The Middletown EYE previously investigated a rumor circling the school district about the availability of paper for copying (see previous article). After a number of comments posted to that article, I spoke again with Superintendent Michael Frechette, via phone interview this morning, about allegations that Lawrence and Farm Hill Elementary Schools (in particular) are out of paper.
According to Dr. Frechette, a paper shortage "is not an issue." The Superintendent confirmed that he has checked with several principals and the district's business manager, and he could not find any evidence of teachers having to buy their own paper to make copies.
Frechette did say that Middletown schools do encourage donations of various supplies, but not because the school's basic needs aren't meet. He also said that the schools are trying to be more conscious of WHAT is being copied so paper isn't wasted. In the end, the Superintendent commented that he "just doesn't know where this information is coming from" because he can't find a problem anywhere.
From my own personal viewpoint, I suppose it's possible that the administrative effort to make better choices about what gets copied was interpreted as a ban on copying, but then again, I'm not a teacher or a principal and I can't say for sure who said what to whom.
I did ask Dr. Frechette specifically about the two parents who reported that they received a letters stating that homework was affected by the paper shortage, but he had no knowledge of such a letter. This of course doesn't mean said letter doesn't exist, but without a copy of it myself, I can't do much more than accept what he's said.
There is a regular Board of Education meeting tonight at 7pm in the Council Chambers at City Hall. The public is allowed 3 minutes per person to speak to the Board on matters concerning education in Middletown, so feel free to present contradictory evidence if you have it. Yours truly will be there to cover the meeting for the EYE, and I'd love to see the mystery homework letter if a copy of it exists...