My Goal in Blogging

I started this blog in May of 2008, shortly after my election to the School Committee, because I believed it was very important to both provide the community with an opportunity to share their thoughts with me about our schools and to provide me with an opportunity for me to ask questions and share my thoughts and reasoning. I have found the conversation generated on my blog to be extremely helpful to me in learning community views on many issues. I appreciate the many people who have taken the time to share their views. I believe it is critical to the quality of our public schools to have a public discussion of our community priorities, concerns and aspirations.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Redistricting Protest Planned

I was forwarded a letter earlier today by a friend, which describes an upcoming protest of both the redistricting plan and closing of Marks Meadow and encourages participation. I debated whether I should post this on my blog (to bring additional publicity), but ultimately decided that since many residents would receive this email, I should both post it and respond to it (since it contains many inaccuracies). The exact text of the letter appears below in italics, followed by a list of inaccuracies and clarifications (and certainly readers of my blog should feel free to contact the four signers of this letter to express their feelings -- pro or con -- about this intended protest).

Dear Parent or/ Community Member,

We Need YOUR SUPPORT and VOICE this Coming Tuesday!

PLEASE JOIN US This Coming TUESDAY, OCTOBER 27th, 2009 @ 4pm at The Amherst Commons.

We are organizing a MARCH TO PROTEST the Amherst Schools Committee’s Plan to REDISTRICT our elementary schools and the closing of Marks Meadow. The School Committee’s decision DOES NOT REFLECT THE NEEDS OF OUR CHILDREN nor their communities. We believe their plan will be harmful and divisive to the multicultural fabric of our town. We believe this plan will create animosity between those that struggle economically and those of a more privileged community. We don’t feel it is FAIR to bus children to new schools within the Amherst School system just because they qualify for FREE OR REDUCED LUNCH. Furthermore, we are not convinced that moving our children to new schools will improve the quality of their education. We feel that FORCED BUSSING OF LOW INCOME, MULTICULTURAL/ MULTILINGUAL CHILDREN IS OFFENSIVE.

We feel that those School Committee members that want to speak about EQUITY should bring plans WITH MULTIPLE STUDIES OF TESTED RESULTS to improve the education of our children. They are basing their idea of redistricting on only one study. We do not think that dispersing children who qualify for free or reduced lunch and/or are multicultural/multilingual into more affluent schools will improve MCAS scores or their abilities to learn. On the contrary, the School Committee’s Redistricting Plan will isolate our children and their communities from the support they need.

We support the philosophy that children thrive in elementary schools that provide supportive environments in close proximity to their neighborhoods and families. We object to the comments made by a School Committee member on October 22nd, 2009, stating that Amherst did not need Marks Meadow and that he would have closed it “even if there was one million dollars to keep it open.” We disagree with his comments that “the money could be spent more wisely in other projects.” We feel that each of the elementary schools in the town of Amherst has a special relationship with the various communities they represent. To close Marks Meadow will be a severe blow to the communities and neighborhoods that make up North Amherst.

Please join us in supporting our children’s educational needs and our diverse community fabric this coming Tuesday, October 27th, 2009 @ 4pm at the Amherst Common.

We NEED YOUR SUPPORT and VIOCE in presenting our Grievances with the AMHERST SCHOOL Committee regarding their Committee’s Redistricting subcommittee plan. Please give us your presence VOICE and PRESENCE in ADDRESSING the needs of our CHILDREN. Their plan will sever the fabric of our multicultural community and isolate our children in their new placements. The School Committee’s plan to disperse the children who come from families who qualify for free and reduced lunch IS NOT in the best interest of those who are most vulnerable in our school system. The School Committee Redistricting plan WAS NOT created to address the academic needs of our children.

Sincerely yours in the struggle for our Children’s education..

Contact Persons Email Address

Zulma Rivera

Nelson Acosta

Lissa Pierce Bonifaz

Vladimir Morales

Here are the inaccuracies included in this letter:

1. The letter states "We don’t feel it is FAIR to bus children to new schools within the Amherst School system just because they qualify for FREE OR REDUCED LUNCH." However, as is very clear in this, and any, redistricting plan, many children are being bused to new schools -- not just those on free/reduced lunch. Children are being bused to new schools from downtown Amherst (on Lincoln, Dana, Blue Hills), and some of these, but not most, kids are on free/reduced lunch. Children are being bused to new schools from the houses off of East Hadley Road to new schools, and some of these, but not most, kids are on free/reduced lunch. Children are being bused to new schools from some of the apartment complexes off of East Hadley Road to new schools, and most of these children, but not all, are on free/reduced lunch. Obviously all of the children who attend Marks Meadow are being bused on new schools -- some of these children, but not most, are on free/reduced lunch. The majority of kids on free/reduced lunch will in fact attend the exact same school they attend right now, as will the majority of kids NOT on free/reduced lunch.

