Monday, August 01, 2011

Closing Schools MUST Precede Capital Repair/Bus Purchase Plans

  
The Greece Central School District's Board of Education appears to be heading down yet another slippery slope in avoiding the pain of doing what they should have started at least two years ago: CLOSING SEVERAL SCHOOLS!

Before deciding which buildings to close, they are now contemplating a 3-phase, 10 yr. plan to catch up on $150+ million in delayed repairs/projects and want to ask voters to approve $35.4 million in a vote before year's end as the first such installment. They are also contemplating the need to ask voters to OK a bus purchase plan at the same time.

How the heck can you know how many buses you need to buy or which buildings to repair if you haven't already decided which schools to shutdown? Without that decision under their belt, they will be wasting money yet again, even if they don't anticipate the need to raise taxes!!

"This will be a big challenge for us, and we are going to have to go through it step by step and make sure we have the community with us along the way." ~~ Julia VanOrman, Greece BOE Pres.

Julia's quote about the "challenge" to the BOE in deciding what buildings to close shows the BOE is NOT up to the tasks they face! They can NOT expect the community to back closing a school when in reality a knee-jerk emotional reaction is to be expected by those families affected by such tough decisions. The BOE can't hope for a pat on the back no matter how they go about doing it. They weren't elected to become our buddies, but to do a job that is sometimes hard.

At this point, the BOE needs to take action quickly, logically and methodically to get a handle on a looming budget crisis. THEY MUST CLOSE SCHOOLS FIRST. Capital repairs & transportation needs should only be assessed AFTER those decisions have been made. Any other process should be rejected loudly by the community as wasteful. Time is wasting while we wait their decision ...
  

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

Close a couple of schools, redraw boundries, yet keep schools of choice as is.
That should do it.

SCATS said...

To 10:16AM ~~ That would do it as long as you entirely overlook the fact that West Ridge has become one of our UNDER-SUBSCRIBED SCHOOLS! ;)

Anonymous said...

They want a undesignated check to do with whatever they wish. 35 million and then decide which schools if any to close. As usual with these capital projects, they act like they are going to spend the money specifically for certain projects, but they do not have to follow those possibilities. They may follow them but they do not have to.
And notice the publicity does not say that it will not cost the taxpayers anything. It says it will not raise the tax rate. That is sneaky and the new superintendent is even better at smoke and mirrors than Walts and crew. First we are not authorizing spending from reserves. We do not have any more building reserves. And she is saying that we will get state reimbursements so that is like it is free. Wrong. And when was the last time we ever were told about the reimbursements from the project of $119 million in 2000? Supposedly we got back 70% of the spending and they just suck that money into the general fund and we never see it as an addition to the budget. It never offsets the next years spending or taxes. So don't believe a word of it that we won't be paying for it. Of course it will cost money.
What is Babs planning on doing? Cutting $35 million of teachers positions over 3 years? That's nice. NOT!
Get rid of the Hoover building first and give it back to the heirs so they can start paying tax on it after they turn it into an econolodge. Then divide those 700 students over the other secondary schools at about 30 students per grade level. Then get rid of the Barnard building and sell it to a developer that will again have to pay taxes when he turns it into office space or priceright. Then there is Westridge. We know the developer that owns the connected building wants that and will pay dearly for it. Then he can pay tax on it. Divide those 400 students up amongst the elementary buildings at about 30 apiece. Come on Babs. You know you have to do it.

Anonymous said...

They need to look at the possible sale value of the schools they choose as well. For example, Autumn Lane, Lakeshore and Parkland could easily become residential or commercial. Take those kids and redistrict to fill West Ridge and the remaining buildings which is land locked and not that attractive for building. Move Odyssey to Apollo (and fill the building) like they suggested last year and give the school back to the family. As for all the schools of choice keep them or stop them if you wish but change the bussing. For example, If you live 1 mile from Arcadia Middle, you walk to school currently. Why aren't the Middle Schoolers that attend Odyssey walking 1 mile to their bus stop? For that matter why aren't the Odyssey high schoolers walking the 1.5 miles to their bus stop like the kids that go to their neighborhood high school This could be done for school of choice kids too. This should consolidate bus stops and save money if they don't do away with Odyssey and schools of choice. By the way, I hope someone sues the district if they keep odyssey and not schools of choice. It will just make the "have's" and "have nots" that much farther apart. I agree, no matter what the decision, the choice is a hard one. Skip the community meeting, all you get is not my school, take theirs, normal response, but not productive.

Anonymous said...

They could get rid of half the buses,drivers, and attendants now if they put more than 10-15 kids on each bus.

Anonymous said...

I heard from a former bus driver there are close to twice as many routes today than there was pre SOC/open enrollment. Think about that and consider there are also more than 2000 less students! Insane.

Anonymous said...

CAN YOU HANDLE THE TRUTH?
If yes, check out the letters to the editor in the Tuesday D and C. That C. Hubbard boy is at it again. I'll bet the writer of the letter which follows the Hubbard letter is peeing his pants about now!

