Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Appropriate Changes Shouldn't Be This Hard ...

   
"Change is scary!" ~~ Roger Boily, Greece BOE

"Change is difficult." ~~ Babs, Greece Supt.

"Change is hard." Julia VanOrman, Greece BOE Prez.

SCATS ~~ If our "leaders" were convinced that these were the RIGHT changes they're making, I'd expect to hear them saying something like: "Change is exciting ... Change promotes growth ... Change provides opportunity ... " Those messages were mostly lacking, so perhaps it's because these are the WRONG changes, made for the WRONG reasons ... ?
   

46 comments:

Anonymous said...

Scats,
I live off Blackwalnut Dr with my two children, does anyone know yet what school they will be going to next year?

Anonymous said...

Change is heavy that is why we have piggy banks

Graehaven said...

The reason it's so difficult for them to do is because they've never had the interests of the students or the taxpayers at heart. Their interests are protecting unionized employees, and their own over-paid positions. It's the typical reaction from a bloated bureaucracy.

The more they get backed into the corner on financial issues, the more truth about what they're really all about will be revealed.

It's government corruption at it's finest.

Anonymous said...

When asked about space and class size at Paddy Hill I believe the ratio of 1/25 was used. There was no mention as to class size at OL or OA. It matters as there still is a 5 million dollar shortage and if they plan to cut teachers that will not hold true at other schools and can certainly negatively impact that transitioning middle schoolers at OL? Still lots of unanswered questions. Also did anyone else notice the large zone around PB, some of the most expensive homes in Greece. How is that balancing demographics ? They certainly could have included the homes south of English road and to North Greece road.

Anonymous said...

The whole change is bad, change is difficult line is simply pandering to the portions of the community who might be upset with the proposal. It is a tactic used all the time to help show empathy.

It seems that they did a decent job of answering most of the communities questions last night. Sounds like OA will be one school with no consideration for "parallel" scheduling.
Sounds like the middle school at Olympia will be separate from the high school.

Yes SOC still exist, but in a much smaller form. Eventually, as kids who are "grandfathered" in rotate out, those schools should be mostly populated from their attendance zones with gaps filled by a public lottery and a commitment and promise to ensure demographic balance.

Very quickly it looks like we are running out of issues to complain about. Hopefully, the district in the next 3-5 years will look very different and much like a district we can be proud of.

Anonymous said...

Read the article in the A section this morning about the changes in Greece. It continues inside the paper. There is a picture that looks like the superintendent on this page and I started to read that article. Uh-oh it was a story about Bonnie Raitt. They look very alike. Then I found the continuation of the article about our Greece story.
We have to admit in many ways this new superintendent is different. She got our school board to accept something that was controversial and vote unanimously in her favor. There was not lots of whining by school of choice parents. There was not an outcry from a tax payers watchdog group. Maybe there is more to this idea of "change". It goes further than consolidation of school structure. Let's just wait and see what happens during the transition headed by Pallas. Let's hope the new lady is trusting the right people in her upstairs offices. The ides of march are approaching so be on the lookout.
Remember tragic heroes always have flaw. Remember what Caesar's was? Macbeth's was his feeling of invincibility, Hamlet's was his indecisiveness. Julius Caesars' was......

SCATS said...

To 6:07AM ~~ You didn't say what grades they will be entering, so I can't help you. Sorry.

To Graehaven ~~ Nice to "see" you again, old friend! Very true, what you say.

To 8:42AM ~~ The budget gap is down to about a meager $4 million after the Kodak tax settlement. They'll find that in loose change if they dig into the sofa cushions lining DO. They said that balancing things at PB will take time ...

To 9:34AM ~~ I agree with your first paragraph. Could you please point out the verbiage you heard that caused you to say: "Sounds like OA will be one school with no consideration for "parallel" scheduling." ? I seem to have missed it. As for GCSD's "committment" to the future, I'll believe it when I see it. As other parents told the BOE a week ago, our school board & DO don't have an established track record that allows people to just trust them.

To 9:48AM ~~ I disagree about Babs getting the BOE to
accept" the need to make changes! WHAT CHOICE DID THEY HAVE? NONE!! Even you seem to realize how fragile things are in your statement mentioning Pallas then immediately resorting to "Let's hope the new lady is trusting the right people in her upstairs offices." Deep down, you don't believe she is ... no matter how much you hope otherwise ;)

Anonymous said...

