At a parent’s meeting tonight to discuss the changes that will soon take place in the Johnson High School feeder patterns, Dr. Wardynski shared with about 30 parents at Rolling Hills Elementary that he is planning to close every middle school in the district. The man who claimed that he wouldn’t be closing schools, sure is doing a lot of it. He intends to either merge the middle schools with the elementary schools creating a Pre-K — 8th, and 9th — 12th model, or, as he is planning to do with Davis Hills Middle (and soon after Ed White Middle) he is developing a Pre-K/K — 6th grade elementary school and a 7th — 12th grade high school.
As the Director of Operations Jeffery Wilson explained tonight, “Because the idea is that if we build a new Johnson that opens in 2016 it’s the 4th and 5th grade parents and students who will be very greatly affected by that. There kids would go through their 7 to 12 experience at the new Johnson.”
Yes, the Director of Operations, under the direction of Dr. Wardynski and not the Directors of Curriculum and Instruction, is the person driving the decisions in this district. Once again decisions that should be made with the best interests of the education of the student are instead being made with the best interests of the director of operations and of course the almighty developers in mind.
This pattern will then be replicated across the district effectively closing eight schools across the district. This list of schools includes:
- Challenger Middle
- Davis Hills Middle
- Ed White Middle
- Hampton Cove Middle
- Huntsville Middle (I suppose he has a new school in mind for his boy Aaron King to run along with the help of two assistant principals, of course.)
- Providence Middle (This one is already in the works.)
- Westlawn Middle (Funny, I thought we were just celebrating how wonderful they were doing on their own.)
- Williams Middle
This list doesn’t include the new Pre-K — 8th schools that were “transformed” this year at Mt. Gap, The Chapman Schools, and Whitesburg.
Remember when Wardynski claimed back in September 2011 that “school closings are not really a panacea,” and that “we want to have exhausted every other hope we have” before closing schools? Remember when he proclaimed that the demographer’s report for which we paid $75,000 had “fallen by the wayside?”
Remember when the entire city got up in arms at the thought of closing nine schools in the district? Now Dr. Wardynski is planning to close twice that number with the schools that he has already closed, slated to close, relocated, or merged.
I wonder what schools will be on the chopping block next?
In fact, can anyone share with me any promise that Dr. Wardynski has ever made to parents that has actually been fulfilled? Even a basic promise such as “we’ll have laptops ready to substitute should one break” still hasn’t been met with regularity.
We have a superintendent, a board of education and a central office who steadfastly refuse to ask “will this help students learn?” Maybe the central office can be excused out of fear of what Wardynski will do to them if they should ask a question. I’ve been repeatedly told that he is quite happy to cuss his staff out when necessary. But surely at least one member of the board of education can find the intestinal fortitude to follow a simple suggestion that I offered for the first time nearly two years ago, PUT STUDENTS FIRST!
And the Board and Superintendent respond with silence.
I guess that closing schools is indeed a panacea after all.
Almost makes you miss Dr. Richardson, doesn’t it?