries with less skilled labor who will work for less money. America will not survive with old economic paradigms. We are no longer a "production" economy in
a 19th or 20th century sense. We won't be able to return there either. If America is going to survive in a 21st century global economy, we must create products that cannot be produced by unskilled workers who will work for less. We will need a better educated workforce that is able to meet the technological and global problems this planet will continue to face. I know that I fill a small portion of this tremendous challenge we all face as AMERICANS.

I can only tell you how much pride I feel, and all the Greece teachers feel, knowing that we have equipped your children, our community, and our nation with the skills they will need to become successful, productive citizens in a world where change will continue to come with an unrelenting pace. We will need citizens who are able to understand the complexities of global challenges in an increasingly technological world. This is an extremely tall order.

I will know I have done my job when I read a blog and the majority of the writers are no longer anonymous, but proud to say who they are and are able to write about the value of education with the respect and admiration it deserves. Education transforms lives, cultures, and nations.

America is in the midst of a huge transformation. If all of us want not just to survive, but to thrive in a 21st century America, it is our national duty to educate all our children to the best of our ability PERIOD. We don't know which child will be the one who develops the cure for cancer, or who will be able to create jobs for our community by developing the next technological break through. Therefore, we must act as though we all matter,because we do. It's really not about West Ridge or Parkland. It's about investing in the future as trite as that may sound to the cynics. We need to support both schools and find a solution that is best for students, families, community and nation. No one stands alone.

No one paid me to write this and you may contact me through my Greece email since I will no longer be reading this blog.
Marla.Graff-Mathis@greece.k12.ny.us

Anonymous said...

SCATS -- I appreciate your concern with our district as well as others on this blog. Isn't that why we write? We are concerned with all things that upset us. I was only stating a point on knowing before jumping to a conclusion about a school because you are upset. Please don't tell me word of mouth is where we get truth though. I thought you stood for more than that. The T in SCATS needs to stand for something more than word of mouth or you need to change your name to SCAWMS. Should I believe that WR is an awful school with a horrible PE teacher now because one student behaved in such a matter? On a side note: would the district have protected this teacher if the student fell from the cargo net? We are a sue happy society you know. As a matter of fact, I have heard stories of misbehavior and poor teaching from many of these schools. Autumn Lane has an awful teacher somewhere in there because my neighbor is concerned that her son is not getting the best education this year. Does this "truth" stick more because it is Parkland and we all know the population there? Have you been to Parkland SCATS, or do you believe everything you hear?
Like almost everyone here I do hide behind a keyboard so why would I sign a name? I could be a principal, seamstress, officer, judge, stay at home Mom, your next door neighbor...it doesn't matter who I am much like it doesn't matter who anyone is who wants to show how bright their true colors shine. By the way, haven't caught your name yet SCATS.
Blogs like this are used to open a debate and that is understandable. It is a debate piting one group against another. People write their thoughts without compassion for how it affects others. That is our true human nature isn't it? WR parents don't care about Parkland students and I'm sure Parkland parents doesn't care about West Ridge students anymore. The very first post at the top says it all from someone very close-minded. "It's a win-win for everyone" Really? Ask Parkland.
My final note is this. EVERYONE that walks into those two schools has passion and love for each child that they teach and NOBODY on this site wants to see any child get displaced. Don't go after Parkland go after the bulldog that suggested this idiotic idea...you have until June 30th though.
Keep up the good work SCATS and a happy early Big 4-0. The best is ahead.

SCATS said...

To Marla ~~ Interesting that your name links me straight back to the GCSD home page instead of to a BLOGGER account. Too bad you don't want to hear any response to your comments. In case you decide to take a look ... I have a question for you:
How do we as a community "front load" a school district when by your own admission a substantial number of the better paying jobs in town evaporated before Kodak imploded any of the many buildings they sought to get lowered taxes on? The pie is only so large & Joe Homeowner is really struggling. Greece's budget will not be popular if Paterson's cuts become reality. While dreaming of a bigger, better, brighter future is all well and good, we simply can't afford more than the basics, at least for now.

SCATS said...

