Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Attention Residents of Greece: Your Sh*t Does Stink!

All too often, I'm told that I need to move to the suburbs once I have children. "School district is the one thing to remember when choosing where to live," I was recently informed. Many of these apparently concerned citizens live in places not exactly known for their brilliance: Irondequoit, Penfield, and of course, Greece. Therefore, I know I'm not alone amongst City residents, and future parents of City School District students, when I say that I'm getting a kick out of the pathetic Greece Central School District's Superintendent debacle. While it's not quite on the level as the disgraced Palmyra-Macedon School District's William Nichoporuk episode, it's all the more humorous because it is happening to the second-largest district in Monroe County and home of many of Rochester's most staunch detractors. The irony is delicious.

For those unfamiliar with the events there, I'll provide a brief summary. Margaret Keller-Cogan, the Greece Superintendent of Schools for a whopping 45 days, is under investigation by the EEOC for discrimination while she was the Vice-Superintendent. Rather than face the music, she opted to resign and rather than face lawsuits, the Greece School Board granted her resignation with a handsome severance package. That's right, their elected school board decided to allow their failed Superintendent to retire with a full years pay plus additional benefits rather than stand up for what's right. What an embarrassment. It's bad enough that Greece Athena High School makes the news every few months, not for educational achievement, but for some brawl or a kid bringing a weapon to school. Now they lavish their departed "leader" with a golden parachute worthy of a Tyco executive. How proud of their schools are they now?

I've never understood the attraction to Greece. Other than the lakeshore and the neighborhoods closest to the City, Greece is a dump. It is Nowheresville, USA. As an example of why I could never live there, besides the fact that it is populated by closed-minded Republicans, their relatively-new Town Hall has a tacky, non-functioning lighthouse even though it is miles from the waterfront. I typically understand and even encourage kitsch in the design of new buildings, but that design crosses the not-so-fine line between fun and utterly stupid. Maybe the lighthouse is to help cars navigate their way through the sea of parking that surrounds the building. Their Supervisor, John Auberger, is an absolute buffoon. In the name of progress, the Town demolished historic neighborhood commercial buildings in the Barnard area in favor of an Eckerd and its oversized parking lot. That Eckerd closed down less than one year later and now sits vacant and unusable.

I could go on and on about why Greece is an awful place to live. But I won't. I'll just smile contentedly with the knowledge that the City's Wilson Magnet High School is the top-ranked school in the Rochester area (and one of the best in the nation), that the City's Superintendent Manuel Rivera has been named the best Superintendent in the state (and one of the best in the nation), and that the RCSD is soon to embark on a nearly $1 billion capital plan to ensure that the City has some of the best facilities in the state (and the nation). Maybe I should be advising suburbanites on where to raise their children.