Gary parents blister board with complaints
By Carole Carlson email@example.com/648-3154 August 14, 2012 9:08PM
Gary school start times
7:25 a.m. Bailly, Brunswick, Jefferson, Marquette, Watson, Webster, Williams
8 a.m. Bethune AM
8:10 a.m. Banneker 7-8, Pulaski.
8:20 a.m. Beveridge, Glen Park, Lincoln, McCullough.
8:25 a.m. Banneker K-6.
9:10 a.m. Lew Wallace, West Side, New Tech.
9:15 a.m. Wirt-Emerson
Noon – Bethune PM
Updated: September 16, 2012 6:20AM
GARY — On the eve of the first day of school, parents peppered the School Board with complaints about problems they encountered with school schedules, registration and an uninformative website.
“They need help at West Side,” parent Patricia Duckworth told the board Tuesday. “They need to send an exorcist over. It shouldn’t take three days to register my child.”
Classes at Gary Community School Corp. begin Wednesday.
Duckworth said West Side staffers seemed unfamiliar with the district’s new SunGard software and they also didn’t exhibit much compassion for parents who waited long hours for assistance.
“Where is the accountability? You wonder why kids are going to charters schools, you don’t have a welcoming atmosphere.”
Another parent, Wilma Sims, said she had to go to the West Side Leadership Academy for five days before she could register her daughter, a sophomore. “One day, I was there from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., there were so many people and they couldn’t help me. They told me my child doesn’t exist in the system.”
Teshezia George, vice president of the Banneker Achievement Center PTA, said she’s been receiving calls from confused parents who didn’t know what the bus pickup and school start times were.
She said she couldn’t get answers Friday and couldn’t find the promised information on the district’s website on Saturday. “The website is half-functioning,” she said. “We have three different copies of bell times.”
Banneker parent Christine Downey said she’s been getting mixed answers about school times. “We didn’t get a supply list, parents have other things to do than your jobs,” she said.
Board members apologized for the dysfunction, promising change would come.
“You are our customers, you have entrusted your children to us,” board member Barbara Leek said. “There’s no reason not to treat you with respect.”
Leek said staffers had been training on the new scheduling software since January.
“What you are experiencing, she inherited,” Leek said in reference to Superintendent Cheryl Pruitt who’s beginning her second month on the job.
Board president Darren Washington told parents to pick up the phone and call if there are problems.
“Let us know what’s going on. When things aren’t done, there’s a price to pay.”
Washington said he plans to be at West Side on Wednesday morning to watch the school day unfold. Board member Rosie G. Washington said she’ll be at the Lew Wallace Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Academy and the Bailly Preparatory Academy.