, Newburyport, MA

September 11, 2013

Where are Holaday's priorities?

Newburyport Daily News

---- — To the editor:

Our new superintendent of schools was left on her own at a recent School Committee meeting to deal with the issue of overcrowded buses and the outrage of parents whose children were picked up and dropped off late and, in some instances, left at the wrong stops. Mayor Holaday’s absence from the meeting didn’t demonstrate support for our latest in a much too long line of school superintendents.

If, as one parent stated, Mayor Holaday “was out campaigning” instead of being at the meeting, it makes one wonder where her priorities are.

Beyond the recent transportation problems encountered by students and parents is the looming issue of Newburyport’s drop in its school ranking across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts from 16th in 2011 to 67th in 2013, as reported in this month’s Boston Magazine. With such a drop in our ranking, I would think that nothing would be more important than attending School Committee meetings in order to oversee the development of plans that will raise our ranking and give our children the education and opportunities they deserve.

Speaking of children and what they deserve, I want to mention that on page 7 of the Sept. 4 issue of The Daily News the article “playgrounds” states that “City officials this spring removed playground equipment from the Brown School.” Reports at the time indicated that the decision to remove the playground equipment was Ms. Holaday’s, who said that she ordered the removal out of concern for the safety of our children. She should have expressed her concern for the safety of our children by attending the School Committee meeting and doing all possible to ensure that the trip to and from school is a safe one — one that doesn’t include transportation on overcrowded buses operated by a company that cannot manage their own schedules.

Jeanette Isabella