School-cut query strains tempers

Full story: Nashoba Publishing

Selectmen, Finance Committee, North Middlesex Regional School District committee members and 85 residents convened in all available Town Hall meeting rooms this week to discuss selectman Chairman Joseph Sergi's recent request to remove $350,000 from the 2011 school budget.
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old school

Gardner, MA

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#1
Dec 12, 2009
 
When will "untouchable Arnie" ever make it through a public meeting without telling us we need to be "educated" ?
It seems that police chief Davis isn't excluded, when Arnie questioned if Davis had "the expertise to evolve a school budget".

Although many departments had plenty of fat in their budgets during the good ecomomic times, It seems that Arnie and his gang are the only ones who feel the need to continue to grow programs and free cash in the bad times, and he seems to have no problem telling us (and our checkbooks) about it.

It may have taken an economic downfall, but it seems that these antics from the school committee have woken a Sleeping Giant of "educated" citizens, board members and department heads.

Maybe it's time that Arnie and the gang take a trip to a town with minimal town services, and "educate" themselves on what that does to property values and per pupil costs...You might have to check with Dr. Marshall's schedule first.
Now Printing Money

Tewksbury, MA

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#2
Dec 12, 2009
 
let's throw everything into the discussion - divert attention that's the best way.
1st - a new high school would require an approval, by vote, for a debt exclusion or some sort of way to pay for it - regardless of what town(s) partake.
2nd - if they are truly interested in implementing or expanding school "programs" - what does the union want to sacrafice to make this happen (in other words is it really about the students or job security?)
3rd - there was a brief blip about concessioms, but no talk of what they were/are nor if they were implemented
Eric

Pepperell, MA

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#3
Dec 12, 2009
 
old school wrote:
When will "untouchable Arnie" ever make it through a public meeting without telling us we need to be "educated" ?
It seems that police chief Davis isn't excluded, when Arnie questioned if Davis had "the expertise to evolve a school budget".
Although many departments had plenty of fat in their budgets during the good ecomomic times, It seems that Arnie and his gang are the only ones who feel the need to continue to grow programs and free cash in the bad times, and he seems to have no problem telling us (and our checkbooks) about it.
It may have taken an economic downfall, but it seems that these antics from the school committee have woken a Sleeping Giant of "educated" citizens, board members and department heads.
Maybe it's time that Arnie and the gang take a trip to a town with minimal town services, and "educate" themselves on what that does to property values and per pupil costs...You might have to check with Dr. Marshall's schedule first.
It is humorous, Arnie's notion that Chief Davis couldn't evolve a school budget. Chief Davis probably knows as much about budgeting as anyone in the district. His expertise in crime prevention would also come in handy. The fact of the matter is that you could yank anyone out of a line at McDonald's and they would probably "evolve" a buget as legit as anything served up to us in recent years. The school budgets are bogus and as soon as they are passed by the towns the super goes in your face with robotics added administration or preposterous plans for another unneed school building.

Let's have a contest. A prize for best suggested frontispiece on this year's NMRSD bloated budget. My suggestions are either the Michilin Man or a picture of a three dollar bill with Pee Wee Herman on it. What's yours?
Special Interest Problem

Tewksbury, MA

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#4
Dec 12, 2009
 
the general problem is called special interest. the only people who came to town meeting in spring were those FOR keeping the library. If anyone gave Veysey a chance, he had some great recommnedations, for some budget cuts, and had passed out the school budget which he intended to go thru. The problem, those moaned and griped everytime he got up to the microphone -- and just wanted to get the heck out of there.
Unfortunately, the selectmen didn't set the best example either - spring town meeting cut the town acct position by 6k, and in fall town meeting they approved the 6k back. Selectmen and fincom commented that the acct needed to understand town appropriation and MA state laws, then they hired someone from NH, who had NO experience in Massachusetts - so what example does that set? And 6k split amongst taxpayers is probably not alot, but really the point -- every penny counts...yes?
Eric - I like the Michelin Man idea - perhaps the new logo for the bridge?
Paying attention

Pepperell, MA

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#5
Dec 12, 2009
 
"suggested frontispiece on this year's NMRSD bloated budget":
*Horse's backside
*Disney-Magic Kingdom
*Count Dracula
*School committee-Smurf costumes
*Puppet theater
*Pigs at a trough
old school

