The municipal council of Castronno votes to close the Sant’Alessandro school

Sant’Alessandro school closes. The city council of Castronno voted for it tonight, Wednesday 27 July, with a positive attitude from the entire majority and part of the opposition.

A “divisive” story from the beginning: on the one hand, the mayor Giuseppe Gabri is strong in the figures that show a strong demographic decline and a drop in enrollment at the Marconi school in the village of Sant’Alessandro, on the other hand, the parents, combative and strenuously convinced that they are defending their school at all costs. The collection of signatures in recent days was useless: the petition presented on the “barber’s edge” a few hours before the city council was rejected, as well as the request to keep the school open. (here are all the articles about the Sant’Alessandro School)

Short debate in the city council, which however highlighted it division in the opposition who did not vote compactly to close the school: against Luca Vasoli of Progetto Comune and Roberto Tabano of Insieme for Castronno, the other councilors of Progetto Comune are in favor.

Instead, everyone agrees to dispute the ways in which the decision to close the school was communicated, or through a Facebook post, but that is certainly not the crux of the issue: “When the accounts don’t add up – Luca Vasoli of Progetto Comune said in summary -a good family man has the task of asking himself the problem. But I say that the mayor’s intervention on social media is untimely: in this case, form is also substance. I will not go into the questions surrounding the didactic aspect, but I say that the school is one of the pillars on which our democracy is built. I want to understand what it will entail to abdicate this promise, I want to know what will happen to the Marconi facility when the school is closed. My group has different views on this issue, but I am against the closing of the school”.
“A school that could have more members in the future – Tabano added – I don’t understand this rush to close it”.

The reasons confirmed by the mayor Gabri in his speeches
: «In these weeks after my publication on social networks of a possible closure of the Marconi school, I have heard about all the colors. Starting with my communication last month where the use of Facebook was challenged. It’s 2022, and it’s clear to everyone that social networks are valuable tools for spreading news faster. I have always used Facebook and Castronnesi have always appreciated, especially during the Covid period. But the problem is different, that is that everyone thinks for themselves and most people put personal interest before public affairs.

Teachers who resigned out of fear of a job change or fear of moving, a principal who met with parents without inviting the administration and allowed himself to call the mayors of neighboring counties to take a stand against the closure and ongoing newspaper articles to get me to pass as incompetent on the subject and finally the parents who look at their garden with the fear of meeting me individually, but good at doing it behind a crowd or on social networks. In short, instead of fully understanding this administration’s choices, they preferred the path of smear campaign and pressure to change their minds. The data speaks for itself – said Gabri -: 1000 fewer enrolled every year in primary school at the provincial level, 3000 fewer enrolled in the last 3 years; how can one imagine in a town of 5000 inhabitants to keep two schools open when Pascoli has space to hold all the students including Marconi’s children? ».

“What then struck me, struck us, and it will certainly be the subject of further investigation, is the confirmation that would suggest that there diversity in teaching between the Marconi School and the Pascoli School, and which encourages families to choose the former instead of the latter – added Gabri -.
We believe that the didactic offer within the same comprehensive school should be the same, and that there should be no differentiation or punishment for students who attend different sections. Therefore, if this is not the case, the head of the Comprehensive Institute must immediately be interested and must take steps to eliminate the differences.
I think Marconi is a good school, as is Pascoli“.

The petition was also rejected. “Out of 757 signatures collected, only 292 are from Castronnesi or 38% and not the half that the supporters write – said the mayor Giuseppe Gabri –
It should also be added that many signatures collected in the supermarket parking lot do not quite feel like those collected in the private home of Sant’Alessandro the first weekend and those collected in Brunello the second weekend. In the supermarket car park, supporters stopped people one by one and a one-way version was told, playing on the total lack of knowledge of the issue. Anyone would have signed. Instead, the signatures collected in the first two weekends are serious and motivated because they had to go on purpose. From a quick count, the Castronnesi signatures collected at the supermarket are about 120, signatures that obviously have a completely different weight.
Analyzing the data, or 292 signatures out of 4080 adults present in Castronno, these represent about 7% to go down to 4% only considering the signatures of the two previous weekends. There were three weekends of signature collection, so we infer from this that if 95% of Castronesians did not vote on the petition, it means that the majority of the citizens of Castrono, to whom this municipal council must report, agree to close or limit no interest and therefore I will vote for the rejection of the petition ».

The opposition councilors supported the mayor’s decision with some reservations Chiara Tarullo and Simone Bertoni from Progetto Comune; However, Tarullo disputed the lack of confrontation between the mayor and the parents, hoping that this would be the beginning of a more cooperative relationship that would benefit the children who go to school, while Simone Bertoni asked for guarantees for the use of the building when it loses its size as a school building: «I will vote to close Pascoli, but I want the new use to be discussed immediately. I find it intolerable that there are useless public buildings’.

Disappointed, but not at all willing to “throw away your guns” Marconi’s parents who have opened a Facebook page to share their struggle: “A big disappointment – says Martina Belli – but we will not stop, even if the fate of the school now seems to be sealed”. “We brought the petition to the province – adds Riccardo Legnani – we hope they will listen to us”

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