2. We have no idea whether the children who are attending new schools are or are not "MULTICULTURAL/MULTILINGUAL." However, I believe this comment addresses the ending of programs in which children were bused to particular schools based on their ethnicity, race, or culture, which is a violation of state and federal law, and would therefore be discontinued regardless of whether we closed Marks Meadow and/or redistricted. These programs were going to end, as was announced by the central administration at a School Committee last year. The only reason they continued this year was to avoid creating an additional transition for these children if they moved to a new school this year once these programs ended, and then moved to yet another new school the following year after redistricting. But the elimination of these programs has NOTHING to do with closing Marks Meadow or redistricting.

3. The letter states "We feel that those School Committee members that want to speak about EQUITY should bring plans WITH MULTIPLE STUDIES OF TESTED RESULTS to improve the education of our children. They are basing their idea of redistricting on only one study. We do not think that dispersing children who qualify for free or reduced lunch and/or are multicultural/multilingual into more affluent schools will improve MCAS scores or their abilities to learn." However, a body of well-established research (some of which I have already posted on my blog) indicates that low income children who attend schools in which more then 40% of the children are on free/reduced lunch do not perform as well as those who attend schools with a smaller proportion of students on free/reduced lunch. This is NOT one study -- it is many studies, which is why redistricting based on socioeconomic status has been affirmed by the US Supreme Court and is being used in many communities to improve student achievement (google Richard Kahlenberg to read this research on your own). Our plans have nothing to do with whether children are multicultural or multilingual: as noted previously, cultural clusters were going to be discontinued regardless of redistricting, and segregating students by ethnicity/race is a violation of state and federal law.

4. This letter states "We support the philosophy that children thrive in elementary schools that provide supportive environments in close proximity to their neighborhoods and families." I agree whole-heartedly with this statement. That is why following redistricting, the vast majority of children will attend the school that is in closest proximity to their homes (unlike our current system in which children from particular racial/ethnic/language backgrounds are often bused to schools far from where they live), and all children will attend the SAME school as children living in their same apartment building (unlike in our current system in which while children in a neighborhood of houses virtually always attend the same school, whereas many children living in a single apartment complex off of East Hadley Road now go to different schools than other children living in their same complex). I believe our new plan to have children in a single apartment complex all attend the same school will foster precisely the type of supportive environments that the signers of this letter believe is so important.

5. The letters criticize comments made by Steve Rivkin regarding closing Marks Meadow, and in particular that he believes the money spent to keep this school open ($700,000 per year) could be spent in better ways. Given that all of the children in our district can fit in the other three schools, at a cost of $700,000 a year LESS, and given the current (very bleak) state of school finances, it seems surprising that they believe it would truly be better to keep Marks Meadow open and make major cuts in other areas (e.g., increase class sizes, eliminate art/music/PE, reduce support for struggling students). The School Committee voted unanimously to close Marks Meadow over 5 months ago, and I don't believe anyone on the committee sees this decision as a mistake.

Obviously all residents of Amherst have a right to protest any decision by any elected board at any time -- and thus it is not surprising to me that residents would protest redistricting (which is controversial in all communities). However, I'm disappointed that a letter would be widely circulated which contains so many inaccuracies and misleading statements, and thus will likely create more hysteria and animosity. If the organizers of this protest truly want to create multicultural schools with supportive environments for all children, I would hope they could turn some of their (considerable) energy to suggesting and developing specific plans to ease the transition for children and their families over the next few months. I will hope that after the vote on Tuesday, we - the School Committee, teachers/staff, families, and the community - can move to planning the transition to new schools in a way that works well for all kids.


Anonymous said...

Inaccuracies probably, but emotions and feelings definitely. Wonder how many children of SC members and/or administrators will be bussed to a different school this fall?

Anonymous said...

