Here are some interesting quotes from today’s story…..
Andrea L. Downs, the town’s representative to the Region 1 Board of Education and its chairman, said some sections of the current governance section in the region’s policies are confusing or lack information. One issue that is not clear is how any of the six towns can withdraw from the pact. She said the law allows it, but it is not spelled out.Downs said when discussing shared services, emotions sometimes enter the discussion. She gave as an example the question of a middle school athletic director, which was taken up a few years ago. The board put together a subcommittee to work on the issue. That subcommittee thought $20,000 was a fair salary for the position, but the school board vetoed it because some local boards said they couldn’t afford their share. “The question is, ‘Where is the power?'” Downs said. “Who’s responsible for making those decisions? The budget falls under the purview of the Region 1 board, but there are items that are important to the elementary schools.” She wondered how they can work collaboratively, so the needs of both the high school and the elementary schools are met and yet an acceptable budget can still be presented. Every community has different needs, she said.
Superintendent Patricia Chamberlain said a decision should be made whether to give the ABC Committee more of a say or get rid of it. “I don’t need an eighth board of education,” she said. “Either it has a role to play or not.”
Downs said she sees her role as representing her town when it comes to the budget, but when talking about shared services, she must consider what she hears at the local board level.”Personally I can’t work in a vacuum,” she told board members. “We should work as a collaboration. You’re also my constituency. I can’t say all board members operate like that. I question whether all board members share my philosophy.”
Andrea is dead on….
And Pat..well it’s not the ABC that needs to go….
From the story: “Superintendent Patricia Chamberlain said a decision should be made whether to give the ABC Committee more of a say or get rid of it. ‘I don’t need an eighth board of education,’ she said. ‘Either it has a role to play or not.'”
Another outrageous example of the superintendent overstepping the boundaries of her position and authority. She needs to be reminded — as she was during last year’s budget season and will be again if the ABC COMMITTEE tries to extend her contract next year — that she is an EMPLOYEE of the Region 1 Board of Education, which is the governing body of the school district. She has no authority as superintendent over the governance structure of the region. The governance structure of the region is not and should not be determined by her need or lack of need for the number of boards or any other of her needs. IT SHOULD BE DETERMINED BY THE NEEDS OF THE STUDENTS — WHAT SERVES THEM BEST? For her to pipe in about her need in this context indicates not only monumental chutzpah but a narcissism so enormous that it’s clear she has no idea of how others perceive her.
That said, I applaud her option to get rid of the ABC Committee — although she is being disingenuous in saying that and I’ll get to that in a minute.. What has the ABC Committee done to improve learning and teaching in our elementary school students? Nothing. What it has done is create chaos in the region by overstepping ITS boundaries and authority (examples provided on request) in actions that are probably legally questionable. Basically, since around 2010 the ABC Committee has been guided by the superintendent to make a bid for power to take on more of the governance of the district, particularly with regard to her job evaluation, raises, etc. She wants the ABC Committee to have this power because she can manipulate the ABC Committee in a way she cannot manipulate the Region 1 board.
The ABC Committee is a committee of the Region1 Board of Education, just like the policy committee, the personnel committee, etc. It’s bogus for the ABC Committee — or rather, SOME of its members to claim they need a greater say in hiring and evaluating the superintendent or any other issue: They already HAVE a say through their representatives on the Region 1 board, which by statute is the governing body of the region.
The 7000 Series dealing with the ABC Committee is badly written, confusing and useless — the board should get rid of it. And if the ABC Committee can’t reformulate itself into a body concerned with student learning in the elementary schools and other common concerns centered on STUDENTS — not administrators — the board should disband it. After all, as the legally established governing body of the region the board has the authority to create its committees — and to un-create them.
–Gale Courey Toensing