MMS to become a Charter school?

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MMS to become a Charter school?

Postby Dennis King » Wed Feb 16, 2011 12:05 pm

Why not? We spent 25 million (bond and interest) for this school which only serves two grades! We should lease this to a charter school and lets bring excellence to our town. The current public high school costs us $20,000.00 per student while the Charter school in town does it for $5,500. Nearly 1/4 the cost to educate the same kids. Oh, yeah, special ed, well as a former special ed teacher I can tell you, private schools do a much better job at it and once again, for much less cost.

Now we would have to get our legislative team to propose a change in state law to allow us to go back to private kindergarten (how sad, we have to ask permission) but if we did, then the space is clearly there. Oh,. almost forgot, the current charter school in Merrimack has a proficiency or higher rating in Math at 98% and science at 89%. WOW, think about that!
They are also expanding from 180 students to 300 next year, wonder if our local school district figured that out, since this school is in Merrimack, most of the students would be too. If 80 of the 120 come from Merrimack, that is 4 less teachers. Ever since we built it, enrollment has declined. It was all about pressuring us, threatening us with the loss of accreditation was the last straw, we bit the bullet and now have to live with the consequences,, or do we, if not a charter school, maybe a nifty nursing home!
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Re: MMS to become a Charter school?

Postby andysinnh » Wed Feb 16, 2011 12:32 pm

Dennis - do you ever do your research, or look at previous answers that refute what you're blurting out? In other threads, info shared includes:

1. The charter school CANNOT function at $5500 per student - their web site says so explicitly - the exist ONLY with the added revenue from parent contributions and endowments. They state up front that there's a risk they won't be able to continue in future years if they don't get this incremental revenue.

2. Charter schools like ASD and also places like Trinity and BG have application processes that EXCLUDE students that don't meet certain entrance criteria. They look for testing results (many times given by the school directly) and references from teachers. Given that sort of criteria, it doesn't surprise me that their proficency rate is higher than the public schools. They can SELECT their population. Non-Charter Public schools cannot - they must take all comers.

3. The population of the ASD is not made primarily of Merrimack residents, but rather from surrounding towns. Leaping to a conclusion that this school would attract more Merrimack students when they grow in size is likely, but only to a partial percentage - and frankly a drop in the bucket compared to our overall population.

4. Your $20k per HS student is BS, and you know it. You extrapolated earlier on that since Kindergarten teachers were less in cost since not a full day, that HS teachers must be $20k per student - a number you pulled out of thin air. And your $15k per student overall is also not a comparable number, especially considering your constant comparison to the ASD and private school numbers (BG, Trinity). Once you start doing a REAL apples/apples comparison - including costs for transport and broad-scope special ed, we may have a legitimate conversation.

5. Finally, your statement about private school special ed (since you were a teacher there) is pure speculation because I'm sure you haven't seen the level of special ed required by a public school recently. I've had the ability to look at it closely due to budget reviews over the past years, and besides the cost of all the programs as required by LAW, the spectrum of isses covered by the population in Merrimack is significant and eye-opening when you do the research.

I know you and I don't see eye-to-eye on many things, but this particular thread is just so full of assumptions and random info, I'm frankly not sure how carry on a meaningful conversation....

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Re: MMS to become a Charter school?

Postby Jeannine Stergios » Wed Feb 16, 2011 12:37 pm

This is one topic that needs to be discussed. These extravagant IEPs to make parents feel good with designated walkers, and undivided attention, etc.

. Finally, your statement about private school special ed (since you were a teacher there) is pure speculation because I'm sure you haven't seen the level of special ed required by a public school recently. I've had the ability to look at it closely due to budget reviews over the past years, and besides the cost of all the programs as required by LAW, the spectrum of isses covered by the population in Merrimack is significant and eye-opening when you do the research
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Re: MMS to become a Charter school?

Postby andysinnh » Wed Feb 16, 2011 1:10 pm

Jeannine Stergios wrote:This is one topic that needs to be discussed. These extravagant IEPs to make parents feel good with designated walkers, and undivided attention, etc.

