An alternate look at news, views, opinions, stories, and information on the administration of The Region One School District in Connecticut, and when you post, you do NOT have to fill in your email or name…
BULLETIN BOARD (for comments, thoughts and observations) post your random thoughts here
Upon review of the Superintendent’s Office budget I found the salary and pension benefit lines totally misleading. Is Diane Goncalves current year’s salary $135,502 or $132,845? If it’s $132,845, how can the budget dated 3/2/12 show the 2% increase before the Board approval of 3/28/12? And the Superintendent Office budget does not indicate how much Patricia Chamberlain receives for her annuity. Can they put a footnote at least to indicate the annuity dollars? Now the budget is showing a combined figure, Salary/Annuity. It does not make sense to the public. Is the administration trying to hide something?
The Falls Village representative on the
Region 1 Board of Education
will hold a community meeting to discuss
Region 1’s proposed budget for 2012-2013,
the building projects at the high school,
and recent events on the board.
Where: Town Hall, Main Street, Falls Village
When: Thursday, April 19, 2012, 7 p.m.
Why: To have a conversation about Region 1’s proposed spending plan for 2012-2013, the renovation and compliance projects at Housatonic Valley Regional High School, and recent actions by the Board of Education.
Please come to the meeting and share your thoughts on the budget proposal and initiatives that you would like to see put forward at the Region 1 Board of Education. I’m looking forward to seeing you and hearing your ideas!
With good wishes from your Village rep,
Gale Courey Toensing
I am a student at HVRHS, I am an upperclassmen. I would just like to say that the political nonsense between certain department chairs and teachers and central office administrators that goes on in Housy during the day is ridiculous. There are teachers that are in high position in that school that do not deserve to be called a teacher because they do not teach, they do not care about the students, just about themselves and their power trips. The only reason that they haven’t been fired yet is because of their tenure that teachers can get so easily in this state. The Govenor’s education reform bill should pass to get rid of tenure, or atleast make the evaluations stricter. The poor performance of some of these teachers is not fair to the students. One never knows the impact that a teacher can have on a student.
I am also an upperclassman at Housy and I completely agree with the statement about the political nonsense at Housatonic Valley Regional High School. Many things in the “great” Northwest Corner are kept in closets because almost everyone is afraid to talk about them. The problems here in regards to the department chairs is something that needs to be adressed. Obviously since they are deeply rooted in the walls here at HVRHS it would be an interesting process to say the least. However for the future of the school’s students this issue needs to be tackled head on. Many teachers here feel that from the moment we walk in, we owe them something. Please let it be known that schools in general are for the students and teachers just work at them.
As well as the two above responses, I am also an upperclassmen at Housy. I completely agree with the above statements. The political nonsense and political games that go on within that school are ridiculous. The students are paying attention to it and we have had enough. It is not fair to the teachers who actually do care about the students and it certainly isn’t fair to the students. Teachers should be teachers so they can have a positive impact on students and their lives. They should be preparing us for the future, and most of the teachers at Housy are great and they truly do care about the students but those few teachers who care just about their power trips make the students not like Housy that much at all. It is a shame that the few teachers who don’t seem to care about the students are the ones who have a lot of “authority” within the school. The fact that they are focusing more on politics than actual education is a complete disgrace towards the entire educational profession and community and they should be deeply ashamed of themselves for acting like immature little children. Housy belongs to us the students, the teachers are there to teach US, not belittle us like those few teachers have been to not only us but other teachers in the building as well. Don’t get me wrong, the majority of the teachers at Housy are great and they want nothing to do with the politics that have consumed our school. In fact, there are even teachers at Housy who care enough to try and fight the politics at the school and I am very appreciative of those teachers, but those teachers also get bullied and shut down by those teachers who simply don’t care about doing the right thing for the school and for the students. This issue needs to be brought more to the public, because maybe then, this problem will finally be fixed.
