Holyoke teachers and parents discuss future of schools - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

Holyoke teachers and parents discuss future of schools

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HOLYOKE, MA (WSHM) -

A group of teachers and parents gathered on Saturday for what they are calling the first step in reclaiming control of their schools.

The event, sponsored by Western Mass Jobs With Justice, allowed for a conversation to be held among those in attendance.

Part of the concern comes from the state takeover of Morgan Full Service Community School, a level 4 school in the city's South End.

The takeover is scheduled for July 1.

Control of the school is expected to be given to Project Grad, a nonprofit company based out of Texas, which already has control of Dean Tech.

"This is not unique just to Holyoke," said Rose Bookbinder, an organizer with Western Mass Jobs With Justice. "It's happening in Springfield, Worcester and Boston. We're working together to figure out how we can prevent private organizations, like Project Grad, which has never run an elementary school before, [from taking control]. We have to make sure those schools are kept in local hands."

Several teachers from across the city were in attendance at Saturday's meeting.

They said, to begin with, they believe the money going towards Project Grad should have been going towards the elementary school.

"The reality is that we do need more funding to properly service our children in our society," said Kiely Rigali, a teacher at Peck Full Service Community School. "It costs money to do that. I don't feel that this corporation is going to come in and make smaller classroom sizes, give us more social workers or give us better technology."

CBS 3 reached out to Project Grad on Saturday, but did not get a response.

Western Mass Jobs With Justice organizers are putting together a petition to deliver to the state next week in hopes of starting the process of keeping the school in local hands.

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