Pepperell weighs future of regional school district

Full story: Lowell Sun

These days, Jonna Clermont's chance meetings with local residents often turn into instant summits about the potential merger between the North Middlesex Regional and Lunenburg school districts.
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1 - 20 of 40 Comments Last updated Jan 18, 2011
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Grow Some

Gardner, MA

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#1
Dec 26, 2010
 
Maybe, just maybe, if the school committee started TELLING THE SUPERINTENDENT WHAT TO DO instead of her telling them what to do, they wouldn't be spending all of their time forming "subcommittees" to look into things that are never going to happen while she continues to pull end runs around them.
The residents of Pepperell aren't the only ones who don't want to regionalize with Lunenburg and who are unhappy with the way the District is being run. Maybe Ms. Clermont should look beyond her borders and try to find some allies there.
It's Maureen Marshall and Ms. Clermont's fellow committee members who are supporting this, NOT the people of the District. They're fed up and have turned their backs on the whole mess.
Before anyone says anything about other towns electing anyone, don't let's forget that Arnie Silva BEAT Ms. Clermont. So Pepperell falls into the Stupid is as Stupid does catagory too.
C'mon Jonna. Thing big. Thing about ALL of the NM kids.
JIm

Fitchburg, MA

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#2
Dec 26, 2010
 
I think if given the choice(and towns lose all control once regionalized), the other towns would leave the district as well as this has become a school system everyone is dis-satifiied with
Pepperell Sunshine

United States

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#3
Dec 26, 2010
 
One really needs to do a careful analysis before deciding to go it alone. Or is one really necessary?.. I think the answer is that it is not in the students or taxpayers best interest.
Science, computer , language labs, athletic opportunities,extra curricular activities including music,drama etc, and special eduaction costs and opportunities all have to be part of the equation.Just improve on what we havd, but don't regionalize with Lunenburg.
DeValue Patrick

Tyngsboro, MA

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#4
Dec 26, 2010
 
Whatever you do, do not let the state off the hook; they are the ones that are screwing you!
Andy Palmer

Pepperell, MA

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#5
Dec 26, 2010
 
Those that suggest pulling out of the region have no clue about financing education. Ask Ayer & Shirley why they are regionalizing? They have done their homework.
Time To Listen

Pepperell, MA

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#6
Dec 26, 2010
 
DeValue Patrick wrote:
Whatever you do, do not let the state off the hook; they are the ones that are screwing you!
That's exactly right. It is the state that is screwing the district and Ms Marshall forgets, it is the towns that are paying her salary and the towns she should be answering to, not Duval and all his cronies.
Rick

Pepperell, MA

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#7
Dec 26, 2010
 
Maybe Sergi and Leao want to run the schools so they can threaten to close them if people don't vote the 2 1/2 in like they did the senior center and library.

Seriously, why waste time and money to see if this would be cheaper. IT WONT BE! School costs are growing all around. Health care, contracts, utilities are all rising. And the cost to provide a quality education is going up. We need to ensure the district is being run efficiently not spend time looking into this.

As for Jonna, I usually like her...but this is a bit far fetched. Focus on the task at hand...not playing into this.

And of course nobody called you back. Did you really think on Christmas Eve people would be around?

Just an all around crazy story....and I agree with Andy...look at Ayer/Shirley for your answer.
Not Stupid

Pepperell, MA

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#8
Dec 26, 2010
 
Grow Some wrote:
Maybe, just maybe, if the school committee started TELLING THE SUPERINTENDENT WHAT TO DO instead of her telling them what to do, they wouldn't be spending all of their time forming "subcommittees" to look into things that are never going to happen while she continues to pull end runs around them.
The residents of Pepperell aren't the only ones who don't want to regionalize with Lunenburg and who are unhappy with the way the District is being run. Maybe Ms. Clermont should look beyond her borders and try to find some allies there.
It's Maureen Marshall and Ms. Clermont's fellow committee members who are supporting this, NOT the people of the District. They're fed up and have turned their backs on the whole mess.
Before anyone says anything about other towns electing anyone, don't let's forget that Arnie Silva BEAT Ms. Clermont. So Pepperell falls into the Stupid is as Stupid does catagory too.
C'mon Jonna. Thing big. Thing about ALL of the NM kids.
Pepperell is not stupid. The majority of voters did not vote for Silva. They wanted someone who was not in the back pocket of the superintendent.
Maybe So

