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|Craig Kelley for Cambridge City Council in 2015|
|Because Neighborhoods Count|
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. . . parents demand a thoughtful, reasoned effort to provide outstanding education for our children . . .
Over the past several months, the Cambridge Public School System has been struggling to reorganize its elementary education with a primary goal of saving money by getting rid of “empty” seats and a concurrent goal of providing “excellent education in every classroom.” Unfortunately, in public meeting after public meeting, the CPS staff, both appointed and elected, has done little more than infuriate concerned parents while providing virtually no concrete vision for CPS' future.
At this point the School Committee and Superintendent D'Alesandro should realize that any reorganization plan they develop would not be accepted by many of Cambridge's most active and involved parents. Simply shifting kids and programs from school to school without a better explanation of how such actions will both save money and improve education is certain to fail. The performance gap in CPS may well decrease after such an organizational shuffle, but only because many higher performing students will leave the system, with dire consequences for all who remain in CPS.
The School Committee should ask the City Council for additional funds to meet near-term operational requirements. The School Committee must also demand of Ms. D'Alesandro that her 2003/2004 school year budget be prepared in a manner that allows people, including School Committee members, to truly understand how CPS currently spends all of its money. At its heart, this reorganization is a financial matter and being able to track current expenses is imperative in figuring out the best way to cut down on future expenditures.
If the School Committee and the Administration have learned just one thing since last spring, I hope that it is that parents demand a thoughtful, reasoned effort to provide outstanding education for our children and will not support a budget-balancing shell game.