Administration and Board members place the blame on “the media” about looking inward, at yourselves? 7

A quote from the administration and board in the Litchfield County Times….

….As the numbers were phoned in, the three board members present and assistant superintendent of schools Diane Goncalves lamented that the voters did not understand the issues confronting them—a circumstance they blamed on the reporting of the local press.

“The press is not giving the people the information,” said Canaan representative Laura Freund. “People have just seen the headlines that the administration is getting raises while teachers are being cut.”

She said that none of the taxpayers she had spoken to had a clear idea of why the board had crafted the budget it did…..


  1. Can the assistant superintendent and the North Canaan representative be so, well, dense as not to understand that a margin of 16% in the defeat of this budget is telling them precisely the opposite of what they are claiming. The media had nothing to do with the defeat of this budget and to claim that the taxpayer doesn’t understand it is insulting. You bet the taxpayers understand what’s going on. Taxpayers are doing their homework. Apparently the majority don’t like the lack of educational leadership the budget reflects. From attempting to add an administrative position in the form of the Dean of Students and claiming that the position would be an open application when in fact the superintendent, probably mistakenly, admits when the .4 position is cut that the athletic director would have been the recipient of the position because with that cut the social studies position – his position – would be automatically restored, to the extension of the superintendent and her assistant contracts for three years with guaranteed 2% raises, agreements apparently that are not connected to any annual performance evaluations when so much FACTUAL information questions their educational leadership, to the initiation of a major and costly technology project that doesn’t seem to reflect proper research on the tool or proper training of the staff before implementation, to the Board reducing areas of the budget without knowing what they are cutting, to the high school principal reducing staff without apparently even speaking in a cooperative and/or collaborative manner to the heads of those departments before moving forward, to a whole host of other poor leadership decisions, not to mention the Region One’s Board majority and the chairman of the local boards unwavering and unhealthy, if you ask me, devotion to the superintendent and protecting her, not to mention dozens of other legitimate reasons – COME ON!

  2. ome comments posted on the Register Citizen story….

    Paul Bartomioli •
    I find it interesting that the press is baffled. We get quotes from the administration and the Region 1 Board, but no other citizens were interviewed for this story. People have written letters to the editor. What about getting a more in depth response, rather than the “letters are limited to 250 words” laconian response? Oh, yeah, THAT would involve something more than parroting the responses of those that cannot see the forest for the trees.

    Sharon Resident •
    Look on Youtube for Robinhoodradiotv and you then type in “Region One Board of Education” . All of the meetings are recorded in full and put up for all to see. A quick list of meetings and numbers of viewers- 6/24=34views; 6/17=64views; 6/11=81views and the highest number of views being 204 on 6/3. We get our information from the meetings in Sharon and not from the headlines of newspapers.

  3. If Diane, with her “infinite wisdom” is blaming the local media for the defeat of three (yes 3) budget votes, then why doesn’t she and the Region One BOE explain to the public in FULL DETAIL why the budget is the way it is…considering the public votes on it, it is the public’s right to know EVERYTHING about the budget; is it really that difficult for the Region One BOE and Central Office to explain things to us…and not make any decisions until ALL questions are answered? I don’t imagine that should be too difficult…at least it shouldn’t be.
    ~Joshua Prause

    • Question, does anyone know whether contacts have been signed for the 400+ IPads @$452.00 apiece? I think they must have signed something otherwise why aren’t they at least willing to phase in the program?

      • Pure speculation here, but a theory nonetheless: They probably spent grant money on something they shouldn’t have, and now have to explain it. I remember hearing about grants for laptops for the freshmen a while back. I also remember hearing about technology grants. They probably spent the money elsewhere and now have to explain it, so they tried to write tech into the budget to cover themselves.

