Here's Why Parents at a Newton, Mass. Elementary School Are Up in Arms

Horace Mann Elementary School moved to a different building this year, and Newton's superintendent admits mistakes were made and they should have delayed the change

Parents and teachers are voicing concern over conditions at Newton, Massachusetts elementary school. 

Critics say the classrooms at Horace Mann Elementary school, built in the 1930s, are small, overcrowded and noisy, hurting children's ability to learn. 

At a meeting Monday night in front of the city’s school committee and superintendent, parents, students and others demanded that something be done. 

“The sound situation is horrible here,” fourth-grader Cooper said at the meeting.

"I have a second grader here," parent Mike Fox said. "She has a 715-square foot classroom. She was in a 900-square foot classroom in the old building."

The school moved to the building this year. Newton Superintendent David Fleishman said they thought it would be an upgrade but admits mistakes were made and that the change should have been delayed. 

The city building manager said upgrades could be made by the next school year, including adding more sinks for science classes. He says the noise level can be taken care of sooner by bringing in an acoustical engineer.

"We got at least for the first time ever, a commitment from them to change things," parent Michael Haueisen said. "They have not admitted mistakes before. They thought they can shove it down to that part of the city."

Parents were also looking for an external evaluation of the school, but no commitment was made Monday night to get that done.

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