And where are their studies to support the educational effectiveness of maintaining the status quo? There are 3 issues here:

Closing of Mark's Meadow - this was voted on unanimously last year by the SC. Amherst simply cannot afford to keep Marks Meadow open any longer. Where in their letter are their suggestions for coming up with $700,000 in savings annually if we keep MM open...or their suggestions of what to cut if MM is not closed and they cannot come up with $700K in annual savings. But again - this vote is done and over with - nothing to debate here.

Issue 2 - language and ethnic clustering - this is illegal and Amherst is finally ending this illegal practice. Nothing to debate here. They seem to be agains FORCED BUSSING - but free bussing for their kids to schools outside their neighborhood is ok. If I wanted to open enroll my child where is my free bussing? Again - the SC voted to end an illegal practice - nothing to debate here.

Issue 3 - redistricting to even out the percent of FRL kids in each school. The studies show pretty conclusively that this is the right thing to do. Again, this was voted on and passed unanimously by the SC last spring. The only thing to debate here is what map to use. If it were possible, I, like many of you, would prefer that there be no islands. However, no matter how hard the SC tried, they could not even out the percentages of FRL in the 3 schools w/o bussing. Remember, some of the kids in the apartments are being bussed out of their neighborhoods now and have been for quite some time. Some kids are being bussed for ethnic and language reasons...its ok to bus those kids but not bus kids in the apartments?

The bottom line is that for the most part, these people are protesting votes that happened several months ago. If they want to protest the islands, then fine. But the votes have been made. The SC is not going back and neither should they go back.

PS I support Map #5.

Gavin Andresen said...

I would have a lot more respect for the people protesting if they offered realistic alternatives (and keeping the status quo is NOT a realistic alternative).

You're absolutely right, Catherine, we're very soon going to be fighting over where to cut next; even after closing Marks Meadow and assuming there is a prop 2 1/2 override next year (and I think that there must be an override), something else will have to give.

Anonymous said...

Would it not be Amherst without a protest? This should not come to anyone's surprise....even with inaccuracies. This is what Amherst does best!

So, why can't these people get it together and use their energy to help educate people about prop 2 1/2? Or start fundraising for our schools, especially Crocker Farm?

If we are really going to support our public schools in times like this, we need to get more than 12% of the population of Amherst passionate about supporting our local public schools in their funding. (I read in the local paper only 12% of the population voted during the prop 2 1/2....I was astounded!) Mind you we vote in Amherst it seems every other month for something....

If anyone truly cared about the redistricting-they were present at the forums, wrote in, spoke up etc.
In speaking with a few parents in my child's current school, I was amazed at how most were ambivalent to the fact that 1/3 of their current class WILL BE LEAVING Wildwood. Also, there will be a shift in teachers, and new kids coming in etc. My kids are well liked and have formed great relationships and this will be hard however,it is now time to allow the vote to happen and move onto the task of supporting our children in this change, like the Superduper Alberto said!

But Amherst loves it's protests, it's tight fisted view democracy that isn't supposed to change or rather thinking everyones stake in the process is uber important and it is just not surprising that there is a protest.

The fact is, when we look back to the opportunity we had to make POSITIVE CHANGE and our ability to adapt was successful - protests like this just look foolishly naive, closed minded and yes, even self indulgent. But would Amherst not be Amherst in the midst of change without a protest?

Tom G said...

In my opinion, it was a good decision to post the Letter/Invitation/anti-redistrict missive, the "MARCH TO PROTEST the Plan to REDISTRICT our elementary schools and the closing of Marks Meadow," (hereafter "MTPtPtRoesatcoMM")... and you made exactly the right decision to respond to it for the benefit of anyone who cares to become more informed.

The redistricting committee might want to adopt language addressing the documented objections too, carefully and diplomatically debunking unreasonable framing and explaining the reason for each organizing principle, and each valued element forgone by this plan and the reason.

If I were a smarter person, I would have predicted that the resistance to the plan would be framed as 1) a protest of the school board, 2) anti anti-lingual-ism and 3)anti-economic-classism and 4)divisive.

Everyone knows the hot buttons in our society and are happy to push them when they feel unfairly treated (which they do) arguably without merit.

If there was a sniff or smidgen of race or ethnic dimension in the plan (of course that would be unconstitutional) then the protest would be framed by it's organizers as anti-racist. (Quid pro quo would require the school board to rename the redistricting plan "The Amherst Grade School Freedom Redistricting Plan.")

Do not despair. Much of the criticism has little to do with the plan and everything to do with how to muster the greatest opposition.

