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.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Not only beloved by single parents -- a life line to two parent families as well! Having served on the committee that hired Kathy E. MANY years ago, I am still impressed by her dedication and excellent service. For whatever reason this program is being shut down, it is a GREAT loss to the community.

Ed said...

This, folks, is what you get when you let "them" run Catherine Sanderson off the School Committee.

Even if you didn't agree with her, you enemy's enemy is your friend and I doubt she would be silent about this were she still on the School Committee...

Anonymous said...

This goes farther than the school committee Ed. LSSE is a power house in Amherst, even if people don't see that. They haven't exactly been honest in their dealings with other organizations around town either. Talk to some of the groups that "compete" with them. You will find that LSSE has done what they can to take over and push these groups out.

Anonymous said...

Ed is right the frigg on, yet again.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone checked to see if LSSE is making their revenue projections for this year. The Department is susposed to be 100% fee supported this year.

LarryK4 said...

I know Cherry Hill Golf Course is doing lousy (so what else is new).

I believe the LSSE Commission is meeting this evening to discuss Hawthorne property, and reopening War Memorial Pool (they will probably come up with an excuse not to) and I believe budget update may be on the list for programs and the golf course.

Unfortunately, if no reporter is there to cover it...

Anonymous said...

After a single kick off meeting, then nothing. Hmmm..........where have I heard THAT scenario before?

Oh yes, Maria Geryk's passive-aggressive approach "working with" School Committee members on the implementation of an elementary foreign language program! At the first meeting, her representatives were there, at subsequent meetings, they weren't. And so the program began with a whimper, not with a bang.

Any predictions on when Maria shrugs her shoulders, sheds a tear for the cameras, and pulls the plug on the elementary language program? I'll go with early 2012 so that we have nothing in the fall of that year.

It's only the beginning. How do we solve a problem like Maria? We don't.

Crocker Care parent said...

Check out the FY12 Town Manager's budget and the Finabce committee's approval - where LSSE's bedget was cut, and approval given to them to make up the difference in after school program fees.

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, they have to cover the Golf Course losses somehow.