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The Lakeville Journal Hits It Out Of The Park With This Weeks Editorial….. Reply

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One more piece of an extended denouement

It’s unfortunate it had to come to this.

The dysfunction that overtook the relationship of the Region One Board of Education and its administration in the run-up to the approval of last year’s Region One budget (only after seven tries) was invasive and destructive. It permeated the atmosphere of the high school and the region, as well as damaging the longstanding, generally positive relationship Region One voters had with their high school, pupil services and central office.

The budgetary changes made during the seven proposals leading to the ultimate approval of the 2013-2014 Region One budget included increases in the legal expense line. This was because even at that time, it seemed the leaders of our regional school district weren’t able to solve their differences without resorting to court cases. It is therefore a relief that a case stemming from that time period has finally come to a conclusion. Yet some regret cannot be avoided, as well, acknowledging that the money and energy consumed by these court cases have sapped resources that could have been better spent.

The case was Goncalves v. Toensing, which was dropped on Oct. 31 (see stories by reporter Patrick Sullivan atwww.tricornernews.com or in the print Lakeville Journals of Nov. 6  and Nov. 13.) Former Assistant Superintendent Diane Goncalves was suing for defamation the former Region One board member Gale Toensing, who had been the elected Falls Village representative. The settlement included Goncalves leaving the district through early retirement as of Oct. 31, while receiving her full year’s salary of $140,976, and health insurance through June 30, 2018, in addition to other benefits.

Superintendent Patricia Chamberlain has said that she will be taking over Goncalves’ duties for the immediate future. This raises the question of whether that may be an overwhelming task, in that previously the responsibilities were attended to by a highly paid full-time employee. But if this is not an untenable situation for the superintendent, it raises another question as to whether the region needs that full-time assistant superintendent position as part of its structure.

All Boards Chairman Region One Subcommittee November 19 Reply

All Boards Chairman Region One Subcommittee November 19, 2014

A report on the ABC meeting from The Republicn-American
full story avaiable at Rep-am.com
Five of the six towns that form the Region 1 School District appear to support, or are at least neutral to, changing the way the superintendent of schools is compensated. One town, Falls Village, is adamantly opposed.

The towns currently each pay a portion of the superintendent’s salary based proportionally on student populations. That’s the same method district towns use to handle costs for the operation of Housatonic Valley Regional High School, special education and the central office.

Region 1 Superintendent Patricia Chamberlain has a base annual salary of $151,327, plus an annuity of $9,080 for a total of $160,407.

Under a new joint agreement, the towns would each pay one-seventh of the Chamberlain’s compensation, with the seventh piece of the pie coming from the regional high school’s budget. This benefits towns with larger populations. Falls Village, the smallest town, would see an increase of $15,485; Cornwall, $12,364 and Sharon, $2,574, while Canaan would have a reduction of $13,902, Salisbury, $9,290 and Kent, $7,230.

FALLS VILLAGE RESIDENT LOUIS G. TIMOLAT told the committee it can expect legal action if changes are made that ignore the founding principles of the school district.

Following the meeting, Timolat cited the inequity of changing the formula for the superintendent’s compensation. He noted that Canaan, which has 280 elementary school students, gets 6 percent of educational cost-sharing grants; Falls Village, which has 78 elementary students, gets 1.7 percent.

“We don’t split $700,000 in educational cost-sharing equally across the district,” he said. “Is that because the original legislators were asleep at the switch? No, there was logic to it. But because the distribution is weighted, North Canaan gets several times the amount we do. They have already been compensated for the additional cost (of tuition).”

It has been argued that towns paying a flat payment of one-seventh of the superintendent’s salary is fair because she performs the same work for big schools and small. Timolat disagreed.

“Her assertion that ‘I do the same thing for everyone,’ that the size and scale and complexity of the site has no effect on amount of work she does, cannot be true,” he said. “If it is, then the larger entities are being shortchanged. To double the share Falls Village pays of the superintendent’s salary is an outrage and a fraud.”

He further objected to the change in structure for the district.

“We would be creating a separate bureaucracy to do what we have done for more than 70 years,” he said. “The foolishness of such a thing. In structure, it kind of usurps some of the authority of the regional board.”

He said he believes the district’s attorney, Gary Brochu, misled residents when he said the region is not in compliance with educational law. “That statute says we ‘may’ do this, not that we ‘shall’ do this,” he said. “Even the village idiot would know the difference between ‘may’ and ‘shall.’ It would change the founding governing structure of the district. This is a subject to be addressed by the towns and not be imposed upon the towns.”

Andrea L. Downs of Falls Village, chairman of the Region 1 School Board, had reservations, too.

Unethical? Irresponsible? Meddling? North Canaan Board Of Education Meeting November 13 Reply

med·dle
verb
gerund or present participle: meddling
  1. interfere in or busy oneself unduly with something that is not one’s concern.
    Question 1: Is it ethical to criticly comment in a public meeting on and then criticize another towns local board of education?
    Question 2: When does a towns Board Of Finance members suggestion that the town attorney look into somthing to see if its legal become a threat for a lawsuit?
    Answers:
    Question 1: NO
    Question 2: It DOESENT
    Again this year a North Canaan Board Of Education member raises concerns and questions over another towns Board Of Education. Very poor manners, very poor conduct for a board memebr, just plain wrong…again.
    Watch the video
     

Again, a great event at Salisbury Central School Reply

Full story at:

http://rep-am.com

Students thank veterans during ceremony

BY RUTH EPSTEIN

REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN

SALISBURY — Salisbury Central School students paid tribute to local veterans Monday not only through music and words, but looks of gratitude as well.

