Wardynski’s Inefficient Ideas

Mt. Gap Elementary

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 personalbest@knology.net. 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.


"Children see magic because they look for it." --Christopher Moore, Lamb: The Gospel according to Biff, Jesus' childhood pal.


  1. Congratulations to your beautiful daughter on her awards at the last school board meeting! She looked very proud, and I’m sure her daddy is too. Glad to see the Winning family continues to bring honor and recognition to the system. I remember when you posted her video in honor of her brother, and the love she has for him is an honor to your parenting, and must also make you proud!

    1. Thanks Helen. And yes, pride in both the people our kids are growing into doesn’t come close to capturing how great they make us feel.

  2. Question? Are some of the classrooms that Wardynski claims to be empty resource rooms or computer rooms? If the answer is yes, then how can he claim they are empty? They are used throughout the day by all the grade levels, they just aren’t continually used period after period. Is this just another misleading quote from Warsynski?

  3. Yes, the resource rooms have been counted as “empty”. If those were used as regular classrooms, where would the students go for Special Ed., Speech, Music, Art, Guidance, Reading Coach?……

    1. Oh yeah, and one of those Special Ed. Resource rooms was converted into the Pre-K classroom, so that’s 1 room in his total that he should take out of his “false” numbers.

      1. Yes, his numbers are often completely wrong. I’ve got a post coming up that proves it. This doesn’t just hold true for counting room, but it’s also true for more important things, like the budget. This crew, who sings the praises of “data driven decisions” never shares their actual data with people so that we can make up our own minds about it.

        And on the few times when they do, their data is wrong.

  4. Based on what I’ve seen first hand as a teacher for 15+ years and as an active, caring member of the community around my school, I fully agree with your statement below:

    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.

    Dr. W is an autocrat, and quite frankly, in my humble opinion as a career educator, does NOT know enough about the field of education, the psychological and intellectual development of children, the precious relationship and trust that we as teachers build daily with our beloved children (and sometimes their family members), and the true MINISTRY and CALLING of our job. I so resent his “change for change sake” attitude and methodology.

    Many of his new idea and directives to teachers are totally unnecessary. They do not prove beneficial to our children and cause many of us and our students a great deal of added stress, work, and worry. It has become a struggle to balance teaching, planning, evaluating our students, meeting with and calling parents, record-keeping, attending professional development opportunities, attending meetings, and having some semblance of a personal life which includes raising chidlren of our own. Jumping through his hoops of testing, testing, testing, and assessing, tracking, documenting, and using the results of hia miraculous DATA to prove whatever his point of the day may be is overwhelming!!!
    As a professional, I do not need multiple test scores to tell me which of my children need added or different types of instruction. Test scores do not determine the potential and capabilities of my students.
    Keeping a “data room” is just an added chore; my time would be better spent tutoring my children or finding new ways to reach them in their areas of weakness. To make me feel pressured to juggle all of these extra tasks while continuing to teach to the best of my abillity is unfair. Many of us feel that our jobs are being threatened if we can’t meet his expectations and jump as high and as often as he says to jump! Frustration is bound to rise, and I fear that other aspects of teaching will eventually slide in order to keep his records and results tracked, interpreted, and displayed in a data room. We are too busy covering all of the bases to his satisfaction that we find ourselves completely worn out, stressed out, and some are becoming burnt out. Maybe that is his aim, . . .to get rid of the seasoned, dedicated teachers and replace them with less aware people will substandard educations and preparedness who will be loyal and grateful to him just ot have a job.

    I’d rather spend my precious hours TEACHING my children or planning for them instead of tracking data, documenting every little thing I do in working with my students, and making him and his new ideas look good on paper.

    As an experienced, dedicated, tenured teacher I truly resent this “outsider” trying to crush our wonderful school system, change our schools, brow-beat our staff, and compromise our children’s education to adapt to his idea of a proficient machine. He has nothing vested in this city, its schools, or its children. It’s just a job to him; to me, teaching in this school system is a life-long dream, a calling, a ministry, and a huge part of my life and who I am as a person.

    I am as patriotic as anyone else, but when I became a teacher, I did not sign up to be a soldier in someone’s army, to take orders and never question anything, . . . I signed up to be a TEACHER in every sense of the word . . . I care, I love, I plan and research, I TEACH like my hair is on fire every single day . . . my joy and reward come from seeing my children learn; grow emotionally, socially, and academically; think in new ways; discover their gifts and talents; and develop into such fine young people.

    Who is this stranger among us, and how long must we suffer under his “command”?

    I also resent his intent to fill teaching positions with Teach for America employees. Please note that I did not call these people “teachers”. It is an abosolute slap in the face to real educators that these people are considered qualified and did not have to take all the invaluable coursework that I took in learning to become an effective teacher. A bachelor’s degree plus few weeks of intruction in educational courses in the summer does not a teacher make!

    I knew I wanted to become a teacher when I was a young teen, and I set out to become one, . . .doing everything I could to prepare myself, to mastering every high school and college course I was told I’d need, and in training under a professional while doing my student teaching. What do these TFA folks have to compare with that? Not much. . . and when they are in place in our schools, what will our children be getting . . . hmmm, not much. We’ll seee what happens with those test scores then.

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