Thursday, October 22, 2015

Some changes

As a school-based democratic organization, our WEA is undergoing some changes.   They are meant to keep our Association operating at full capacity in an open manner.   I'd love to hear what you think of the following:

  • Building-based meetings in October on the question "Where do you dues dollars go?"
  • The publication of a draft agenda in the members-only section before every board meeting so you can see what's being discussed.  As always, all members are welcome at all board meetings.
  • Personnel changes, which can be seen in our updated officer roster.  Many former building representatives have retired or moved into officer roles.  Thanks all those who stepped up!

I also wanted to copy below the text of the letter that Dr. Shaver-Hood co-signed with me to our elected representatives asking them to keep public money in public schools, and preserve the cap on charter schools:

To Whom It May Concern:

In times of cash strapped school district budgets, public schools are challenged to do more for their students with decreasing funds.  Regulations continue to increase, while revenues in Wareham continue to decrease. Moreover, the implementation of state and federal mandates, absorbs our limited financial resources.  Many of these mandates have been added to public schools’ obligations without the provision of additional funds to match.

Lifting the Charter School cap likely will result in the dismantling of the public school system in the Commonwealth.  Wareham educators provide our students with rigorous academic learning experiences, in-spite of the limited funding our district receives.   

At the present time, Charter Schools remove hundreds of thousands of dollars (over half a million dollars this year alone) originally intended for students in the Wareham Public Schools while being bound to less accountability.  We implore you to allow our district to retain the intended funds. For with these funds, essential interventions, materials, resources, and adequate staff would provide our students the opportunities to raise academic performance.  Instead, we are challenged by demographics, lack of funding, and outdated resources, then thrust into competition, which will place our students and district at a distinct disadvantage.  At the same time, we are responsive and accountable to our community through the democratic system of elected school committee governance, a representative function that the charter regime lacks.

We beseech you to advocate for the public school system in the Commonwealth by supporting S.326, an Act for a Moratorium on Commonwealth Charter schools.

With sincere regards,

Brian Fitzgerald
president, Wareham Education Association, Inc.

Kim Shaver-Hood
superintendent, Wareham Public Schools