For full editorial
One more piece of an extended denouement
It’s unfortunate it had to come to this.
The dysfunction that overtook the relationship of the Region One Board of Education and its administration in the run-up to the approval of last year’s Region One budget (only after seven tries) was invasive and destructive. It permeated the atmosphere of the high school and the region, as well as damaging the longstanding, generally positive relationship Region One voters had with their high school, pupil services and central office.
The budgetary changes made during the seven proposals leading to the ultimate approval of the 2013-2014 Region One budget included increases in the legal expense line. This was because even at that time, it seemed the leaders of our regional school district weren’t able to solve their differences without resorting to court cases. It is therefore a relief that a case stemming from that time period has finally come to a conclusion. Yet some regret cannot be avoided, as well, acknowledging that the money and energy consumed by these court cases have sapped resources that could have been better spent.
The case was Goncalves v. Toensing, which was dropped on Oct. 31 (see stories by reporter Patrick Sullivan atwww.tricornernews.com or in the print Lakeville Journals of Nov. 6 and Nov. 13.) Former Assistant Superintendent Diane Goncalves was suing for defamation the former Region One board member Gale Toensing, who had been the elected Falls Village representative. The settlement included Goncalves leaving the district through early retirement as of Oct. 31, while receiving her full year’s salary of $140,976, and health insurance through June 30, 2018, in addition to other benefits.
Superintendent Patricia Chamberlain has said that she will be taking over Goncalves’ duties for the immediate future. This raises the question of whether that may be an overwhelming task, in that previously the responsibilities were attended to by a highly paid full-time employee. But if this is not an untenable situation for the superintendent, it raises another question as to whether the region needs that full-time assistant superintendent position as part of its structure.