Statements for Region 1 Board of Education Special Meeting March 28, 2012 –Gale Courey Toensing 14

On “Chair Comment” (to Phil  Hart)

Now that you’ve set the precedent of providing one member of this board with the opportunity to be on the agenda to comment in public, from this time forward there must be equal time set aside for any one member or all members to be on the agenda to comment in public.

Without provisions in the statutes or our own bylaws giving special status to any one member – and there are no such provisions – then all members are necessarily equal with equal rights of participation. If there’s time set aside for one member to be on the agenda and comment then there must be equal time set aside for every other member to be on the agenda to comment.  If one member has that privilege, than all members must have that privilege otherwise you’re violating 500 years of common law, parliamentary law, state statutes, our own bylaws, and the equal protections rights of the Constitution’s 14th Amendment.

On Pay Raises and Contract Extensions:

I will vote again, as I did last year, against pay increases, more days off, and contract extensions for the administrative staff  because to vote for these increases, in my opinion and according to my conscience, would express alack of consideration for the taxpayers of Region 1. The recession has not gone away. We are still living in a time of economic and political peril. There is instability, uncertainty and saber-rattling in the worldm making it impossible to know what the next few years will bring even in terms of the cost of fuel. We know there are some very wealthy taxpayers in Region 1. We also know the majority of people are not among them. The majority of people are hardworking employees, some of whom have lost their jobs, some of whom have lost or may lose their homes, many of whom make well below the middle class median household income of around $50,000 for a family of four, and most of whom have not had raises for the past few years, or whose raises have not even met the almost 3 percent increase in the Consumer Price Index. By contrast, there’s no hardship in the administrators’ present compensation packages which range from over $100,000 to more than $160,000. Region 1 taxpayers will be asked to bear an additional tax burden for necessary and mandated repairs to the high school building. To ask them to pay for raises for people who already earn so much money is, to me, unthinkable. Any budget increases at this point should be directed toward improving student learning.

On Free Speech; Advocacy and Opposition

The Region 1 Board of Education is a body politic and a corporate political subdivision of the state and therefore it is governed by the political process in the same way that the state is.

With respect to the people who participate in the political process, there can be no proper restraints placed on them with regard to speech or advocacy or opposition to public policies.   Our budget is a public policy. In fact, ourpolicy book says:  “The Regional School Board regards its annual budget as a basic policy document through which the District’s plans for the improvement of the secondary school program are expressed.”  To claim, as some people have claimed, that once a majority of this board votes on an issue then everyone on the board is required to “speak with one voice” is as unconsidered as it would be to say that a member of Congress or the Senate could not advocate against a majority vote that passes legislation – or even to try to overturn legislation after it passes as we see this week in the SCOTUS oral arguments over the  health insurance law.

Also, when we’re elected we take an oath of office to represent our constituents to the best of our ability. With respect to the oath of office we have a duty to advocate as we see best.  Oaths are about truth. So it’s not that we’re just permitted to speak the truth as we see it, we have a duty to do so. In other words, if you think something is wrong you have a duty to your constituents to stand up against it. History buffs may recall Abe Lincoln’s Cooper Union address during a presidential election when he said words to the effect that if he, Lincoln, did what Senator Douglas thought was right, he’d be perjuring himself on his oath of office.  Douglas wanted to extend slavery into what they then called the territories and Lincoln was against it.

To say that a person on a board has to advocate for the majority vote, that a minority view has to shut up and not express and, yes, even lobby against a majority vote that he or she is against, is in fact a seditious notion.Additionally, there are numerous lawsuits that have been lost over attempts to gag school board members from exercising their right of free speech to advocate against majority decisions by their board colleagues;.


God, Mark Twain wrote, made idiots for practice, and only then proceeded to make school boards Reply


From The Register Citizen March 24

God, Mark Twain wrote, made idiots for practice, and only then proceeded to make school boards. Governor Malloy seems to concur, proposing, among his education reforms, to deprive school boards of the authority to hire and fire teachers and instead vest that authority exclusively with school superintendents.

As a practical matter this probably wouldn’t make much difference, since most Connecticut school board members long have been mere ciphers, taking direction from the superintendent they hire rather than giving him direction. And why not? These days a Connecticut school board can’t do much more than sign off on contract arbitration awards for their unionized employees. Most of a school budget is formally considered off limits to democracy, constituted by the “fixed costs” of employee compensation, transportation, and utilities, and most matters of ordinary school administration are tightly constrained by either state or federal law. So these days Connecticut’s school systems pretty much run themselves — often into the ground.

But there’s a problem with the governor’s proposal in principle, and that principle is quaint old democracy. If a school board’s authority is to be even more limited than it is already and if the public’s ability to influence the direction of its schools is to be reduced to nothing, there’s little reason to have school boards in the first place. In that case the superintendents themselves should be elected, though of course they would never accept the accountability that would come with that.

The governor’s proposal underscores a big problem with public education in Connecticut — that so little of it is public. Removing hiring authority from school boards will only give board members another excuse to shrug helplessly in the face of complaints, and public education already is full enough of excuses.

Looks like most of our Region One Board, eh!?

Read the full story here….scary stuff…..