. Finally, your statement about private school special ed (since you were a teacher there) is pure speculation because I'm sure you haven't seen the level of special ed required by a public school recently. I've had the ability to look at it closely due to budget reviews over the past years, and besides the cost of all the programs as required by LAW, the spectrum of isses covered by the population in Merrimack is significant and eye-opening when you do the research

Jeannine - the IEP process is governed by higher state and federal guidlines than just Merrimack deciding how to slap 'em together. Look at any district in the state and you'll see similar levels of IEP in terms of meeting needs. If you wanna debate this and make changes, you have to start at the state level, not at the town level.

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Re: MMS to become a Charter school?

Postby Dennis King » Wed Feb 16, 2011 1:39 pm

Andy, I already published the comparative analysis from public to private schools and it is significant to note that I did say the state was setting up the charter school in providing only 5,500 per student and suggested the 8,700 that is Trinity's tuition would be more appropriate.

The real answer is school choice, we had that once with kindergarten and there was over 20 programs to choose from, each one a great choice and all responsive to the parents needs. The public school system clearly has forgotten who they work for and maybe that is what happens when you have a job for life and a wonderful pension system. Just like the PD and FD, years ago, teachers were underpaid and the pension and other benefits made up for that but in the mid eighty's. that started to change and by the mid 90's they were making MORE than the average taxpayer and still getting the great pensions and benefits. We need reform badly and the Governor's plan to start with new employees (last I heard, there are no new employees this year and most likely for a few more years so this means nothing). I sure wish the teachers would join us in finding a realistic way out of this rather than fight us at every turn. The only recourse left is to privatize.

Charter schools do provide a wonderful alternative. I can see vocational high schools like they had in the past for those who really do not want college. The world needs good plumbers, welders, electricians, etc too and these pay well.

We should do away with the one size fits all approach and please, no more social engineering. Anyway you look at it, Merrimack spends about $20,000.00 per high school student and Trinity does it for $8,700 and the charter school for $5,500. If private schools can do it better and cheaper, why are we not doing this?

Here is another thought, for every tax payer who sends their kids to a private school, they have to pay the $20,000 first before they can pay the $8,700, now how is that "fair".
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Re: MMS to become a Charter school?

Postby tim dutton » Wed Feb 16, 2011 1:59 pm

Trinity and other private schools only have 4 grades to fund and are generally smaller in population. Public schools need to fund 12 grades + more buildings, grounds and transportation.
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Re: MMS to become a Charter school?

Postby Dennis King » Wed Feb 16, 2011 2:21 pm

tim dutton wrote:Trinity and other private schools only have 4 grades to fund and are generally smaller in population. Public schools need to fund 12 grades + more buildings, grounds and transportation.


Tim, it is a per student cost. The High school grades cost more than the elementary school grades. The economies of scale balance out, the fact that these schools can do it better and cheaper is the real issue.

Why not go with choice, Over a MILLION dollars was saved when the town manager privatized grounds keeping and building custodial work, privatization works, why not with the schools. Imagine if we could save even 10%, that is $6.5 MILLION we would save. Since Trinity is less than half the cost of public school (even with transportation added) then it is realistic to expect we could save over 30 MILLION dollars with full privatization. The cost savings is enormous, all we need to do is take the first steps...
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Re: MMS to become a Charter school?

Postby RD » Wed Feb 16, 2011 2:43 pm

Aren't towns required to provide public schools for their residents?
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Re: MMS to become a Charter school?

Postby andysinnh » Wed Feb 16, 2011 2:56 pm

Dennis - I still don't know how to respond because your numbers are all grabbed out of the air. Your $20K number is unsubstantiated, and frankly I'm disappointed that you keep throwing it out there, because you know it's just a ruse to try and make your point. The DOE web site separates the per-student cost across elementary/middle/high school levels - and the cost per-student isn't really that different between the categorizations. So even "if" I bought into your $15k per student number (which is still inaccurate unless you did your same back-of-the-napkin calculations for Trinity and BG and found the real budget number), the extrapolated $20k per student for HS is flat wrong - period. So STOP USING IT.