Anonymous said...

Scats,
Not sure why you have such a tremendous dislike for West Ridge.
To describe WR as an "UNDER-SUBSCRIBED SCHOOL" is incorrect.
Excepting Achromovitch's little trick last year, enrollment art West Ridge has been steady for the past ten years.
Exactly how does that make it under-subscribed?

SCATS said...

To 10:28AM ~~ My "tremendous dislike" for West Ridge is no greater than your tremendous dislike of the facts! Ten years ago, West Ridge had 424 students (2001-02). In 2004-05 they had a high of 430 students for the past decade.

This past year they had 388 students, following a decline to 404 students in 2008-09 and only 407 students in 2009-10!

Achramovitch "tricked" no one at all and you won't either ;)

Anonymous said...

Scats,

Since you like facts so much...

% Enrollment change 2002-2003 through 2009-2010.
Holmes Road +11.11%
English Village +9.51%
Pine Brook -0.35%
West Ridge -2.86%
Longridge -4.20%
Craig Hill -7.78%
Buckman Heights -9.09%
Holmes Road -11.11%
Lakeshore -11.93%
Autumn Lane -12.30%
Brookside -17.17%
Paddy Hill -20.79%
Kirk Road -23.00%
Parkland -24.25%

West Rodge is undersubscribed?

SCATS said...

To 11:30AM ~~ My figures were for the actual NUMBERS OF STUDENTS and came from the same document the Attendance Committee used. I don't know where your percentages came from. Yes, I'll say it again. WEST RIDGE IS AN UNDER-SUBSCRIBED SCHOOL!

As a school-of-choice that used to serve a minimum of 425 students/yr. with an enormous wait list, we've gotten to the point where keeping various grade levels filled has become an ongoing problem. The bottom line: WEST RIDGE IS NO LONGER IN DEMAND AS A SCHOOL-OF-CHOICE. IT NO LONGER SERVES AS A BUFFER TO BOUNDARY CHANGES LIKE IT ONCE DID. IT HAS OUTLIVED THE PURPOSE FOR WHICH IT WAS DESIGNED.

The above statements make it a no-brainer for closing since those few students could be disperesed back to the schools they otherwise would have attended without too much ado. Add to that the fact that the attached addition owned by a developer makes it a school that would be potentially easy for the district to unload (i.e. sell). It's a logical choice, all things considered.

I never said it was the only under-subscribed school. I've been emphatic that Parkland is ripe for shutdown and even suggested they merge it with West Ridge in the past, but folks like you didn't like that idea either ;)

Anonymous said...

11:30 your percentages are meaningless with out total enrollment per school. Thanks

Anonymous said...

10:28 They didn't have enough applicants to make 3 kindergartens? That could be considered under-subscribed. If they do have 3 Kindergarten classes it is because they divided the number of students which was a little over 60 by 3 and that deficit will follow up through the grade levels. Nice private school experience. Or they took kids from Pinebrook. Either way it could be closed no problem. The parents would weep and whine because their particular private school for free at public expense would be gone. But unless they brainwash the kids to grieve they will be fine. We know that can't happen with parents that feel entitled so there will be grieving. But the enrollment could be dispersed across the district without a blip in space utilization. And we save all that expense of running a building and get to sell the building and get tax from the new owner. Win Win Win.

Anonymous said...

Of course Westridge people would not want to be merged with Parkland. LOL. That's what they were trying to escape, the people that are neighbors of Parkland and whose kids have to go to Parkland. Wonder if there is an ESL class at Westridge or special ed behavior management at Westridge.

Anonymous said...

Facts be damned.
I used yearly enrollment figures provided by the district. And applied a little critical thinking and simple math.
I'll say it again.
Enrollment at West Ridge has stayed relatively stable for the past ten years. Moreso than all but 3 other elementary schools in the district. To call it undersubscribed is factually incorrect.

As for closing WR. I agree that it should be closed, along with maybe 1-3 more. I think schools of choice should be ended. I think bussing should be drastically reduced and kids should walk to neighborhood K-5 schools. I think OA should be closed.

As for what I do or don't like. Maybe you should not make such assumptions.

The argument for closing schools and ending SOC should stand on their own without incorrect statements about enrollment.

Anonymous said...

@12:12

The didn't have enough students because Achromovitch closed enrollment. Arbitrarily, months before the deadline.

Do they have 3 kindergarten classes next year?
I bet they do, since no one tried to cook the books.

SCATS said...

To 12:23PM ~~ There is absolutely nothing incorrect about my statements, my numbers or my facts! Your ONLY bone of contention revolves around the definition of the word "under-subscribed." I use that word because of what I know to be true:

1 - West Ridge used to be full to capacity EVERY SINGLE YEAR.

2 - West Ridge used to have a HUGE WAIT LIST EVERY YEAR.

