If you were a corporate CEO, or a fast food worker, or a housecleaner, or professor, and were called in and told that your wages were being cut by 30%…. What would you think? It seems to me that this announcement is really an invitation for you to leave, to retire, to quit.
That is what is happening at Waters and with the ecology program and garden. The LSC likes them both, but wants me, Mr. Leki, out. Maybe they think I am too old. Or maybe they think I cost too much. Maybe they want someone new, that doesn’t know the history of the people who made the gardens. Maybe they want someone that is more afraid to speak out about issues in the garden, neighborhood and city. Someone that would be easier to control and deal with. Maybe they think they could buy someone to teach something called ecology, that, ironically, has no attachment to the school and community. That is what the LSC is proposing: take a 30% defund or hit the road.
I am working with a group of parents to present some counter-proposals to the LSC that could possibly resolve this crisis.
In the meantime,
Join us on Saturday, July 9 for a
Garden /Ecology Celebration
10-12:00 Bring food and musical instruments.
We will work, and talk and eat and enjoy the day.
LSC has been invited to hear your voices
Here's what some of our community say: To Whom It May Concern: I write, in the highest possible terms, to retain Pete Leki as the head of ecology at Waters Elementary. It is doubtless that the program will likely not continue to thrive under hands other than Mr. Leki's. Any student that has belted out a song on the bus to Sauganash, any parent that has chaperoned an ecology field trip, knows first-hand that Mr. Leki brings unparalleled expertise in education, community-building and passion for all things Nature. I ask you to ensure that Mr. Leki will continue as the leader of ecology at Waters, so that future environments, whether inside the classroom or outside in the fields, can benefit from his unique knowledge and leadership. Yours, George Cederquist, Waters Elementary Parent.
Water's garden and ecology program is probably one of the most important and necessary components of the Lincoln Square community. Not only does it provide the opportunity for the students of Waters to learn about plants, gardening and natural stewardship but it also provides the community with a natural sanctuary that gives peace and tranquility. As the world is reminded over and over again by the real and immediate effects of Climate Change it seems vital to teach students the values of natural stewardship. It is also vital to have a space where animals and people and plants can congregate in harmony. I hope to continue to bring my young son to the garden so he can run around and discover all of the different plants and to see how food grows. Please reconsider defunding the ecology program. Thank you David Grant a community member
To Whom it May Concern - I’m writing in support of full funding for the Waters ecology program. I bought a home about a block from Waters in 2019 and was first introduced to the garden then. I spent many summer nights taking walks among the plants, but it wasn’t until Summer 2021 that I became more involved. Since the pandemic struck, I had been a member of Lincoln Square’s mutual aid group. Last spring, we partnered with Mr. Leki and the Waters Garden to grow food for our neighbors who were facing food insecurity. Because of the efforts of the students, Mr. Leki, and others, we were able to make weekly deliveries of fresh greens, tomatoes, cucumbers and more to some of our most vulnerable neighbors. In the process, members of the mutual aid group became garden volunteers—helping to prep beds for student use and to care for the veggies they had planted during the previous semester. As someone who plans to send my child to Waters in a few short years, I am acutely aware of how this kind of interconnectedness builds healthy, thriving communities and, in turn, improves the education of our children. When I purchased my home, I heard repeatedly from friends and neighbors who said things like “What a great location! You’re so lucky to be in the Waters district!” This kind of enthusiasm for a local school does not come without hard work—hard work like the kind Mr. Leki puts in every day for this school and these students. Please consider doing what you can to fully fund Waters’ unique and vital ecology program. Warmly, Taylor Fenderbosch