Read the last line of this story in the Republican American…. Superintendent Patricia Chamberlain is more interested in not honoring her three-year contract already signed than educating the children in the region
(link to Republican American story)
Ex-principal to vote against Region 1 budget Tuesday
BY LYNN MELLIS WORTHINGTON
KENT — A former elementary school principal warned the local Board of Education that the regional school budget may be defeated on Tuesday due to unhappiness over administrative contracts.
Edward Epstein said Thursday that he is planning to vote against the Region 1 educational budget that will be decided by referendum in all six towns Tuesday.
“I am totally supportive of the high school,” said Epstein, who served as the Kent Center School principal for several decades.
“I am not supportive of extending contracts until the year 2015 when there is no immediate need to do so.”
He asked the local school officials to not cut from the budget of Housatonic Valley Regional High School but rather examine the central office budget.
The Region 1 budget is composed of three sections, HVRHS, Pupil Services (which is the cost for special education) and the Regional School Service Center (RSSC) also referred to as the Central Office.
Epstein warned that a number of people in the region are unhappy that four of the six members of the Region 1 Board of Ed are not listening to the concerns of residents.
He singled out Kent’s representative Jonathan Moore as one of those who was not listening. Moore contested this, saying that he had spent more than an hour meeting with Epstein after a recent meeting.
The Region 1 Board of Education approved extending the contracts an additional year for the region’s administrators that included Superintendent Patricia Chamberlain, Assistant Superintendent Diane Goncalves, Business Manager Samuel Herrick, Pupil Services Director Carl Gross and Supervisor of Special Education Martha Schwaikert.
This was based on the recommendation from the All Boards Committee, which is composed of the chairmen of the seven Boards of Education in the region.
Each administrator was granted a 2 percent or 3 percent raise and a contract through 2015. Some residents also objected to a similar extension last year.
Tracy Horosky, Kent Board of Education chairman, said that ABC Committee has heard the concerns and is asking for authorization to conduct a study of how administrator contracts are handled by other school districts.
She said the research would not be available for this budget season but the group is trying to be responsive.
“I’d ask you to reconsider your position,” Horosky said to Epstein.
“The message that you send is a severe one. It holds bad repercussions for the kids.” Superintendent Patricia Chamberlain said later in the meeting that if the budget is defeated, the first place the regional board will turn to is making reductions in the high school budget. She urged support for the $15.4 million budget, which shows a 1.7 percent increase.
“I’m hoping we’ll resolve the issues on the contracts, what I consider unimportant issues,” Chamberlain said. She pointed out that the regional board could try to renegotiate contracts.
“I AM TOTALLY SUPPORTIVE OF THE HIGH SCHOOL. I AM NOT SUPPORTIVE OF EXTENDING CONTRACTS UNTIL THE YEAR 2015 WHEN THERE IS NO IMMEDIATE NEED TO DO SO.”
EDWARD EPSTEIN, FORMER KENT CENTER SCHOOL PRINCIPAL
from the story:
“The message that you send is a severe one. It holds bad repercussions for the kids.” Superintendent Patricia Chamberlain said later in the meeting that if the budget is defeated, the first place the regional board will turn to is making reductions in the high school budget.
It’s inappropriate for the superintendent to speak for the board and assert that “the first place the regional board will turn to is making reductions in the high school budget.” Unless, of course, she has already had conversations with the board chairman and a majority of members and this is what they have already planned to do. As a Region 1 board representative, I will not support program cuts. I will support cutting the contract extensions and raises for the “central office” administrators.” There were no “negotiations” about the “central office” contracts: the chairman and majority of the board following the ABC Committee recommendations like sheep, without any discussion or negotiation. If the budget is defeated the school will continue to operate on the 2011-2012 budget and towns will be billed on that basis. Claiming programs will be cut is using scare tactics to try to get people to vote for the budget. Shame.
Gale Courey Toensing.