To 7:42AM ~~ Excuse me, but who decided that "word of mouth" was always off base? And you assume that I put out something based on one person's input. WRONG ;) I know parents involved in many schools about town. I also know that in Greece, if you hear the same story twice from two different corridors there's a pretty darn good chance it's true. That's my signal to start asking more questions. If more people did so, maybe we could avoid the next dozen scandals and our name wouldn't become a blight in the headlines every 3-4 days.

Yes, I've been to Parkland? Does that change anything? I think not. In fact, I can't think of any schools in this district I haven't entered.

On the issue of anonymity it is a well known FACT that retaliation is the driving force behind the paranoia over not knowing who is saying what. I'm pretty darned sure there are people in DO, Town Hall and maybe in the County Office Bldg who would love to know who I am, or who wrote a certain comment. Why does it matter so much WHO wrote the comment?? I'll tell you why: THEY WANT TO SHOOT THE MESSENGER! They don't give-a-damn about the problem, they just want the noise over it to stop. I think you know it's true, too. Otherwise you'd sign your name.

About pitting people against each other, I have nothing to gain from that. Since the Town & school district have worked overtime keeping people divided, I wouldn't have to put forth any effort anyway.

On the issue of "displacing children" I think it's very amusing that there is so much concern over this, especially when it comes via a K-2 school! In Greece, displacing the multitude of kids after 2nd grade is what PITS ONE FAMILY AGAINST THE OTHER! It's as if the kids are divorced by their schools - no more contact with anyone after grade 2. It was interesting that one of the first to speak at the WR dog & pony show pointed out that study after study shows that CONSISTENCY MATTERS to elementary age children. I know this to be true without researching it. Any parent who pays attention knows that young kids benefit from ROUTINE, not upheaval. Maybe our test scores would rise 20 pts across the board if we didn't ship them off to readjust all over again at age 7-8!

Re: "EVERYONE that walks into those two schools has passion and love for each child that they teach and NOBODY on this site wants to see any child get displaced." Is that something you researched? Did you poll every who walked into both buildings? Or was that from "word of mouth?"

Re: "Don't go after Parkland go after the bulldog that suggested this idiotic idea." The idea about moving Parkland into West Ridge? I'm proud to say that it was MY idea :D

Anonymous said...

SCATS, I just wanted to let you know that I have a problem with my computer. I was just browsing www.seethroughny.net/ and found a Greece employee by the same name (Marla Graff-Mathis) that made OVER $70,000 in 2008. Oddly, it's the only person by that name employed by Greece, so I know the problem must be with my computer...right?! Please don't tell me we have ANY sort of teacher making that kind of money, working 189 days a year, let alone...a music teacher?!

Wait, I just stumbled across another one, Paddy Hill's... $73,000+. Pine Brook's... $67,000+! The list goes on and on! SCATS, my computer must be infected. Elementary school music teachers, working HALF a year? Please send a repair man to my home to fix this computer!

SCATS said...

To 5:47PM ~~ Believe it or not, I know Greece had a Phys Ed teacher for K-2 who was earning the TOP salary under the contract at the time : $72,000 and that was in the mid-90's. Please tell me what a K-2 gym teacher does that is worth that salary? I know engineers with advanced degrees who aren't making that much!

SCATS said...

PS ~~ Maybe she knew that was coming & thus fled the BLOG ... ?

Anonymous said...

5:47, you left out the most appealing part of their gig, the bennys! It takes those salaries to a whole different level when you factor in the almost free health care. I have good health care, especially considering the times, and I still pay out $200 a month for my family's plan. Trust me when I say: these people are totally out of touch with reality, and should kiss the ground these schools are built on every day they pull up to work.

Anonymous said...

$200/month for a family plan!?!? I'm paying over 4 times that!

Anonymous said...

Really???? 70,000 grand a year for someone who has worked for 18 years with a Master's degree is not that impressive! I have friends who make that right out of college. I can't believe that anyone would think that was an out of control salary for someone in a career for that long. And..... the 10 month thing just doesn't work. Teachers work year round. They may take a few days/weeks off but it is not a half a year career. If you can find me one teacher who doesn't work a day out of their contractul time- I will gladly give you the 70,000 that she is making!

SCATS said...

To 6:53PM ~~ I'll bet that music teacher has little homework to grade or lesson plans to prepare. After 18 yrs. I'm pretty sure she's got that all under her belt in short order.

Let's take a look at the number of teacher absences, shall we? After seeing those figures, you might want to take back your kind offer of another person's salary LMAO.