3 - Over the last 10 yrs. in general and 5 yrs. in particular, this school has lost both enrollment (to full capacity) & the numbers sitting on wait lists!

4 - It no longer serves the purpose for which it was designed: a buffer to prevent boundary changes.

Given those FACTS, I'd say it fits the definition of UNDER-SUBSCRIBED -- just compare where they are now to where they used to be (full to capacity with lengthy wait lists vs -50 students under capacity and short to no wait lists!)

What's YOUR definition of "under-subscribed?"

Anonymous said...

12:23 WR has been stable, yet your fail to site what WR can hold for students and how many actually attend...same hold true for PB. Then compare that to LR and over 800 kids...yeah facts be damned geesh

SCATS said...

To 12:26PM ~~ You are hysterical! LOL

Cooked the books? Ha ha ha!!! HARDLY!!

He closed enrollment and dispersed the two kindergartens back to the other schools BECAUSE THE BOE DIRECTED HIM TO DEVISE A WAY OF REDUCING THE BUDGET BY A SPECIFIC AMOUNT BY THEIR NEXT MEETING!!!

TRANSLATION ~~ He was doing his job as his bosses directed, nothing more!

You forgot to point out that despite a media blitz, an in-district ad campaign, an open invitation ice cream social promoting the school districtwide, reopening the enrollment well into the summer and attempting to lure those on Pinebrook's wait lists to try West Ridge that WEST RIDGE FAILED TO GET ENOUGH STUDENTS TO JUSTIFY A THIRD SECTION OF KINDERGARTEN! I'd say that's bad news for a "school-of-choice." Apparently not so many still choose it ;)

Anonymous said...

Who would choose a school that is going to be closed and sold? Westridge is over.

Anonymous said...

FYI- Parkland has 4 Kindergartens next year.

SCATS said...

To 1:36PM ~~ You mean their student population might break 300 this year?

Anonymous said...

WR was an admittedly under attended school the minute it (a public school mind you) started having rallies and ice cream socials and online sites and petitions to prove otherwise. What other public school in Greece has this happened at? It's a goner.

Oh, and btw pinebrook and OA families, your army of self centered troops will be cut by 1/3 when WR falls. What do you suppose that means for the near future? Lol!

Anonymous said...

Since students will be re-assigned after a school or schools are closed,maybe instead of arguing over underutilized vs not, it might be good to consider:

1. Which schools are most salable to development
2. Which schools are in need of most repair
3. Which schools are in areas of the district that have dwindling population of school-aged children
4. Which schools' closings would result in least amount of new transportation

I think it is a given that any school that is closed and consolidated will result in anguish from the students and parents

Anonymous said...

10:18. Anguish "Agonizing physical or mental pain; torment."

agony "1. Extreme physical or mental suffering.
2. The final stages of a difficult or painful death: "

Anguish from students? Only if the parents tell them they should be. They are nervous always on the first day. Whether you are new to the district after a move, or in a new building. Even adults in college are nervous at first.
The parents of the Odyssey students and Westridge students will be extremely irritated and awestruck if for once they do not get their own way. Temper tanrums and foot stamping maybe but not anguish.
The schools will be closed.

SCATS said...

To 12:41PM ~~ I attended the BOE meeting held at West Ridge after Achramovitch announced he wanted to rid them of their kindergarten and believe me, there was "anguish!" Teachers, parents and young children sobbed into mics while begging the BOE to go pick on some other school. Even some of the "men" (I use the term loosely) were reduced to sniveling, sniffling & snuffling for show to the media's TV cameras and BOE members who made themselves available for their public punishment. I agree that kids got it from the adults. Sort of like mass hysteria where one person's "illness" soon makes everyone near them ill too. Heck, I almost vomited from watching it myself ;)

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
SCATS said...

BLOG Administration is reposting the previous comment after editing for name-calling:

Anonymous said...
It makes more sense to keep West Ridge open and close two smaller buildings. Especially since BDW will return us to the K-5 model.

Still, I'd love to see West Ridge, Pinebrook and Odyssey all close. Nothing would make me more gleeful than seeing those SOC xxxx get what they deserve. All the boo-hoo-hooing on the evening news would be the best fun of the fall TV season.

8/04/2011 1:47 AM

Anonymous said...

The buildings that close will be the ones that have a buyer. The schools that end could be different. For example odyssey the building could be retired and the kids could be relocated to Maiden Lane. That would placate the noisy parents.
Westridge could both be closed and the kids relocated to home schools and the whole property sold.

SCATS said...

To 8:11AM ~~ Actually, I don't think it will placate them, because then they will be in a building large enough to expand the program. They fear that moving it to such a visible and more central location will mean they attract more of the type of students they seek to avoid.

Anonymous said...

Scats at 11:30 They don't want to see them, hear them or smell them? Who knew?

SCATS said...

To 4:27PM ~~ I think you caught my drift (pun intended).