Region One employees told to vote YES on the budget…or if the budget gets defeated you will lose your job!! Intimidation rears it’s ugly head in Region One again (this time it is the director of Pupil Services Carl Gross according to reports to regiononereport.com) 12

Andrea Downs,  of Falls Village spoke this evening at The Region One Board Of Education Meeting during the public session. Andrea pointed out to the board that she was informed that an “administrator” of Region One said to Region One employees to vote YES on the budget..or they could loose their jobs. She asked the board to make sure that this does not happen, and IF the budget gets defeated, to just keep the current contract for administrators. The reaction from the board chair….NONE.

regiononereport.com can now confirm that over the past 36 hours reports came to us with similar information, a threat that if the budget lost, they would lose their jobs. But these people gave us the administrator’s name..CARL GROSS REGION ONE DISTRICT WIDE DIRECTOR OF PUPIL SERVICES.

If true, and right now, with what we hear tonight, and what has been told to us over the past 36 hours,  we have no reason to doubt the validity of the charges. This is but another reason to stand up and say NO MORE! If the past few weeks, here is what members of the Region One School Board, the administration, and ABC have said….

1) The administrative raises are FREE they cost taxpayers nothing (FALSE)

2) The Region One Superintendent has not has a pay raise for several years (FALSE)

3) The Region One Superintendent said  ”if the budget is defeated, the first place the regional board will turn to is making re­ductions in the high school budget. “I’m hoping we’ll resolve the issues on the contracts, what I consider unimportant issues,”

4)  And now intimidation of loss of employment to employees of The Region One School District by Carl Gross, Region One District Wide Director Of Pupil Service.

Enough is enough…tell your friends and neighbors it’s time to draw a line in the sand….VOTE NO on the Region One Budget tomorrow in the referendum. We urge you to vote YES on the much-needed roof repair, and ADA projects!Image

Read the last line of this story in the Republican American…. Superintendent Patricia Cham­berlain is more interested in not honoring her three-year contract already signed than educating the children in the region 1

Read the last line of this story in the Republican American…. SuperintendentImage Patricia Cham­berlain is more interested in not honoring her three-year contract already signed than educating the children in the region

http://www.rep-am.com/articles/2012/05/04/news/local/639418.txt

(link to Republican American story)

 

Ex-principal to vote against Region 1 budget Tuesday

BY LYNN MELLIS WORTHINGTON

REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN

KENT — A former elemen­tary school principal warned the local Board of Education that the regional school budget may be defeated on Tuesday due to unhappiness over admin­istrative contracts.

Edward Epstein said Thurs­day that he is planning to vote against the Region 1 education­al budget that will be decided by referendum in all six towns Tuesday.

“I am totally supportive of the high school,” said Epstein, who served as the Kent Center School principal for several decades.

“I am not supportive of ex­tending contracts until the year 2015 when there is no immedi­ate need to do so.”

He asked the local school offi­cials to not cut from the budget of Housatonic Valley Regional High School but rather examine the central office budget.

The Region 1 budget is com­posed of three sections, HVRHS, Pupil Services (which is the cost for special education) and the Regional School Service Center (RSSC) also referred to as the Central Office.

Epstein warned that a num­ber of people in the region are unhappy that four of the six members of the Region 1 Board of Ed are not listening to the concerns of residents.

He singled out Kent’s repre­sentative Jonathan Moore as one of those who was not listen­ing. Moore contested this, say­ing that he had spent more than an hour meeting with Epstein after a recent meeting.

The Region 1 Board of Edu­cation approved extending the contracts an additional year for the region’s administrators that included Superintendent Patri­cia Chamberlain, Assistant Su­perintendent Diane Goncalves, Business Manager Samuel Her­rick, Pupil Services Director Carl Gross and Supervisor of Special Education Martha Schwaikert.

This was based on the recom­mendation from the All Boards Committee, which is composed of the chairmen of the seven Boards of Education in the re­gion.

Each administrator was granted a 2 percent or 3 percent raise and a contract through 2015. Some residents also ob­jected to a similar extension last year.

Tracy Horosky, Kent Board of Education chairman, said that ABC Committee has heard the concerns and is asking for authorization to conduct a study of how administrator contracts are handled by other school dis­tricts.

She said the research would not be available for this budget season but the group is trying to be responsive.

“I’d ask you to reconsider your position,” Horosky said to Epstein.

“The message that you send is a severe one. It holds bad repercussions for the kids.” Su­perintendent Patricia Cham­berlain said later in the meeting that if the budget is defeated, the first place the regional board will turn to is making re­ductions in the high school budget. She urged support for the $15.4 million budget, which shows a 1.7 percent increase.

“I’m hoping we’ll resolve the issues on the contracts, what I consider unimportant issues,” Chamberlain said. She pointed out that the regional board could try to renegotiate con­tracts. 

“I AM TOTALLY SUPPORTIVE OF THE HIGH SCHOOL. I AM NOT SUPPORTIVE OF EXTENDING CONTRACTS UNTIL THE YEAR 2015 WHEN THERE IS NO IMMEDIATE NEED TO DO SO.” 