What you describe was clearly articulated by the independent investigation by Attorney Jeffrey Pingpank in 2010. The problems he uncovered have not been addressed; in fact, they’ve festered and gotten worse. For students who may not be aware of the investigation, here is a link to the Pingpank report (pdf): http://www.straighttalkmedia.com/documentarchive/PingPank.pdf
— Gale Courey Toensing
A facebook page worth looking at. Proof that the bullying continues; and that some things never change, just the victim.
Since when is it okay to fire a guidance counselor for doing his job? That’s right, ITS NOT! Mr. Hurley is the best guidance counselor in that office. He has received the least amount of complaints. Something that the public should be aware of: THE HVRHS GUIDANCE COUNSELORS (with the exception of Mr. Hurley) ARE HORRIBLE. Don’t get me wrong, they are nice people for the most part…BUT they just really don’t know how to do their jobs (once again, with the exception of Mr. Hurley). Unfortunately, the public will never be able to see all the complaints from parents and students that are directed towards the guidance department. BUT let me assure you, there are a lot. There even was a student who tried addressing it with the administration but it was shut down after just a couple of meetings of nothing but talk and “he said she said” nonsense. After school is out, I will come forth with my name and more details. But these problems cannot wait to be addressed until then, it’s not fair to the teachers who try, the parents, and certainly not fair to the students. WE WANT OUR SCHOOL BACK!!!!
I would also like to inform the viewers of this great website that this website was banned at Housy for a little while, no administrator in Central Office seems to know how or why that happened either…hmm imagine that. However, this site is no longer banned at Housy, someone must have realized that we DO have the right to know about what is going on within the walls of our own school.
Submitted on 2012/05/12 at 10:15 pm
I am an upperclassman at HVRHS. As you all hopefully know, during the March BOE meeting it was suggested to the board that one of the schools guidance councilors (I will not say their name just in case this is considered deformation of character) should have their contract non-renewed because they were not tenured. As we all know the board accepted the suggestion. There is now a open facebook group
with student comments on the issue. There is also a petition that you can sign stating your support for their position. In my opinion, and hopefully in yours as well, he has done nothing wrong and this is just another example of the politics that have plagued this great region for years.
I am in full support of this guidance councilor and like many others I believe this issue should not be swept under the table.
How do I get to the petition if I do not have Facebook? I would like to sign it but do not have Facebook.
go to change.org and in the website’s search bar, type in “Keep Mr. Hurley’s job”, and then click on the link
Okay so here’s my question….if students are not allowed be bullied by students then why are we getting bullied by a select few teachers? And those select few teachers are also bullying other teachers. Why is this continuing? Its not okay, and I’ll say this again….WE WANT OUR SCHOOL BACK!! we are tired all this bullying and political bull that goes on.
– a VERY concerened student
To the Editor;
This Thursday, I will vote YES to support the Region One budget. Since I was publicly opposed to the budget in the first vote, I feel it is important to explain my decision.
While I will vote for the budget, in no way does this mean support for the Region One Board or Central Office Administration. I am still as opposed the their actions (and inactions) as I have been for many months.
But for me, the budget should be passed at this time. The third year of the contracts has been removed, and if the Board and the Administration don’t see reality, I would hope these contracts are never extended.
There are other important factors at work here. Students will be hurt if the budget is voted down again. Programs will be cut and this would be sad.
There is another important point. Each of the six Region One towns is in limbo until the budget is passed. Tax Collectors, Boards of Selectmen and Finance, Registrars of Voters, Town Clerks and other local officials are impacted negatively by continual budget rejections. It costs money for each additional referendum, and with the end of the fiscal year, complicates the work of town auditors.
I believe that the issues that many of us have with Region One can be dealt with more productively once the budget is out of the way. In the fall, and before any budget talk begins, there should be public discussion on some or all of the following:
1, The Pingpank Report, which was done last year, has never been addressed. It needs to be. Despite Board opinion that it is “hearsay” and “he said, she said,” I believe it is very accurate and needs to be aired in public.
