Monday, July 07, 2008

Stacking Up Schools . . .

Steve Schiavi has a thoughtful article in this week's Life & Times going over the report cards from our local schools. As expected, the New Hardford district did the best. What was interesting was how some of the Utica schools did in relation to each other. King did the best overall, and Watson Williams came in fourth. Both are inner city schools -- which should tell you that no matter where these kids come from, if you know what you are doing you can achieve success. Perhaps a surprise was how poorly Kernan did, coming in as the worst school in Utica. It once was a great school. How painful to read of one's alma mater this way . . .

But Kernan's dead last performance should be no surprise to readers of this blog. You remember that Krazy Kernan Skewl . . . with its Kollege Daze? and Yoga Klasses? and seminars on Kommunity service . . . and Health Klinics.

. . . Anything but Reading 'Riting and 'Rithmatic!

Meanwhile Utica School administrator Bernadette Eichler has an editorial in the OD pushing the upcoming capital project. According to Ms. Eichler . . .
Over the years, I have worked with brilliant, creative and caring administrators, teachers, members of the Utica Board of Education, college staff and community members.

Their wisdom, leadership, support and ideas did indeed bring the students in the Utica district to a higher level of academic achievement. These abilities and talents also created a stimulating environment for learning, as well as provide opportunities for students to explore and try new ideas.

Now this leadership and support groups of Utica have an unbelievable opportunity to once again demonstrate their wisdom and talents by supporting the $187.6 million bond issue.
Wow. These are the same people who studied a project for months that they could not carry out, shuffled administrators like they were a deck of cards, couldn't keep student schedules straight, ran out of textbooks, and spent a ton of money at Proctor and now want to spend more at the same school. Did Ms. Eichler "slip" with the reference to "support groups" in the quote above. One suspects that the spending really isn't to benefit the kids, but to benefit the "support groups" and all the others who are allegedly there to "help" the kids, but are really helping themselves . . . to a lot of money.

We saw what happened with the Millennium fiasco: $37 million was spent building a school that required administrators in quadruplicate.

Before pulling the lever for this allegedly "free" now-$187 million project, ask:

What will the capital construction plan mean in terms of additional square footage to be maintained? Additional personnel for staffing? Additional costs for heating, electricity, communications? Reorganization of students and transportation costs?

If history is our guide, this spending will beget permanent increases in costs for operation and maintenance that will likely break the backs of Utica taxpayers . . . and probably create more distractions to real learning.


Anonymous said...

I am very, very sorry to read that there has been no change after all these years.

Upstaters, in particular Uticans, are some of the most tolerant people on the face of the earth.

We tolerate being robbed, cheated, side-blinded, and manipulated over and over and over again. Still hoping that things will get better if only the "right" people are elected!

Anonymous said...

I was just on their website and saw some of the latest details regarding the Capital Plan. It's actually a really no nonsense approach to solving some important safety concerns within the local schools and it won't cost tax payers a dime. The vote is on July 29th and I think it's very important for us to support this plan! capital Plan

Strikeslip said...

". . . and it won't cost tax payers a dime"

I won't believe that until my questions are answered . . .

I suppose the next thing I will hear is go to the meetings for answers, but that is an old ploy . . . They are such basic questions that they should be addressed on the school website . . . in writing for all to see (and pick apart).