Monday, January 24, 2011

Great Job....But...

When we first heard about the pipes bursting at the school this past week, we felt not only the students but for the burden and logistical nightmare that we envisioned the Administration, teachers and staff members had to deal with. We must say that with the exception of providing parents with more concrete, precise information and on-going updates, we were impressed at how they managed to continue for the most part with their daily (although with an element of chaos) schedules and tasks. Communication issues aside (which no one should be surprised at since communication is not one of the Administrations strengths), we were impressed with their coordination and efforts. On the positive side, the new email, text, voicemail notification system the school has put into place proved itself useful and effective in communicating what information was shared with parents.
We must say that when we initially heard about the burst pipe we didn't begrudge the Administration or Board as we felt that any school could be subjected to the same unfortunate event. The fact is that pipes do burst as a result of cold weather, especially older pipes in older buildings.The one point we would make is that we (parents, Administration, and the Trustees) are all well aware that the building is old and in less than ideal condition. That being said, it is circumstances such as this that make us question the Boards rational in putting an athletic facility before the academic facility and needs of the students in the lower school. We've mentioned before that we do not feel as though the building of the athletic facility is truly in alignment with the Mission Statement of the school and this unfortunate event has reconfirmed our belief. While athletics is part of a well rounded educational experience, a new athletic facility would be much more appreciated and valued if the students of the lower school were not in a building that they have clearly outgrown and that is in such dire shape. The fact that the athletic facility is not attached or near either the lower school or HS facility is even more troublesome. Being that the athletic facility will not be easily accessible to students of either building, it would be of limited usefulness should another unfortunate event such as last weeks reoccur. Yes, the students could be bussed to the facility as they were last week but the logistics would be even more troublesome and challenging. It would have also been nice if an athletic facility were attached to one of the facilities so that all of the students would have the opportunity to use it for PE classes. It seems unfortunate and misguided that the Board has chosen to put the needs of their athletes in front of the needs of all of their students and their Mission Statement and Charter.
As a side note and very much unconfirmed, we have heard that the Forestdale school may be being closed by the City of Malden and that that building may therefore become available for the students of MVRCS in the future. We have no reliable source regarding this possibility but have heard rumblings. We're not sure if that is a good thing or bad for MVRCS and/or the students and residents of Malden but felt it worth mentioning. Could this possibly be yet another backroom deal that occurs as a result of the obvious conflict of issues regarding Neil Kinnon? Yes, probably.

As an afterthought regarding the building of the Athletic facility and how we do not feel that it is staying true to the Charter or Mission statement of the school, we feel it is worth mentioning that we are equally as disappointed in the DESE in their oversight of this issue. One parent has shared with us that upon hearing about the school purchasing property and/or the building of the Athletic facility they phoned the DESE to inquire as to whether this was permissible under the terms of the charter school laws. The DESE indicated that it wasn't 'illegal' and therefore nothing they could or would do regarding this matter.While we are disappointed with the DESE for not ensuring that the Board stay true to the Charter and Mission statement, it comes as no real surprise. As many of you know the school had been violating the numerous aspects of the Open Meeting laws that govern Charter schools for many years. During a Board of Education meeting on September 27, 2007, the following was noted (DOE Board of Education Meeting Minutes):
"In response to a question about the Mystic Valley Regional Charter School’s failure to comply with the state’s open meeting law, Associate Commissioner Wulfson said the Attorney General enforces that law, but the Department holds charter schools accountable and would point out such a problem."
Yet the school was permitted to continue violating the laws until just recently when the Attorney General began an initiative regarding Open Meeting laws. At not time did the DESE or Associate Commissioner Wulfson attempt to rectify the situation nor include corrective measures within their conditions for Charter renewal. We find this incredibly unfortunate, especially as many other issues continue to occur with no end in sight.


  1. I am a parent of a MVRCS child and a child who attends the forestdale school, I have also heard the rumors of leasing the Forestdale to MVRCS, and I am horrified yet again, how MVRCS seems to be able to continuously make these deals with the City.

  2. So if the Forestdale School closes you would like to leave it for the rats? That's a pretty solid plan you have there. You should run for mayor.

  3. It was chaotic for the kids. Midterms should have been canceled and parents given more info as to what was going on. That being said I am very impressed that they pulled it off and fixed the problems quickly and kept the kids spirits up.
    As to whether or not the charter should snap up the forestdale school- heck yeah! It's not like the charter school forced this. Malden was closing it anyway and could use the money to teach all of the ELL and SpEd kids MVRCS weeds out. Win-Win.

  4. So how much would a new school cost instead of having them at Saint Joseph's and the old Maplewood? Those two buildings must be over 60,000 sqaure ft? If we need more space then must need at lease 75,000. How much per sq ft for a new building? You must have researched it since you seem to be sure they could have built a new building? Is it $100, $200, $300 a sq ft? $200 would be $15,000,000 where would that come from? They could have saved for it. No thats not allowed anymore is it.

  5. We're not sure anyone would be adverse to MVRCS having use to the Forestdale school, the point was more that it be done on the up and up AND that it is truly in the best interest of Malden residents (and has their blessings). The back room deals that frequently occur between the City of Malden and the Board of MVRCS (specifically Neil Kinnon) do nothing to promote a positive relationship between the two nor present MVRCS in a positive manner.