Letters to the Editor

Saturday, September 26, 2015
By Transcript Staff

Thanks for the coverage

Dear Editor,

I’ve been involved in some volunteer and charitable endeavors here in Winthrop.  Some recent ones have been promoting the Quality of Life Questionnaire that led to the Health Report of 11-14.  This report spurred our good Town Public Health Nurse Meredith Hurley to institute the first Winthrop “Wellness Week” that happened earlier this year.

Note, the “Winthrop Sun Transcript” editors lent coverage for this very important effort.  They advertised the need for Winthrop folks to complete the important questionnaire several weeks in a row.

“The Winthrop Sun Transcript” has also been there promoting the upcoming “Climate Change, Energy and the Coast” panel discussion coming up this September 30th from 7-9 p.m. at the DeLeo Senior Center.  The paper and its editors have greatly supported my Winthrop Mixed Lodge #2057 Order Sons of Italy in America’s activities and scholarship/charitable fundraiser slated for Thursday, September 24th, 6:30 p.m. at the Kasbah.

These are a few of the community activities I’VE been involved in.  “The Winthrop Sun Transcript” has been there to promote these volunteer and charitable endeavors.  There are a number of OTHER organizations that also have their activities and charitable community works advertised by our town paper.

Thank you, Editor Stephen Quigley, and the other editors of the Independent Newspaper Group for your efforts to make Winthrop the thriving community that it is.  Sometimes it’s just good to say a PUBLIC THANK YOU for what the paper and its editors do.  Thank you!!

Donna Segreti Reilly

 

Looking at the rankings of the Winthrop Public School

Dear Editor:

September has come and our children are back in school and eager to learn.  Parents are hoping that their children receive a great education.  It is also election season and we have six candidates seeking three available seats on the School Committee.  It is a good thing that a number of people are interested in serving in the position.  It is puzzling, however, that none of the three incumbents whose seats are up this year, are seeking re-election.

In addition, September is the month that Boston Magazine publishes its Annual Public School Rankings, and Winthrop does not do well.  Of the 125 school districts that lie primarily inside I-495, Winthrop is 99th.  Winthrop is in the bottom 25%.

Other area schools with similar results are Beverly (90th), Gloucester (94th), Peabody (96th), Salem (101st), and Saugus (104th).  Local schools with lower results include Boston (116th), Revere (118th), Lynn (123rd), and Chelsea (125th).  Area schools with higher results are Marblehead (17th), Swampscott (40th), and Danvers (74th).

Boston Magazine uses data from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and has the Director of the Math Resource Center at Babson College analyze the data to create an aggregate score and ranking for each school district.  The key data are Average Class Size, Student-to-Teacher Ratio, Per-Pupil Spending, Graduation Rate, Attending College Rate, Average SAT Scores, Advanced Placement, and MCAS Proficiency or Higher Scores for 3rd, 5th, 8th and 10th Graders.

For specifics, Winthrop is 98th for Average Class Size (19.9) even though it is 39th for Student-to-Teacher Ratio (12.9).  Winthrop is 113th for Per-Pupil Spending ($11,622).  By comparison, Marblehead spends $12,706, Danvers spends $13,232, and Swampscott spends $14,369.  Winthrop’s Graduation Rate is 89th (88.2%) while Danvers graduates 93.2%, Marblehead graduates 96.5% and Swampscott graduates 98.0%.  Winthrop’s Attending College Rate is 74th (82.5%).

Winthrop’s Average SAT Scores for Reading, Writing and Math are 471, 458, and 501 respectively.  They rank 109th, 110th and 102nd.  The total of 1430 for the three tests is 60 points less than the National Average of 1490.  By comparison, Danvers’ total is 1528, Swampscott’s total is 1617, and Marblehead’s total is 1690.  While Winthrop’s Participation in Advanced Placement is 78th with 166, its Percentage Scoring 3-5 is only 38.9%, one of the lowest at 121st.  Danvers’ Percentage Scoring 3-5 is 69.1%, Swampscott’s is 81.9%, and Marblehead’s is 87.8%.

