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Hadley Parents Vent Frustration Over Maintenance Issues

The superintendent accepted responsibility for making sure issues get resolved going forward.

 

parents came to Wednesday's School Committee meeting with a message.

It didn't seep out until after Business Manager Ed Cronin and other school officials explained what was done — and being done — to remedy maintenance problems at Hadley including unsanitary bathrooms and unsecured cleaning chemicals as well as fire evacuation issues.

Then Hadley PTA President Gargi Cooper and parent Peter Spellios had their say.

Gargi said Hadley parents are frustrated that it takes so long to get a response to their concerns. 

Some concerns, communicated through email and coversations, have lingered since last year and, in some instances, for as long as two years without resolution, she said.

Ultimately the parents had to compile a list and enlist School Committee member Jaren Landen to get them addressed, she said.

"The process we went through to get this done borders on ridiculous," she said, adding that some of the problems were basic and could have been solved immediately.

The parents would much rather be focusing their attention on providing enrichment learning for the school children, she said.

Peter Spellios said he was angry that the district's administrative office was taking a slow and cautious response to problems — saying for instance that a problem was the town's responsibility. 

He said the parent's frustration grows when their concerns appear to go unheeded.

He pointed to the meeting's very discussion on Hadley maintenance as being symptomatic of the problem.

He said school officials spent 20 minutes talking about what they were doing to address Hadley maintenance before a single parent was given a chance to speak.

In the end, Superintendent Lynne Celli accepted responsibility for improving the situation.

She said she will respond immediately to issues when they come to her attention, and that she will meet with the town administrator to set up a protocol for addressing issues that straddle town/school responsibility.

School Committee Chairman Larry Beaupre said the school and town need to work together. It's not a school problem or a town problem, it's a Swampscott problem, he said.

Earlier in the meeting, Business Manager Ed Cronin and Facilities Director Garrett Baker said many of the issues on the parents' list, as well as those on a list they received from the deputy fire chief, had been resolved.

A secure supply room for bleach and other chemicals was contructed and being used in the Hadley School basement.

Exposed pipes wrapped in insulation have been boxed in.

Sticking doors have been corrected.

A new toilet and toilet seats and paper and soap dispensers have been installed and the bathrooms regularly resupplied.

A new custodian has been devoting much of his time to bathroom duty, scrubbing and cleaning the bathrooms used by the school's 300 students.

In addition, a protocol has been put in place for inspecting the school and reporting problems and making sure they have been addressed.


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AmyO September 13, 2012 at 02:08 PM
Hadley fell into disrepair YEARS ago. Deciding the fate of this building has been up for discussion since at least the 80s. A new building is needed desperately. Anyone who has spent ANY time there can plainly see it. What have you done about the issue besides gripe?
John B Goode September 13, 2012 at 04:17 PM
We need a new high school. None of the parking lot lights have working bulbs.
David Matela September 13, 2012 at 09:01 PM
Hat's off to school committee member Jaren Landen.
Liz September 14, 2012 at 04:51 PM
WE DO NOT NEED A NEW SCHOOL..POPULATION IS SHRINKING AND TAXES ARE RISING...WE CANNOT AFFORD...HOW ARE WE SUPPOSE TO AFFORD ANOTHER MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR DEBT....THEY ARE USING THE SAME TATICS AS THE POLICE STATION...NEXT THEY WILL HAVE A SAD CHILDS FACE ON A POSTER ASKING FOR HELP...STOP THE NONSENSE...WE PAY A CUSTDODIAN AND DPW WORKERS TO MAINTAIN TOWN BUILIDNGS...THEY SHOULD DO THIER JOB...
Liz September 14, 2012 at 06:50 PM
DAVID, STICK TO THE ISSUE...INSULTS ARE VERY IMMATURE.....
David Koch September 15, 2012 at 12:40 AM
I miss Bety...
Mary DeChillo September 20, 2012 at 06:20 PM
Maintenance and field issues have a long history of confusion about where the "town" and the "school" responsibilities lie. This issue has waxed and waned over the years. At one point there was a written Memorandum of Understanding (MOA) between the schools and the town delineating the responsibilities. At the time I advocated that oversight for all maintenance responsibilities and deployment of personnel be placed under town's DPW. That way a master list of needed repairs, etc. could be maintained and shifted where needed.

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