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Parent Outlines Reasons to be Angry with School Committee's Choices

A Winchester parent is shocked with the changes the proposed redistricting plan has put on the communities' families.

My home is redistributed to from  in the newly proposed redistrubuting plan by Winchester school committee. I was so shocked when I heard this, I cannot even sleep well since then. How could this happen to our community? 

You may wonder why I reacted so angrily with a simple redistrubuting plan? Well, let me explain the details of this redistributing story. 

First of all, several simple facts: 

  1. Our neighbourhood is truly walkable to both and Lincoln elementary, and our community has historically been these two school districts for hundred years. We are at least 1.5 miles away from Lynch, no need to mention the two major streets, Swanton and Main street, the railroad, Aberjouna river in between. These factors all put tremendous safety and health threats on our childen. 
  2. Lynch Elementary failed to meet state standards for Adequate Yearly Progress for two straight years. Lynch parents were allowed to transfer their children to another district earlier this school year. Ultimately, four children transferred to Lincoln in January 2012 from Lynch Elementary. These children who reside in the Lynch district will be allowed to remain at Lincoln. However our kids have been forced to go to this only poorly rated school in town! 
  3. The RAC members are heavily overlapped with the school committe members. Many of the RAC members work or live in town, have children or their friends have children. Isn't there strong bias when they make the decision? 

Just by looking at the final redistributing map, we cannot help thinking why moving our community to this only poorly rated school, however other privileged communities stay untouched and have access to much better school and educational resources? 