Change has to begin somewhere and it would have been a massive cluster-f@&! if they made all of the changes at once, ie: returning wholly to neighborhood schools in one big swopp. With that being said, I think 2 things are happening here...1) they rescued their IB program and blue ribbon award school for yet another year and 2) this is just the beginning of what's to come. PH/KR consolidation and PL/BS consolidation plus moving all of affinity into WR is just the laying of the foundation for the changes that will follow next year and the year after at the other schools in the district. This year, it was these schools, next year it may be Arcadia, Athena and EV and CH and AL and BH!

My kids actually made out okay with this change in that they are all together in one school, their neighborhood school! However, there will be a major impact on many of the PL/BS students, primarily affinity lane families who will be with all new teachers with a new teaching style through the new groupings of the west ridge families at the parkland campus. This will be a huge transition for those children!

I would just love to see the soc on the chopping block for a change in the future! Until that subject is truly scrutinized by the boe/do in the public eye, nothing will be set right in this district. The fact that the soc remain seems to unsettle much of the community and is the CORE of the segregation!

Anonymous said...

Sorry scats,
One will be going into 6th and the other 3rd grade. I would assume my 3rd grader would attend Buckman but you can never assume anything in this district.

Anonymous said...

It will be interesting to see the budget for the transportation dept. in this coming years budget compared to the present year.

With the elimination of signature school transportation yet keeping transpotation for sco it will also be interesting to see how long it will be before the lawsuits fly.

Anonymous said...

With moving WR to PL and including the Affinity Lane kids, whose going to want to choose WR anymore? Then what are they going to do when there is not enough attendance for WR? Classroom sizes are going to get larger and larger and learning will get harder and harder. BAD IDEA!!! Oh and PB will get looked at in the future? Why do they get to hold off and WR has to implement huge changes in a very short period of time? The complaint was about transportation, SOC having no benefits.. Well PB is a SOC just like WR so the reasons are bullish**!

SCATS said...

To 1:19PM ~~ If I understand the changes correctly, your 6th grader will attend Apollo since there won't be any 6th grade at Olympia for the next TWO years. The younger one will be headed to BH, as planned.

To 1:36PM ~~ Slight if any decrease (quite possibly an increase even - they'll be busing some kids farther than now!) because they will blame it on gas prices, solar flares, and unrest amongst the natives in New Zealand's jungles ;)

To 1:45PM ~~ I had those exact same thoughts back when they first proposed these changes. I was a bit surprised no one really voiced them until now.

Re: Pine Brook - Roger Boily looks out for his own ... thus they get celebrity, kid-glove treatment ;)

Re: WR - their demise was well underway ever since Achramovitch tried to eliminate their kindergarten. This should put the final nail in THAT situation.

Anonymous said...

WR: What they don't tell you is that many of the affinity lane children are classified so many will have there own classrooms. They also move frequently so it will be much like WR as it is.

to 6:07 am your children are in the new OL zone for 6-12( 6th gr for 2 years at the current Apollo bldg) and HR BH for elementary.

The question Beth Race asked last night was great, as to safety of middle schoolers at OL but the answer was elusive.

Anonymous said...

If SOC parents pull their kids now that their kids will have to sit next to low-income kids (weighted lottery at Pine Brook, attendance zone WR) than we will all know the REAL reason behind SOC in Greece. I hope that is not the case and the low-income kids now included will thrive at PineBrook and WestRidge...time will tell.
If SOC can't thrive with including low-income kids then they should be CLOSED. Remember the committee that said up to 4 elementary schools could be closed.

SCATS said...

To 2:27PM ~~ I disagree with "They also move frequently so it will be much like WR as it is" because at SOC's currently, there is NO movement of kids into empty slots as they open up during the school year. Maybe I shouldn't assume they will under the new plan ... like our other schools do ... ? Anyone heard anything?

Re: Safety of middle schoolers @Olympia - another BOE member responded when he said it was time for us to get over it (our concerns about safety @Olympia) because his kid attends there & is safe. Feel better knowing that? No? I didn't think so. I wouldn't either ;)

To 2:38PM ~~ Let them pull them out. I've already seen written claims on Facebook & elsewhere by people saying they plan to leave Greece. We'll be better off without their narrow-mindedness.

Yes, we can close up to 4 elementary schools, but they are really only "closing" Kirk Rd. The whole situation with WR is another GCSD scheme that reams the taxpayers of Greece. THANK YOU JOHN YAGIELSKI!

Anonymous said...