For anyone who isn't aware of it, a tenured teacher in Greece can pretty much call in sick for the school year and not only get paid, but keep their job. And before the wisecracks start coming in I have PERSONALLY WITNESSED several teachers on different days shopping at the mall or the grocery store after calling in sick ... one was with her own daughter looking for a prom dress.

About teachers who "work year round" I know just what you mean. They have so few work days and such short hours that many of them RUN THEIR OWN BUSINESSES OR WORK SECOND JOBS ON THE SIDE ... auto repairs, painting, selling carpeting, even waiting tables. I can't tell you how awkward it was to have our table waitressed by a teacher we knew ... ACK! (We left a large tip hoping she would soon be able to afford to stop moonlighting.)

Anonymous said...

I'm always amazed that some people feel that simply because someone holds a masters degree (which we pay for), they should be entitled to a certain salary. There was a time, like, oh say yesterday (in the real world) where people were paid based on there value to their employer. Are we getting what were paying for in this district? What criteria should we base our answer to that question on? You wish to argue the point, so you tell me how there worth it. Tell me 6:53, cause you seem to be in tune with the teachers plight, whats the cost of say a Blue Choice family plan for a Greece teacher? SCATS, maybe you have that information. I'd love to see it here in print!

SCATS also brought up the time missed from the classroom. It's unreal! I am the parent of 2 students who's 2 K-5 teachers have missed in excess of 30 days already this year (between them). I know, I know, "How do I know they haven't been out of work battling some horrible disease. How do I know there own kids haven't been home fighting cancer. I'm a scumbag for questioning people that could have a real struggle on there hands!" Folks, I've heard it all before. The fact is the majority of these missed days have been (as the teachers explained...training/developmental days). Why are these done during the school year!? On those days missed my kids learn NOTHING! They spend those days guiding a sub through the day. Yes, the kids guide the subs! Heaven forbid these training days take place on days off (half the year), the freaking GTA would blow a gasket! $70K+ a year, and if you were to ask these people to get this training during the summer (for no more money) they'd look at you like you were speaking a foriegn language. It's all about the kid's alright!

I still can't believe it.......................................................................a $70K dollar music teacher, who works 189 days a year, unbelievable!

SCATS said...

To 9:16PM ~~ I don't have that info, but I'll try to get some idea about the cost. By the way, welcome to "Scumbags Anonymous" ;)

Anonymous said...

SCATS wrote at 11:46 AM "I'm pretty darned sure there are people in DO, Town Hall and maybe in the County Office Bldg who would love to know who I am..." That's funny dude. Was that "word of mouth"? Don't fall off that high horse your on, it might hurt. You've been to every school? Maintainance crew probably, UPS?, but I'm sure you will say you are a doctor or lawyer or something...no wonder why you are so upset with salary and the district.
I only wish I taught to get a salary like that. Is this 70k for only 18 years or did it say she taught more years before that in another district thus starting a bit higher in Greece? Isn't that what normally happens...you get raises for working at places for a long time? (white collar please not blue collar jobs) I'm sure teachers aren't the only ones making a nice salary for many years of work but most of you upset about it clearly don't and are a bit...jealous? Heck, I don't make that but at least I have the mind to understand why they get paid a nice salary. They teach your children regardless of what they teach them be it music, gym, or math...or is that "word of mouth"? If you think that is not important than you might as well home-school. I'm sure you'll try to justify your point that they make too much. You people are funny. Thanks for starting my day with a good laugh.
9:16PM wrote that their 2 kids have missed more than 30 days because "the majority of these missed days have been (as the teachers explained...training/developmental days)". What school is this? My kids have been off for a couple of these days including Parent/Teacher conferences. Where are you getting these numbers? Anyone else have a kid miss 15 days due to professional development or training days this year?
By the way, I sent a test e-mail to that Marla person and guess what, it didn't bounce back. Try cutting and pasting next time SCATS instead of trying to make yourself look better by posting on your blog. I wish I knew a person like that. Someone proud enough to state her name only to get lambasted by anonymous people who have broken coumputers that find her salary. I can't believe someone wasted time doing that. That's almost as funny as...well, most of this is funny. I'll wait for your shot at a last laugh. Thanks, it's been entertaining.

Anonymous said...

