Cranston to Move 6th Grade Back to Elementary School

The Projo reports that the School Committee approved the plan to move the 6th graders in Cranston back into the elementary schools by a vote of 5 to 2.

While many people are concerned about this, we in Eden Park have particular reason to be concerned, as last night it was also proposed that, to solve the overcrowding problems that the move will cause at Waterman Elementary School, the 6th graders from that school will attend Eden Park Elementary. From the Eden Park PTO listserv:

[...] Waterman Kindergarten and first graders were to originally be redistricted and (bussed) to Garden City School, because of lack of space. After the out cries, and concerns of the Waterman parents, the school committee has put another proposal on the table for Waterman.

Instead of sending their babies to Garden City, they are now proposing to send their 6th graders to Eden Park School. Not only do we now have to find the space for our own two 6th grade classes, we also have to house ALL 6th graders from Waterman School. Either we will have four 6th grade classes or over crowd and stuff them into 2 or 3 classes, but the overcrowding is not our first concern.

At this time our two portables are not in any condition to house 2 classes of children all day long (which we may have to do if Waterman students are redistricted to Eden Park). The air quality is poor, the rugs are disgusting, and the heating system is not working ( as some of you know from December’s Holiday Shop). We wore our coats all day long because they were unable to get the heat to work. When the question of cleaning up the portables was brought up to Deb Greifer and Ken Bowling when they attended our PTO meeting in November, Deb Grieifer said immediately that there was no money in the budget to spend on cleaning existing portables.

However, if we have no choice but to make do with the situation, the Eden Park PTO will hire a company to come into the portables to check for mold, air and heating quality to make sure that both portables pass the inspection and restriction guidelines. With this documentation in hand, we will then be better equipped to fight for the City of Cranston to provide good quality and clean classrooms for our children.

Another issue is where will we put the second kindergarten class in two years when they make ALL DAY KINDERGARTEN? We are already giving up the library and reading room to house the two six grade classes, not four. Where will we put yet another kindergarten class, two more 6th grade classes from Waterman, a library room, reading room and music and art room? Will we get another portable? Is there enough space in the cafeteria for lunch? Will we have to resort to having 3 lunches? These are questions unanswered. We as parents of Eden Park Students have to be the voices for our children. Please call, write or e-mail to not only the school committee, but our Mayor, superintendent, and other city officials.

We will keep you posted as to this current situation.

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7 responses

  1. Kiersten, I for one am very disappointed by the short-sighted behavior of the School Committee. The majority of the committee members follow the School Dept.’s recommendations to the letter.

    At times, there are glimmers of hope when Andrea Ianazzi or Steve Stycos break from the herd; however, their actions last night were disheartening. To completely overturn the elementary and middle school operations to save a paltry $1.0MM is laughable. I can guarantee the the city will realize NO savings from this grand illusion of reform.

    The kicker is the news this morning that the State may have to eliminate nearly ALL state aid to cities and towns to close their budget deficit. Me thinks my tax bill will now go from doubling every 10-11 years to doubling in only 1 year (that will make it about $12,000).

  2. Now will come the blame game…The School Committee will blame the Mayor, Council and State for lack of funding. The Mayor and Council will blame the state. The Governor will blame the assembly.

    It is a travesty. Shame on the 5 School Committee people who voted for this. They should be ashamed. Who will feel the brunt of this…the children. But their advocates, at least 5 of them, deserted them last night.

    How much will renovations and clean up of facilities cost? Has that been factored in to offset the supposedly $1 million in savings?

  3. By the way…how much is the school department subsidizing the supposedly independent charter school?

  4. Please see my comment on the other school thread.

    The real culprits are the CEOs and their political enablers who have been sending our jobs overseas for the past 25 (or more) years.

    We can also blame everyone who voted for Reagan or GWBush, who cut taxes for the uppermost of the wealthy, meaning that more of the burden of paying for schools, infrastructure, and the needs of civil society has fallen on the middle class at the same time that middle class wages have stagnated.