As far as the children from affinity who are classified and will be in their own classrooms... this sounds a lot like the OA and Apollo paralell learning being set up all over again!

Anonymous said...

2:38 look at the new attendance zone for PB. Lottery will be on space available AFTER attendance zone kids. There will be not many lottery spots after the priority PB zones kids. PB will continue to be as it is. Read the steps Attendance zone, siblings THEN lottery ( weighted if needed) It may never get to lottery.

AS for WR kids will move out of Affinty they will not be the stable longterm students at WR.

Anonymous said...

Didn't get to attend the meeting, any chance that anybody explained the purpose of school of choice? How about it's financial cost?

I only ask about the purpose because our savior, Babs, still hasn't to my knowledge.

Anonymous said...

If they really do "classify" these children from Affinity and have them set up in different classrooms/families, then this is beginning to sound more and more like the Odyssey/Apollo parallel learning! Hmmmm....

SCATS said...

To 2:54 & 4:42PM ~~ I hadn't thought of that. It's something to watch for ;)

To 4:17PM ~~ No ... and no. It's pretty obvious they have NO CLUE.

Anonymous said...

The only one who likes a change is a baby with a wet diaper.
This change is needed, but the folks affected will anguish about it. The rest of us will accept it much easier and hopefully only the first step in many needed changes
I am sure the BOE was trying to acknowledge that it will be difficult for some.

Anonymous said...

I really appreciate the changes that are being made with the closing of the schools and the changes in attendance zones, however, I cannot believe that new students in the attendance zone will not be admitted to WR and PB. NONE of the other either elementary schools have that option! Too bad for those schools when a grade level gets full...oh and by the way they can get the newbies from WR and PB, too. Shortsighted if you ask me.

SCATS said...

To 7:25PM ~~ APPROPRIATE CHANGES are easily met with excitement and/or enthusiasm by those who recognize the opportunities such changes can afford. The problem here is that everyone realizes these changes were FORCED ... way too little, much too late ... in an effort to close a budget gap that's been disguised to "fix" a lottery/choice option that's been broken for 20+ years. Thus the angst ;)

SCATS said...

To 7:38PM ~~ That's what the "S" in GCSD stands for ... "Shortsighted" ;)

Anonymous said...

Just heard that OLY middle school kids will be starting the same time as the high school kids...riding the same buses too. Not sure if I like that idea.

Anonymous said...

For sure change can be difficult. It is also true that it can also be very much worth the anxiety it may cost. Go for it folks.

Anonymous said...

Why should we expect anything different from the winner of 'America's Got Puppets'? Lyndonville must be so proud to have groomed her.

I've heard it's been killing her to hear the the basic question: What's the purpose of school of choice?

Great job Barb! It's gonna be a long 9 months before you hop on another 'first day of school' bus photo-op!

Anonymous said...

Look at the total population for next year at OA 1155. The only increase is the 6th graders that would go to Apollo next year and the WHOPPING 55 from the attendance zone. Look at the close to 2000 students ALREADY AT Olympia. and they are adding another 400 with the 7th and 8th grade. THERE will be sharing of classrooms at Olympia...all so that OA can exist. I would say the families at OA got exactly what they wanted NO CHANGE. And please the addition of 55 low income East of Mt Read students is NOT BALANCING demographics GREECE parents we have been scammed again.

SCATS said...

To 6:10PM ~~ Is there a link to your numbers available? Where did you get those figures? The combined current population at Olympia is nowhere near 2000 students. It's close to 1100 ... around 1800 with all of Apollo included.

Anonymous said...

It is no big deal to have middle and high school on the same bus. I went to Athena Junior High for one year before it because Athena Middle School. When I was in 7th grade, and it was junior high, grades 7-12 shared a bus. High schoolers are quiet on the bus, relative to middle schoolers. The next year it was a middle school, and we had our own bus...the behavior was MUCH WORSE without the older kids to tell the younger ones to calm the heck down. Middle school behavior is actually way more raucous than high school behavior.

Anonymous said...

8:25, I'm not sure what your point is. Yes middle schoolers share buses with high schoolers in several districts. In the case of the new Olympia, however, they'll get mixed on the bus, as well as the school ALL IN THE NAME OF SCHOOL OF CHOICE! Does this minimize busing?...No! Can the the BOE or their puppet Barbara explain the purpose of school of choice?...No! Is this latest plan, quite possibly the biggest crock of s*** ever sold to the district?... Absolutely!

14850 said...

