Thursday, December 16, 2010

How Much to Run a School?

   Boston's new superintendent is putting forth the plan to close some schools because, like other cities and towns, the money is not there to pay the bills. 
   The truth is that I walked to school and no, the dinosaurs were not a problem.  For so many years the cities and towns have been building newer, larger, and some think, better schools so the thought of closing one or two is insulting and unthinkable to some.  Just since my school days I have seen three (3) new high schools built in my town.  Back then, imagine if you can, no kindergarten program, no lunch or even breakfast programs in the schools.  My schools did not even have a caffateria, we were to bring our own lunch and maybe even make it ourselves at that and share with someone who might have 'forgotten' theirs.   I also have to say that we had 30 to 60 kids in a class with not half the teachers, assistant teachers, or days off because of mandated teacher conferences we have now.  We were able to get to and from school and even learn in the process.
  I know times are different now with some households having two parents working or only one parent in the home. There are also many who are unable to find work who might take care of a neighbor's child or drive him to school.  Change is hard, like no celebrations of Christmas allowed in schools or teachers wanting three weeks off to leave and go to Mecca, or prohibiting the American Flag to be brought to school.  Yes, change is hard and money is scarce and some changes are needed.


If the school were to close, more than 10 full-time employees would lose their jobs, including seven teachers. Average class sizes across the district would increase from 20.8 students to 22. Another bus would have to be added to the fleet, at a cost of $50,000, in order to handle the 49 students who live close enough to walk to McCarthy School now.
The move would trim an estimated $400,000 in salary and benefits. In the first year, however, the district would pay an estimated $100,000 in unemployment benefits.
Although significant, cost savings were not factored heavily during the discussions, said Dave Keniston, the school business manager. The committee focused only on logistics.
Because of McCarthy's central location in West Peabody, closing the school would cause the fewest transportation obstacles. And since enrollment is just 221 — it's the smallest school in the city — "its 12 classrooms could easily be absorbed into West, Burke and Center" elementary schools, Keniston said.
McCarthy also has nine preschool classrooms, which would remain if the elementary school portion of the building were to close. Because the building would still be used as a school, McCarthy could more easily be reopened as an elementary school at a later time, if that became necessary, Keniston said.

1 comment:

  1. A fellow church member is on the school board for a small rural district. Just before Thanksgiving they sent to the school administrators their budget request in order of priority. Ten of fourteen administrators had salaries at the first priority.

    I understand there will be a big shakeup after the first of the year when the new board is seated.


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