Nobody was smiling at last night’s Warrant Committee meeting, least so the scores of concerned parents worried about cuts to music, art and foreign language instruction, who were told by Board of Selectmen Chair (and candidate) Ralph Jones that the School Administration and School Committee were lying to them, hiding money, and favoring grown ups (i.e school employees) over kids. None of it is true… Read on for more on last night’s meeting.
A proposed budget using the Warrant Committee’s “Available Funds” for the school proposes eliminating five full time teaching positions, art and music instruction at the elementary school level, language instruction at the middle school level and steep cuts to support services district wide. Time to get angry, people!
In which Paul un-declares himself from the upcoming School Committee contest.
Two events to put on your calendar: an October 13 chat with Massachusetts House Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Murphy on the state of the State’s budget. Then set aside the evening of October 27 for an important Community Dialog on the future direction of the public schools.
The Wellington Building Committee has posted updated site plans for the new Wellington Elementary School on its Web site.
Tomorrow (Tuesday) evening at 7:30 in the Chenery Middle School Community Room, the School Committee will be holding the first of a series of Workshops to provide for more open dialog with the community.
One area of discussion and concern with the New Wellington is with the impact of the siting of the building on parking and drop-off/pick up space. Some neighbors have voiced strong concerns about traffic on adjoining streets, and fire and public safety officials want to make sure that the new school will be easily accessible by emergency vehicles in the event of …well…an emergency. Now an important meeting has been called to help address the traffic concerns. Wednesday, September 16 at 7:30 PM in the Board of Selectmen’s room at Town Hall. It will involve members from the Planning Board, the Traffic Advisory Committee, the Board of Selectmen, the School Committee, Wellington PTO, the WBC and the Fire Chief, Police Chief, and Building Inspector.
The rancor over President Obama’s speech to children tomorrow doesn’t reflect well on either side. As is often the case in brush ups like this, the needs and opinions of the kids in question have been pushed to the side…the better to clear space for the grown ups to fight. Hopefully President Obama’s words will put the debate to rest. His message: dream big, study hard, and don’t give up – no matter the odds.
$38 million in federal stimulus funds for Belmont? You betcha! That was the value, in today’s dollars, of a town plan, approved by the federal government, to rapidly modernize Belmont after World War II.
An interesting article in yesterday’s New York Times on changes coming to a classroom near you: digital textbooks. The article, by Tamar Lewin, talks about pilot projects in school districts in Arizona, Louisiana and California that are replacing traditional printed textbooks with online, digital equivalents, or even “open source” texts compiled from materials and lessons generated by teachers or from public (and reliable) sources of information online.