Redistricting process could be a positive for the community

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This could be a rare opportunity to show what makes Unionville-Chadds Ford great

By Mike McGann, Editor, the Times
CoupDeVilleIt’s probably safe to say that some sort of redistricting is coming for the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District in the coming year.

The only question, in my mind, is how traumatic the changes are going to be — and how parents and the community in general will react to the options.

It seems pretty clear that the school district — and Superintendent of Schools John Sanville — are laying out a cautious and inclusive process to find the least painful path for the community and best option for students. I don’t think that the fix is in and that there’s a predetermined outcome, despite what a very few determined naysayers might have you believe.

What is clear is that Pocopson Elementary is full to bursting and Hillendale and Unionville Elementary have some extra space. In order to make sure that the kids at Pocopson are able to continue getting the same quality of education as at the other schools — including dedicated art and music rooms — it seems likely some adjustment is going to need to happen in the coming years.

But what will happen and how will be driven by parent and community input, plus professional estimates of student populations, not any specific agenda.

School officials point with some justification that when the first rumblings of reconfiguring the district’s schools back to a K-through-2 and 3-through-5 plan popped up a couple of years back, as a potential money saving option, it became rapidly obvious that the community wanted to continue with the neighborhood school plan. As that became evident, the idea pretty much evaporated.

So it’s clear that the administration and Board of Education will listen to parents and the greater community.

As a district parent — and full disclosure, the president of the Unionville-Chadds Ford Education Foundation, as well as a partner with the district in a new publishing venture — my children or step children have attended every single school in the district with the exception of Chadds Ford Elementary. While each school had its unique flavor, there was never a time where we felt shortchanged being at one school versus another.

And the test scores bear this out: they’re all pretty outstanding.

So while we’re all passionate about our schools, I’m hoping that majority of the community is willing to listen and be open to that most difficult thing to embrace: change.

Make no mistake, for the students involved — and I speak from experience, having attended three different schools in three years and four over a span of five years because of rapid expansion outstripping the ability of my hometown school district in northern New Jersey to keep up in the mid-1970s (things were so bad that in third grade our district was forced to implement split sessions to accommodate all the kids in our school) — changing elementary schools will be a little jarring, friends will be separated and things will be strange and unfamiliar.

I also know that the school district and the exceptional staff at each school will work to minimize the impact, and make each and every child feel welcomed. Kids being kids means they are pretty resilient — I’m always amazed at how quickly my kids make new friends, whether it be on sports teams or at summer camp. A lot of the toughest transitions will be for the parents, who will be understandably worried about their children.

But I think those parents are up to the task.

By a couple of of independent measures, it has been suggested that the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District is the best the state of Pennsylvania.

What I’m hoping is that we, as a community, are going to be able to prove that by having a thoughtful, intelligent discussion about this issue. This could be a process that brings our community closer together, to allow folks to better understand the district’s needs as whole, as well as those in each individual neighborhood.

I’m not in any way suggesting that folks should just meekly accept whatever happens. Get involved, get educated and learn all of the facts. If you have questions, ask them and expect answers. If you have concerns, voice them and make sure they’re heard.

This can be an inclusive process and one where the community can come to a clear consensus if we try.

There have been a lot of headlines of late, here and elsewhere, trumpeting the excellence of the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District. This is an opportunity to demonstrate why.

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23 Comments

    • Mike McGann says:

      OK. Enough! This pointless bickering serves no one and clearly is driving away readers, not encouraging them. If it continues, I won’t ban anyone, but will swap the comment system to Discus, which will require you to sign on with Facebook or the like (and that would mean sharing your insights with all of your Facebook friends).

  1. Kristin Hoover says:

    Dear TE Resident: I have enjoyed our dialogue and wish you the best. You carefully articulated what needed to be said. Keith and his golf buddy, Sanville, and their cronies need to be held accountable in a world where checks and balances have failed. Boards are in place as checks to the vast amounts of power of school administrations and to be stewards of the taxpayer interests. The UCFSD Board is a simple rubber stamp of whatever Sanville wants. The media can be a check and balance on governmental corruption. In this case, Mike has an economic incentive to pander to the Superintendent and the Board as well as protection of the social status that arises from his position in the Education Foundation. Hardly a disinterested party when it comes to a newspaper!

    Mike has censored people on these posts (including me), but he has never kept us from posting because he knows his “newspaper” depends on web traffic. People who check the comments sections bring web traffic. Lively comments on a subject mean more hits. More hits=more ad revenue and more prestige in the community for Mike.

