With church bells ringing on the hour, students playing outside across from the public library, baseball fields filled with Little League games, Wrentham seems like the ideal town to live in. It might be, if you’re into that sort of thing. At a total house valuation of 1.71 billion, Wrentham is a very affluent town. Its interconnected school system with Norfolk and Plainville brings students together at the King Philip Regional High School. The three town area is affectionately referred to by high school students as the “tritown.” The town runs itself with the help of the school system and above average property value at $387,500. The Wrentham Outlets (an outdoor shopping centre) give the town substantial payments in the form of property taxes and advertising rights.
Wrentham’s residents are very kind and hospitable, hosting boy and girl scout events, paying for “All-Night Parties,” at the high school, and helping various programs there, for instance: the school’s prestigious music program. Republican Shawn Dooley was elected for the 9th Norfolk Seat in a local state election. Dooley was very personable, visiting every house in the district, including mine. Although his policies were quite appealing, I personally believe that he was elected due to the fact that his name is already well known…a local pub in Wrentham shares the same name.
Most of the stories in the “tritown” area are concerned with the area itself, seemingly without any outside influence (other than paying taxes). The majority of businesses in Wrentham are local, aside from major gas and bank providers. Politics are relatively local…except for the fact that Scott Brown was elected as a US Senator. He has also recently moved out of his home in Wrentham. Wrentham is holding town elections for various positions, many involved with the school system.
King Philip is involved with many yearly financial transactions that are subject to change based on teachers’ demands. Demands on the teacher’s side called for a raise. The school district wanted to freeze teacher salaries. This was in 2010. To be quite honest, I’m not sure if this is still and issue. I do know that it carried over throughout my four years at school. During my tenure, teachers were sometimes late for early classes after picketing in the front green. Some were also absent and replaced with substitutes on a fairly regular basis. (This is from first-hand experience.) While teachers were qualified, some had workplace attitudes that really discouraged me.
Despite obvious frustration over the situation, the teachers had a valid argument: as civil servants, they deserve the pay for the magnitude of the work they are performing. As educators of our youth, teachers are crucial (at least in my town) to a child’s success. Protesting Chipman’s 3rd consecutive win unopposed, maybe the teachers were upset at the hypocrisy of the situation. The parent-teacher’s board is a revered and highly influential position in Wrentham, yet is riddled with controversy. A position is currently vacant and will be filled in the local elections on April 7.
Wrentham is an amazing place to live. Its residents are attracted to its nice homes, its relatively quiet area, and its economic stability. The one thing that I always questioned growing up was the lack of diversity in the area. A 2006 NYT study found that Wrentham schools were in the 5% tile for the county, 34th out of 35th. At the time 97% of students were white. Many students could probably name the majority of the black, hispanic, and asian ones on their fingers. As a worker at the Wrentham Outlets, I can say that the shopping centre is the most diverse place in the whole town. Many world travelers come to visit and shop, evident when customers are still coming in at 7pm on a Tuesday night.
While low-housing projects have been erected in various places around the “tritown,” Wrentham has only added more housing with units near it’s median property value of almost $400,000. (These projects have also killed a great number of trees in the process.)
If I could investigate this issue, I’d ask a few big questions:
What can local residents do to bring diversity into Wrentham?
What can the town board of selectmen do?
-maybe add more low-income housing?
What can the state government do to help make these areas more diverse?
-it is the only town in the United States with the name Wrentham, along with 1 other worldwide in England.
-it was the residence of former US senator Scott Brown
-according to Google maps, it is around a 5 mile drive from the center of Wrentham to Gillette Stadium in Foxboro