Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Town to Crocker Care: We don't care!
What happens when two B-I-G bureaucracies combine forces to pull the rug out from under you?
Well if you are Crocker Care, a self sustaining after school program vital to parents--especially single parents--whose children attend Amherst's Crocker Farm Elementary School, you post an SOS to remind the community of 25 years of dedicated service dealing with our most precious asset: children.
You do of course have to be polite as the public school provides the roof over your head. But it must be hard--really, really hard--when town officials tell you one thing and then do another, fail to return emails or phone calls and then gives you less than two weeks notice for termination with extreme prejudice.
Apparently the Leisure Services and Supplemental Education empire does not like to compete, so the easy way to make their new after school child care program a success is to get the landlord to lock out the competition. You would think the Amherst Schools, since all they deal with is children, could set a better example by being a tad less RUTHLESS.
And what happens when the LSSE funding grant runs dry and they have to be self supporting like Crocker Care has been for its entire existence (not that they gouge the customers)? LSSE took over public swimming at the indoor Middle School Pool, renamed it the Amherst Community Aquatics Center and then just a couple years later shut it down because they could not make it self supporting--not even close.
When LSSE went into the pavilion rental market a few years ago with a bold prediction of $45,000 in revenues actual revenues came to under $10,000. So they are not exactly used to hitting projections when it relies on actually dealing with individual customers rather than one big fat check courtesy of a federal, state, or town grant.
One of the things I noted at last night's blockbuster attendance Town Meeting was how children were being used by adults as pawns in a political process (holding signs). In this case of competing after school programs, the children are the prize.
School officials--especially at Crocker Farm--should practice what they preach: Cooperation, Accountability, Respect, Empathy.