Letter from Ed Epstein Reply

To the Editor:
Sadly, I will be voting NO for the sixth time on the Region One budget. I thought progress was being made on getting the Central Office Administrators to give up the final year of their contract.  The Superintendent agreed.  The Assistant Superintendent has not been at recent meetings, so we cannot  get a response.
Attending the recent board meeting on September 9, it was good to hear from HVRHS students that their year has gotten off to a smooth start.  Interim Principal Ian Strever appears to be doing well.  That is all good news.
So why not support the budget if things are going well?  There are many reasons.
—After the fifth budget defeat, the Region One board did NOTHING to adjust the budget.  The Business Manager made technical charges, increasing the budget by $3000, but the Board never even discussed the budget.  This “public be damned” attitude is disgraceful.
—The Central Office Administration is not doing a good job leading the region.  There is turmoil in most of the elementary schools, and that will continue until there is new leadership.  Many of the teacher departures last June, both retirement and other resignations, were the result of that local turmoil.
—The Chairman of the Region One Board is not providing effective leadership.  He stifles discussion at board meetings and he makes statements that are not correct.  And, he does not make those statements in a place where there can be discussion.  He doesn’t share necessary information with the entire Region One Board.  He shares much board information with a local Kent blogger, and he limits public statements to three minutes.  Neither he, nor anyone else, responds to public comment.
—The local board chairpersons (the All Boards Committe) need to see that their effort to rush to renegotiate administrator contracts last spring, despite strong public protest, was an egregious error.  Hopefully after the November elections, there will be some new chairpersons.
—Finally, the effort by five First Selectmen, pushed for before the fifth vote, seems to have fizzled.  None of them were at the last board meeting, and it appears they have lost interest in the process.
School will continue, bills will be paid, and students will learn.  But it is important, in order to ensure that a change in leadership will come soon, to keep voting NO on September 17, from 12-8 pm.
Ed Epstein,

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