Bacon School — Two Years Later

I recently walked by Bacon school as my dog tends to like the run through the Sassafrass. As the school windows have been boarded with huge plywood sheets, the aestehetic of the building has long faded. As I neared the building, I felt I was leaving the quiet, picturesque residential neighborhood of a small town and entering a blighted urban neighborhood. Naturally there is graffiti as an empty building becomes a canvas for grafitti and vandalism.

I’m an admirer of graffiti if it is done well but alas, the Bacon school grafitti hardly merits admiration with its F words and penis drawings. (I’ll post some pictures shortly) If you’ve seen Superbad you know that you can have BOTH artistry and penis drawings.

I thought a bit about why the graffiti disappointed rather than offended me and I think it’s just that I expected better. Also I’m not easily offended. In many ways, I think that is the quintessential experience of the Bacon school closure– I just expected better. I expected a better district for my kids’ education; I expected better governance and leadership by the board; and I expected that Amsterdam would be a better community.

I’m constantly struck by how the performance of the school district never factors into broader discussions on the policies of the city. Do we really think we can turn around Amsterdam without a better school district? Do we really accept that the board and administration are performing well? It’s shockingly bad stewardship on so many levels.

As Beech Nut’s move to the area is proceeding, I’d like to ask a simple question: How are we planning on marketing and selling the 300 employees who will be working at the BeechNut Headquarters?

To articulate a convincing pitch, we’ll need to address the schools as part of it. Few people do not evaluate the school district in their home decision. Or put another way, most people do look at the performance of the school district in their home buying decision.

So I just want to hear the pitch or see the pitch to BeechNut as it relates to the school district. I’m waiting.

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