No savings in NMRSD-Lunenburg merger

No savings in NMRSD-Lunenburg merger

There are 10 comments on the Lowell Sun story from Sep 14, 2010, titled No savings in NMRSD-Lunenburg merger. In it, Lowell Sun reports that:

The merger between the North Middlesex Regional and Lunenburg school districts would save taxpayers no money for the operation of the schools, but would allow them to further stretch the dollars that they have, according to the two superintendents.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Lowell Sun.

the NMRSD BS train

Pepperell, MA

#1 Sep 14, 2010
All aboard the NMRSD BS train with conductor Marshall at the wheel of this derailment!! Right now, North Middlesex could save itself $106K+ IF Marshall and her select group of school committee sycophants just eliminated some existing redundancies (why are taxpayers funding a Director of Curriculum AND an Assistant Superintendent?) If Marshall needs help in eliminating some line item expenses, she should give the G-D superintendent Joe Mastrocola a call. Seems he was able to not only eliminate almost $295K from the current budget, but he managed to hire back teachers (what? without sharing his services with another district?!) AND managed to NOT fill the position of coordinator of curriculum, instruction technology and library media services, AND an assistant principal position at the elementary school. Wow--imagine that, North Middlesex--eliminating some positions to bring back teachers (and not have to share services!) Leadership we, in NM, can only dream of...Marshall couldn't even find .02% in our budget to hire back three teachers. Now, who needs the tutor? Maybe Mastrocola can lend himself out to Marshall.

Marshall was selling this idea, claiming "we need to merge with Lunenburg, so we can see what--if any--savings there are." Sounds like Nancy Pelosi re: the health care bill (and we all know how well that turned out for everyone...what cost savings? what improvements to everyone's health care?) And, what about the cost of equalizing teachers' compensation--what savings?

$95,820 more to transport Lunenburg. Is it a real news flash for this superintendent and SC that state funding of regional transportation has gradually eroded over the last few years? So, class, let's think about what happens when there's an increase in cost and a decrease in funding...hmmm.

Wow...I guess those who were opposed to this from the beginning (who NEVER NEEDED to crunch the numbers to arrive at the inevitable conclusion) were right...there is NO savings in this mega-merger due to the recurring expenses which will only increase over time. And, you can bet the first thing to be cut, when the cutting needs to be done, will be the student programs they claim they are saving with this merger (like the grades 4-8 music program--remember that Marshall proposal?)

Don't expect there to be any sacrifices in central office...as with everything she proposes, Marshall's going to reward herself with a nice increase if her "out of the box" thinking results in a mega-merger. And, how does she usually respond to protests about that? Oh, yes...she's "not going to apologize for that."
response

Chelmsford, MA

#2 Sep 14, 2010
Couple of things that I found confusing about last night were the hiring of two additional guidance counselors at the middle schools. If it's that necessary, hire one and have them travel between Townsend and Pepperell.
There was also a lot of talk of special ed, sports, and school psychologists, but nothing regarding ap courses. No specifics on how education will become better for the children.
I realize it's a first pass, however, without even taking a building into consideration, I don't see it as a positive move. Then you take a new or renovated building into the equation, and the taxpayers will left with the bill once again.
the NMRSD BS train

Pepperell, MA

#3 Sep 14, 2010
All aboard the NMRSD BS train with conductor Marshall at the wheel of this derailment. Right now, Marshall and her select group of NM school committee sycophants could save $106K+ IF they wanted to by eliminating existing redundancies in the NM “educational support center”(why do taxpayer dollars continue to fund an Assistant Superintendent AND a Director of Curriculum?) Looks like Marshall needs to call superintendent Joe Mastrocola of G-D, who eliminated almost $295K of line items from the current budget to hire back teachers, and managed NOT to fill the position of coordinator of curriculum, instruction technology and library media services, AND an assistant principal position at the elementary school (what? And without sharing his services with another district?!) This is leadership we, in NM, can only dream of…Marshall wasn’t even willing to find .02%($100K) of the school budget to hire back three teachers!
Looks like “someone” could use a tutor. Maybe Mastrocola could lend out his services to Marshall for a real lesson in fiscal management?

Instead, Marshall stakes her claim that “we need to merge with Lunenburg, so we can determine what--if any--savings there might be”(like Nancy Pelosi and the health care bill--and we all know how well that turned out for everyone. What cost savings? What improvement to everyone’s quality of health care?)$95,820 more to transport Lunenburg? Is it a real news flash to this superintendent and the SC members that state funding of regional transportation has been eroding? Let’s see, class, what happens when there’s an INCREASE in the regional transportation expense and a DECREASE in state support? Hmmm…

I guess those who were opposed to this idea of a mega-merger from the beginning were right , after all (and they didn‘t even have to “crunch the numbers” to arrive at the inevitable conclusion.) There is NO COST savings with this merger due to the recurring expenses which will only increase year to year. What about the equalization of teachers’ compensation?(not referenced in this article) There is NO savings in an increase. And, what happens when you can’t fund the pay increases? It’s back to the “Marshall Plan” that’s been employed in the past--cut teachers or cut the student programs that will supposedly be saved through this merger (i.e., cut grades 4-8 music program--remember that?)