-Rui Wu of Winchester

Kathleen Costello May 29, 2012 at 07:48 PM
this is an offensive note.
Rui May 29, 2012 at 08:24 PM
If my letter feels offievsive to you, please excuse me for my wording. As a foreigner living in US for almost ten years, I don't know how to express myself as beautifully as the politicians do. This is just how a normal people feel when their childs future are at stake.
outsidein May 30, 2012 at 01:31 AM
What's offensive is not your wording, its your third point. Its offensive and dis-respectful to the committee members that worked hard and volunteered their time to have you, with no knowledge or information, to question their honesty and integrity. Your other offensive comment is that "privileged" areas didn't get touched. I believe parts of the Flats got redistricted to VO.
Kathleen Costello May 30, 2012 at 01:56 AM
Forgive me. I believe you need to research your facts before you start spewing ridiculous and offensive remarks. First and foremost, it is not redistribution....it is redistricting. I am not a politician, I am a mother of four children that currently attend Lynch and also live in Winchester. My husband and I own our home in Winchester, pay our taxes and send our children to Lynch Elementary School. I guess I am confused by your definition of "normal people". I consider my family "normal"; do you consider my husband and I "abnormal" for sending our children to Lynch?? Who are you? Do you know ANYTHING at all about Lynch??? I am offended by your ignorance with regard to Lynch Elementary School. Do not try and hide behind the "walking" issue as half of Winchester can not walk to their elementary school, please observe where all of the elementary schools are located before you write your next opinion.
Jean Batty May 30, 2012 at 01:00 PM
Dear Rui, I deeply saddens me to see the responses above. I applaud you for standing up and voicing your concerns. If I had only been in a country for less than 10 years, I'm not sure I would have the bravery to speak up. There are nuances to the English language that native English speaking people take for granted. Lynch has had a few years of bad test scores; the school has myriad extra resources to address that issue now. What the test scores do not quantify is the warm and welcoming school environment. My son attended preschool at Lynch and still talks about his teachers and the support staff with great affection. That being said, I agree with you that the ability to walk to school is extremely important to families who have selected their homes based on this attribute. Yes, politics do drive many decisions that are made in this country. By standing up and speaking your mind, you are part of the political process! Keep up your brave advocacy work!
Mike May 30, 2012 at 01:40 PM
Kathleen. There is no more emotional issue than school redistricting. As there is no more impostant thing in our lives as our children. I think almost all of us chose Winchester for its schools. Some of us also also chose our houses because of their proximity to the schools, the ability to walk our schools being particlarly important. At first glance, the plan does not make sense to my neighborhood. It splits my street. It separates my children that he walks to school with. It rips us from between two schools that are within a half mile. I have and will always vote for an over ride that helps improve any school in town. I am only asking that we do not rush this decision and have an independent review. If you were impacted I am sure you would feel the same.
Jane May 30, 2012 at 04:22 PM
As much as I understand the heat for this topic, please cool down. True, 2 straight years of failing score could not represent every aspect of the only elementary school in town, nor every aspect of Lynch community. But 2 straight years of failing score does say something. Otherwise, why town allows parents of Lynch to opt-out of the school early this year? On the other hand, who says Lynch could not improve in the future. Maybe from the effort of loving parents like you (and/or school), Lynch will become #1 in town some time. We saw several examples of this kind already. I live in Spruce St. which will also be redistricted to Lynch. I am very upset about the most recent proposal because my whole family love our school and I like our "in-town neighborhood". From your post, I can see that your family loves your school very much and I totally understand this. Same here, we love our current school (Lincoln) so much and we build our life around our school. I hate to let my child to be forced out in the middle of their early education years. Even though Lincon is not #1 in the town, not in the state, not in the country, we love our school and our school community. And we do not want to leave. (To be continued, i have to separate into two posts)
Jane May 30, 2012 at 04:24 PM
(The following should be the second part, somehow, it will probably show before the first part) I think this is the last chance to rethink the redistriction idea. I know some other town basically allow new incomers to free to choose any school who has the space, which seems to me is the minimal disruption and prevent tearing apart any emotional attachment of the individual family to their current school community. Sure for anyone who love a particular school so deeply, they can choose freely to transfer to that school when that school has open space such as Lynch and New VO. Even though they choose by voluntarily, we still appreciate their contributions. We will all admire this. I think town can offer free bussing (or some other free care provider) to them if possible. Please support us for "no redistriction" even though you are not in the affected area so that the whole town will have more time to think.
Kathleen Costello May 30, 2012 at 06:38 PM
I am offended by Rui's remarks about my children's elementary school regardless of the wording that he used. My overall feeling has nothing due with his lack of eloquence when expressing himself. I do not like his reference to "normal" people's concerns. What does that say about my children and my choices concerning their education? Rui's insinuations concerning the privelaged and school choice also need to be clarified. The school district was forced to allow students school choice due to Lynch receiving Title 1 funding. Now that a waiver has been passed on NCLB schools not meeting AYP, Lynch students are not able to take advantage of school choice. Furthermore, I would urge you to educate yourself on Lynch and the community. We are not a dumping ground and my family does not appreciate the insituations that our school is not as good of a school as the rest of the schools in town.
Tony May 30, 2012 at 10:25 PM
Dear Rui, I also applaud you for speaking up your concerns. It has been a very hard hit for many families impacted. The short time (only 2 weeks) between the vote and the chosen final plan made us all feeling uneasy and unacceptable. After all, I don't think the RAC should have chosen a plan in scarifying only a small area to resolve the overall town's student distribution problem. It's unfair, especially the impact area is just such a short walk to current Muraco/Lincoln schools.
Stephen DeConto May 31, 2012 at 02:41 PM
While the goal is to relieve overcrowding and reclaim specialist space that has been lost in our schools, the solution to this town wide problem should not be put on the backs of families who live within a neighborhood they chose to buy their homes because of what the neighborhood offered and so they could enjoy a safe an easy walk to school. This plan may be comfortable for the majority of families in town, but that may simply be because it doesn't impact in any way on their lives, the safety and wellbeing of their children, the cohesiveness of their neighborhood and the value of their homes. Whatever is done to improve ALL of our schools and ALL of our children’s' education should be a shared responsibility and much more equitable. Also, this plan does not offer the socio-economic diversity the schools and this town really needs if we are to move forward from here as a truly united community. How many examples do we have in Winchester of what were thought to be good decisions or the "best " plans at the time that now, with the passage of time are seen to be seriously flawed. Let us be smarter than this and work out a plan that we can live with now and look back at in the future and be proud of. Stephen DeConto Blossom Hill Road
HML52 May 31, 2012 at 02:46 PM
For Ambrose families not affected by the proposed May 22 plan: if you would choose to attend V-O if given an opportunity, please let the School Committee know before June 4 by sending a note via the RAC website http://www.winchesterredistricting.com/. It might help to open up enrollment elsewhere for choice.
Jane May 31, 2012 at 03:52 PM
@HML52: I can't help but following your post. Can we extend your call to all Winchester families who are not affected by the proposed May 22 plan: if you value class size most and would choose to attend new VO/Lynch if given an opportunity, please contact the School Committee before June 4th by above link. The whole town will appreciate your help.
Jane May 31, 2012 at 03:53 PM
Well said.

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