That said, the folks organizing were smart to include still dissatisfied MM parents even though that decision was taken five months ago. And while many if not most MM families did not like that decision, they ultimately accepted it without protest. To my way of thinking, they must have begun to grapple with the immutable facts and recognized the reason that drove the decision. While including MM will expand the protesters numbers, it's also fractures their message. (If the SB has handouts prepared when the MM school closing decision was taken, that provide details of annual cost savings, bring them so that they can be distributed to protesters. I guarantee many protesters have not seen the number yet. )

If the gunnysack of opposition is the only issue the school board fields, the school board loses the debate.

If the issues are discretely addressed - MM closing, redistricting plan, the lose of language clusters, the shape of the districts, open enrollment, and the existence of a district island - the elected school board and the town of Amherst wins the debate on the merit.

What you do so well here is keep the dialogue going and it's clear to me that the people who will respond to the protest invitation have not been part of the dialogue long enough. Keep up the good work.

As soon as we work through the redistricting plan, we can work to improve the elements of the educational system which have the greatest effect of the accomplishment levels of its students.

Anonymous said...

As Crocker Farm can raise the LEAST amount of money for student enrichment, field trips and other "extras" than any other school in Amherst (including MM.) After too many years of having high percentages of FRL and few doing little to help other than allocating more resources for intervention and Title I. That the school cannot meet the needs of too many students based on state standards. As their pathetic playground becomes older and older and no one can seem to be able to get a new one off the ground. I wonder where is the protest for that inequity? Why do kids in South Amherst only matter if it affects the other schools? This protest infuriates me. I would love to see people show up in SUPPORT of Redistricting and FINALLY show support for equity.

Anonymous said...

Well, maybe they are right -- let's keep certain communities together. How about all of the wealthy kids at one school, or all of the kids who score Advanced on the MCAS, or all white European kids, or all kids who have advanced proficiency in music? If we're going to do it for one group then everyone should have their opportunity to cluster, right? I have to get started on my protest sign...

lise said...

So we have a protest in Amherst supporting all of the principles that any other day would be called racist and elitist. A protest in favor of town-financed segregation by ethnicity, in favor of economic discrimination by grouping the majority of low-income children into one school, and in favor of keeping open a small school for a small group of children at a cost of music, enrichment and small class size for all students. Just exactly who is trying to rip apart our community and compromise our values? Seems like that is a better description of the protestors than of the school committee.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I should start a protest for tiered education. Let the strugglers (1/3, right?) all be educated at one school. This way, the resources those kids need can really be focused on their needs. Then there can be a school for the average kids and then one for the advanced kids. It seems like Amherst is so caught up in protesting, they forget what they are protesting for (segregation!)

We live in a WEIRD town.

Anonymous said...

Can the information about the reasons for ending the language and ethnicity clusters, school choice and bussing to support these programs be written out in English and Spanish? Also, can these be explained in Spanish and Khmer at the School Board meetings? It seems this issues have all gotten mixed up in the redistricting process and many, many people are confused.

Anonymous said...

Everything said at the redistricting forum at Crocker Farm, including Dr. Rodriguez's statement about the ending of language clusters, was translated into Spanish on the spot. Please stop blaming the School Committee and the administration for not communicating enough! They went way overboard that night to accomodate Spanish-speakers. I have no idea if they have done the same for Khmer-speakers, but they are trying their best to be as transparent as possible. Please give them some credit!

Anonymous said...

I didn't post to bash the school board. I don't think information can be repeated enough -- especially at meetings which are televised and open to the whole community. There seems to be a lot of misnformation and misunderstanding out there and constant repitition could help. It's kind of like having kids really where you find yourself saying the same thing over and over, hoping at some point it sinks in.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the entire SC should have gone door to door at every residence in the town to make sure that every single person was informed and given the chance to weigh in.


I can’t believe how much communicating has been done on this topic given that SC members have jobs, families, and selves to take care of.

I think the SC and ARPS staff deserve some consideration for going far, far above and beyond the call of duty. For people to keep making requests to the SC to further explain and translate and empathize and defend and accommodate and give more and more and more of their time and effort is unreasonable.

At some point community members have to bear some responsibility for paying attention BEFORE decisions get made. Rather than reacting in protest the day a vote is scheduled on a map for redistricting.

Caren Rotello said...

I suggest that we all pay very careful attention to who marches tomorrow. Speaking only for myself, I would not elect anyone involved in this protest to public office.

