"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Monday, January 05, 2009

Waltham MA Group Opposes Charter School

Act today. From the Daily News Tribune.
The public comment period for a planned charter school ends Monday, and city officials remain steadfast in their opposition.

School Committee member Margaret Donnelly has been helping lead an effort to fight a plan by Waltham social service agency Rediscovery Inc. to open the Rediscovery Academy Charter School in 2010.

On Wednesday, Donnelly said Gov. Deval Patrick's recent announcement saying he may have to make additional cuts in state aid to cities and towns is a new reason to oppose the charter School.

"I think the news from the governor this week of potentially more money cuts for local aid will hopefully have an effect on the (state) Board of Education's decision (whether or not to approve the charter school proposal)," she said. "Our local aid would be reduced and the money for the charter school would come off the top of state aid to the city."

Donnelly said she has been contacting residents and officials. She said she mailed a packet to the Board of Education containing 15 letters from city and state officials opposing the plan and a DVD of a public meeting held in Waltham in early December, in which community members and city officials came out in droves to oppose the plan.

Last month, Stanley Elementary School PTO President Susan McKinney created a Web page which has links to templates for letters to oppose the school. The Web page also has addresses for members of the Board of Education, which is the charter granting authority.

"It just seemed obvious to me. I had received from (Donnelly) a bunch of different documents and things and I wanted to be able to forward to people or have other people have access to," McKinney said. "I was pretty sure the public schools weren't taking initiative on something like this. Since I'm the webmaster at the Stanley, I figured I can put something together. Obviously it's biased against the charter school, but the information is there for anyone on either side and you can (research it)."

McKinney said the Web page was created around Dec. 10 and is linked to the Stanley school's Web site. The site is owned and maintained by the PTO.

"I was concerned people were not going to find the time (to contact the Board of Education)," she said. "I was concerned and I wanted to make it easy for people to have a voice."

The Web site is http://www.stanleyschool.org/rediscovery.html. . . .

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