    Again, TE Resident, thanks so much for your thoughtful commentary. I will miss you. I flew from Texas and Lousiana yesterday and the airline said we recognize you have a choice of airlines and thank you for flying with us. Same goes for local media.

  2. TE Resident says:

    ……….maybe Ms. Hoover will continue to share her thoughts with you…….so all is not lost. Nice to know how much you will miss me, observing.

    • Observing says:

      How can I miss you if you won’t go away…

      • TE Resident says:

        It is so clear, you do not want us to go away, or you would stop responding to our comments. What will you do with yourself when this thread is over?

  3. TE Resident says:

    I am Laughing Out Loud! Observing, no one knows better than you, the best way to keep people commenting is to keep responding to their comments. You live for my comments and for Ms. Hoover’s comments. That’s why you follow us and read our comments and respond to them. I bet you check this site 100 times a day. I know you do, and when this thread is over, you will be so sad because you know I will not longer comment.

    Don’t worry, maybe Ms. Hoover will continue to share her thoughts with her so all is not lost.

    Ms. Hoover, it’s been a pleasure. Observing, keep on observing.

  4. Kristin Hoover says:

    Stephen Colbert is a genius who makes a lot more money than the rest of us. When you have no facts, shoot the messenger and bring on the name calling. If my posts and those of TE Resident are so hard to take, why bother to read them and why waste the time in your life responding to them?

    • Observing says:

      I come to this site looking for news and stories that deal with the community in which I live and to engage in dialogue with others similar situated. You live in California and TE Resident lives in, I assume, TE School District. Yet the two of you spend inordinate amount of times spewing nonsense, especially your constant venom-filled comments directed towards Dr. Sanville. I wish you would please go away. I actually hope Mike bans you. I avoid this site as much as possible (reading pretty much on school district articles because there is no other source of coverage) because of not being able to avoid your comments. If this site had a “filter” that allowed me to NOT see your comments I would use it. In summary: please go away.

    • Turk182 says:

      “When you have no facts, shoot the messenger and bring on the name calling.”

      That you haven’t noticed this is your MO is, um, interesting. But, please continue to bash people and then complain about how mean people are.

  5. Turk182 says:

    Either T/E and Ms. Hoover are among Earth’s most least self-aware individuals or this is a Stephen Colbert-like attempt at comedy.

    I pray for the latter, but sadly, having read so many of these posts that, instead of doing damage to those they attack and bully, primarily just exposes the two of them, I suspect it is the former.

  6. Dot says:

    I don’t know why TE Resident and Ms Hoover repeat themselves so much. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, however, these two individuals are like fingernails on a chalkboard. Give it a rest.

  7. Kristin Hoover says:

    TE Resident does a service to UCFSD and his/her postings are always things that need to be said. TE Resident is absolutely right in pointing out that Mike’s publishing deal is a HUGE conflict of interest. One cannot be in bed with the Superintendent and Board one moment and then objectively cover school board meetings and developments in the school district. He knows not to “bite the hand that feeds him.” I’ve known about this publishing deal for a long time, but always thought that he would be savvy enough not to mention it on this site. People are smart enough to see conflicts of interest and how discrediting it can be for a medium that depends on trust. Perhaps the Unionville Times should henceforth be considered Mike’s personal blog.

    I was nearly laughing out loud when I got to the parts of these postings beating up TE Resident for not using his or her real name! Look at all the verbal excrement sent my direction because I DID post under my own name. Too ironic.

    • TE Resident says:

      It isn’t enough for Mike to mention that he is in a publishing partnership with the school district every now and then. I agree with Ms. Hoover, the name of this publication should be changed to The Unionville Chadsford School Districts’ Times. Only then, will the publication keep any kind of editorial integrity in order to maintain public trust. Public trust in mainstream media is at an all time low. It’s grass roots local publications like this one, I seek out and trust to give accurate, fair and unbiased information.

      I have enjoyed reading the Unionville Times. Thanks.

  8. TE Resident says:

    Mike,

    You have a business, so what? Plenty of people have businesses. They make tough decisions every single minute of every single day. They lay awake at night wondering how they will make pay roll the next day, yet they still get up and make the decision to stay true to the gold standard values and impeccable integrity they set for themselves early on in life. It would be one thing if your “business” as you call it were a Dairy Queen, it is not. It is a NEWS PAPER The Unionville Times. I don’t know what your readership is but even if it’s 200 citizens, that’s enough. Your power to influence the attitudes, opinions and beliefs of citizens makes your “business” different.

