Statements for Region 1 Board of Education Special Meeting March 28, 2012 –Gale Courey Toensing 14

On “Chair Comment” (to Phil  Hart)

Now that you’ve set the precedent of providing one member of this board with the opportunity to be on the agenda to comment in public, from this time forward there must be equal time set aside for any one member or all members to be on the agenda to comment in public.

Without provisions in the statutes or our own bylaws giving special status to any one member – and there are no such provisions – then all members are necessarily equal with equal rights of participation. If there’s time set aside for one member to be on the agenda and comment then there must be equal time set aside for every other member to be on the agenda to comment.  If one member has that privilege, than all members must have that privilege otherwise you’re violating 500 years of common law, parliamentary law, state statutes, our own bylaws, and the equal protections rights of the Constitution’s 14th Amendment.

On Pay Raises and Contract Extensions:

I will vote again, as I did last year, against pay increases, more days off, and contract extensions for the administrative staff  because to vote for these increases, in my opinion and according to my conscience, would express alack of consideration for the taxpayers of Region 1. The recession has not gone away. We are still living in a time of economic and political peril. There is instability, uncertainty and saber-rattling in the worldm making it impossible to know what the next few years will bring even in terms of the cost of fuel. We know there are some very wealthy taxpayers in Region 1. We also know the majority of people are not among them. The majority of people are hardworking employees, some of whom have lost their jobs, some of whom have lost or may lose their homes, many of whom make well below the middle class median household income of around $50,000 for a family of four, and most of whom have not had raises for the past few years, or whose raises have not even met the almost 3 percent increase in the Consumer Price Index. By contrast, there’s no hardship in the administrators’ present compensation packages which range from over $100,000 to more than $160,000. Region 1 taxpayers will be asked to bear an additional tax burden for necessary and mandated repairs to the high school building. To ask them to pay for raises for people who already earn so much money is, to me, unthinkable. Any budget increases at this point should be directed toward improving student learning.

On Free Speech; Advocacy and Opposition

The Region 1 Board of Education is a body politic and a corporate political subdivision of the state and therefore it is governed by the political process in the same way that the state is.

With respect to the people who participate in the political process, there can be no proper restraints placed on them with regard to speech or advocacy or opposition to public policies.   Our budget is a public policy. In fact, ourpolicy book says:  “The Regional School Board regards its annual budget as a basic policy document through which the District’s plans for the improvement of the secondary school program are expressed.”  To claim, as some people have claimed, that once a majority of this board votes on an issue then everyone on the board is required to “speak with one voice” is as unconsidered as it would be to say that a member of Congress or the Senate could not advocate against a majority vote that passes legislation – or even to try to overturn legislation after it passes as we see this week in the SCOTUS oral arguments over the  health insurance law.

Also, when we’re elected we take an oath of office to represent our constituents to the best of our ability. With respect to the oath of office we have a duty to advocate as we see best.  Oaths are about truth. So it’s not that we’re just permitted to speak the truth as we see it, we have a duty to do so. In other words, if you think something is wrong you have a duty to your constituents to stand up against it. History buffs may recall Abe Lincoln’s Cooper Union address during a presidential election when he said words to the effect that if he, Lincoln, did what Senator Douglas thought was right, he’d be perjuring himself on his oath of office.  Douglas wanted to extend slavery into what they then called the territories and Lincoln was against it.

To say that a person on a board has to advocate for the majority vote, that a minority view has to shut up and not express and, yes, even lobby against a majority vote that he or she is against, is in fact a seditious notion.Additionally, there are numerous lawsuits that have been lost over attempts to gag school board members from exercising their right of free speech to advocate against majority decisions by their board colleagues;.



  1. Nice blog. That is if you like mean and vindictive people hiding behind anonymity. Are people really buying this stuff? What an inexperienced superintendent in Torrington should be paid more? Is the blogger an idiot as Twain writes? Or just twisted.

    • Mr. Moore (as learned from your second post) the salary for Torrington position is being HELD OVER from the previous administrator! If you had done your homework and read the story in the Register Citizen fully, you would know it’s NOT a beginners salary. Who has posted vindictive and mean stories here…no one. It was not a blogger, it was a reporter for the Register Citizen who wrote the story, title and all, we just re-posted it here. And by the way Torrington has about 5,000 students, Region one has a little over 1/5 of that…Pat is NOT underpaid. And no one is asking for a cut, just follow the three year contract she signed last year.

      • And what does held over mean? Does Leone’s year and Kolzco’s combine to create tenure. And yes it is a beginners salary, its her first year. As for vindictive just check your own posts Gale. Oh, and I never insulted Twain, I insulted the blogger. Oh, let’s be transparent. Region 6’s new superintendent got $162,00 without his certificate. Region 12 is raising their superintendent from $182,000 to $187,000. These are both base salaries. Try talking straight instead of of sending everything through the spin cycle.

      • Again Jonathan, your wrong, wrong, wrong, the reply is from the administrator of this blog, not Gale ( if you can, go to the Welcome message, I know how hard it is for you to actually do follow up work!)
        The basic truth is: 1) By any comparison, Pat, Diane, or any of the administration is not underpaid. 2) If you add the new sick days and vacation days on Pat’s contract it amounts to about $5,000 alone! 3) Pat and the rest of the administrators should honor the NEW contract they got last year(again in the middle of an old contract)and negotiate a new contract when they enter the last year of their current contracts. 4) The Region One Board and the administration should recognize that when the areas largest employer in our region ends 40.3 full time positions, it’s no time to get new contracts with raises in year one of a multi-year contract that was signed last year. Shame on you all.

      • I am not wrong. Your previous reply cites the Register Citizen when the article came from the Republican. You obviously did not read the article as it is clear she has no previous experience and the article simply states she is getting the same salary. You state “by comparison” yet show none. Any added days, and Patricia is the only one who got 5 extra vacation days, only count if they are used. It is a specious argument as the choice is working the days or not. It is not an increase. How many of the 40.3 actually live in Sharon? Last I knew they paid so poorly most people could not afford Sharon. Finally, if you are so proud of your blog, fess up and name yourself!

      • Just look at the welcome page, my identity is NOT hidden! Oh, I guess Pat probably did not tell you to do that, as it appears you do not do anything Pat does not tell you to do 🙂

      • And click the link Mr. is the Register Citizen…and to think, you actually serve on the Board of Education when you do not even take the time to read the link… are indeed, a poor representative from the town of Kent as a board member.

      • Held over means left over from last year, no raise, 0%, nada, no more money. I know this is hard for you to comprehend but with the areas largest employer just laying off 40.3 FTE positions, now is not the time to rip up contracts that are only one year old (just signed last year), and get more raises and vacation days. Oh, and by the way, do you also get your typing orders from Pat as well as your orders for voting on the board?

      • Nice try. Why would a new person get a raise? I mean are you really that stupid? I respect Patricia and do my own thinking that is why this blog is not worth much.

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