Lets just say ,If home sales go up in greece, ny. and enrollment goes up. what will they do then? are we going to pay the same to heat and power up these buildings that will be empty? but let me take a shot who will take these sharp jabs that the boe will hand out, the cafiteria workers, the transportation workers the buildings and grounds crews. then after that all teachers aids, and last of all security. then they will go after activities. and after all that the only ones loosing will be the students and the families. that wasn't considered when they met. all i can say is you should have investigated more and done more studies on this. why doesn't this board lead and be leaders that the rest of this state will copy . they have yet to do that. next thing they will ask for will be condems. walk a couple of miles in those employees shoes work with them a week then decide what you should do.

Anonymous said...

Let's get this straight.....Hoover building will be closed. Barnard building will be closed (already was). Westridge building will be closed? Kirk rd building will be closed.

So we are saving money by not having to heat those buildings and having them maintained? But unless we unload them to some buyer or give hoover back we will still have to maintain them.
Or is there a plan to lease these buildings to office space?

Since we will still be having the same number of students there will be no staffing reductions. Surely the principal of Odyssey is not going to accept more students without some extra staff.

Since the Apollo school will be dissolved, will those staff have to be rehired? There is a part of the tenure law that allows tenured staff to be let go if there is no longer the position. Same could happen to Kirk Rd and Parkland staff. Good way to weed out some undesirables as they "bump" each other. Won't Pallas love that. Sounds like union bosses might have been asleep at the wheel.

SCATS said...

To 10:40AM ~~ Barnard essentially already was closed, but used for storage, etc. West Ridge will NOT be closed. The annex is in use for the "Family Center" and the records stored at Barnard will be moved to the school. Babs also said the school will be used for testing & some other things. I don't see much "savings" going on related to WR at all. I believe Babs said there is going to be a group (committee?) looking into selling/leasing the empty schools (Barnard, Kirk Rd.).

To 7:20AM ~~ As for extracurriculars, they SHOULD BE SCALED BACK! We're spending a BOATLOAD of $$ on coaching fees & stipends in our ridiculous attempts to provide everything to all students. Babs seemed to hint at this during the end of the last BOE meeting.

As far as the budget goes, I think our BOE will throw their hands into the air sometime very soon and profess they've done all they can ... then they will vote unanimously to override the 2% tax cap.

Anonymous said...

To all Greece residents and School board members.

The latest move by the school board will be the down fall of the Greece School District.
With the Closing of the Best performing school in the district people that live in the district should think about getting out.

I know people say that Odyssey is not closing just moving. Sorry to say it will not be the same school with the integration of the Apollo students. Residents of Greece do not understand what was behind the Odyssey school. They just think the students are privileged.
This is really not the case. The students at Odyssey has to make choices to give up certain aspects of High school to go there. Limited subjects. Limited sports. The thing they received was great teachers that all had a great attitude that the education of the students came first. Even if it meant giving up much of their own time at the school. Without the vision of the faculty at the school it would not have been successful at all. The "New" teachers of Greece are more contract orientated than student oriented.

I hope the residents of Greece are happy with the decision that they are going to have to live with. I wish there were people on the school board that had some balls. Everyone on the board is a follower. It has always been this way. They talk a good game when trying to get on the board, but once they are on they just fall in line with all of the others. This "Plan" was so the district could save 2 million dollars. There are plenty of other areas that this savings could have come from. Yes I feel that we can consolidate schools but not disrupting the best performing school we have.

Also if Sue Meier is not the principal then then school will fail. I envision the List of underperforming schools after this move will have all of the Greece schools listed.

I also foresee that in a couple of years the Board will be asking us to build a new school.

I hope you got what you all wanted.

Anonymous said...

2:03 are you telling me that adding 55 former Apollo students is going to be the downfall of OA? Pathetic to be so narrow minded that maybe those 55 kids are good students, after all most of the OA kids are from the Apollo Ol zone anyway.

SCATS said...

To 2:03PM ~~ Don't look now, but the demise of GCSD has been underway for many years! Aside from Pine Brook & Odyssey, Greece schools have been headed to the gutter for quite awhile. The ONLY reason those schools weren't reaching it as fast was that the lottery kept them somewhat insulated from the ills the rest of the district HAD TO SUFFER.

Had past BOEs (or even the current ones) had the spine to make SOME MUCH NEEDED CHANGES along the way, perhaps they wouldn't have had to move Odyssey now. But they caved-in when Achramovitch wanted to start scaling back at West Ridge. You can't keep operating schools built to accommodate 17,000 students when only 12,000 students are attending. Not in this economy!

