600 Pound Gorilla In The Room 1

Why, last night, when the budget was being talked about by the Region One Board Of Education, did NO ONE mention the impending LEGAL COSTS to the region of the lawsuit against Pat Chamberlain? Where is that money going to come from….out of this years budget, or next years? And, for good measure, two of the charges are against Pat as superintendent, and two are personal charges, who pays for what, or does Region One pick up the bill for all? Questions that should have been asked but were not……800 pound gorilla in the room

My prepared comments for last nights meeting (comments were limited to 1:30 (I only received 1:15!) so this could not be read at the meeting last night 3

These are my comments I had hoped to make last night at the Special Region One Board Meeting but could not make per order of temporary board chair Jonathan Moore…

Dear Region One board and Administration:

The public now has a full-blown lack of confidence in the leadership of this board, its objectivity, it’s relationship with the ABC ( All Boards Chairmen), and its direction of Superintendent Chamberlain

1) Apparent Lack of honesty by Chair Phil Hart

Prior to going into executive session, Region 1 school board chairman Phil Hart of Cornwall said he had no knowledge of the impending lawsuit before the news broke last week.
Bills submitted to the Board of Education for approval raise questions about that statement, as an entry in the district’s March invoice for attorneys’ fees details two conversations between board attorney Gary Brochu and Ms. Paige’s attorney of the law offices of Leon M. Rosenblatt in West Hartford, in reference to litigation over an employee matter. There follows a conversation between Mr. Brochu and Ms. Chamberlain about “the employee issue” and a fourth call listed was to Mr. Hart and “about the employee matter.”

2) Lack of Board involvement by Mr. Hart. I spoke with three Region One Board Members and all three said they had NO KNOWLEDGE of the suit and had not been advised of one by Board Chair Hart. I ask tonight, did Mrs. Fruend, and Mr. Moore have knowledge of the suit? 1) If so why did they, and not the others. 2) if not, shame on Mr. Hart.

3) How could the ABC have offered a three-year contract if they had knowledge of this suit? I ask any of the Board Chairs of Region One to step forward tonight to inform this board, and the public here if they had knowledge of the suit. If not, shame of Mr. Hart. If so, shame on the ABC for moving forward with a three-year contract recommendation to the Region One Board with the threat of litigation hanging overhead.

4) Disrespectful statements of Region One taxpayers from Board Co-Chair Jonathan Moore. A direct quote from Jonathan Moore, Region One Vice Chair and representative from Kent….
“… It also astounds me that, of the people I have spoken to since the referendum, they all are vastly misinformed about the budget. And there is no difference as to whether they voted yes or no! They all are misinformed. I guess they are all so flush they don’t worry about their tax dollars enough to seek out the facts….”

5) Mrs. Pages attorney has stated their charges are 2 as superintendent and 2 personal against Pat Chamberlain. As I asked last
week. Whom is responsible to pay the personal bill?

6) How in the world did the administration of Housatonic, and the Region One Board allow Mr. Harnett’s statement be to be made to the press and board about Hotchkiss School and Kent School? As we have seen, Hotchkiss responded this weekend, and their response makes Region One look quite foolish, and is a great embarrassment to the region.

After the last budget meeting and the Region One Board not listening to the public comment, the board has seen one of the largest defeats of a region budget in years, possibly the largest. And the answers to the concerns of taxpayers lie in not only in the cutting of teaching positions, but in the addition of administrative positions, the technology budget, the rise in the administration budget and contracts, the concern about grades, and the overall lack of direction this board, the administration and the ABC is giving to the employees, faculty, students, and taxpayers in Region One. As Bob Dylan stated: don’t criticize What you can’t understand Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command Your old road is Rapidly aging’ Please get out of the new one
If you can’t lend your hand For the times they are a-changing

The personal opinion of Marshall Miles, Region One taxpayer

Net result of budget meeting last night……teachers lose 4 positions, get Art teacher (Full time) and a part-time social studies teacher back, and the RSS budget goes up by 20% 1

Last night, the Region 1 school board restored an art teacher position, then made some other cuts before voting to send the proposed 2013-14 budget back to residents.
A second referendum is now scheduled for Thursday, May 30, from noon to 8 p.m. Most talk amongst board members was on reducing 5.4 positions because of declining enrollment. Under the original budget four full-time positions would have been cut and one retiring teacher would not be replaced. The remaining 0.4 of a position would have eliminated a social studies position to make room for a dean of students. Last night, the board restored the art teacher and the part-time social-studies teacher, while eliminating the dean position. That then left leaving a net reduction of four teachers. Student Government Association students Christian Allyn and Hillary Henrici submitted a petition signed by 332 students asking the board to reconsider restoring the teachers, saying such a move will result in larger class sizes and the lack of electives. Falls Village representative Gale Toensing’s motion to restore the science, English and math teachers was defeated when only she and Salisbury’s William Tedder voted in favor. The Region One Board also voted last night in favor of asking the superintendent, assistant superintendent and business manager to consider reopening negotiations on their proposed contracts, which would award them 2 percent annual raises for three years. Board members also discussed plans to change the network administrator and technical coordinator’s positions to serve all the schools, which included large raises, issuing iPad Minis to all students, a large increase in the lines for curriculum development and in service, adding a after-school hall monitor and creating a technology help desk position. All those administrative items were kept in the new budget proposal.

During the meeting it was stated by the administration that 3 of the 4 teachers that were eliminated have other jobs….that was angrily denied by shouts of NO from the public in attendance. It was later learned that one of the NO shouts came from one of the teachers who supposedly has a new job. NOT SO..only one teacher (who was hired in North Canaan) had a new job (if the Art teacher is added back she will be the second). The other teachers still do NOT have signed contracts, or jobs as of last night.

We at regiononereport.com wonder about the legality of talking about teachers employment in a public meeting, without allowing the teachers themselves to talk, or even giving the teachers the right to decide whether to talk about their employment in an open meeting. This seems like it should have been done in executive session…full video of the meeting will be posted here on regiononereport.com, and also on the robinhoodradiotv/CATV 6 YouTube page.