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Thoughts About the Glover School Project

Does the Glover School project represent a litmus test for our town? If so, I know where I stand.

Let’s be clear from the start.

I am not a Glover School parent.

Also: I have only lived in this town for 16 years so I understand how that defines me as a newcomer. As I type, I feel the trouble that my “newbieness ” might engender.

My interest in this fight? Despite the fact that I’ll see my limited property value collapse when word gets out that our community doesn’t support its most fundamental assets, I also find it uncomfortable to raise kids in a community that denies positive change as much as ours has in recent years.

I wonder where the loud voices in opposition to the Glover School project were thirty years ago? Or forty years? Was there a fight as aggressive to shore up the schools then -- when it might have made a difference? I was a child and living a thousand miles away, so I don’t know the answer. But it’s worth asking.

I am among the generation that cannot count on Social Security. I am among the generation where the stay-at-home-parent is rare. I am among the generation that has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars -- beyond tax fees -- to fund our Town’s public schools and public spaces.

I, like many of my friends and neighbors, worry how I’ll fund a retirement or if there is anything resembling “job security” these days. I don’t have an unlimited bank account by any means; I feel stretched and stressed a lot of the time. But I’ll support the plans to rebuild the Glover School.

Buildings do not inhabit the spirit of our selves, I know, but it many ways the Glover School projects represents a litmus test for our Town. The best of us live not in our memories of a place or a time, but in our ability to make our childhood dreams come true in our present. The best of us look toward the future – and try to make it happen in the now that we can touch.  The demands that our children face in order to thrive in a rapidly changing culture and economy require that we invest in that future now… No matter how much it might hurt in the present. 

My 9-year-old daughter recently told me she “would like to live here forever.” I kissed her cheeks and like many parents, didn’t answer. I know that her scope on the world will widen the older she becomes, just as I know that she may not always want to be a professional soccer player when she grows up. Still, it would be comforting to know that if she does stay here forever, she will find a vibrant and growing community, and not a mess we’ve left for her.

Colleen Connor April 10, 2011 at 01:22 PM
Perhaps the seniors in town that need an elevator in the Old Town Hall to vote will empathize with this sad story: I am in the Glover district and wanted dearly for my son to go his neighborhood school... but, alas, those darn, steep and often winter wet slippery stairs would almost certainly lead to a broken arm on my not so coordinated son. The bathrooms in the basement would have presented obvious issues. The lunch room in the basement would have been a disaster and 100s of spilled food trays. My son does not have an obvious disability, it is actually very mild and most people do not notice it, but it was an issue enough to make the school district decide that he had to be placed elsewhere. He begs me daily to let him go to Glover next year...and I can not. It is a fine senior center the Town of Marblehead built our greatest generation, no accessibility issues there. Colleen Connor (cmconnor@comcast.net)
Darcy Mayers April 10, 2011 at 10:46 PM
Colleen -- Similar problems exist at the Gerry School: I feel your pain and I'm sorry for your son who has every right to attend his neighborhood school. Here's to hoping -- and working! -- toward the best outcome for every one in town. -- Darcy
Dan Tucker May 02, 2011 at 10:08 PM
It's not that the buildings are falling apart, the real issue is that Glover and Gerry are simply structurally inadequate for todays educational needs. My 11 year old daughter loved her teacher, but despised her year at Glover, as it was cramped, overcrowded and "stupid". My wheelchair using wife cannot enter the Glover school for conferences or events. My 5 year old son, a brain tumor survivor will be attending Glover in 2 years. As a result of his surgery, he struggles with stairs- he will have to navigate 3 flights every time he needs to use the toilet, in his neighborhood school, so he can have a normal childhood with his neighborhood friends. Not to mention that quality schools are a major driver of property values. Decent neighborhood schools were a major factor in our decision to move to Marblehead 14 years ago, when we were ready to start a family. Some may not like the funding choices, but the need is genuine. I disagree with "No to everything crowd", I find that simplistic & shortsighted, and I hope the school override passes, for my family and many others, now and in the future.
Darcy Mayers May 05, 2011 at 12:24 AM
Great note Dan. Happy to see the result at Town Meeting... Would love to see the same turnout or better at the polls...

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