Greece taxpayers are fed up. They've watched while BOEs came and went, wasting tax $$ on all sorts of "oversights" and then ignoring the Comptroller's report, voter's wishes, etc.

I don't believe Odyssey is "all that" ... it never was! In fact, only 10 yrs. ago, that school had a revolving door that staff kept spinning fast! The waiting lists were a farce in that they were completely gone before the end of Aug. for 6th graders. Just like most other things in GCSD, it is ALL about the image ... and those images are usually based upon misleading perceptions.

Anonymous said...

2:03 Please don't call our BOE a bunch of followers. They went out on their own and agreed to continue to unnecessarily spend millions of dollars on a School Of Choice system that has never been proven beneficial to the district as a whole! Now that's thinking outside the box! Who are they following? Nobody would ever admit to creating the ideas these people subscribe to. They are the biggest bunch of self serving knobs in Greece since Phelan and THE BLOB!

As for your load of "best performing school" crap...save it. If the "choice" to attend Odyssey has always been such a commitment on a students part, then why were the students allowed to make such a choice at 10 years old? Are you for real? Why would there be a sibling rule if the choice to attend was so "individual"? Why don't you look at the rate of siblings that decide to "make to commitment" just like their older brothers or sisters. Last I checked it sat around 100%. Some individual commitment! I actually hope you have a special interest behind your post, I'd hate to think you really believe the crap your selling and are allowed to walk the streets among us.

Your right about one thing though, the BOE and their little red puppet do lack balls. That's why 6th graders will be thrown to the Olympia wolves in 2 years in order to keep School Of Choice.

Anonymous said...

2:37 I know those 55 students might not be the ones that were having sex in the halls.

Anonymous said...

Hey 2:03 Does your wife have a masters degree from the university of rochester and work at OA... we are so impressed... If you are that guy..SEEK A MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONAL... OA has not had open enrollment or open lottery... With 50% of incoming 6th graders being siblings, the system has systematically excluded low-income families- ANY EDUCATOR THAT SUPPORTS SUCH A SYSTEM IS DISGUSTING.

Anonymous said...

2:45 Explain further?

Anonymous said...

If the OA teachers were that fantastic- they should still be fantastic. If the WR teachers are really the districts "best kept secret" then they should continue to do great things. The population shouldn't matter- right? We shall see! Wait and see what happens in the next few months (especially on the elementary level). Westridge teachers and families will be getting out of that school as fast as they can! The worst part about it is that the Parkland teachers want to be there and embrace that population but are being forced out. The whole thing is crazy! It's to bad that the district kept the Westridge name just to keep parents quiet for a minute. Westridge/Affinity Lane will be a very interesting school.

Anonymous said...

I hadn't even thought about a possibility 11:07 just brought to mind. So we're kicking kids, whatever the number is, away from what would be their neighborhood school (at Parkland) out to Brookside to start at Kindergarten. This is necessary to keep the West Ridge families together, albeit at Parkland. It’s absolutely disgusting, but it’s Greece, right?

Now, here's the sticky point. I agree with 11:07 that soon nobody is signing up to get their kid away from their neighborhood school and into West Ridge/Affinity instead (after all they could barely get numbers when it wasn’t sitting next to a housing project). Now, is the system being put in place going to force a kid (who lives half way in between Brookside & Affinity) to attend Brookside next year, yet force that same kid into West Ridge/Affinity in a year or two once lottery enrollment drops there? It would be a boundary change as a result of school of choice numbers dropping there.

Am I off base? This seems like a very real possibility there, as well as Odyssey in the years to come. The curtains slowly coming up on School Of Choice’s Wizard Of Oz.

Anonymous said...

11;07 Something know one ever talks about is that not all teachers want to or should work with disadvantaged kids. Some teachers just want that suburban middle class group of kids. I hope teachers from Parkland with proven track records will be offered positions in the "new" school.. it would help with the transition, I would think anyway.

Anonymous said...

Re: The "new" WR issue. To me it is obvious this is a first step in a return to neighborhood schools only this time the community/families will be demanding it. They are a clever bunch and I applaud them!

Anonymous said...

While it may be a return to neighborhood schools, it's a spineless one for sure. Not fully realizing the transportation savings that going back to neighborhood schools (now) would bring is wasteful to say the least. All the while it still will create situations like 5:26 describes.