  4. The fact the the BOE is trying to say that it is the media’s fault that people are voting down the budget is outrageous! This is not the case at all. The reason people are voting down the budget is because everyone is sick of this BOE due to their constant lies and bullying techniques. The fact is that many of the BOE members can’t answer public comments about the budget nor can they actually explain why they put the budget together the way that they did. Having been to EVERY public meeting, I know that the BOE members have lied several times and when members of the public with the correct information have tried to stand up and correct them, the BOE members yell at them to sit down so that the BOE can tell these lies to the other community members and try and make them believe it. I have spoken at every open comment meeting and the fact is that no matter what any community member, student, past student or anyone has to say, the BOE members are NOT listening, it is like their eyes glaze over. They can not answer questions that the public asks, such as, “In reference to the Ipad’s, are a majority of the teachers proficient at using them so that they can effectively use them in their classroom?” The response is (from head of the school) “It depends on what your definition of proficient is.” WOW! The fact that this answer has been stated multiple times even though a majority of the teachers are not comfortable on them is ridiculous. People on that board don’t know what they are doing, have lost all sense of heart and compassion and are simply being bullied down by head members of the board. If you watch several of the meetings, you can see that many members of the board will report what their towns people want and then those members make motions to change things in the budget in order to do what their towns people asked but then head members of the board interrupt and speak over them to talk them down and tell them how stupid they are so that when it comes time for the board to vote on that motion, the member who made that motion vote it down. This is total bullying, but then again that doesn’t surprise me considering bullying is not taken seriously in this region. Then you have Gale who is actually trying to do what is right for the region and she listens to not only her towns people but other community members but then here comes the bullying again. Gale makes a statement and all anyone on that board does is roll their eyes or ignore what she is saying or say “your statement is noted.” and move on. Then there are the comments afterwards made by the entire rest of the board who all gather together and whisper as Gale does what a good board member should do and speaks to the public. The board members think that other people can’t hear what they are saying but yes we all can! OH and then comes the part when I witnessed the now resigned head of the board cornering a current student and using his bullying techniques to try and get out of that student how they were going to vote for the budget and when the student refused to tell him, he continued to try and bully him down to make him feel like he had to vote yes. Are these people the kind of people we want running our district? I think not! The board members need to stop blaming the media and bullying them and instead try to actually take responsibility themselves for what THEY are doing wrong as board members and actually explain the budget to the community members and LISTEN to the members and students. The fact that at two separate BOE meetings two petitions were presented to the BOE by the student government with over 300 student signatures on it asking the board to reconsider laying off the teachers and both times NONE of the members even acknowledged this or showed any emotion in it is beyond ridiculous and shows a total lack of empathy and compassion and caring for these students and their education. Also the fact that despite being actually invited to HVRHS events, most of the board members do not attend hardly any of them which to me says that they do not know what this school is about so therefore they should not be making decisions like this. Also as pointed out to the BOE in a public comment hearing, the BOE members are NOT the ones sitting in the classrooms all day long in front of teachers who are still teaching yet can’t teach effectively at all (and that has been acknowledged by the head of school) yet the BOE members feel they can make the decision to fire the teachers who are ACTUALLY doing their jobs and connect with students. And don’t even get me started on the fact that while I (along with many other community members were speaking at meetings) was speaking and specifically touching on the fact that having Ipads will allow students to sit in class and text all day while ignoring the teachers as they try to do their job and teacher, the head of school is sitting their not making any eye contact with me because he is on his ipad! Are you kidding me? And when I asked him afterwards not to EVER do this again, he stated he needed to do this to look up facts but when I said right back at him that in my comment I did not ask him to look up ANY facts, nor did he respond with ANY facts so therefore he should have been looking at me the entire time, he just stood there and had nothing to say back to this. I have outlined just a FEW of the reasons why community members have lost faith in the board and continue to vote the budget down. However, I know that very few of those BOE members will read this and actually listen to what I am saying. So BOE members, please stop trying to blame everyone else for your mistakes and take the ear plugs out and actually listen because this is the only way the budget will ever pass. And oh by the way, why would it be such a bad thing to have class sizes that are only 8 students? The answer? It wouldn’t be bad at all considering almost every college out there is moving towards this since it has been PROVEN to improve student success yet when the head of school is asked about this, he can’t give an answer as to why making class sizes would be bad, basically stating that it would actually be a good thing.

  5. Ms. Freund’s remarks are amusing, in that they imply there is a fuller picture that the public is simply not aware of where this budget is concerned. Nothing could be further from truth.

    It is the board that is unaware of the intricacies of this budget and the impact they will have on day to day operations at the high school. Just as it is the board’s responsibility to educate the public about the budget, it is the principal’s responsibility to educate the board about all matters concerning the high school. After three defeated referendums, it might have occurred to said board members that perhaps the public knows things about this budget that they themselves do not.

    This leaves two real courses of action: start asking tough, specific questions of the principal or blame everything on public ignorance and the media.

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