We are a family of Vernondale Whalers from way back. And Tracy Tigers. The Millcreek Township School District school board voted 5-4 to close Vernondale and Ridgefield at last week’s meeting.
I feel for the families, but I also worry about the budget. My kids were moved 15 years ago from Vernondale to Tracy, and we knew it was coming. We also knew we could be moved again, and that is true for everyone in any large school district. Depending on enrollments, kids go where there’s room. There are no guarantees.
During last week’s school board meeting, I was confused. Months ago, we heard the district would save $2.4 million on the school closings, and then the number changed as the idea resurfaced.
Here’s some advice to Millcreek leaders: We expect to hear: “Here’s the plan. It’s the best arrangement for the students and the best choice for the district.” Done. End of story. Move forward. It’s what the Erie School District did last year. Right now, this situation appears to drag out. The MTSD site states:
The official vote on these closings will not take place until the Special Board meeting on August 12, 2013, District administrators are in the process of finalizing redistricting and student realignment plans to prepare for the 2013-14 school year. These plans will be presented at the June 17 Operations Committee, which is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. The School Board would then approve the final redistricting boundaries at the June 27 Board meeting.
Don’t rush a budget and a superintendent
While the school district continues to battle numbers in a wicked school budget, it’s also rushing to hire a new superintendent– a huge mistake in my humble opinion. This district needs to focus on one thing at a time. Get this budget/school closings issue straightened out with an acting superintendent and start mending fences with residents. Then, look for a superintendent. Take your time and give residents some confidence.
Trust and transparency?
While we hear that Millcreek’s administrators have met with Erie School District leaders for advice, I’m not sure they are taking that advice to heart. An editorial in the Erie Times-News today pointed out that the public will meet four superintendent finalists at McDowell Intermediate High School’s Little Theatre, 3320 Caughey Road tonight at 6 p.m. Part of the editorial reads:
“When the Erie School Board searched for a successor to Jim Barker, the board released the names in advance and held separate two-hour open forums for its three finalists. Millcreek residents were required to submit questions in advance by e-mail.”
The editorial wonders how much filtering will go on with those questions. Read the full editorial here. You can meet all four candidates tonight from 6 to 8 p.m. — or it might be 7:30 p.m. — the MTSD notice has both times on it — must have been a clerical error. Click on each name below to link to candidate resumes.
Dr. Joseph Macharola refused to post his resume. You’ll have to Google him.
A word to the board and administration
Please get your ducks in a row, do your research, and be leaders. Please stop infuriating Millcreek residents with rushed decisions that affect this school district for years to come. Please.
Pam Parker is the editor of Lake Erie LifeStyle, Her Times and House to Home at the Erie Times-News in Erie, Pa. She is the mom of three and stepmom to three — all graduates of McDowell High School.