Gardner, MA

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#6
Dec 13, 2009
 
Now Printing Money wrote:
let's throw everything into the discussion - divert attention that's the best way.
1st - a new high school would require an approval, by vote, for a debt exclusion or some sort of way to pay for it - regardless of what town(s) partake.
2nd - if they are truly interested in implementing or expanding school "programs" - what does the union want to sacrafice to make this happen (in other words is it really about the students or job security?)
3rd - there was a brief blip about concessioms, but no talk of what they were/are nor if they were implemented
I can't find the consessions...The budget that is posted online clearly shows admin. pay increases for all, and the teachers and operations personel salaries are spread throughout the schools that took on the extra pupils, making it difficult to comprehend what was saved in this level funded budget... Again I ask what happened to all the extra money from closing 2 schools, the budget shows millions, we should have saved some of that?

As for the ongoing suggestions for a "frontispiece"

* Maureen and Arnie sporting the Burger King Crowns.

Sam

Pepperell, MA

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#7
Dec 13, 2009
 
As to the concessions, NMRSD teachers agreed to a 90-day wage freeze.
what is is

Pepperell, MA

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#8
Dec 13, 2009
 
Sam wrote:
As to the concessions, NMRSD teachers agreed to a 90-day wage freeze.
I don't want to see anyone pressured to give or donate. You always hope people "will do the right thing" if they can, but giving should be free from pressure. But when we see people that should be worthy of our respect pretending to donate but in reality are not, it makes you want to weep. At a prior budget session, at the senior center, a senior explained that she wanted to do her part but was trying to survive on $1300. Selectmen and school officials eyes glazed over hearing these comments. This poor soul's "concession" due to the override is probably greater than that of the teachers' union and Dr. Marshall. How insensitive and selfish can you get? I suppose only Dr. Marshall and the union(s) know for sure.

A suggestion for the frontispiece: Dr. Marshall and the North Middlesex teachers' union official (that was given the admin job in Quabbin)- a picture of them looking through a microscope at the so-called concession.
Yeah right

Pepperell, MA

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#9
Dec 14, 2009
 
Sam wrote:
As to the concessions, NMRSD teachers agreed to a 90-day wage freeze.
Dr. Marshall was bragging, at a Townsend Selectmen's meeting, that she got the union to open their contract. Then she threw a tantrum because Selectman Bob asked her if she was going to do the same.

Best so far?
* Maureen and Arnie sporting Burger King crowns
* The Michelin Man
* Maureen staring at her reflection in the pool
Eric

Pepperell, MA

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#10
Dec 14, 2009
 
I'm willing to help too. So I'm really going to step up this time and also take a 90 day wage freeze. I think you could find a few more people around town that would pledge to put raises on hold for 90 days but are simply too modest to say it.
Disappointed

United States

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#11
Dec 14, 2009
 
Ok...It is time for Arnie to go. I am tired of the same old song "that we don't do enough". He is a one trick pony. Next is the leadership of the schools, schools are all based on results. The High School is a mess and I certainly do not see them sending anyone to Harvard with the type of education those kids get. Results??? Well didn't we give the schools far more money then the recommended state amount a couple of years ago at town meeting, only to have 2 schools closed. Those are your results from a failed leadership. I wonder how many teachers got paid their full salary while the kids had a month off from that ice storm last year. As far as Hargraves and the state well that is another myth that he will get the district some money. Beacon Hills arms stop at Rte 128. Newton gets $$$ for the $200 Mil school...Norwood gets $$$ for the $140 Mil school and Central Mass gets nothing except wait til next year from the state. What was the last Capital outlay request sent here from the state...you know the Capital Grants from the education budget that Hargraves should be telling us he is getting for us!!! Yup another "I know nothing about nothing answer".
getreal