Ah, true colors are starting to come out. To the blogger who stated that she pays 200 a month for health care, that is what I, as a greece teacher, pay as well for health and dental insurance. In addition, all of you non-teachers could have chosen education as your major in college. Why didn't you make that choice knowing the benefits of working for a school district (i.e. summers off, tenure)?

Anonymous said...

This post is for the smarter citizen in the greece community who is complaining about how much money teachers make or is pissed at themselves for making a bad career choice and have nothing else better to do. Since you pried into people lives, what do you do? How much do you make? Check out the administrators salary i.e. the superintendent,the principals or assistant principals..... are you serious?! Your kids could go down the same road (education), and are you gonna tell them no! bad choice. Most of these teachers have to teach students the basics like going to the bathroom,wiping their butts, tying their shoes. Is this their job or the parents...? nice, good preparation people. How about the hitting, biting, getting spit on, oh yeah and swearing. Parents, not doing so good at home? So when you think they don't learn anything at school, it all stems from home life. In addition a teacher's job is to educate them.. oh yeah lets throw in parent them , and might as well throw in a criminal justice degree to restrain wild kids too! I'm sure this not what the teachers had in mind when they as kids decided in life to follow the road of education. Does a doctor make too much money? maybe in your mind. would he make too much if he saved your life? What was the persons title called who taught the doctor to save your life?........ A TEACHER. IS THIS REALLY ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS COMPLAIN COME ON MAN REALLY?

SCATS said...

To 8AM ~~ Well, well, well, looks like Marla & her gang are watching the BLOG after all :)

Nope, I'm none of the things you listed. I am a VERY active person when it comes to community groups however. You should try it ;) Had you paid any attention during the Nov. elections, you would know I'm right.

You reference white collar jobs. Again if you were paying attention (like to the local news) you'd know MANY of those (tens of thousands!) disappeared from the Rochester area in the last 10 yrs.

The rest of your email is so unbelievably twisted, (hangover) from your apparent inability to comprehend what other people wrote that I'm going to let you get your coffee & Tylenol before you return to try again. Putting twisted words into other people's mouths is so typical within Greece's political and union corners.
Ciao!

SCATS said...

To 8:15AM ~~ I don't see where the person paying $200/mo for health care identified themself as female. What did I miss? Re careers: In our family, we have a work ethic that aspired us to become something more challenging :)

SCATS said...

To 9:$!AM ~~ You are hysterically funny!! Pried into your life!? Didn't you understand the meaning of becoming a PUBLIC EMPLOYEE before you took on the job?? YOU WORK FOR US! Apparently, you've forgotten that!

The thing about teachers and their salaries vs administrators and their salaries is that administrators usually work summers AND for every one of them, there are about TEN teachers!

Yes, education as a career is a bad choice (ever notice how many teacher factories there are in the area??) and that's been communicated to the youngster's in this household. People with history degrees that can't find other work usually resort to becoming a teacher. I know quite a few of them. Most regret their chosen path at some point.

I do agree, it's a great fallback position in case the better jobs can't be landed. It pays better than waiting tables and certainly has better benefits. So it makes sense to have your kids study to become an engineer, accountant, etc. but be in a position to be able to teach just in case ;)

You talk about student's home lives. What about some of these teacher's home lives? Are none of them in relationships that are dissolving? Do no teachers have kids who get into trouble?
PUH-LEEZE! Gimme a break! I've volunteered in schools a lot and have overheard many, many conversations that became loud, angry by teachers making personal calls. I've even heard the ones made to creditors, unbelievable!

Re your final question: "What was the persons title called who taught the doctor to save your life?."

Answer: DOCTOR!!

PS ~~ By the way, as a teacher, you should know that to be correct you should have used "person's" with the apostrophe to show possession ;) The word "called" was entirely unnecessary.

Given the vitriole this thread has stirred up, I'm closing this discussion. I want our teacher's blood pressures to return to normal so they can all be bright-eyed in school first thing tomorrow, despite how late they stay up drinking in front of the Super Bowl show on their LED TV.

SCATS said...

BLOG Administration is rejecting publishing two comments laft after I said this thread is closed. However, feel free to check out the new BLOG on teacher salaries/contracts. I decided everyone should "pry" into the salaries of the teachers and posted the links for the contract & for SeeThroughNY ;)