Student layoff hits Grafton schools, pink-slipped preschoolers puzzled

As Grafton residents know, there is no definitive Plan B if the proposed Grafton High School is not approved by voters. Greater Grafton recently received a copy of “Plan C,” a super-secret proposal to have a system-wide layoff of Grafton students to ease school overcrowding.

Dear Grafton student,

We regret to inform you that budgetary and space issues have forced us to terminate your education, effective at the start of the 2010-2011 school year. We realize that this may be a difficult concept for some of you to understand — indeed, some of you may not even know how to read — so we have prepared an informational booklet, “Mr. Bobo Can’t Go To School,” for younger students.

We realize that this interferes with your life plans and may prove to be rather inconvenient for your family. After all, the area isn’t exactly teeming with affordable private schools and adjacent towns, facing their own school space woes, aren’t clamoring for school choice students. Besides, we need to spend that $9,180 ($3,000 below the state average per pupil rate) that we would have spent on your education educating other children, so we’re requesting that high school-aged kids also avoid going the charter school route…. and good luck finding a spot at Valley Tech.

By remaining education-free, you will be saving the taxpayers of Grafton the cost of building a new high school.  Should your family actually manage to sell their home in this economy, we ask that a “no children” clause be placed in the deed. Tough economic times call for creative measures, and we salute your sacrifice.

Sincerely yours,

The Grafton Public Schools

P.S. Police Chief Crepeau asks that you not turn to a life of crime to compensate for your lack of education, as he is unable to hire more police officers.


7 thoughts on “Student layoff hits Grafton schools, pink-slipped preschoolers puzzled

  1. My 3rd grader already thinks he is smarter than me (Even with my college education). So, I guess he’ll do just fine after he gets his pink slip.

    Now he can go out and get a job. Oh…wait…there aren’t any of those either.

  2. We’ve got no class
    We’ve got no principles
    We’ve got no innocence…
    We can’t even think of a word that rhymes

  3. Interesting and provocative little letter. Good concept.
    As I understand it, you are saying: “fork over the $70+Million, or we will unleash hundreds of uneducated kiddies on your neighborhood.”
    Hmmm…Previously, I was planning to vote YES on the school funding issue. But, now I am not so sure.

    You see, this is REAL money, and we are already paying for many other town improvements. For example, we are still paying for a gigantic police HQ, with its partially used amenities; a Fire House that…well, also has extra, unused goodies; a water department Court ruling that clobbered us with a very high annual payment; a TA who has decided he can telecommute, but needs to hire an Assistant TA….

    Gadzooks, does it ever end? Does anyone ever ask “what alternative might we have”?

    Let’s see…what altermatives might there be? My high school had over 3,600 students, packed in a former insurance company office building. We did not have crowded hallways because the teachers switched rooms, not the students.
    Some neighbors went to a different high school. They had split sessions. That effectively doubles the school capacity.

    Or, we could have all those uneducated kiddies running around the neighborhood. Hey…maybe I can get one of them to shovel the snow out of my driveway!

  4. I’m sure we *could* solve the problem in the ways you’re describing, Grommit, but do you really think those are permanent solutions in today’s world? I don’t know how long it’s been since you were in school, but I daresay quite a few things have changed, from pedagogy to technology. If we want the best teachers to teach our children, and I know I do, I don’t think split sessions and having teachers move around are going to be terribly appealing – in fact I know they won’t be. They’ll be as appealing as the words “UNACCREDITED HIGH SCHOOL” listed on a student’s transcript being read by a college admissions counselor.

    The bottom line is this – we need a new school, if not now, then someday. When “someday” comes, we’ll already have lost our accreditation, construction prices will have skyrocketed again as the economy bounces back, and the state won’t be willing to fork over more than 50% of the cost of the building. If not now, when? And why not? Because a few naysayers (who don’t bother to involve themselves in the process until there’s a vote on the table) don’t think that due diligence has been done?

    Grafton is known for its good schools, and has been for many years. NOT building this school right now threatens to destroy that reputation, our home values, and our children’s futures. My husband and I moved here to start a family, and now we can’t afford to sell and go somewhere else. I’ll gladly pay an extra few hundred dollars on my tax bill for the next 20 years – and I’ve been unemployed for over a year now.

  5. Let’s see…a few facts:

    1) There is no current research that correlates educational performance with either split sessions, the school building, or teachers moving from classroom to classroom. The only consistent correlate is with socioeconomic status of the community.

    Note that only the high school faculty would change rooms. I have worked in that environment and it actually works quite well.

    2) Current educational technology strongly supports moving outside the “bricks and mortar” approach to a model of e-learning, web conferences and social media. The smartest corporations (IBM, HP, 3M…it is a very long list) and almost all major and minor universities have adopted a strong e-learning initiative.
    Yes, you lose some of the social interaction, so important to the child’s socialization and educational process. We can still accomodate the social interaction by working with the current building and considering having kids take some lessons at home.

    3) The real issue would be around split sessions. The teacher’s school day is long enough already. I know this well, as a certified K-12 teacher with many years of classroom experience. So, we would either need more teachers or … perhaps a change in how we actually manage the instruction. Do students NEED to be inside a school building every day? Are there alternatives?

    4) Yes, Grafton has performed well on the educational measures (MCAS, number of students going to college, graduation rates). But, none of that relies on a school building. Indeed, by relying on the old-think (gotta have a new building) we may very well be condemning our childrens’ education to the old way of doing things, and not helping them stay conversant with contemporary technologies.
    When we invest in that building we lose our flexibility to adapt to the technologies that will surely arise in the next decade.

    I applaud all the hard work invested by the School Building Committee. Due diligence has certainly been done. But it is all directed toward putting up a new building. NO attention has been directed toward what we will need in the 21st century to compete with other nations. How will we compete with other nations when we consistently go backward to the old way of doing things?

    Of course, we know that it is going to be more that a few hundred dollars on our tax bills each year. At the estimated $$1.18 to 1.24 per thousand, we are looking at about $500 per average household (which does not take into account the additional operating expense…so throw in another 50 cents per year…and your average tax bill comes closer to $700 per year. Perhaps you can afford that. Not all of us can.

    As for being a naysayer…<> I guess I will just have to hang my head and take the insults. But, I cannot hang my head for long because I have to be in the school building at 7AM (1st class starts at 7:30) and I will be working until 7PM on prep/grades/parent conferences/ed plans/ed reports. You know the drill. Or, maybe you don’t.

    Hey…this is fun!

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