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Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Override Revisited

Like California, Massachusetts has a proposition that requires taxpayers to vote if the town asks the taxpayers for more than the allowed 2.5% tax increase per year. This is called an override. Last spring my small city brought an override vote in front of the taxpayers, and for the first time, the override was not passed. Because of the lack of finances, many changes were made in the town government including the closure of the 4 branch libraries, the reduction in force of the police department, and the layoffs of a number of school personnel. Because the schools faced such a big hit, class sizes have grown, there are no longer substitute teachers, social workers were laid off, and auxiliary personnel were removed from the payroll.

I voted for the override because I believe that the city did not have enough police, fire, and school personnel to take such a large hit. But the override failed and the City closed the libraries and laid off workers across the board, with the school department being particularly hard hit. As one does after a failure like that, I shook my head in dismay and said "goodbye" to several of the people that worked so successfully with my kids. Nancy Holzer and Mike Drain are particularly missed this year. But we in the small city moved on with our lives and learned how to deal with the losses.

At least until school started back up last week.

The Girl still does not have a schedule. It has been five days and they cannot find teachers willing to put her in already overcrowded classes. This is unbelievable to me. Not only are they refusing to educate her...something they've done before, but now they're ignoring her IEP as well (also done before) and blaming it on the override.

I'm sorry, but this is unacceptable. Absolutely ridiculous. They have to, by law, educate my child. They have to give her a public education that is appropriate for her. She has an IEP. They have to follow it by law. But they haven't and now they are seriously out of compliance.

Her guidance counselor is a really nice, but totally ineffectual person. She's just too damn nice, I think, and so people ignore her. She needs to grow more of a backbone and not be so pleasant. The department heads are ignoring her right and left, and that means I have to call them and BEG them to let my daughter into classes that she is entitled to by law. There hasn't been a day since school started that I haven't had to bitch to someone at school, and yet....still no schedule.

To say I'm furious would be understating my anger. I voted FOR the damn override. Punish someones kid that didn't vote for the override, but don't punish my kid 2 years in a row for something she has no part in. She can't vote. It's not her fault the override didn't pass, but they keep shoving it in her face, telling her that's why she isn't getting a schedule. Patently ridiculous! They have 1750 kids in the school. They are required to teach each and every one of them. I would bet that there isn't another kid in the school that doesn't have classes to go to.

We're not asking for the moon here. All we want is English, Math, History and Science. We've given up on electives. She never gets what she wants anyhow, and it's not even worth trying at this point. Ditto on a foreign language. She didn't get one last year, and now it's too late. How she's supposed to get into a college with no foreign language is a mystery, but then again... not their problem, is it? We want 4 freaking classes and a gym class. This is INSANE. And yet, here we are...again.

I hate this school. They are disorganized, uncaring, untruthful, and essentially lazy. There is NO excuse for putting a kid into this position two years in a row. Absolutely NONE. But I cannot move mountains. So maybe the state can.

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