Peabody, MA

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#12
Dec 15, 2009
 
Disappointed wrote:
Ok...It is time for Arnie to go. I am tired of the same old song "that we don't do enough". He is a one trick pony. Next is the leadership of the schools, schools are all based on results. The High School is a mess and I certainly do not see them sending anyone to Harvard with the type of education those kids get. Results??? Well didn't we give the schools far more money then the recommended state amount a couple of years ago at town meeting, only to have 2 schools closed. Those are your results from a failed leadership. I wonder how many teachers got paid their full salary while the kids had a month off from that ice storm last year. As far as Hargraves and the state well that is another myth that he will get the district some money. Beacon Hills arms stop at Rte 128. Newton gets $$$ for the $200 Mil school...Norwood gets $$$ for the $140 Mil school and Central Mass gets nothing except wait til next year from the state. What was the last Capital outlay request sent here from the state...you know the Capital Grants from the education budget that Hargraves should be telling us he is getting for us!!! Yup another "I know nothing about nothing answer".
The problem is in central office not the High School administration.
Leominster has received money for a RENOVATION because their CO administration did their homework and paperwork and was not distracted by this regionalization BS.
Central Mass gets their share if you follow the correct path. Nashoba regional is benefiting from their RENOVATION completed several years ago. Our high school is in the same physical shape the tech was in before their renovation.
So a high school performance is based on the number of students attending Harvard?
What about Dartmouth? RPI? Tufts? Michigan State? Syracuse? US Army? Brandeis? Norwich?WPI?
The acceptances are impressive. There is lots of room for improvement.
Good students do very well. Mediocre students are motivated, getting better because of the high school administration not the central office.
I like NMS administration and I hear HBMS is finally turned the corner.
The state formula for school spending has been wrong since day one.
Last year the Pepperell selectmen pulled a politically astute move by putting the override on our library and senior center. It is a very effective trick and worked well.(Note: if you want to build a new school tack on a senior center to the building project, helps in the approval process )Now they paint the school as the "Bad Guy".
School Budget Cuts Option

Whittier, CA

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#13
Dec 15, 2009
 
People should not be paying more to fund schools let, www.mainstreetfair.com make the donation and all we have to do is use their website. They will donate to a school of your choice just shop and sell on their website. Similar sites are lining their pockets with millions of dollars mainstreetfair.com wants to help schools, with your help!
Eric

Pepperell, MA

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#14
Dec 15, 2009
 
School Budget Cuts Option wrote:
People should not be paying more to fund schools let, www.mainstreetfair.com make the donation and all we have to do is use their website. They will donate to a school of your choice just shop and sell on their website. Similar sites are lining their pockets with millions of dollars mainstreetfair.com wants to help schools, with your help!
Why not just cut out the middle man? Simply give up that Starbucks coffee, a pizza or the Aspen ski weekend and send your check directly to the central office.
Educated Mom

Fitchburg, MA

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#15
Dec 17, 2009
 
Disappointed wrote:
Ok...It is time for Arnie to go. I am tired of the same old song "that we don't do enough". He is a one trick pony. Next is the leadership of the schools, schools are all based on results. The High School is a mess and I certainly do not see them sending anyone to Harvard with the type of education those kids get. Results??? Well didn't we give the schools far more money then the recommended state amount a couple of years ago at town meeting, only to have 2 schools closed. Those are your results from a failed leadership. I wonder how many teachers got paid their full salary while the kids had a month off from that ice storm last year. As far as Hargraves and the state well that is another myth that he will get the district some money. Beacon Hills arms stop at Rte 128. Newton gets $$$ for the $200 Mil school...Norwood gets $$$ for the $140 Mil school and Central Mass gets nothing except wait til next year from the state. What was the last Capital outlay request sent here from the state...you know the Capital Grants from the education budget that Hargraves should be telling us he is getting for us!!! Yup another "I know nothing about nothing answer".
Teachers are paid based on total number of contracted school days worked. Most districts contract teachers for 185 days (180 school days, parent conference days and professional development day). After the Dec ice storm, all days were made up, either on weekends or over vacations. The state did not grant a waiver and all days needed to be made up, unlike other districts that were allowed waives due to the swine flu. The teachers in NMRSD worked their full contractual obligation and thus received full pay.
Pro education mom

Pepperell, MA

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#16
Dec 18, 2009
 
Educated Mom wrote:
<quoted text>
Teachers are paid based on total number of contracted school days worked. Most districts contract teachers for 185 days (180 school days, parent conference days and professional development day). After the Dec ice storm, all days were made up, either on weekends or over vacations. The state did not grant a waiver and all days needed to be made up, unlike other districts that were allowed waives due to the swine flu. The teachers in NMRSD worked their full contractual obligation and thus received full pay.
Did they honestly spend the 3.2 hours per day in the classroom as contracted? Or did they simply drive by the school and wave?
Buncombe

Pepperell, MA

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#17
Dec 18, 2009
 
Pro education mom wrote:
<quoted text>
Did they honestly spend the 3.2 hours per day in the classroom as contracted? Or did they simply drive by the school and wave?
Buncombe! Every wink, wink, that supers and Mass teacher unions could think of to "technically comply" was done. Half of the high school teachers shut-down in April and everyone looks the other way. Answer is more raises.
MSBA rating