Winthrop’s MCAS Scores (Proficiency or Higher) for 3rd, 5th, 8th, and 10th Graders) range from 81st (83% for 10th Grade Math) to 104th (51% for 5th Grade Math).  While Winthrop’s Scores for 10th Graders in English, Math and Science are 89%, 83%, and 77% respectively, Danvers’ are 92%, 81%, and 80%, Swampscott’s are 92%, 87%, and 86%, and Marblehead’s are 96%, 93%, and 92%.

Everyone in Winthrop is rightfully excited about the new, $80 million Middle/High School under construction.  However, the important issue, not to be lost, is what occurs in our school classrooms on a daily basis.  Our school leaders – administrators, teachers, school committee members and other town officials – and members of the community – parents and taxpayers – must be results-oriented.  We need to advocate for ideas and decisions that will improve the metrics of our public schools.

As a parent of four children who have been educated in the Winthrop Public Schools, and as a teacher in the Boston Public School System, education for our children is very important to me.

Although additional money is not the only answer to improving Winthrop’s school system, it is part of the solution.  Each year there is a very high turnover of teachers who leave for other schools that pay higher salaries.  I am concerned about the nearly 12% of our students who do not graduate High School, and the low scores on the SAT and MCAS.  Our Advanced Placement Participation scores are also troubling.

I am eager to hear the six candidates for School Committee outline their ideas and plans for improving Winthrop’s Public School System.  A high-performing public school system is necessary to educate our children to be successful in the workforce of the 21st Century.  Our economy and society depends upon it.

Stephen Mahoney

 

On the AirBnB article

On Dear Editor:

I am Joan Roth of 100 Sargent Street, Winthrop, who is mentioned in your article in the Winthrop Transcript dated September 10, 2015.

I would like to respond to this article.

This incident on Cottage Park happened once and it was not the owner advertising in airbnb, it was a tenant.

“East Coast” ?? This website, as is expressed in the article, is world wide. My family and friends have used airbnb all over Europe, London, Milan, France, and more.  It is quite successful and very organized.

To my knowledge—Only the “room rentals” have been asked to cease and desist. However if you go on airbnb you will see that there are still many in Winthrop that are going strong.

The ordinance to allow Bed and Breakfast in Winthrop was passed July of 2011.

Purpose as stated in Section 17:49—Bed and Breakfast Special Permit

  1. Provide opportunity for more economic use for underutilized residences, and to

preserve larger historically significant residences by allowing an appropriate accessory use compatible with the residential character of the neighborhood.

  1. Support tourism activity in Winthrop without unduly changing the residential character or inconveniencing residents.
  2. Discourage the current illegal and possibly unsanitary operation of unlicensed boarding homes or rooming houses by providing clear standards for the operation of  bed and breakfast establishments as defined herein.

WHAT LICENCES. There is only one in town. SAFTY ISSUES, SANITATION?

THESE homes have no licenses.

Ridiculous, operating without licensing is all well and good says Legee.

These are all covered in the special permit.

It is still residential, however, I have spent 3 1/2 years in court with the Town of Winthrop , and my home qualifies in every way.  So what are they going to do to the next person who tries to get a BNB Permit?

Yes, only one legal which is a 3 bedroom 1 bathroom, Bed and Breakfast.

Ireland, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific?? You are forgetting, Europe, Australia, the USA, and the rest of the world.  Mr. Legee obviously has minimal traveling experience.

TRUE

Could you please explain to me how 3 unrelated people living in a dwelling has anything to do with a bed and breakfast?  And, where is it written that you cannot have a 1 bedroom Bed and Breakfast??

So Peter Gill thinks that someone having a Bed and Breakfast in their home is going to kill someone??

So, if they want people to be licensed, then let them.  I am the second application in Winthrop to apply for a Bed and Breakfast permit and, again, I have spent 3 1/2 years in court trying to receive this permit.  So what makes you think anyone else would want to go through this.

You can reach me at  Joan J. Roth

Joan J. Roth

Reflecting on memorial service

Dear Editor,

For so many of us gathered on Deer Island on Monday night for the tribute to Bella, a treasured memory will always be hearing the song written and performed for her by the girls from Winthrop HIgh School.Standing against the backdrop of the shore line , the harbor and the lights from Boston in the distance , their voices soared and with them,  our spirits..Thank you  Shannon Stimpson, Emily Nichols and Elizabeth Carlsley for creating and performing a song that made us all look skyward and feel grateful for such beauty .

Nancy O’Malley

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