An alternate look at news, views, opinions, stories, and information on the administration of The Region One School District in Connecticut, and when you post, you do NOT have to fill in your email or name…
FALLS VILLAGE — In a fifth attempt to get a budget passed, Region 1 Board of Education members voted Thursday to remove a $94,000 appropriation that was to go toward purchasing iPad Minis for all students at Housatonic Valley Regional High School.During a meeting that again filled the high school library, Chairman Jonathan Moore of Kent recommended the cut, saying with school close to opening, it would be too late to implement the program. Technology and the three-year contracts that provide 2 percent annual raises for the superintendent and assistant superintendent have been the lightning rods during this contentious budget season.
Superintendent Patricia Chamberlain said Thursday that if the budget passes on the fifth try, she would give up the last year of her three-year contract and donate her 2 percent raise to the school’s endowment fund for the children.
Moore said that although Assistant Superintendent Diane Goncalves’ contract has also been an issue, attorneys have said it cannot be discussed because of a pending lawsuit. Goncalves is suing Falls Village board member Gale C. Toensing, claiming she has caused her emotional distress. Goncalves was not at the meeting.
Chamberlain is also being sued by her executive secretary, Lucille Paige, who is charging, among other things, that she was denied her right to free speech for taking part in an independent investigation of the region. Paige is currently on paid administrative leave.
During the comment period, William Arlofski of Reverse Polarity in Canaan, which services some the region’s elementary schools, said many inaccuracies relating to technology costs have been made at board meetings. He said the position of network technician should be reconsidered because the region is setting itself up for failure.
Michael Ellington of Canaan noted the school has no technology plan. “You’re throwing extra money at this. The curriculum should drive your technology. Where’s the plan?” he asked.
1) Region 1 Board Chair Moore of Kent imposes three-minute “directive” on comments, and limits comments to what he considers as “budget items” only. He states that this is by law. He is incorrect. (Oh, and by the way, the first person he recognizes to speak is Curtis Rand who did not even raise his hand to speak, Mr. Moore just bypassed people who had their hands up to speak to go directly to Curtis who admitted he did NOT want to speak….hmmmm something smelly there!)
2) It is announced that the Superintendent “if the budget is passed” (that is a direct quote) she will cut one year off her new contract, and give her $2,000.00 raise back to the “children”. This is appreciated by all (only Gale Toensing and Marylin Yerks thanked he for this). But the way in which it was presented “if the budget passes” is combative, and, almost demanding. If she had stated simply that she was giving her raise back and cutting a year off her contract, it would have been received as much less combative. But, we will take what we can get and be thankful for it, just remember, that money still stays in the budget, and once again, she gets to rip up a new three-year contract and replace it in her first year of that contract.
3) it was stated by Chairman Moore that because of the Assistant Superintendents lawsuit against a board member, that under a suggestion from the boards lawyer, they could not talk about her contract. When pressed for a clarification after the meeting if Mr. Moore could get that legal opinion in writing, he refused, saying it was mentioned to him, and not put in writing, when we persisted to find out if he would ask, he eventually said the lawyer was “away on vacation”. So, there is no real legal reason that was presented factually as to why the Assistant Superintendent could not do the same thing as the Superintendent. Listen to the audio very carefully..Mr. Moore admitting he has no real, written legal opinion. (It now appears the Superintendent now has lost any control, or supervisory influence over the Assistant Superintendent), and the “excuse” that was used to stop from seeing if the Assistant Superintendent would do the same as the Superintendent was a “feeble” cover up at best of the obvious denial of the Assistant Superintendent to join in the give back of one year of her new contract, and donation of her raise back to the school. Sad, very sad. Even sadder is the flimsy way the board chair tries to explain it.
Click on above link to hear audio
4) $93,000 was taken out of the budget, no iPads this year, but the raises for technology will stay in the budget
5) A computer company that does work for the region, presented facts that laid out how the money quoted as being spent right now that would be saved was false information, and inaccurate. No comments came from the board, and the company distributed its information to the board, the press and all in attendance.
6) A motion was made by Marylin Yerks to drop the Assistant Superintendents position, that vote failed 3-2.
7) The Town of Salisbury, simply the biggest voting block on the board was NOT REPRESENTED at this meeting. Neither Scooter Tedder or Mike Flint (the alternate) attended the meeting. We are not assessing who was at fault here, but, in a situation like this, with the town of Salisbury holding the largest voting block, to have no representation for the people of Salisbury is a crime, and should not happen again. (That, in our opinion, and everyone else at the meeting) was disgraceful, and embarrassing to Salisbury
8) Congratulations! All of the First Selectmen from all six towns were in attendance at the meeting (see what a little prodding will do!)
9) The budget was approved this was and will go to a vote for a fifth time on August 20th.
Yesterday Region One Report learned the Athletic Director at Housy resigned, then we learned last that week Rene Slonaker resigned from grades 5-6 in North Canaan, and that Jason Conway had resigned as physical education teacher in Sharon!!!
Is it me, or does this seem like a rather high rate when you add in the 3 High School teachers who were fired, then re-hired, and then resigned…
As a former student rep to the board of ed, I believe it is time that I enter this conversation. It is becoming quite tiresome listening to the opinions of community members who have not attended the school in 25+ years, and seem relatively disconnected from the ACTUAL issues. During my service on the board, I found it shocking that the BOE members rarely questioned anything brought forward to the board. In fact, there was only one board member (at the time) that ever questioned a single thing brought forth. In my eyes, the members of the board were responsible for questioning and discussing issues brought before them. I graduated with a sense that the administration ran the school without checks and balances, and any student of history knows that unchecked power perpetuates abuses. Now, with that said, no matter how despicable the administration is (though “pathetic” may be a more appropriate word), that is not the issue at hand and we as a community have allowed it to become the main focus. We are currently punishing the teachers who work incredibly hard, because they care about the students. Furthermore, we are punishing the students who are devoted to learning, growing, and extracurricular experiences. I do not support the proposed budget, because I do not believe it is in the best interests of the students. When I graduated I was proud to have been a Housatonic student. I felt successful and I saw my peers as successful. I no longer feel that way about the school. I am embarrassed when I hear about large percentages of freshmen classes failing. I am embarrassed when I hear athletic teams are no longer competitive. Most importantly, I am heartbroken when I talk to my favorite teachers and I can feel a discouragement that was certainly not present while I attended. Decreasing the budget does not solve a single on of these problems, and neither does complaining about the administration. It is time that we as a community put our most precious resource first and take care of the teachers and students that resource serves, not the entitled circus running it.
So, Sharon’s First Selectman just does not get it…surprised? NOT! Read his email back to Kent’s First Selectman Bruce Adams about a possible letter regarding the Region One Budget where Mr. Loucks blames WHDD for the budget defeat…..
On Jul 24, 2013, at 8:43 AM, Robert Loucks <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Yes, It’s time to let the Administrators run our Schools and not the local radio station and etc. Bob