The response from Kingston's elected officials has been remarkably quiet regarding the School District's proposal to stick it to the city and close both Meagher and Sophie Finn schools. Thus far, only Bill Reynolds has joined with me in opposing this measure. Mayor Sottile gave a somewhat tepid response by saying he did not want vacant buildings in the city. I expected more from him. In years past, he was a vocal critic of prior efforts to close Meagher School. I wish he would do so again. I would be happy to stand shoulder to shoulder with him in this fight.
Where are the other politicos? Sophie Finn is in Ward 9. The Alderman of Ward 9, Hayes Clement, wants to be Mayor. Though he has not formally declared, his campaign web site is under construction. How can he possibly seek the Mayor's Office when he has not even stood up for Sophie Finn, a school in his own ward?
Where are the other Aldermen? Legislators? Legislator Madsen lives in Ward 9. Why have we heard nothing from anyone other than myself and Bill Reynolds, as well as a tepid comment from Mayor Sottile?
Are Kingston and our schools not worth fighting for? There is a meeting on March 2nd where the plan to close the 2 schools will be formally given to the Board. I urge city residents to attend this meeting in droves. Let's show the School Board that we do not want Meagher or Sophie Finn closed. If they must close a school because of underpopulation, then close the one with the smallest population so as to move the fewest students. That would be Zena, though I expect that's off limits since the daughter of a prominent school official teaches there.
Here is my alternate proposal. Take the 9th grade out of the high school and put them back into the Junior High Schools. Take the 6th grade out of the Jr. High School and out them back into the elementary schools. This is where these grades belong anyway. This eliminates the underpopulation problem and also deals with the overpopulation problem at KHS. We will saves tremendous amounts of money by not having to expand KHS or even build another building to deal with overpopulation. Then, let's see how things go over the next year or so. If there continues to be problems with under utilization, then we will have to consider closing an elementary school, perhaps Zena.
Since the bulk of the population is in Kingston, it makes no sense to bus them elsewhere and huge costs to the taxpayers. GW, Meagher, and Kennedy have the 3 highest populations of students that walk to school. Closing one of them will escalate busing costs dramatically.
Another way to save money is to cut down the RIDICULOUS salaries being paid to administrators. People are receiving over $150,000.00 per year with some even being over $200,000.00 per year. Here's a flash . . . they are not worth that kind of money. Their jobs are not worth that kind of money.