An article for North Canaan residents 2

For the second year in a row, the teachers’ association cast a vote of no confidence in Superintendent Alicia Roy.

Amy Johnson, vice president of the New Fairfield Education Association, said in a Thursday school board meeting that the association stands behind last year’s vote, when 70 percent of teachers voted no confidence in Roy.

I just want you to know teachers feel their voices are still not being heard,” Johnson said. “It’s a top-down style of management, and we would really like to see a new road ahead of us.

“I’m just speaking for all of us and the way people are feeling,” Johnson said. “We hope that you consider what we’re saying.”

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A Letter From Denise Cohn To the entire Board and administration on the change in the budget….UFB 2!!! VOTE NO!!!! 8

Attached please find a draft of just page one of your revised budget compared to the one approved at the hearing – data was  downloaded from the Region1schools.org website.
Bob Whelan has stated on Facebook the only items changed are the expected expenditures in your revised budget. That is not true. Every column except 2016-2017 actuals have changed. The budget column for 2017-2018 has changed, the $ increase, the % increase and the bottom lines for every column, has been revised, including last year’s approved budget (used this year for comparisons).
Attached is an excel spreadsheet for just page one (its a long spreadsheet). The white columns are the original, the green is the revised and the yellow are the changes. You can also look for yourself at the bottom lines on each column between the two documents disseminated to the public.There are many changes and I cannot imagine how you can change the numbers in the 2017-2018 budget when it was approved a year ago.  This is very misleading and deceptive to the public.
Please also provide an explanation (either yourself or Bob since he has offered to be an expert on the budget and will answer any questions)
1) why the Superintendent Professional Development is now more than $10,000 over budget and what, exactly, has come up in the last 30 days to warrant an additional $5000 expenditure before the school year ends.
2) What are we spending an additional $10,000 on “Public Relations” – who are we paying and why?
3) How is it possible you expect to spend an additional $200k+ of the taxpayers money over and above what you presented to the public 30 days ago? It was stated those funds would go back to the individual towns – and now you have decided to spend half of it?
I will not argue with you on the legality of changing a document without board permission – let the State Election Commission sort all that out. But I would like an answer to the questions above.
Bob whelan FB reply

UFB!!!! 4

The superintendent of schools of region one has updated and put on their website a proposed 2018/19 updated budget… this is totally illegal as far as I know …and I spoke to three region one board members Who knew nothing of this updated budget.. no meeting was held …and the budget that was to be sent to the people has now changed
Since the region one board voted on and approved it..and they’re going to have a region one budget meeting the day before the budget vote and then present this budget …and as far as I know that’s not legal as we have not had a chance to look at it …this is an unbelievable situation developing in region one and we hope that you all call the region one offices at 860-824-0855 and express your disapproval this last minute

Region 1 blanketed by signs calling for ‘no’ vote at polls Budget foes cite grade policy 7

Region 1 blanketed by signs calling for ‘no’ vote at polls

Budget foes cite grade policy

REGION 1–Signs are sprouting up throughout the Region 1 towns urging voters to reject the 2018-19 proposed school budget even though the spending plan shows no increase from last year’s bottom line.

The group said to be responsible for the signs is hoping a no vote in the May 8 referendum will get the attention of school officials who they feel have been dismissive toward their complaints about the new grading system that doesn’t include failing grades.

The new grading system implemented in most of the region’s schools this year calls for those who receive a mark below 70 percent to receive an NYP, or not yet proficient. Students have many opportunities to raise their grades with tests and projects allowed to be redone until knowledge of the material presented is apparent.

Marshall Miles of Robin Hood Radio, an outspoken critic over the years of the school system’s operation, said the signs were created and put out by a group of parents and concerned citizens who have been vocal all year about how the system was implemented. They contend it was done too quickly, the teachers were not part of the process, some students are not working to their abilities because they know homework isn’t graded and are procrastinating about completing assignments.

Change in grading system in Region 1 handled poorly Patricia Allyn Mechare, Falls Village 3

This is in response to the April 15 letter “Disgruntled parents in Region 1 getting too much attention.” It was signed by Pam Vogel and Bob Whelan, superintendent of schools and Board of Education chairman, respectively.

Anyone reading the letter might have assumed other members of the board that governs Housatonic Valley High School sanctioned the publication. There never was any public discussion or action supporting this letter. Speaking for myself as the board’s representative for Falls Village, I knew nothing about this letter until I read it in The Sunday Republican.

For a number of years, I have observed a strained relationship between the “high-school” board and the public. At best, there seemed to be little tolerance for concerns raised during the board’s public-comment period. Further, the board was not particularly good at following through and reporting to the public the steps that were taken regarding questions or concerns raised at previous meetings. A few on the board seemed dismissive of anyone who raised concerns on any topic, especially if they involved Dr. Vogel. People who raised such concerns were referred to as uninformed, and accused of spreading rumors and/or promulgating misinformation – using much of the language that appears in Dr. Vogel’s and Mr. Whelan’s letter. That’s unfortunate.

For months, citizens, including many parents, have expressed concerns about mastery-based grading practices. Listening to Dr. Vogel and Mr. Whelan, you would be left with the impression those expressing concern weren’t supportive of the concept. Nothing could be further from the truth. The concern has centered on the way the initiative was implemented. What the overwhelming worry has been is the apparent lack of properly engaging the stakeholders – the administrators, teachers, students and parents – in the process. There have been legitimate concerns about the adequacy of the training, preparation and comprehensive understanding of the proposed change for the staff, students and parents. There has been a clear miscalculation by the “central office” administration regarding a smooth transition from traditional grading practices to mastery-based grading practices. The process has been further complicated by an unrealistic timeline for implementation.

The focus should be on solving the obvious problem created by a misguided roll-out of what otherwise would likely have been a successful change in the proficiency of learning of our students.

Patricia Allyn Mechare