Pepperell, MA

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#9
Dec 26, 2010
 
Rick wrote:
Maybe Sergi and Leao want to run the schools so they can threaten to close them if people don't vote the 2 1/2 in like they did the senior center and library.
Seriously, why waste time and money to see if this would be cheaper. IT WONT BE! School costs are growing all around. Health care, contracts, utilities are all rising. And the cost to provide a quality education is going up. We need to ensure the district is being run efficiently not spend time looking into this.
As for Jonna, I usually like her...but this is a bit far fetched. Focus on the task at hand...not playing into this.
And of course nobody called you back. Did you really think on Christmas Eve people would be around?
Just an all around crazy story....and I agree with Andy...look at Ayer/Shirley for your answer.
The more students more overhead, the further travel distance the more employees with saddling benefits costs. If it's so cost effective, why don't we hear of more towns joining forces for larger school districts?? Maybe you are right,but all options should be explored. You are certainly right that we need to ensure the district is being managed as efficiently as possibly and we cannot do that with Marshall at the helm. She has no business or financial sense. Look at the superintendent in Groton Dunsable who was able to save the district thousands of dollars by renegotiating contracts with businesses the district uses. North Middlesex needs someone like that
Marshall law

Pepperell, MA

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#10
Dec 26, 2010
 
Rick wrote:
We need to ensure the district is being run efficiently not spend time looking into this.
As for Jonna, I usually like her...but this is a bit far fetched. Focus on the task at hand...not playing into this.
As the article noted, Ms. Clermont proposed keeping all options on the table in response to concerned residents. This district school committee is notorious for pursuing one option, and one option ONLY...and that's typically the latest BIG IDEA that Maureen Marshall has rolled in with...or, thrown against the wall to see if it would stick. Let's see who remembers ELT (Expanded Learning Time), International Baccalaureate, bringing Mason, NH students to the NMRSD, closing Peter Fitzpatrick (oops! another FAIL), and how about that BIG IDEA to share her services with Quabbin?(which was widely rejected by most of the residents but enthusiastically embraced by the usual sycophants on the school committee) Now, the idea to merge with Lunenburg as an answer to solving the "dire physical condition" of the high school...O.K., Maureen and school committee members...where's your Plan B, since Lunenburg is making it clear that they have no interest in this merger fiasco?

So, Rick, if your real concern is ensuring that "the district is being run efficiently," I think you need look no further for an answer. Look who is charged with leading this district and those who are supposed to provide her with direction. This district will never see the improvements to education quality and fiscal responsibility until there is a change in leadership. Seems Ms. Marshall is more concerned with preserving her compensation (yes, she's managed to reel in a salary close to $200K by working part-time in two districts...just don't tell Robbins and Silva that...she's got them under her spell and they insist she's working FULL-TIME!) They're the only ones believing that crapola, though.

Just wait for the coming year's budget discussions...care to guess which areas will be on the chopping block? Central Office administration costs? Think, again. The music program and a reduction of teachers will be among the first proposed--for the sake of drumming up support for her need for more of YOUR money. This district has been driven into the fiscal abyss, with no real improvement to education quality, under "Marshall Law."
back to school

Pepperell, MA

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#11
Dec 26, 2010
 
Maybe So wrote:
<quoted text> You are certainly right that we need to ensure the district is being managed as efficiently as possibly and we cannot do that with Marshall at the helm. She has no business or financial sense. Look at the superintendent in Groton Dunsable who was able to save the district thousands of dollars by renegotiating contracts with businesses the district uses. North Middlesex needs someone like that
Right on...funny how Joe Mastrocola of G-D was able to eliminate almost $295 worth of line items from the G-D budget to call back teachers, while Maureen Marshall needed to pimp herself out to Quabbin for $100K to bring back three teachers to the district. Yet, we have Arnie Silva saying, "Dr. Marshall is one of the brilliant persons I met in my life." Well, it's pretty clear that Silva doesn't get out too much and he certainly doesn't know Mastrocola.

Marshall needs to notify the NMRSD school committee no later than Oct. 2011 if she wants to stay on as supt. It's high time we sent Marshall packing. She's had more than enough time to turn things around in this district with little to show for her presence here.

Time to either pack your bags, Ms. Marshall, or go back to school for some lessons in leadership from Joe Mastrocola. If you opt for the latter, be sure to take Arnie with you. He doesn't get out too much it seems.
FN Hadit

Pepperell, MA

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#12
Dec 26, 2010
 
Rick wrote:
Focus on the task at hand...not playing into this.
What is your version of "the task at hand"? Trying to convince the taxpayers they have to pony up more money in this economy?('cause I'm betting that's in Marshall's playbook, along with the usual scare tactics.) Clermont can't get Marshall to propose making the necessary budget cuts (to central office administration, etc.) alone, so let's not lambaste someone who's trying to offer some options. How about excoriating those town rep's on the SC who can't communicate any ideas other than those spoon-fed by the supt.??
Go for it

Pepperell, MA

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#13
Dec 27, 2010
 
We already have the buildings including the town library. And instead of trying to be all things for all people, look at program expenses, the returns, and make smart choices.

For example, we have many soccer fields, leverage those and forget football (stadiums, etc). If you want football, school choice elsewhere. You want soccer, we will have the best.

Maybe we only offer one or two foreign languages (not FIVE) but we have a great art department. Everyone else will continue to take notes from our music program.