To be sure, Marshall intends to reward herself handsomely with a nice increase to her already exorbitant salary ($192K) for this out-of-the box thinking…IF this merger takes place. How will she respond to protests from residents about that? Oh , yes…that’s right…as usual, she’s not going to apologize for that.
not the priority

Pepperell, MA

#4 Sep 14, 2010
response wrote:
No specifics on how education will become better for the children.
That's because it's not really about the children--it's about a building (a monument to the superintendent's time in NM) and a fully staffed central office (not what's happening behind the brick walls.) If this were about education, those issues would be addressed on an ongoing basis. You can't really expect any improvements to education quality when you have the same people, who've produced less than exceptional results, running the show again. We've never really gotten an explanation for why NM students perform well below G-D students on the MCAS when there isn't a significant difference in per pupil expenditure (and, by the way, both are below the state recommended per pupil expenditure.)

It's all about efficiency--how taxpayer money is allocated within our budget. For the absence of leadership, I give our superintendent, and the group of SC members who "rubber stamp" her recommendations, a "failing" grade. Imagine...she first suggests cutting student programs in the most recent budget discussions (where was her concession to not take her contracted salary increase when her salary is an unjustified $192K currently? Is this an example of leadership that puts the quality of students' education first?

Count on a repeat performance if this merger EVER goes through...
Pro ed dad

Pepperell, MA

#5 Sep 14, 2010
the NMRSD BS train wrote:
All aboard the NMRSD BS train with conductor Marshall at the wheel of this derailment!! Right now, North Middlesex could save itself $106K+ IF Marshall and her select group of school committee sycophants just eliminated some existing redundancies (why are taxpayers funding a Director of Curriculum AND an Assistant Superintendent?) "
Don't be too hasty in this area. We need these people to help Marshall select "F..." books for the summer reading list.
running scared

East Hartford, CT

#6 Sep 14, 2010
Should also note that Maureen is running scared because Quabbin has finally decided the time has come to hire a full time superintendent so the free ride is over when they go looking for someone new next spring and she has to come back to this place she hates so much full time, so she wants to be sure she and her buddies have an excuse to pull down their big salaries. Sorry Maureen.
It is pathetic really

Pepperell, MA

#7 Sep 14, 2010
This SC has the worst budget season coming up and they're wasting more time on a scenario that the state rep TOLD them LAST SPRING would NOT save us any money. There is nothing that has been put forth to make this palatable for ANY reason.

Sure, a new high school would be nice (if you've spent enough time in there as I have over the past 10 years, you'd understand why), but for what population are you going to build it for? The current population? The decreasing population or the future 10-year-out population increase that may or may not happen? Doesn't matter really because many taxpayers are either still looking for work or have taken a new position at substantially less than what they were making before. We can't afford any more tax increases.

But hey, what does Maureen care? She's making $30K more than when she came here 3 years ago! Such a deal!
Time To Go

Auburn, MA

#8 Sep 14, 2010
What does NM get out of this? A big fat zero and they haven't even factored in the cost of a new high school and the cost of the major renevations to the other school buldings in Lunenberg. So let me see if we have this right. We're paying to get Lunenberg up to speed in the technology arena and they are going to show us how to save money in special education by educating more special needs students in the district. Do we really need to regionalize to do that. NM has two Special Ed Directors.If they can't figure it out then find someone who can.
This isn't about the kids and services because there isn't any increase in services and programs, just more costs.The only person who gets something out of this is Marshall. Do you think 192,000 is enough for her to run a bigger district?? You can bet not.And what about Loxi Jo? She couldn't possibly take a cut in pay from superintendent.
NM can maintain and improve their good programs with the right leader in place. Someone with good business and leadership skills.
HumBug

Littleton, MA

#9 Sep 15, 2010
Moon-bats running wild!
Why is it the looniest, most naive, and most arrogant people find their way into the Superintendent of School positions? When I look at the 'administrative' headcounts in schools today, compated to 30 years ago when I was there it is crazy. Dir of curriculum, asst dir of curriculum, many times more Guidance people, etc. More and better teachers, fewer pencil pushers is what makes a good, affordable education.
NMRSD Central Office

Pepperell, MA

#10 Sep 15, 2010
HumBug wrote:
Moon-bats running wild!
Why is it the looniest, most naive, and most arrogant people find their way into the Superintendent of School positions? When I look at the 'administrative' headcounts in schools today, compated to 30 years ago when I was there it is crazy. Dir of curriculum, asst dir of curriculum, many times more Guidance people, etc. More and better teachers, fewer pencil pushers is what makes a good, affordable education.
Blah, blah, blah. Maureen decides what makes for good affordable education, thank you. Hey, don't hog all the oysters Rockefeller and clams casino! Just pipe down and freshen up my drink, will ya?

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