Catherine A. Sanderson said...

My responses:

Anonymous 8:37 - I'm not sure of the point of your post ... is it to say that inaccuracies are OK, as long as they are based on emotions/feelings? Or is it to imply that the SC and administration has deliberately created maps that keep their children in their same schools, but move other children?

Anonymous 8:45 - well said (and yes, I'd love to see the studies pointing to the benefits of maintaining a low income school in a given community). The first two points (MM closing, ending language/culture clustering) are done, and thus the only question on the table is the issue of which map. I wish the organizers of this protest could instead communicate their thoughts on which map -- which is the ONLY information that would be really helpful to all members of the SC prior to the vote.

Gavin - it is very similar to what happened last year with the closing of MM -- lots of complaining about the decision, but no alternatives suggested that were feasible. I would hope that these protesters would spend time focused on how to help all families (including multi-lingual and multi-cultural families) during this time of transition in a way that is legal ... instead of protesting the ending of something that is in fact NOT legal!

Anonymous 9:21 - well said on all points ... and I too wish the energy could be directed in a more positive (and productive) way.

Tom G - good advice re. directly countering the misinformation and reminding people of the reasons for closing MM (which haven't changed!) ... and I particularly liked your final sentence: "As soon as we work through the redistricting plan, we can work to improve the elements of the educational system which have the greatest effect of the accomplishment levels of its students." I am looking forward to voting on a plan, and then moving on to the very important work ahead.

Anonymous 6:53 - very good points. I too wonder why there is outrage that the SC would think we shouldn't cluster low income kids at one school ... and yet there is no outrage that one school has struggled on MCAS such that children are given the option to attend other schools in Amherst (while the district pays for the transportation). It seems unbelievable to me that the organizers of this protest are fighting to keep low income kids gathered together at one school -- and a school that is now in "corrective action" by the state and is the ONLY school in Amherst with a "moderate" performance rating (the other three all have "high" ratings).

Catherine A. Sanderson said...

My responses:

Anonymous 8:07 - indeed ... it seems like a VERY slippery slope to start advocating for segregation ... how about clustering the Jewish students at one school?

Lise - very well said ... I agree with all you said ... and it is really sad to me that the SC is being painted as the villian here (racist, classist, elitist, etc.) for trying to use limited resources wisely (e.g., closing MM) and trying to create three equitable schools for all kids (e.g., redistricting), while the protesters are advocating for the continuation of a program that violates federal/state law because it deliberately and intentionally segregates kids by race/ethnicity/culture. Only in Amherst ...

Anonyous 9:03 - I agree with all you said -- especially the following line: "We live in a WEIRD town."

Anonymous 9:52 - the CF forum was translated into Spanish (everything) and there was a Cambodian translater at the MM forum. However, I believe what has happened is that English speaking people (some of whom work in our district) have created fear/anxiety in families by describing the redistricting plan in a way that presents inaccuracies (much like this letter) -- so I'm not sure if communication from the district/SC is actually being taken as honest. I think there are staff members who are highly invested in maintaining the current language/culture clusters (hence we see the front page Gazette article on the Cambodian program last Friday), and these staff members have presented the redistricting plans in a really negative light. I would hope that after the vote, teachers and staff could come together to help create new ways to support families during the transition, and suggest programs that could support all kids/families in need of extra support.

Anonymous said...

Nelson Acosta

He doesn't work for UMass anymore. Why does he have a student affairs email address? And why is the fact that using it for this being a violation of UM policies not being raised?

Ed said...

Catherine - remember that many of the Cambodians are illiterate - in both English *AND* Kamir. Merely translating into written format won't do any more than just sending stuff in English as they can read neither language.

Nina Koch said...

Catherine stated:

"It seems unbelievable to me that the organizers of this protest are fighting to keep low income kids gathered together at one school"

This sense of disbelief is actually a good place to start a dialogue. When you find it hard to understand why somebody thinks what they think, that is a good time to ask them and then do some listening in order to try to learn from them the reason for their point of view.

You must have noticed that some of the people you feel you are helping don't seem to want your form of help. So you have to find a way to understand that. Arguing back to them all the reasons why they are wrong won't lead you to understand the basis of their beliefs. And it probably won't change their minds. This is how impasses get created.

Anonymous said...

Nina, your comment is intuitive and empathetic. But at some point, just because there is a voice, it doesn't mean that it's good or decent or right or worth listening to. Why are so many people bending over backwards to try to get through to some obstinate, dumb people?

