Newburyport, the Taj Mahal of Elementary Schools?

Didn’t I tell you that pretty soon we were going to be seeing adorable pictures of our adorable elementary school children and the “deplorable” conditions in which they have to exist. (Newburyport Daily News, December 13, 2006, front page with picture.)

I’m not buying it.

“One solution being discussed is moving all full-day kindergarten classes to the Brown School, which will have space to spare next year. By removing one kindergarten class each from the Kelley and the Bresnahan schools, room could be made for the additional class space each school is expected to require next year.” (Newburyport Daily News, December 12, 2006.)

Newburyport City Councilor Audrey McCarthy is very astute (Newburyport Daily News December 13, 2006) if just not downright sensible:

“Councilor Audrey McCarthy isn’t sure that a more aggressive tack by the committee will necessarily produce better results with the City Council.

“In the past I would have said, ‘Sure, they just need to tell the council what they need,’” said McCarthy, who meets regularly with school officials as part of the Joint Education Committee. “But now it’s more like trying to get water from a rock. Coming up with a plan and presenting it to the council would just be wasted time if there isn’t a way to pay for it.”

And my favorite quote from Councilor McCarthy:

“Everybody wants the schools to be as nice as possible, but we can’t sell the public on the Taj Mahal”

Ms McCarthy goes on to say:

“I’m at a point where I think the plan may need to be changed. All the councilors agree we can’t do more than we can afford, and honestly I don’t know if that includes the West End school.” (The West End School to the tune of more than $20 million — I don’t think so.)

Mary Eaton
Newburyport