And be careful how you throw your quotes around. In the first post of this thread, you said:

while the Charter school in town does it for $5,500.


It doesn't. Pure and simple.

If you want me to have a serious discussion with you, come with serious and DEFENDABLE facts. We'll never know the real per-student costs of the private schools, because they're not required to publish them. All they are is tuition. You don't know the real cost, and where else they might get their money such as endowments, donations, and perhaps funding from their religous agencies. And when you find a private school that really takes in everyone who wants to go - and provides all of the services that are required by law - I'll listen to the comparison.

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Re: MMS to become a Charter school?

Postby RayWhipple » Wed Feb 16, 2011 5:55 pm

Dennis,
As Andy has pointed out these schools have strict guidelines about who they let in, what happens to that student is does not make the guidelines to go to that school? How would you deal with that? Should they be able to restrict who they can and cant let in? That's what some of these schools you talk about do.
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Re: MMS to become a Charter school?

Postby RD » Wed Feb 16, 2011 9:01 pm

Guys, why are you even engaging this guy in discussion? As usual, he is babbling and making absolutely no sense!
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Re: MMS to become a Charter school?

Postby Dennis King » Wed Feb 16, 2011 10:19 pm

Ray and Andy, you guys are missing the point, if we are now paying $20K per high school student and we can send them to a school that does it for $5,500 or $8,700, why not let this happen so the burden is lower on us.

So they hand pick, big deal. When we all went to school, there were cliques, the jocks, the brain balls, the biker dudes, etc. Why not let the kids divide over the age old preferences. Then you can have public school which will be mediocre but run by unions that specialize in that.

The bright kids will go for the more rigorous education, the sports minded to varsity schools, the mechanically inclined to vocational high schools. If half the kids left for these opportunities, instead of 65 mil, I could see us paying 45 mil, of course, we are now paying for private schools using out tax dollars but that is a real savings for us. I would much rather let the kid go to the school of his choice for $8,700 or $5,500 rather than fork over $20,000.00 for each high schooler. Now of course the kindergarteners are being taught at the "budget: price of $10,000.00, seems to me, we paid 1/10th of that when we sent our kids to kindergarten but hey,.union jobs,,,, :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock:
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Re: MMS to become a Charter school?

Postby RayWhipple » Thu Feb 17, 2011 6:08 am

Dennis King wrote:So they hand pick, big deal. When we all went to school, there were cliques, the jocks, the brain balls, the biker dudes, etc. Why not let the kids divide over the age old preferences. Then you can have public school which will be mediocre but run by unions that specialize in that.

The bright kids will go for the more rigorous education, the sports minded to varsity schools, the mechanically inclined to vocational high schools. If half the kids left for these opportunities, instead of 65 mil, I could see us paying 45 mil, of course, we are now paying for private schools using out tax dollars but that is a real savings for us. I would much rather let the kid go to the school of his choice for $8,700 or $5,500 rather than fork over $20,000.00 for each high schooler. Now of course the kindergarteners are being taught at the "budget: price of $10,000.00, seems to me, we paid 1/10th of that when we sent our kids to kindergarten but hey,.union jobs,,,, :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock:


So they Hand pick, big deal? The bright kids will go for the more rigorous education? I will tell you whats is the big deal. EVERY child deserves the best possible education. And not be told sorry, your not good enough. They will deal with that issue when it comes to higher education and should not have to deal with that when they should be learning basic skills. I do disagree that our schools are "mediocre". They are doing the best they can. I can tell you when my daughters teacher told us she was failing and needed to step up or she would not pass and need summer school, we had a talk with her and advised her of what would happen if she had to go to summer school. She is not getting high B's and low A's, and this all in a matter of 4 months because we got "more" involved than we had been in the past. (she lives in Wyoming with her mom and was told she could not come out to spend time with me if she was @ summer school and other things she would not be able to do.) It's all about parent involvement in their kids education. You can not blame the school's alone Dennis. You are also quick to blame the unions for the high cost of education and everything that you feel wrong with our schools, remember it takes the voters to approve the school budget and pay raises! It is a 2-way street Dennis. Majority voted for the raises and school budget.
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Re: MMS to become a Charter school?