2. The whole issue of e-mails needs to be discussed. By e-mails I mean the ones that appear to be from a fictitious person, the ones that mysteriously disappeared which led to a grievance, and the ones to individuals of a cruel and bullying nature should all be discussed in public.
3. Finally, all the additions to the contracts that keep being added to existing contracts, are certainly in need of discussion.
But all of the above can be done, and should be done, once this current budget is passed. Thank you.
Ed Epstein, Kent, CT,
We can agree to disagree on this!
I still think one more NO vote will get our eventual goals accomplished quicker.
But respectful, thoughtful dissenting opinions like yours will always be welcome.
Why is it that teachers who receive multiple complaints from parents, students, and even colleagues, are still allowed to remain in the class rooms. They are not teachers, they are people who are in the teaching position who shouldn’t be allowed to be there!
This Wednesday , June 20th is Steve Hurley’s hearing at 3 pm at HVRHS. It is imperative that as many people in the community attend as possible. There is force in numbers. The board will see how much support Mr Hurley has, as long as people attend the hearing. I have read how much you all want things to change in Region 1. This is one way we can get things changed. Please consider attending and let your voice be heard. Thank you!
I would just like to say this…there are 3 department heads and a few teachers at Housy that should be completely ASHAMED of themselves and quite frankly I think they should be fired or resign immediately. Some of us students came up with a nick name for these 3…THE THREE STOOGES. The only reason I’m commenting about this is because I know that it will continue this school year and although I do not attend Housy anymore, I do have a sister who goes there and friends who go there and they shouldnt have to deal with it. Its not fair to them or the actual good teachers that try their hardest to keep Housy together. By the way, if anyone is wondering who these 3 stooges are, just look at the Pingpank report and I’m sure you can figure out pretty easily who they are. Also, for any students who post on this website, be careful because I was called in last year to a few different offices at Housy and I was questioned about this sight, even though then my posts were anonymous. Now that just doesn’t seem right now does it?
– Josh Prause
It’s not right. But not enough people are fighting the corrupt system. The community needs to become more aware of the fact that their school administration is opening them up to huge lawsuits, which they will probably wind up paying for right when the administrators most responsible have retired with nice padded retirement packages.
For the past several months it’s been very quiet here. I guess all is well in Region 1? No contracts to complain about?
We are just now getting into budget season, lets see what the budget looks like, and lets see if the way the contracts are awarded changes.
A letter I sent to Mr. Hart tonight regarding the proposed budget cuts.
Dear Mr. Hart,
My name is Joshua Prause, I am a 2012 graduate of HVRHS, I attend Barry University in Miami, Florida. It has come to my attention that four teachers of Housy are in jeopardy of losing their jobs due to a budget cut. It is also to my understanding that two of these teachers are Mrs. Leigh Connole and Mrs. Pam Aikman. Mrs. Connole was my English teacher for two different classes and Mrs. Aikman was my Math teacher for two years; both of these amazing teacherswere there to help me even when I was not one of their own students.
When I graduated in June of 2012, it was by a very slim margin, but due to the help and extra push from some of the Housy faculty members, (especially Mrs. Connole and Mrs. Aikman), I was able to graduate on time with my fellow classmates. Without their help I would not be where I am today, which is a proud college student. Mrs. Connole and Mrs. Aikman not only helped me during my years at Housy but they helped so many other students succeed as well. They are both extremely valuable and important to the HVRHS students because they are willing to go the extra mile to help the students, even if they are not even their own students. They do what all teachers should do, they help and care for the students even when they are not required to, even when they are not getting paid to do so (which is a lot more than I can say for some of the Housy faculty who have actually had students complain about them UNLIKE Mrs. Aikman and Mrs. Connole who deserve to stay).
Cutting Mrs. Connole and Mrs. Aikman out of the budget and therefore removing them from the Housy community will not only hurt the staff but most importantly, it will hurt the students (which would be doing the exact opposite of what your job or any other board members’ job entails). What I do not understand is why Mrs. Connole and Mrs. Aikman are even being considered part of the budget cut. The first things that should be cut from the budget before any teachers’ jobs should be the annual raises, the paid vacations, and the SIX (6) figure salaries of the Region One Administration.