My feeling is that a lot of the pushback on the language clustering is really about the fear that some of the staff will lose jobs. Their families and friends are worried about them too. This is a legitimate fear. I wish they would just say we don't want the language clustering to end because we don't want to lose our jobs. And then someone could say, we will help you find jobs. And then we can actually do it. It's scary and these are hard times. Jobs and benefits mean the world to families. Maybe we could work really hard on helping people who lose their jobs in all of this. Is there a projection of that fallout yet? There are many people in this community who have contacts at banks, hospitals, universities, colleges, etc. and hopefully we can do something to help the people who have been serving our schools and our children. I think the ELL program is a huge misallocation of resources at CF, but that doesn't mean that the people who make it happen aren't hard working, competent, and caring people. Surely, we can help them if they lose their jobs.

Nina Koch said...

"My feeling is that a lot of the pushback on the language clustering is really about the fear that some of the staff will lose jobs."

I don't know what is in people's minds, of course, but I haven't heard any discussion of job loss. Also, I don't think those teachers are necessarily in a position to lose their jobs. They might be reassigned to another building.

When I think of the people who have been working with the Cambodian community at Fort River, I think of them as highly dedicated people who are genuinely concerned about the effect on the community. These staff members have been so closely involved with the families (going to weddings and so forth) that they really feel a sense of loss here. So someone has to address that and find a way to reassure people that needs will be met.

I watched the meeting held at Marks Meadow and saw a couple of Cambodian teens walk up to the microphone and say "I don't know what I would have done without the Cambodian program at Fort River." My first thought was, we better figure out what we are going to do to fill the void. For example, might there be an after-school program and we bus kids to that? Those teenagers weren't thinking about staff job loss. They were thinking about what it meant to them to go to Fort River. I haven't watched the Crocker Farm meeting yet but I would guess that similar things were said.

Now I can imagine that there are a number of different ways we can meet kids' needs, but I would like to hear some discussion to reassure me that people are indeed thinking about that. I believe I heard it in Andy Churchill's remarks at the MM meeting. I have not heard it so much on this blog, where the tone seems to be more "What's wrong with these people?".

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the thoughtful post, Nina. I think the days of the town paying for transportation costs based on ethnicity are over. And rightly so. But some sort of cultural aferschool program sounds like a good idea. And perhaps some interested parties can raise private funds to cover the transportation costs. I agree, there is going to be a void here but that doesn't mean the town has to keep footing the bill. It'd be great to see a cultural center in town with meeting space and classes for kids and whoever else is interested. Maybe something through LSSE?

Anonymous said...

I understand the SC's challenge in balancing budgets and the decision to close Marks Meadow. It was a painful choice.

I understand the goals of redistricting as stated by the SC, and they are valid.

I am humbled by the copious amounts of time and energy that every SC member devotes to the town and to our schools and I am grateful. I know that I could not handle it.

That said, one area of concern for me is the choice to saddle Wildwood with the greatest change in its student community. Great effort was invested in keeping the Marks Meadow and Fort River student communities together. I understand that keeping Marks Meadow students together was a priority because their school was being closed, and this is a worthy goal. Ironically the redistricting will bus downtown students, some of whom currently walk to Wildwood, at least two miles away to Crocker Farm. Most importantly, this will fray the fabric of the Wildwood student and parent communities. Secondly, it will also add to the valley's already considerable smog levels with the additional diesel exhaust that belches forth from the school buses.

If I remember correctly, it was a group of Fort River parents who ironically submitted a letter to the Bulletin encouraging the closing of Marks Meadow and supporting redistricting. They stated that they were ready to handle the pain and disruption that may come. Well, for those brave souls little pain is eminent. I am sincerely happy for them, because their school community will remain mostly intact.

Unfortunately for Wildwood parents, they did not have an advocate on the SC. Fort River had at least two, and one has to wonder if protecting the integrity of their own school community had any role in the drafting of district boundaries. If I was on the SC and this was my neighborhood, I would have instinctively protected it. I also understand that something had to give, and Wildwood was the logical choice. I just wish that it did not have to take the brunt of it.

I know that this will be considered by some as an attack on the integrity of some of the SC members, but that is not the intent. The SC has a tough job in this town and in these times, and I do not envy their challenges.

The new district lines are fact. All of the schools will feel the pain. I just wish that the pain was spread around fairly.