On Tuesday night, Dr. Wardynski told a gathered group of parents and teachers of the Mt. Gap and Weatherly communities that Mt. Gap Elementary School would be closed because it was “inefficient.” To support this claim, he cited one and only one statistic: classroom usage.
He claimed that Mt. Gap Elementary had a total of 29 classrooms, but that only 18 of them were being used. As such, Mt. Gap Elementary School and Mt. Gap Middle School must either be merged or closed. He also cited the same problem at Mt. Gap Middle.
Here’s a quick question though: If two schools are operating “inefficiently,” how is merging them going to help?
While I realize that expecting logical consistency, or frankly any logical support for his arguments at all is a futile exercise, I expect it still. I’m silly that way, but really, shouldn’t we be able to expect the head educator of the town to at least attempt to support his suggestions with an argument that makes sense? His desire to close and merge schools has no basis in logic. None at all.
We’re not becoming more efficient in building size. If anything, once the merger is completed, there will likely be more under utilized classrooms and space than there was before. There will be one nursing office and one library in the future. Thus, there will be at least two extra rooms in the building after the merger.
Then, there must be more students coming to the new “one” school right?
Nope. The new merged school will have 671 students. This is the combined enrollment of both schools now. The merger isn’t going to result in more students attending the new school.
Well, clearly there will be fewer personnel, right?
Nope. Wardynski said, and I quote, “No one will lose a job” and he’s “not moving any of your teachers.” So, the faculty will remain exactly the same. (Just for the record, Wardynski was speaking out of both sides of his mouth when he was talking about this. Anyone who believes that he’s not going to move teachers is deluding themselves. Teachers will absolutely be moved at the Superintendent’s discretion. This is why he emphasizes that teachers are district employees rather than school employees.)
Then, there will surely be fewer administrators at least?
Not according to what Dr. Wardynski had to say on Tuesday. Currently there are two principals and one assistant principal at the two schools. After the merger, there will be one principal, one assistant principal, and a “Teacher on Special Assignment,” who will be an “administrator in training.”
So the administration will stay exactly the same.
All that will be saved are one nurse, and one librarian. That’s it. Does that sound more “efficient” to you? (Since the work load on the remaining nurse and librarian will be overwhelming, it doesn’t sound more efficient to me.)
This isn’t about efficiency. It’s about control.
He’s using the same arguments that the overpaid demographer from the summer was making, and these arguments make even less sense now. In support of the report, Dr. Richardson released a Expenditure_School_FY10.pdfreport showing the costs per student of operating the two schools. Mt. Gap Elementary spent $9,718 per student. Mt. Gap Middle spent $10,948 per student. The system as a whole spent $10,040 per student.
Neither of these schools are extreme examples of inefficiency. In fact, Mt. Gap Elementary is a model of efficiency when compared to the system as a whole.
So, what’s this about?
Both of the current principals of these two schools are tenured. This is strange among principals in the system these days. (In fact, we now seem to be contracting our principals out, but more about that later.) Both of the principals at Mt. Gap are tenured, and dramatically altering the structure and organization of the schools is the only way Wardynski can control them.
As a result of the changes, Mrs. Murphree has announced her retirement.
Wardynski doesn’t care about schools. He doesn’t care about teachers or educators who have dedicated their lives to education. He doesn’t care about communities. He doesn’t care about parents, and he doesn’t care about students.
All he cares about is control. And this is why he’s merging Mt. Gap.
If you think this is a mistake, contact our board member Dr. Jennie Robinson. You may email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let her know that you think this is wrong for Mt. Gap. Tell her that she needs to be concerned about the impact this radical decision is having upon our kids because it doesn’t seem that neither she nor Dr. Wardynski care right now.