Tewksbury, MA

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#18
Dec 20, 2009
 
School Budget Cuts Option wrote:
People should not be paying more to fund schools let, www.mainstreetfair.com make the donation and all we have to do is use their website. They will donate to a school of your choice just shop and sell on their website. Similar sites are lining their pockets with millions of dollars mainstreetfair.com wants to help schools, with your help!
1st - Before anyone sinks ONE dollar into renovations -- what is the MSBA school rating (meaining where does it rate to be fixed amongst other schools in the state?). There IS an actual rating system - where I believe 4 is the worst (Parker School in Billerica was recently approved to have a new elementary school built based on its rating)
2nd - where in the budget is school maintenance (no - not the janitors)- but actual money on renovations/fixes? Who is responsible to make sure renovations/fixes are done? how much money is spent? These funds should come right OUT of the school budget and there should be a sole person should be responsible (yes - a funded position from the school!). This person should report directly to selectment (i.e. accountable). I'm seeing in ALL towns this is a HUGE problem, where no-one is repairing schools then coming back to the taxpayers for a "new" school.
3rd - comment to no students going to Harvard -- you might want to do some research on this. I personally know two NMRHS students, one went to Alleghany and one went to George Washington, both could have gone to Havard - the GW student is pursing a law degree and believe it or not Havard is in the top 10, but not the top 2 for her. The caveat -- the mother, put tremendous amount of time in her children and what they would need to get into high rated schools. I see that often "this" is not a priority with parents - it's about pools, vacations, ipods, computers .....anything "hands-off" and one-upping a neighbor. Education should not be left up to the adminstrators teaching to the MCAS (yet another discussion of what is now left out of our childrens education - creating more "sheeple")
4th - I would have loved a committe, comprised of my friends and co-workers to have decided if I got laid off, nevermind if I could receive a pay increase. I would STILL BE WORKING as well.
Pepperell Mom

Pepperell, MA

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#19
Dec 21, 2009
 
getreal wrote:
<quoted text>
The problem is in central office not the High School administration.
Leominster has received money for a RENOVATION because their CO administration did their homework and paperwork and was not distracted by this regionalization BS.
Central Mass gets their share if you follow the correct path. Nashoba regional is benefiting from their RENOVATION completed several years ago. Our high school is in the same physical shape the tech was in before their renovation.
So a high school performance is based on the number of students attending Harvard?
What about Dartmouth? RPI? Tufts? Michigan State? Syracuse? US Army? Brandeis? Norwich?WPI?
The acceptances are impressive. There is lots of room for improvement.
Good students do very well. Mediocre students are motivated, getting better because of the high school administration not the central office.
I like NMS administration and I hear HBMS is finally turned the corner.
The state formula for school spending has been wrong since day one.
Last year the Pepperell selectmen pulled a politically astute move by putting the override on our library and senior center. It is a very effective trick and worked well.(Note: if you want to build a new school tack on a senior center to the building project, helps in the approval process )Now they paint the school as the "Bad Guy".
The school IS the "bad guy!!" Why does everyone always look at the teachers' salaries, when questioning the school budget. It's not the teachers who are sinking the budget, it's the administration, et al!

Have you taken a look at the contracts that are posted on the NMRSD web site?? Have you noticed how much the school grounds keeper is getting paid?? More than $90,000 a year! Have you also noticed that his contract gives him permission to take a six month paid sebatical?? This is only the grounds keeper contract. Take a long look at the others that are posted! THIS, my friends, is where our hard-earned money is going, and it has NOTHING to do with our children's education!!
Gilbert Grape

Pepperell, MA

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#20
Dec 21, 2009
 
Pepperell Mom wrote:
<quoted text>
The school IS the "bad guy!!" Why does everyone always look at the teachers' salaries, when questioning the school budget. It's not the teachers who are sinking the budget, it's the administration, et al!
Have you taken a look at the contracts that are posted on the NMRSD web site?? Have you noticed how much the school grounds keeper is getting paid?? More than $90,000 a year! Have you also noticed that his contract gives him permission to take a six month paid sebatical?? This is only the grounds keeper contract. Take a long look at the others that are posted! THIS, my friends, is where our hard-earned money is going, and it has NOTHING to do with our children's education!!
There it is! Well said, Pepperell Mom.

Arnie says he's willing to pay a little more for "services".

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