EDWARD EPSTEIN, FORMER KENT CENTER SCHOOL PRINCIPAL

Think students don’t care…think again, here are three posts from H.V.R.H.S students over the past week…. 5

The concerned Housy students comments over the past week…

 

1) What happened to Dr. Foster and Dr. Buchanan won’t happen to Mr. Harnett and Mr. Striever, they are very strong, brilliant people who are great for Housy. They connect with the students and they have the interest of the students at heart, not the politics. I will say however, that what did happen to Dr. Foster and Dr. Buchanan is still happening to teachers within the building and even to students. This needs to stop. I am a concerned student at Housy and the politics need to stop. This is an educational system for the STUDENTS, not for power hungry “teachers” who only care about themselves and their so called authority. Trust me, the students have noticed what actually goes on within the Housy walls and we are tired of it. Its such a shame that just those few faculty members within the building have given our school such a negative reputation. I do not represent any particular group or organization, I am just a concerned student who thinks that thsese political games within Housy and Region One need to stop.

 

2) 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.

3) ImageAs 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.

Letter to the editor Lakeville Journal from Patricia Allyn Mechare Reply

Brain Kavanuagh’s letter of April 12th was right on. When you vote May 8th on the Region 1 proposed spending plan consider the following:

1. Over the last three fiscal years Central Office administrators have had salary increases of 6-7%
2. With the exception of the director of special education who has had 20 days added to her work year every other Central Office administrator has been given more days off with the superintendent and assistant superintendent leading the pack
3. The assistant superintendent has been given the additional benefit of a $2500 annuity
4. The superintendent’s annuity is tied to her salary (6%) giving her an additional increase
5. The unusual wording in the superintendent’s contract allows her to take any graduate level courses at a 100% reimbursement with no limit on the number of courses she can take annually, no limit on the cost per credit and no reporting system regarding the successful completion of the course. Over the last 3 fiscal years the cost to the taxpayer for course reimbursement has been $26,600. The spending plan does not specifically account for this expenditure

The Board’s majority has refused to revisit these contracts to level the playing field. They fail to realize that annual renewal of these contracts so that there is always a term of 3 years costs the Board plenty. Should a future Board decide that they no longer want the services of an administrator their hands will be tied. That means employing someone who no longer fits the bill until the contract finally ends or using taxpayers’ money for a buyout. Neither alternative is acceptable. That the Board’s attorney allowed so many of these contract conditions to stand, despite the obvious detriments and the lack of the best interest of the Region and/or the taxpayer, is astounding. There doesn’t appear to have been any negotiation at all, but an immediate acquiescence to administrators’ demands without any thought or consideration of the financial impact to students and taxpayers. These folks are the highest paid public officials in the area. Our local communities have been holding the line on all kinds of expenses including salary and benefits for a number of years. That this small group is treated as if it has some entitlement is an insult to all those other public employees who have been asked to sacrifice, to say nothing of those in the private and non-profit sectors. Here is a breakdown of the four top administrators’ financial packages NOT including vacation, personal, sick and other time off: superintendent: $168,798 (plus $12,000 budgeted for tuition reimbursement); assistant superintendent: $151,746; director of pupil services: $143,070; business manager $136,107. All are working fewer days than in 2009-2010 for more pay and benefits.

These items and others of a crucial and important nature both at HVRHS and Central Office need to be addressed. So far the majority has refused to do so on the advice of the superintendent and board chairman. Keep that in mind when you vote.

Patricia Allyn Mechare

Gale Courey Toensing Letter To The Editor Reply

 Friday, April 27, 2012 9:11:21 PM
Subject: Letter to the editor:

There are multiple inaccuracies in the 4/26 issue. I’ll begin with the editorial. Neither the Sharon representative nor I voted against the budget on March 28. We voted against giving the “central office” administrators raises and contract extensions.  I voted against them this year as I did last year because — in my opinion and according to my conscience — giving these pay raises and extensions would express a lack of consideration for the taxpayers of Region 1. We are still living in a time of economic uncertainty. The majority of people here are not wealthy business-owners, they are hardworking employees, some of whom have lost their jobs, some of whom have lost 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. The administrators’ present compensation packages range from over $100,000 to around $180,000 for the superintendent. 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 – in my opinion and according to my conscience – untimely. Any budget increases at this point should be to improve student learning.

 

The editorial says that I didn’t attend the April meeting “when the budget and bond issue were voted unanimously to be sent to referendum by the board,” perhaps leaving readers wondering if I didn’t attend in order to avoid that vote. In fact, I was away on assignment as I have been every April at that time for the past three years.

 

The superintendent, chairman and Becky Hurlburt in the Cornwall Board of Education story and Irene Hurlburt in her letter are wrong in claiming the contracts can’t be changed if the budget is defeated. Of course they can. The raises are included in the proposed budget and if the proposed budget goes down, the raises don’t magically remain in place — they go down too. The chairman’s claim that if the budget is defeated programs will be cut is also nonsense. If the budget is defeated the region continues to operate and bill the towns based on the current 2011-2012 appropriations. If the budget is defeated, the board needs only to eliminate the contract extensions and raises of the administrators – with the exception of the principal and assistant principal whose contracts expire June 30, 2012. Contracts extensions and raises for the “central office” administrators are what people object to. Get rid of them and the budget will pass easily.

 

As for Irene Hurlburt’s claims about “innuendos,” if she’s referring to me she should know that my objections to the questionable actions of the board and superintendent over the past three years have not been by innuendo, but rather in clearly articulated written statements that are part of the public record and available to any citizen.

 

Gale Courey Toensing

Falls Village, Connecticut