    And you say you initiated it? Of course they welcomed you with open arms. Its a complete win for them. Will you now take them out for dinner? Play golf with Keith?

    As for me trashing them? You’ve got to be kidding me. That is a complete misrepresentation of the truth. Keith Vic and Jeff have name called, trashed, personally attacked me and others while also calling into question my intelligence etc. many, many times, not only here but other blogs as well.

    I note that you now strongly support these folks, writing about fairness. Again, these good folks have tremendous power over our lives. They can take away our freedoms and raise our taxes at the drop of a hat. We need newspaper people to watch them, write about them and evaluate their performances. How can you possible do that now?

    What you write next about me will determine if this is my last post or not. Please do not share my personal information with your new partners over dinner or golf because unlike you I fear retribution from public officials because of my opinions.

  9. TE Resident says:

    The Supreme Court has ruled that citizens have a first amendment right to blog anonymously. The Supreme Court ruling is to be able to petition government in an anonymous manner so that citizens don’t fear retribution.

    Retribution is not an issue for you since you do not go against government officials. And now we learn you are partners with them.

    I find it deeply disturbing that a member of the press, an editor of a news publication is directing a tax paying citizen who disagrees with opinions to pursue “less nuanced reading options.” So you win Mike, You won’ have me to question your motives, your obvious bias or your relationships with public officials who you should be watching and reporting on instead of forming partnerships with that clearly benefits both of you. Clap Clap, Brilliant work Keith, Vic and Jeff. Make the news editor your partner. Wow.

    This is my last post.

    • Mike McGann says:

      You have the right to publish as you see fit — although clearly you don’t extend that right to me. In terms of posting here, you have whatever rights I grant you under the Terms of Service — nothing more.

      You’ve trashed a lot of folks on here, generally good people trying to do what they think is best for the district — they’re not always right and we certainly don’t always agree. But they deserve better than that.

      And blaming the board or administration for the publishing deal? Once again, you just assume and do so incorrectly.

      I initiated it — after another publisher made a proposal. I was concerned about the impact of losing large amount of ad revenue — this is a business after all — and made a counter proposal to the administration and board.

      This wasn’t some plot by them to buy me off. I take full responsibility for the genesis of the deal. Call me a sell out, fine. But don’t trash these folks for it.

      That isn’t fair.

    • Keith Knauss says:

      TEResident,

      Please, please don’t make this your last post. We all enjoy reading your misapplication of high falutin phrases like “conflict of interest” and “the Supreme Court has ruled that citizens have a first amendment right to blog anonymously”.
      .
      Mike might have a conflict of interest if he were a school director and had a business relationship with the district, but Mike has no decision making power in regards to redistricting. Thus, he has no conflict of interest. Mike has the possibility of being biased by his business relationship with the district, but that’s why he let his readers know through full disclosure.
      .
      TE Resident might do well to take a different approach to justifying her use of a pseudonym other than the supreme court says so. (to protect individuals expressing unpopular opinions from retaliation) First, it’s a stretch to think how any official in Unionville could retaliate against someone in Tredyffrin Easttown. Second, while she has every right to express her opinions anonymously, it doesn’t mean the reader can’t quickly dismiss the opinions of someone who doesn’t have enough conviction to reveal their identity. Third, she can blog anonymously to her heart is content on her own dime, but she should realize that she posts here only by the good graces of the editor. (Turk expressed this concept in flowery terms in a previous thread)

      • TE Resident says:

        Thanks Keith, for demonstrating and proving all my points, as always.

      • Kristin Hoover says:

        Keith: This post was mean-spirited and nasty. You do not know TE Residents gender or residency status as you claim. You just want him/her to keep posting so you can keep the mean comments flying. I do enjoy hearing from TE Resident because of the excellent points made and the intelligent posts. I can see why he/she sees no need to keep posting. I only wish I could have a direct conversation with TE Resident without going on this site.

  10. TE Resident says:

    the president of the Unionville-Chadds Ford Education Foundation, as well as a partner with the district in a new publishing venture…….

    At the very least, when you write about anything that has to do with the school district, the information above should be divulged each and every single time.

    IMO, your opinions regarding the school district should not be considered. Your professional involvement and partnership with the district completely disqualifies you from commenting. It is a direct conflict of interest, especially as the editor of this publication.

    • Mike McGann says:

      As opposed to taking the opinions of an anonymous poster seriously? I make full disclosure so intelligent, thoughtful people can factor that into how they interpret my expressed opinions. If that’s not enough, I’m sure there are other less nuanced reading options for you to pursue.