Following close on the heels of New Hartford and Utica Schools, it's now BOCES' turn to pitch for more construction spending.
BOCES Empire Building is more like it.
Chipped steps, water damage and peeling paint in the middle school gymnasium is justification for spending almost $39 million? (Some new paint, concrete and sheet rock are cheaper.) And the "growing enrollment" also cited as justification actually decreased last year in spite of BOCES' moves to expand into lower and lower grades.
Put this in perspective folks, $39 million is more than what the Millenium Project at Proctor cost -- and that was at a facility serving well over 2,000 students. $39 million is enough to construct almost a $170,000 home for each of the students they want to move out of town.
The answer to No Child Left Behind is to Send the Child Away?
That seems to be the approach the local school district and BOCES are taking. Because the local school district failed to educate these students, BOCES uses that as an excuse to spend more of your money.
Instead let's get to the root of the problem.
"School staff were accommodating and understanding when students had problems, said Derfuss, 20, who now works as a cook."
By implication, staff in regular school were not accommodating and did not understand when students had problems. Maybe it's time for a little "attitude adjustment" or training for the staff in the regular school.
We've heard this song before to justify an alternative school in another school district. We found out that students had been permitted by the regular schools to fall years behind their peers -- making it unlikely that they would be getting anything out of class in the higher grades. To be years behind is clearly a system failure. What do you think it does for that student's behavior? When the students become mature enough to understand that they have been ignored for years, they become disruptive. To make matters worse, we also found out that these same students were ridiculed in the classroom by teachers and other students for their poor performance. Naturally, such students would want to get out of the regular school. But warehousing these students out of the mainstream at such a great cost does both the student and the tax payer a disservice.
There are other things wrong with this spending plan -- and better things that could be done with the money if it really needs to be spent. These will be the subjects of future blog entries.
Fix what is wrong with regular school and you eliminate the need for alternative school.