Thursday, November 12, 2015

Moody Parents Say "Thank You" On Postponement of Redistricting

The redistricting committee of the Board of Education held its second public forum on potential redistricting issues on Thursday evening at Woodrow Wilson Middle School, and Moody parents lined up to say "thanks" to the committee for listening, and postponing any drastic redistricting measures.

Consultants Rebecca Augur and Pat Gallagher from Millone and McBroom once again delivered a presentation based on reactions at the first public meeting and the subsequent Redistricting Committee meeting.

Their presentation consisted of the message that the committee had decided to postpone any long term redistricting in favor of a short term solution based on moving a program (ICM) from Farm Hill Elementary School to another elementary school, most likely Lawrence.

They also presented three possible pocket redistricting scenarios, all of which were delivered with the caveat that the committee had neither approved of the scenarios or recommended them.

When the public had their turn to speak, a series of giddy testimonials from Moody and Farm Hill parents praised the committee for listening and for altering their plans for redistricting.

Moody parent Chris Bonsigniore, who had spoken at the first public session condemning the planned redistricting spoke first and thanked the committee.

"Now, we have time to slow down and not rush into things," Bonsignore said.  He also indicated that the group of parents motivated into action by the proposed redistricting, were now engaged and at the disposal of the BOE.

"We are concerned about our schools, and hope you take advantage of that," Bonsignore offered.

Most parents who spoke were in favor of moving programs from Farm Hill to relieve overcrowding, and urged the committee not to recommend moving any students.

Downtown resident Monica Belyea urged the committee to consider the population of students who would be moved during any potential redistricting.

"My daughter was redistricted from Farm Hill to Macdonough, and then we were redistricted again back to Farm Hill" Belyea said.  "The same population seems to be moved every time, and I hope you'll consider that in any redistricting plans."

"Everbody's happy at every school," Moody parent Caterine Roberts said.  "We're really happy so don't mess it up."  After which she received enthusiastic applause.

Some concern was expressed by Farm Hill parents that if any redistricting takes place eventually, especially if it aligns with the unapproved scenarios presented Thursday, that they did not want their children moved.

On the other hand, Farm Hill parent Cathy Lechowicz pleaded that he Board of Education consider every option before moving the same population of children over and over again.

"It's so awful to continually shift the kids in these communities downtown, Traverse Square, Ferry Street, Loveland Street," Lechowicz said.

This reporter spoke as a former Board of Education member, and as a former parent of Macdonough students.

"There's a fly in every ointment" this reporter said.  "When you look at the proficiency scores at Moody they're 70-60%.  When you look at Macdonough, we're at 40%.  We're failing those kids, and it's a problem that needs to be solved sooner than later."

The next Redistricting Committee meeting will be held on November 30th at the Board of Education Central Office.

For the record, the crowd in attendance was half the size of the last redistricting committee meeting. In attendance were Common Council members Kleckowski, Giuliano and Salafia, all Republicans. And Board of Education members (D) Drake, Dunkley, White, and (R) Daniels, Synkowicz and McClellan.


Unknown said...

For the record Mr. Editor. I Anita White was present at the fourm. Concerns me about folks facts who translate and write papers. Thanks

Middletown Eye (Ed McKeon) said...


Our apologies. I've corrected the blogpost. I'm sorry that I didn't recognize you. We haven't met, and since you didn't appear at the teachers forum, or other BOE meetings that I've attended, I'm not sure yet who you are. I'll introduce myself at Tuesday's BOE meeting.

Anonymous said...

This isn't directly related to this blog post, but hopefully Mr. McKeon or someone else could answer my question anyway. I recently checked the city of Middletown's website and noticed that the last BOE meeting listed on the community videos page was from June 23rd. Surely there have been more BOE meetings since then. Why haven't the videos been posted on the city's website? Were they even filmed? It's especially strange considering the latest Council and P&Z meetings are available for viewing. I feel these videos are valuable tools for citizens like myself who are interested in watching the meetings but cannot attend due to time constraints during the work week.