Postby Dennis King » Thu Feb 17, 2011 10:36 am

RayWhipple wrote:You can not blame the school's alone Dennis. You are also quick to blame the unions for the high cost of education and everything that you feel wrong with our schools, remember it takes the voters to approve the school budget and pay raises! It is a 2-way street Dennis. Majority voted for the raises and school budget.


Yes Ray, the voters have been given a snow job for years as they voted for the school being told enrollment was sky rocketing and the school was over crowded. Still, the voters turned it down, then the hit us with the school would loose accreditation if we did not do it, then we agreed. Of course they slipped in Kindergarten at the same time with a "one time only grant". It was a masterpiece of marketing and I recall an incident wherein a school board member took it upon herself to boycott an area business simply because they let a sign go up on their property that was against the bond for the new 2 grade school.

Yup it was close but the key advantage of so very many union jobs in town is the simple fact that they get to vote on their own raises and of course a shinny new building. Just today, Wisconsin of all places looks like Egypt with all the protests. Why, because even in this bastion of liberalism, they are fed up with the union demands and want to throw all contracts out.

Ray, I was a hospital administrator and I have lots of bad "union stories". Every administrator does. It is all about watching the clock and negotiating just how little you will do. Get a delivery of office furniture from a teamster, better have other union workers there because he will not unload his own truck. How many times did I see patients who were in distress handed off to the next shift without even a glance at them. (I was in charge of the Rehab dept at a Psychiatric Medical center). I was frustrated in the just doing the bare minimum and with the simple fact that most of these people only worked half of the time but with all the breaks and time off, they learned to look busy once an administrator was on the floor and went back to goofing off once we left-how did I know, well the patients of course, many saw them as patients, a thing you label, I just saw human beings).

Now if we look at SCHOOL CHOICE, even if we pay (which we should) for every student to go to the school of their choice, we still save millions because these schools do it better and for far less money. If you are a bright student, why get bored with kids in the class asking the same questions over and over. Some do well in calculus but others would be better off in algebra. I can see the public school will eventually become extinct as all of the choices will in essence be public schools. Ray, I think you see the public schools as having to take every one but what you do not see is the schools out there that can indeed serve everyone. You can have private special ed schools just as easily as you can have vocational schools. How about a school that sets up apprenticeships with industry like they do in Europe. If the public school can provide this education, why not private schools. We should allow total choice and that way, the kids get an education tailored for their needs, the parents finally can choose what is best for their kids, and we all save millions. Just remember how nice it was back when you have over 20 schools to choose from for kindergarten, great programs, value priced, and teachers who knew who they worked for and who worked hard to earn your respect.
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Re: MMS to become a Charter school?

Postby RayWhipple » Thu Feb 17, 2011 11:06 am

Just remember how nice it was back when you have over 20 schools to choose from for kindergarten, great programs, value priced, and teachers who knew who they worked for and who worked hard to earn your respect.


I think a good portion of them know who they work for Dennis. Not all teachers are evil. Just like not all Police officers are full of ego's. With every profession there is good and bad employee's. I also agree that there are employee's in unions that do just what you say. They do very little. I see it where i work. it makes those of us that truly put in a days work look bad because people like you clump us all into on group. I also will tell you I would not go without a union where i work because we have supervisors and managers who would do things that are not right. 4 years ago the company post profits (we were a stock owned company) and still wanted to tell us they were in dire straits and cut our pay and benefits while the higher ups get huge bonus's. You may hate them but i will tell you they serve a pourpose in certain areas.
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