Saturday, October 17, 2009

Community outreach on elementary school consolidation

The architects hired to come up with different schemes for the elementary school consolidation projects will be meeting with the public on Monday, Oct. 19, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., to discuss their latest mock schematics.
According to an email from Matt Cashman, director of Facilities and Planning for the school administration, they will present "several options and layouts" for the Broken Ground, Conant, and Kimball school sites.
"These options will reflect all the input that the architects have received from the teachers, building principals, administrators and community members who helped in the development of the Educational Specifications for Concord," he wrote.
On Tuesday, Nov. 24, the architects will hold another meeting showing the latest revisions to designs based on the community input received on Monday.
School board members and administrators will be in attendance to answer questions as well.

After finally catching up on email this morning, I sent Cashman a note about the meetings. In it, I stated that administrators continuing to have meetings on Monday and Tuesday nights, during the dinner hour, limits the attendance of both parents of elementary school age children and people like me who work into the early evenings. These meetings should not be just about being convenient for administrators, board members, and architects, but the people who actually have to live with the buildings. How come not a Friday evening? A Saturday or Sunday morning? Or a Thursday morning during business hours over coffee? Why is it always Monday or Tuesday nights, during supper hours, when parents of elementary school aged children are feeding them and getting them washed up and into bed?
And while I'm thinking about it, how come there hasn't been a mailer sent to parents weeks in advance of this meeting? No ads in the newspaper or online?
Diversifying the dates and times doesn't seem like an unreasonable request. Getting decent notice to everyone in the community - parents, taxpayers, stakeholders, and others - would only seem proper. I mean, if you can spend $800k to design buildings that may never get built, surely you can spend a few hundred dollars to mail people a notice.

There was a notice in my son's school packet this week after all.


Anonymous said...

All you do is complain, it's not like the school board members, do not have families.

Tony said...

Thanks Anon1004 [Mrs. Fleming?] for chiming in.

Question: How many school board members have elementary school children at home who need dinner served at 6, washed up, ready for bed and in jammies at 7 to 7:30 p.m., with a story and playtime between 7:30 and 8:30 p.m.?
Yeah, that's right, I think it is only one or two too. I'm sure that if there were five or six or maybe more or maybe more considerate board members and administrators, they would realize that the people who need to be clued into the buildings more than others - parents with young children - would find it extremely difficult to make Monday and Tuesday night meetings from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Anonymous said...

The usual 6pm meeting time for the school board is terrible. For working families it is right in the middle of dinner time, or dinner prep time. Evening meetings should begin at 7.

Jeremy said...

Don't forget about the taxpayers on the hook to build buildings for your children's education.

Kevin S. Fleming, M.D. said...


Actually, 4 or 5 of 9 of us have elementary school age children in our households. 1 other has a pre-school child and 1 other has one in middle school. And I miss dinner and bedtime a lot more than just board nights because of my job.

I agree with having alternate meeting times. I would love to broaden our options to weekends and later at night. I will work on it in the coming months.

Tony said...

Thanks Kevin. I stand corrected.
I appreciate your efforts to change the times to make them a bit more flexible, not only for parents but for residents too.