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):
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."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."