The Region One Board Of Education meets tonight at 6:00 PM at the library at Housatonic Valley Regional High School. Please go, watch, listen, and comment (if you like) during the public comment section….STAY INVOLVED!
Yes, the budget passes. But there is a definite trend..a look at the number reveals quite a bit…
1) The budget passed because two towns voted heavily in favor (Salisbury 172-91) (Kent 74-18)
2) In the four other towns, the budget was defeated 298-254
3) Cornwall (the home of Region One chair Phil Hart) the budget passed by only 15 votes…the closest in over 10 years…
So, we now have the beginnings of an active, informed, interested taxpayer base that will grow over the next year. Attend more meetings, vote , participate in the process….we can make a difference, and we can be heard!
The struggle to change the way the contracts are written will continue, let’s see if we can work to make a change by next year.
We know how tough it is to vote down a Region One Budget. And we know there are some that will say we are against education. Well that is poppycock.
Spend the money on programs, and teachers and support staff. The administration in Region One is adequately paid, and its good money, no, make that great money as well.
Let them get new contracts as they should, when their current contract expires!
GET OUT THERE AND VOTE!!!!!! As we write this there are under four hours to go in the referendum. EVERY VOTE COUNTS! Please make yours count today.
And thanks for the great response…remember, this is not a path that is quickly traveled. So far we have a toe-hold, we are now looking for a foot-hold, but, we have made great progress this year. It will be a long process to get our Board Of Education and Administration to let us be the full partners we should be. We have only just begun.
THOMASTON — The Board of Education at a special meeting Tuesday hired a new business manager.
Superintendent Lynda J. Mitchell said the board chose to hire Nancy O’Dea-Wyrick because of her broad experience in both municipal government and managing school districtsfinances. She will fill the position vacated by outgoing business manager Sue Laone, who is leaving to run the business office for Region 10 schools in Burlington.
O’Dea-Wyrick of Kent is a member of the Board of Finance there and has been business manager of school districts in Monore and Derby. She was most recently an interim business manager in a North Haven school district.
“She will be a great replacement for Sue,” Mitchell said. “She has an interesting balance between the whole community piece, leadership piece and education leadership piece.”
O’Dea-Wyrick, one of six candidates who was seeking the job, will be paid an $80,000 annual salary and will oversee the school’s $14 million budget. Laone, who was business manager for seven years was paid a little more than $90,000 last year.
O’Dea-Wyrick, who also served two terms on the Kent Board of Selectmen and Board of Education, said that experience will help her with her new job.
“I have got three perspectives beside the central office perspective,” she said. “I look forward to getting to know the people in the community and working with them.”
Seems strange to us that the Region One Administration only uses the “ALL CALL” system when it appears the budget vote is in doubt. We have been informed by people tonight that the “ALL CALL” system is in use again tonight to get out the vote. Now, this would not be a bad idea, but why is it ONLY used by the administration when there appears to be a budget vote in doubt. Why not use it to get people out at the Board Of Education meetings? Why not use it to get people out to budget hearings? Why? A simple answer…..when the administration contracts are in doubt, that is the time they use it.
There has been NO compromise by the administration, make your own “ALL CALL” and “ALL EMAIL” and get your friends and neighbors to vote NO May 31. Lets bring the administration and the board back to the negotiating table!
(please click on link above for letter)
This letter explains all that needs to be said on the inappropriateness of the Region One Contracts for administrators. VOTE NO ON MAY (please click on link above for letter) 31 on the Region One Budget.
New budget proposal includes administrators’ raises, benefits
Voters will go to the polls again on May 31 for a second vote on Region 1’s proposed budget for 2012-2013, having soundly rejected the first one by 570-472 in early May. At that same referendum voters overwhelmingly approved two high school building projects totaling $3.6 million by votes of 789-254 and 793-251, indicating that the reason for the rejected budget had nothing to do with money. On the contrary, the main objections the board heard about the proposed budget concerned “central office” administrators’ raises, contract extensions, extra days off, an annuity and other benefits.
Board Chairman Phil Hart and Superintendent Patricia Chamberlain claim that since the majority of the board voted to approve the contract changes prior to the first referendum that they are “legal contracts” that must be “honored.” The attorney for three of the Region 1 towns – Falls Village, Sharon and North Canaan, says the contract changes are not legal until taxpayers pass a budget. Commonsense asks: How could raises and other financial benefits included in a proposed budget be legal when taxpayers haven’t voted to approve the budget and appropriate the funds to pay for the raises and other benefits?
In addition to insisting that a board majority approval – not voter approval — is all that’s needed to make the contracts legal, Mr. Hart, apparently speaking on behalf of the administrators, suggested in an open meeting of the board on May 17 that the administrators might sue the Region 1 board – meaning, the taxpayers of the region — if they don’t get their raises and other benefits. He encouraged the board to ask the administrators for an alleged “concession” — to give up the one-year contract extension that the board majority had approved. The administrators agreed to give up the extension, but in the new proposed budget they still get to keep their raises, extra vacation days, an annuity and other expensive benefits that do nothing whatsoever to improve student learning or ease the financial burden on Region 1 taxpayers. Furthermore, if the new proposed budget is approved, those raises and extra benefits will be the starting point for the administrators’ contract negotiations next year.
To sweeten the deal or perhaps distract attention from the fact that the board majority is again fattening the administrators’ contracts with pay packets that range from over $100,000 to around $180,000, taxpayers are being offered around $278,000 in high school budget cuts that no one asked for and which could adversely affect student programs and building improvements. Common sense asks: How are these cuts possible now when we were told they were so necessary just a little while ago when the budget proposal was presented?
Our democracy provides the right for voters to make choices. This is an appeal to all Region 1 voters to vote in the proposed budget referendum on May 31 and let your choices be heard.
Gale Courey Toensing
In her own words: Here is Patricia Chamberlain, at the March 28 Region One Board Meeting answering this statement from Gale Toensing, the majority vote does not take effect until the budget is passed…”that is correct”.