Patricia’s mean, nasty and not accurate side erupts again last night…. 2

Patricia once again showed her fangs, nasty attitude, and wrong information as she did last month, this time with long time Kent Principal Ed Epstein…claiming that Epstein had a three-year contract when he retired…Ed had 22 one year contracts before that one three-year retirement contract.  She said she knew that to Ed after the meeting last night.  Again, classless, arrogant, mean,and not truthful by our superintendent…her true colors show thru.

Phil Hart and the Region One BOE said our Superintendent is underpaid compared to the other districts…LOOK at this story from The Republican-American today….AGAIN more untruths and mis-information 4

Kloczko merits an ovation

New city school head brings passion for children to job



TORRINGTON — The Board of Education on Wednesday confirmed Cheryl F. Kloczko as the district’s new superinten­dent of schools and was greeted with a standing ovation from an audience of about 30 teachers and parents.

The board also announced Kloczko’s salary as $142,250 an­nually, the same salary paid to former Superintendent Christo­pher G. Leone who left the dis­trict in August. Kloczko said in remarks Wednesday evening that “for all you teachers and community members, we’re in this together.”

And while Rome burns, the administration fiddles…and gets raises 1

Republican-American Wednesday , March 28


FALLS VILLAGE — If the Region 1 Board of Education gives its approval, residents will be asked to vote on two questions at the upcoming budget referendum on May 8: the proposed budget and an ap­propriation for a building proj­ect that includes reroofing a portion of Housatonic Valley Regional High School, an up­grade to heating systems and meeting requirements for handicapped access.

The standing building com­mittee of Region 1 is recom­mending the work be combined into one large project, taking into consideration the histori­cally low interest rates current­ly in place, said Business Manager Samuel J. Herrick.

“Members consider the dis­trict’s debt service require­ments and other liabilities when scheduling capital projects and its impact on the budget. They believe they can achieve sav­ings through economies of scale of managing the work as one project rather than three indi­vidual projects.”

Committee Chairman Frank Perotti of Canaan said he favors adding the work required byt the Americans with Disabilities Act into the plan. “We have no choice. It has to be done to meet the requirements. We won’t be doing all of it this year, but we have to come up with a plan.”

He said the district will be getting 43.2 percent reimburse­ment, “which is a help.”

Working with Jacunski Humes Architects from Berlin, and ADA compliance consult­ant Christopher Laux, the com­mittee came up with the proposal that has a price of $3.5 million.

After taking grants into con­sideration, the cost of the roof to taxpayers will be $1.3 million; the heating system, $260,000; and the ADA piece, $738,270, leaving a bond issue amount of $2.3 million. Grants are avail­able for the roof and ADA work, but not the heating system.

Here we go again, more raises for the administration, more rewriting of the contracts after they were torn up and re-written just last year! When is enough going to be enough!? 1

From today’s Republican-American

FALLS VILLAGE — The All Boards Committee of Region 1 has recommended 2 percent or 3 percent raises and added one­year contract extensions to 2015 for central office staff.
The proposal is now forwarded to the Region 1 Board of Education, which is the body authorized to set those employ­ment conditions. The board is meeting tonight at 5 to finish the 2012-2013 budget, which will include those costs, if approved.
The same contract extension proposal was made last year and there was resistance by residents who said such a procedure ties the hands of future boards. Members of the ABC Committee, which is made up of the chairmen of the region’s seven boards of education, as well as some on the school board, said not extending the contracts would give a message to the administrators about their performances and might send a signal they should look for other jobs.

Attorney Judith Dixon was asked by the Falls Village Board of Selectmen to comment on the procedure last year. She wrote a letter expressing her concern about the contract ex­tensions, calling the move a poor business practice that places both the superintendent and assistant superintendent in a much superior bargaining position to the school board. Dixon also is town attorney for Sharon and Canaan.

At a recent meeting, ABC Committee members voted to offer Superintendent Patricia Chamberlain a 2 percent increase, a one-year contract extension to 2015, five more vacation days, amounting to 25 days total, and three more personal days, for a total of five. The proposal also continues to pay the annuity included in her salary. Her salary will be $160,407. Assistant Superintendent Diane Goncalves will earn an additional 2 percent, bringing her salary to $135,502, a one-year contract extension to 2015 and a $2,500 annuity.

Business Manager Samuel J. Herrick will get a 2 percent raise, plus a 1 percent salary adjustment, bringing his total to $110,183. His contract will be extended to 2015.

The proposal for Director of Pupil Services Carl Gross is a 2 percent salary increase and a 1 percent salary adjustment. He will earn $124,027 next year and also receive a one-year contract extension to 2015.

Martha Schwaikert, supervisor of special education, is slated is get a 2 percent raise and a contract extension to 2015. The committee also voted to add 10 days to her work year, going from 200 to 210. She will earn an additional $4,785 for the extra days, making her complete package $102,495.


What!  “chairman’s comments”!  The Region One Board Of Education meetings are comments and information from board members all night long…has anyone ever heard of a chairman putting himself on the agenda for his own personal comments?!!! Imagine if Gale would try and do that…she would be shot down in a minute. Phil Hart is showing more and more that he is NOT qualified to be chairman of the Region One Board, period.