As each veteran rose to tell his or her name, branch and years of service, the youngsters and audience members applauded loudly and smiled with awe. Veterans from World War II to current conflicts all stood proud to have served their country.

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Why not here? Reply

I have been calling for this for Region One for almost two years…..

From today’s Republican-American:

Declining enrollment focus of Region 6 event

BY JOHN MCKENNA

REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN

GOSHEN — Residents and town officials in Region 6 had their first chance Monday to comment on the district Board of Education’s long-term planning effort to address a declining student population.

A crowd of about 50 turned out at Goshen Center School for the first of three public informational meetings on an issue that first surfaced with a demographic study showing a steep drop in student population between 2013 and 2023.

School board Chairman Christopher Sanders of Goshen and Superintendent of Schools Edward Drapp spoke for more than an hour on the plummeting enrollment and potential ways of addressing it. Then the floor was opened to comments.

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Another harebrained idea from the ABC Reply

harebrained

/ˈhɛəˌbreɪnd/

adjective

1.

rash, foolish, or badly thought out: harebrained schemes
With this foolish, and illegal idea the A.B.C  takes on taxing authority in the Region One towns.
 
From Sundays Republican American:
full story at http://rep-am.com

New way to pay superintendent

How will towns divide expense?


BY RUTH EPSTEIN

REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN

FALLS VILLAGE — Opinions on whether to change the way Region 1 towns divvy up the superintendent’s salary are varied.

A proposal put forth by the All Board Chairmen Committee has the six towns, as well as a high school, each paying one seventh of the superintendent’s pay package. The towns always have been assessed proportionately based on their school population, which is how the costs are distributed for the operation of Housatonic Valley Regional High School, special education and the central office. Under the new arrangement, some towns would be paying more than their current assessment and others less.

The ABC Committee has been working on revising school governance, and some members said they believe this would be a more equitable arrangement.

At this past week’s meeting of the Canaan Board of Selectmen, member Charles Perotti said he heard from his niece Dolores Perotti, chairman of the town’s Board of Education, asking for the selectmen’s support of the proposal. He said she noted that the superintendent gives all the towns an equal amount of her time without favoritism. The selectman said he heard Falls Village is pushing back on the idea.

“We’re not getting more hours because we’re a bigger town nor is Falls Village getting less,” Charles Perotti said.

Selectman Susan J. Clayton said that is one item where population shouldn’t come into play. “There are certain things in the budget that don’t apply and I think this is one of them,” she said.

THE CHANGE FOR THE TOWNS’ LEVIES would be the following if the proposal is approved: Canaan, a reduction of $13,902; Cornwall, an increase of $12,364; Falls Village, an increase of $15,485; Kent, a reduction of $7,230; Salisbury, a reduction of $9,290, and Sharon, an increase of $2,574.

Jennifer Weigel of Salisbury said the board doesn’t have funds, so it should be left to each local board.

Ned Gow of Canaan said because the superintendent’s job is the same for all boards, “there is logic in using a straight division.”

Downs said she wasn’t sure it makes sense to break out 1 percent of the budget and handle it differently. No vote was taken.

Here is what Region One Report thinks:

 Falls Village an increase of $15,485

Cornwall an increase of $12,364
Sharon an increase of $2,574

North Canaan a reduction of $13,902
Salisbury a reduction of $9,290
Kent a reduction of $7,230

If this plan were actually put in place by the Region 1 board….a myriad of lawsuits from taxpayers would result. Why? This is why: Taxpayers in Falls Village, Cornwall and Sharon would be asked to pay more per taxpayer to fund Region 1 than individual taxpayers in North Canaan, Salisbury and Kent. The small towns would be carry the larger towns that have a much bigger tax base.

Whats next? Sam Herrick’s salary? Teachers contracts? The Housatonic Valley Regional High School fuel bill? Where does it stop?

This is meant to be a Regional School District with every town paying their FAIR SHARE to fund it. That includes the superintendents salary. This is a very sad development, with the Superintendent actually going from town to town at local board meetings pushing local boards to support this. Instead of worrying about her salary (boy would lots of people in the Region 1 area love to worry about having her salary!), maybe the Superintendent should worry about why, under her leadership, in the past two years the region is paying out almost $400,000.00 due to legal actions on behalf of or due to both the Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent. Thais $400,000.00 taken directly out of educating our students.

If the ABC continues on this path, there will be possibly hundreds of thousands of more spent on a legal fight with taxpayers, and boards of finance from the smaller towns.

This battle has not yet begun, but we are ready to rally people in the smaller towns to fight for their rights. This is a battle that will be joined, and a battle that will cost thousands of additional dollars for the district that could go towards education.

If the ABC and Region 1 boards want to save the taxpayers money, a couple of great first steps would be to stop al the buy-outs, and cut the bloated expense in the Central Office.

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The Deal…………………………………… Reply

Here is The Diane Goncalves Early Retirement Agreement and Release..the dollar amount is… Well, add this roughly $200,000.00 or so of non-educational expenses to the buy out from last year,,,so the grand total for the two pay-offs is somewhere in the neighborhood of $400.000.00! All on non educational expenses. WOW. Soooo, I would figure there is no room in the budget to hire a replacement, meaning it’s time to eliminate that position and hand over the responsibilities to The Director Of Instruction…in our opinion

earlyretirementagreementandrelease-page-001 earlyretirementagreementandrelease-page-002 earlyretirementagreementandrelease-page-006 earlyretirementagreementandrelease-page-007 earlyretirementagreementandrelease-page-003 earlyretirementagreementandrelease-page-004 earlyretirementagreementandrelease-page-005Please click below for the Diane Goncalves Early Retirement Agreement and Release

earlyretirementagreementandrelease