    The fed gives the state less money. The state gives the city less money. This is the real “trickle down” effect. It’s not the wealth that trickles down on the middle class; no, that stays at the top. Rather, what trickles down is the burden of paying for the amenities and needs of our society.

    The rich truly are getting richer, and at a staggering pace. Meanwhile, we’re left to fight over crumbs, forced to uproot our school system to try to save a measly million bucks.

    Yes, this is class warfare. And the middle class is being routed on all fronts. A person with a $million in dividend income pays a lower tax rate than someone who makes $20 an hour. A man in his mid-30s makes less money, adjusted for inflation, than his father did in the 1970s.

    Meanwhile, the percentage of total income earned by the top 1% of wage earners increased from 19% to 21% from 2004 to 2005. Did you hear that: the top 1% of wage earners receives close to 25% of all money earned in this country.

    The top 24 hedge fund managers made more in 2006 than the combined total of half of the S&P 500 CEOs. And most of them paid 15% in fed tax. Bet you paid a higher rate.

    That is the problem. The results of Republican national policies have trickled down to the level of Cranston.

    That, my friends, is class warfare.

  5. Dear School Committee members, and School Administration members,
    My name is Liz Iacobucci and I am currently PTO President at Eden Park Elementary School. I’ve been following your journey with the 6th grade move and have voiced my concerns, but today I am writing for a different reason. Over crowding at Eden Park School. I was in attendance when Steve Stycos made a proposal of possibly redistricting Waterman 6th grade students to Eden Park.

    Before you make a final decision regarding this move, I invite you all to please come to Eden Park School and personally check out the extra space in which 4 additional classrooms will be housed. I can briefly describe the basement space that may be used for two of the four sixth grade classes, but my description would pale in comparison to what the space actually looks like.

    The summer before last, myself and Mrs. DesMarais put our efforts together to try to make the basement a more desirable and friendly environment for the guidance, recourse and speech therapy that is conducted down there. Mrs. DesMarais found the volunteer parents to paint, and the PTO raised the money to pay for such paint and other equipment. We were happy with the result. However, although we were comfortable sending our children down there for a short period of time, it is in no way suitable for classroom instruction for a 6 hour day. There are no walls that separate the classes, so the sections are separated by file cabinets and cubicles. The pipes are exposed, (painted) but exposed, and when the restrooms upstairs are used, the unbearable sound that rattles the pipes is loud and disturbing. It is in fact a “basement”.

    We do however have a portable class room on our property, but it has not been kept up since the classes were brought into the school several years ago. These portables are now being used for team meetings, strings, choir, and brass instruction, and music and art classes. These portable classrooms are also not big enough to house 20 to 25 students. Those classes that have 20-25 students have art and music class on a cart. The carpets are full of mold and bacteria and I’m sure if officially inspected, many other not so clean things as well. We held our holiday shop there this year and wore our coats all day because they were unable to get the heat to work. These portables would have to be professionally inspected and cleaned before we could safely put our children in there for a 6 hour day.

    I understand that there is a committee meeting tomorrow and housing of the 6th graders will be one of the items on your agenda. I only ask that before you make a final decision as to where Waterman 6th grade students will be redistricted, please come visit Eden Park and see for yourself the lack of space that we have for four
    sixth grade classes and potentially another kindergarten class when all day kindergarten is proposed.

    I thank you for your time, and hope to hear back from you.

    Sincerely
    Liz Iacobucci

  6. I did hear back from 5 of the 7 committee members and they have all agreed to come and visit Eden Park before making their final decision. They will be by some time this week. Unfortunately, this is of little comfort to me because I fear this may also be another (go through the motions) move just so as not to say we didn’t take a look. Never the less, I should say it is better than nothing at this point.

    Liz

  7. Thank you, Liz. You are doing something very important for all of us. If you would like other parents from Eden Park to join you, please say so, and let us know the time and place. Also, I know some parents from Waterman who might also like to join the tour of the portables. This is a chance for all of us impacted by this to see exactly what we have to work with.

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