GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Letters/My View

August 5, 2013

Fishtown Local: Rewriting local school history

People ask me if I ever read the electronic and — until today — mostly anonymous online comments on the Times stories at gloucestertimes.com.

I don’t.

They have only told me that in that world, my columns make a certain group of people begin jumping up and down like ants in a hot frying pan. I love that image — here I come, there they go.

But last week (Fishtown Local column, “The moving game pieces at Fuller School,” Monday, July 29) I did see that I actually got Jason Grow, one of the regulars who at least has used his real name when posting, to postulate online that it was mainly I, Gordon Baird, private citizen, that caused the school department to paint its way into the corner they currently find themselves in with the West Parish/Fuller school maintenance and disintegration problem.

My mother would be so proud that Jason said: “Pretty rich irony coming from one of the architects of the tax-payer funded, colossal failure known as the Community Arts Charter School. The efforts by former GCA Trustee Baird and his cohorts to divert millions of education dollars to their own failed personal experiment is one of the reasons that the School Committee was unable to release full control of Fuller in the first place.”

Now I’m glad he brought that up. Because it might be news to the real architects of the charter, who, in truth would admit that I was the last person invited onto the board by a group of educators and driven parents who did the endless real work. I always wanted to be an architect, except I’m not. But about that money part ...

You’ve got a financial blooper there, JG. The charter hadn’t taken dime-one from the city yet because the state pays for the set-up and implementation phase over three years. And let’s not forget that the Gloucester Public School District received $444,000 in federal Race To The Top money that couldn’t have been awarded without a charter school.

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