Small Town, Big Problems

Parents and students all over Ipswich are in an uproar over the fact that they are being nickel and dimed by the not only the school, but the town in general.  Three years ago parking passes were introduced at Ipswich High School. The passes required the students to pay an annual fee of $50.00 in order for them to park their cars in the parking lot.  To most people this would seem like a fair move by the school, but to the parents and students it is an outrageous policy.

When asked about paying to park at the school, J.J. Gianakakis, owner of John’s Citgo in Ipswich, said, “I won’t pay for a parking pass.”  Some people might think he’s exaggerating but the look in his eyes when I interviewed him said otherwise.  He explained why he was so aggrieved by the fee: “My taxes paid to build that school, my taxes pay to plow it, my taxes pay to maintain it, and on top of all that they want me to pay a fee? ”  Unacceptable is putting it mildly.

Parking passes aren’t the only problem parents have with the Ipswich school system.  Bussing is causing issues as well.  In Massachusetts, elementary schools are given the option to charge kids to ride the bus.

Ipswich elementary schools do charge to take the bus but their policy is exclusive.  Kids who live more than two miles away from their school get to ride the bus free of charge.  However, families with children that live more than two miles away from the school have to pay an annual fee of $250.00 per child with a $500.00 per family max.

It’s not only unfair because they are charging kids to take the bus to school, it’s unfair because they are basing their policy on something the families have absolutely no control over.

The leaders of this town are out of their minds if they think it’s safe for a 7 or 8-year-olds to walk 1.9 miles down Linebrook Road everyday to get to school.  This is even more ridiculous when there are no sidewalks, no traffic lights, no crossing guards, and no policemen to ensure the children’s safety.  There have already been two fatal car accidents on Linebrook; there is no denying that it is a dangerous road.  Based on the fact that it is not safe for students to walk to school, all kids should be allowed to ride the bus free of charge.

When asked about the busing situation, Ipswich representative, Brad Hill, said between Doyon and Winthrop, the bus fee brings in over $70,000 of revenue.  Ultimately, they need to realize no amount of money is worth risking the lives of children.

The reason for all of these problems is poor decision making.  The representatives and leaders of Ipswich do not know how to properly run this town.  For example, the new police boat.  Even though we got it for free, over $100,000 was put into fixing and upgrading it.  For a town with an already small population and an even smaller amount of residents who are boaters, the boat was more than we need.  There is no reason to justify spending 100K on a police boat. A further example are the new police cruisers.  Once again, they were overkill for a town with less than 14,000 residents.  Third, instead of fixing up the skating rink, which keeps kids off of the dangerous Ipswich River, the town decides to build another playground on top of it.  I could continue but the point is that the leaders of this town do a bad job diversifying funds and making community decisions.  And nothing is going to change unless the people of this town collectively rise up and demand it.