The Region One superintendents contract has extended one year even though the ABC and Region One board guaranteed two years ago that there would be no more one year extentions given with administrators contract… Reply

The following is my personal opinion. Next board of education elections, I urge for you to vote in all new members on the Region One Board. This is a very dissapointing development.

The Region One superintendents contract has extended one year even though the ABC and Region One board guaranteed two years ago that there would be no more one year extentions given with administrators contract…

By the way, to sneak this thru without having to worry about a budget defeat, they waited for the first time EVER, to do this AFTER the budget vote Is it not great We have board members (excluding Laura Mittaud) that went back on their promise of two years ago, and did not even have the guts to do it before the budget vote. Yes, that’s real leadership and honesty.

The Region 1 Board of Education and the All Board Chairmen (ABC) Committee extended Superintendent Patricia Chamberlain’s contract to 2017 during a joint meeting Wednesday, the ABC Committee recommended to the school board that one year be added to her contract, which is scheduled to end June 30, 2016. She intends to retire in June 2017. As an additional part of her agreement she will receive health insurance for two years after she retires, but the board will not contribute to her Health Savings Plan, as it does now. She will also receive an additional one-time stipend of 15 percent of her salary, a figure that does not include her current annuity. Her salary this year is $160,590. The annuity, based on 6 percent of her salary, this year comes to $9,635.

Sure lets give an additional buy-out and extra taxpayers money to a superintendent over the past four years that has done the following:

1) Cost the district almost $300,000 in legal and buyout costs with the law suit against the district against her.
2) Cost the district ovcer $25,000 in legal fees with the loss of the residency suit in Kent.
3) Cost the district almost an additional $2000,000.00 in the buyout of the former assistant superintendent.

Great use of taxpayer money Region One Board and ABC.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT from Pat Mechare Reply


The superintendent of schools of Regional School District # 1 has to be notified by August 31st if there will be a continuation of her employment.  It is certain that her employment will be extended if she so chooses.

The individuals responsible for the salary and benefit decisions should remember that his/her first allegiance is to the taxpayers of our region, period.  These same people are tough as nails on the local level when it comes to negotiation with certified and non-certified personnel.  The same is true of other “central office” unionized administrative personnel.  It’s time to apply that same standard to the superintendent. Last fall the Regional School District #1’s board of education foolishly, in my opinion, approved a package to a “central office” administrator that was disguised as a “retirement” package after only 5 years of service in the district.  That move cost the taxpayers of our region, out of our pockets almost $150,000.  Up to that point, never in the history of our district to my knowledge, had a central office administrator received any sort of package upon retirement nor was any language then or now included in any administrative agreement.  I told my town’s representative on the Regional School District #1 Board of Education and our town’s representative to the ABC committee at that time to what this would lead. That decision has left the door opened for non-union “central office” administrators to attempt to include such language in any future contract when negotiating with the responsible entity.  It shouldn’t be done!

Most Board members and certainly the public have no idea what a generous salary and other benefits are currently provided to the superintendent.

Here are a few examples

  1. The superintendent is the highest paid public official in the

six town school region.  For 2015-2016 the cash component

of her base salary is $160,590.

  1. In addition, she is given 6% of her salary for the specific purpose of

investing in a 403 (b) annuity.  For 2015-2016 that amounts to

$9635. Note that every time she has an increase in her base salary

she also has an automatic increase in the amount of her annuity.

  1. The IRS describes that annuity as a tax sheltered retirement which

can be used at the age of  59 ½ without incurring any penalty.

Taxpayers have funded this plan for her in anticipation of her

eventual retirement. It is my understanding that for all

except her first year of her employment in Regional School

District #1 she has received an annuity, ranging from $3000

to the current amount.  It appears that taxpayers over the

years have easily contributed in excess of $ 80,000 to the plan.

  1. While her contract states her work year is 260 days that is misleading,

as it does not count 25 days of vacation (5 weeks), 8 federal holidays

and 5 personal days which she uses or loses, with the exception of 10 vacation days which she can carry over to the next fiscal year.

That brings her actual work year to 222 days. Additionally she has 5 bereavement days annually should she need them.

  1. The district pays for a $220,000 term life insurance policy and also pays $500 toward a disability insurance.
  1. The contract allows for unlimited expenditures for continued education with no conditions for restrictions, approvals or oversight. Since 2010 taxpayers have paid over $40,000 to the superintendent as she pursues a doctoral degree, with more money for that purpose currently budgeted.
  1.   She is also provided with health and dental benefits of which the Region

pays most of the cost.

