To the editor:
The Salem School Committee, The Salem News and Mayor Kimberley Driscoll appear enthused about the prospect of changing Bentley Elementary School from the present norm to a charter school. No child left behind seems an excellent slogan, but neither the mayor nor the two entities mentioned have questioned the obvious. At what cost?
How much is the contract with Blueprint going to add to the school budget?
Is the remainder of the school system going to absorb the teachers who will not be rehired at Bentley? If not, what will be done with the excess labor? Will they be fired?
Is Blueprint better qualified to choose the Bentley school principal than our own School Committee or our superintendent? Will his salary be commensurate or higher than the salaries of other Salem principals?
What guarantee does the taxpayer have if Blueprint fails to improve student performance (MCAS scores)? Is this thought even being addressed by the mayor before implementing this action plan? What part of the English language does she not understand? As printed many times in The Salem News, the obviously poor distribution of non-English-speaking students, most at Bentley, seems to be the biggest obstacle to measured success rates imposed by the state of Massachusetts.
These are honest questions that require straightforward, thoughtful answers. Do we need wait another year to be spoon-fed the actual cost of this dramatic game plan? I believe the taxpaying voting citizen deserves to know upfront and before the fact a detailed account of the real costs of Blueprint.