We don't go overboard on PC's and laptops but we have a great wireless network.

Our own town school district with a community attitude. Less bus time, add another hour to school day, more local after-school programs. No more whining about MCAS as we will outshine Acton and Weston while having a lower per pupil cost. Be parent work schedule friendly. I would like to see kids carrying books and walking to school - good exercise (the town cooperates by setting a town speed limit, no more 40mph+ on side streets). And sorry no MacDonald's, etc. in Pepperell.
typo

Pepperell, MA

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#14
Dec 27, 2010
 
back to school wrote:
<quoted text>
Right on...funny how Joe Mastrocola of G-D was able to eliminate almost $295 worth of line items from the G-D budget to call back teachers, while Maureen Marshall needed to pimp herself out to Quabbin for $100K to bring back three teachers to the district. Yet, we have Arnie Silva saying, "Dr. Marshall is one of the brilliant persons I met in my life." Well, it's pretty clear that Silva doesn't get out too much and he certainly doesn't know Mastrocola.
Typo--should read that Joe Mastrocola "was able to eliminate $295K worth of line items from the G-D budget to call back teachers..." Impressive effort and real leadership initiative on his part.
JustCheckin

Boston, MA

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#15
Dec 28, 2010
 
typo wrote:
<quoted text>
Typo--should read that Joe Mastrocola "was able to eliminate $295K worth of line items from the G-D budget to call back teachers..." Impressive effort and real leadership initiative on his part.
OK, why did they ask for a $1.25M override then. When will GDRSD fund technology in their schools. It's actually pitifull. The jury is still out on Joe, we'll see after the budget debate at town meeting in April.
Pro ed mom

Pepperell, MA

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#16
Dec 28, 2010
 
Not Stupid wrote:
<quoted text>Pepperell is not stupid. The majority of voters did not vote for Silva. They wanted someone who was not in the back pocket of the superintendent.
Huh? You're in denial. Mr. Silva ran on Dr. Marshall's leadership record and won easily.
great initiative

Pepperell, MA

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#17
Dec 28, 2010
 
JustCheckin wrote:
<quoted text>
OK, why did they ask for a $1.25M override then. When will GDRSD fund technology in their schools. It's actually pitifull. The jury is still out on Joe, we'll see after the budget debate at town meeting in April.
Joe Mastrocola is new to the G-D district; his selection was only announced in February 2010, and the vote re: the override took place in May 2010, so give the guy a break. There was little time given what was already put in motion for him to affect any change in course. The school committee assumes significant responsibility for putting forth a budget which called for an override.

Mastrocola was right to let the voters speak. District residents responded and, acknowledging election results, Mastrocola stated, "It's important to remember the voters have spoken. It's time to move forward."

If you're waiting for the school district to fund technology, I suggest you set your priorities for the coming budget debate. You may be left with the choice of retaining teachers v. adding enhancements to the schools. Better yet...why not pursue grants or businesses to support enhancing existing technology, rather than look to the school district to absorb the expense? Beggars can't be choosers, and it's a rough road going forward.

The jury might be out on Joe, but I'm betting there are NMRSD residents who'd gladly trade their district "leader" for this guy without hesitation. Funny how even Gerry Martin, who "retired" to G-D from NM, could see the writing on the wall.
LOL LOL LOL

Pepperell, MA

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#18
Dec 28, 2010
 
Pro ed mom wrote:
<quoted text> Huh? You're in denial. Mr. Silva ran on Dr. Marshall's leadership record and won easily.
"Leadership"?....LOL LOL LOL LOL!!! It's hard to be objective, isn't it, when you were hired by the superintendent, pro ed mom? Keep sucking up...we all know who you owe your job to. How many posts do you owe the supt.?

"Won easily?" LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL...10 votes from Ms. Clermont, the newcomer?!?!?! Keep the jokes coming!!! I'm laughing my a** off!!!
LOL LOL LOL

Pepperell, MA

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#19
Dec 28, 2010
 
Pro ed mom wrote:
<quoted text> Huh? You're in denial. Mr. Silva ran on Dr. Marshall's leadership record and won easily.
"It was a tough campaign. I would have felt better if I'd won by more." (a "win" by 10 votes) said Silva, after election on 4/25/2010. "Won easily"? Doesn't sound like a quote from someone who "won easily." So, who's the one in denial here?

Btw there's no question Silva is riding on the supt's coattails but it seems that his head is a little closer to her behind.
Amnesia

Pepperell, MA

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#20
Dec 28, 2010
 
Pro ed mom wrote:
<quoted text> Huh? You're in denial. Mr. Silva ran on Dr. Marshall's leadership record and won easily.
I think the district is working you a little too hard,Connie. Sounds like you have a case of amnesia. More people voted against Arnie, than for him. The voters wanted a change. Arnie got lucky that's all.You're like the rest of the leadership in this district. You think if you say something enough people will believe it.........doesn't work.

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