Under the current circumstances and given the blunder made with the former “central office” administrator, it seems likely that the superintendent would ask for, at the minimum, a contract extension of some duration that provides for an increase in her salary and additional NEW language that provides for retirement benefits, which would likely include severance pay and health insurance coverage until she reaches 65.  Board members and taxpayers should understand that currently no language exists in her agreement for any of that, nor should it, going forward.  Region taxpayers have already been more than generous in contributing to a retirement fund for her.  She should not be given an advantage of health insurance coverage in retirement when others retirees, most who have served their district much longer, do not have the same benefit.  Based on this scenario the cost to taxpayers would be in the neighborhood of at least an additional $50,000 when she retired.

To make it clear, when the superintendent does retire it appears that she will have at least 28 years of service in Connecticut.  Based on the State’s teacher retirement formula of the average of her 3 years of highest earnings and the percentage used to determine an annual “normal” retirement payment, the superintendent would receive annually in excess of  $93,000 in a retirement benefit.  If she worked an additional year her annual benefit would be in excess of $98,000.  If she chose to pay into the Teacher Retirement system for those years that she worked out of state her annual pension would increase dramatically.  Even an addition of five years credit to the 28 years would increase her pension to an annual take of over $110,000.  Adding seven years to the 28 years would increase her annual pension to almost an $117,000 and if she contributed the maximum of 10 years from out of state, her pension would soar to over $125,000 annually.

Everyone should understand that there is a direct correlation between what she receives as a pension amount from the State and what the district has paid her annually.  She has been fairly treated.  If there is a contract extension her salary should remain as it is. No language should be added to provide for additional monies at retirement or a severance payment and there should not be any payment of health insurance once she is retired.  It’s time to exercise fiscal responsibility given what this district has already so generously provided the superintendent.

Ten Signs Your Child Is in a Failing School District This article says it all!!! Click the link and see how many of these apply to Region One…scary! 1

Ten Signs Your Child Is in a Failing School District

Click on above link for full story.

But as I see it, we suffer from FIVE of the ten. But the beat goes on…make sure you read the full story by clicking the link above.

2. Teachers are overwhelmed with requests for data– Any time teachers are spending more time providing data for the bean counters in administration, it is a good indication that your school has gone astray. Most of that data is supplied through the use of one practice standardized test after another. In recent years, the situation has grown worse with many school districts adding costly practice tests given multiple times during the year. These not only take away from instructional time, but they also strip the children of any love of learning and they provide overly generous fees to the testing companies. What is worse, the expensive practice tests, whether students do well on them or not, provide no guarantee of success on the high stakes test at the end of the school year.

5. The message is tightly controlled, eliminating constructive criticism– At one time, the top administrators in public school districts were invariably educators who worked their way through the system, spending years in the classroom before going into administration. Nowadays, many top administrators have only spent three years or less in the classroom and are more like CEOs and executive vice presidents than educators. This had led to a culture shift with an overemphasis on public relations. Anyone in the school district or in the community who dares to question a decision is accused of trying to “hurt the children” or “attack teachers.” When administrators surround themselves with yes-men and strictly control the message, it makes it much more likely that mistakes are going to be made, at a cost to the children and to the taxpayers.

6. School Board members serve as rubber stamps– Over the past few decades, the role of boards of education has changed dramatically. In many communities, the board of education acts more like the board of directors of a Fortune 500 company, rubber stamping whatever the superintendent or top administrator does without question. That is not what voters expect when they elect school board members. Obviously, you do not want to have board members looking over administrators’ shoulders every minute of every day, but when the board of education places blind trust in anyone it increases the odds that something disastrous will happen. One of the major criticisms lodged against board members is that they “have an agenda,” as if that is something bad. If the agenda is to stop out-of-control spending, or place more emphasis on education, what is wrong with that? When boards serve as rubber stamps for any administrator, they are effectively taking away local control of our school districts.

7,. The community is not involved in its schools- In many school districts, the community is kept at arm’s length until it is time to pass another bond issue or tax levy increase. Or the community involvement is restricted to a carefully selected group of business and civic leaders or the spouses of those leaders. A successful school district is one in which the involvement is organic and comes from all segments of the community, not just the ones who are needed when it comes time to ask for money. In some school districts, the community is asked for its input and then guided to give the input the administrators are seeking so they can say whatever initiative they have has the support of the community. That is not community involvement; that is pure spin.

8. The district is top heavy with administrators- While there is certainly a need to have strong, capable administrators directing a school district, administration tends to grow far more than is necessary, using funds that could be spent much better in the classroom. Rule of thumb, the more executive directors of anything that you have, the more problems your school district is going to have.