The impact of Mrs. Connole and Mrs. Aikman not coming back to Housy will without a doubt be a negative one for the students. The effect that this will have on the students needs to be heavily considered because, after all, your jobs are to do what is best for the students (not all of this political drama that for some strange reason the Region One Board of Education has been caught up in these past couple of years) and it is my very strong belief, and that of many other former and current students as well, that not having these two great and caring teachers not coming back will not be what is best for the students.
I regret that I was not able to attend the April 3rd Board meetisng (due to the fact that I attend college in Florida) regarding this very important issue. Mrs. Connole and Mrs. Aikman have my utmost respect as teachers and as people and they deserve to come back to Housy. No more “hired last, so fired first” nonsense; look into the teachers that should not be there, the ones that actually have complaints against them (ask the students, not only listen but CONSIDER what they have to say). Once again I remind you that it is your jobs and duties to do what is best for the students, and who better to ask what is best for the students than the actual students. Trust me, students know more than you think they know when it comes to the working and political drama of Region One. I will NOT vote for the budget in May if the budget includes teachers being cut.
Thank you for your time and I hope and trust that the right decision will be made regarding this matter.
Joshua great letter but it will go to deaf ears. chairman hart does not care about anyone’s opinion. He only cares about giving housy administrators big fat raises,annuities, health insurance and paying their legal fees when they get sued. Time for Chairman Hart to resign!
On Page 4, this website invites folks to:
….Come to this session and you’ll take away a comprehensive plan for designing student success plans at the high school level with a particular emphasis on ways to improve the social and emotional growth of students making the transition to the ninth grade….
You’ll see the presenter is our own Diane Goncalves. Now she is an expert in Student Success? Hmmmm. Too bad she doesn’t practice what she preaches. Hopefully she’ll be able to attend the first morning session that day, and will reflect on how healthy her school climate is.
Going forward, let’s use the Region1Report as a vehicle for reporting objective news. Sarcasm, criticism and finger-pointing is unproductive (e.g. reporting on the recent school snow closing) and only serves to fuel unnecessary rancor. My expectation is that the new Region 1 Board of Education will admirably serve its constituents (students, parents and other taxpayers). So let’s give the Board a chance to do its job without creating distracting issues to deal with.
Thank you for your comments. The recent post on school closings was not sarcastic, but accurate. In our immediate area the following schools reported this way when Region One cancelled before a flake had fallen (and both times the 2 – 3 inches of accumulating snow happened after 1 PM (after early dismissal).
Southern Berkshire School District (Sheffield) had full school both days
Webutuck School District (Amenia) had early dismissals both days
Pine Plains School District had early dismissal on the first storm and a full day on the second storm.
Torrington closed the first storm and stayed open the second
This Region looks at all the far away school districts and follows suit, with our wild weather swings, we just used two full snow days while schools around us did not. This is an administrative decision that is questionable at best and is not questionable or sarcastic.
Deloros Perotti trying to take the rightful appointment of Laurie Perotti away as Alternate Region One Rep from North Canaan without consulting her school board was arrogant, and smacked of board practices in the past. She has now lost her chair at the ABC.
The post abut the Region One Board was anything but sarcastic, critical or finger pointing, ANYTHING but.
Jennifer is off to a great start as I said at the meeting. But Region One report will not, I repeat NOT accept the same from the administration. The post on School snow days and Deloros Perotti had nothing to do with our newly formed Region One Board.
They (the Region One Board) have earned our respect after the first meeting, unfortunately the jury is out on the administration.
We will take a wait and see position on the administration, and we will not take a back seat in voicing our dismay at some administrative decisions here on the Region One report, or at the Region One Board Meetings.
Why is there no notification to parents of the change in date of graduation this year?
When was the faculty/staff notified?
Who decided upon the date change?