Stamford may opt for half-time principal

Stamford may opt for half-time principal

There are 38 comments on the North Adams Transcript story from Mar 27, 2010, titled Stamford may opt for half-time principal. In it, North Adams Transcript reports that:

Faced with chopping the $1.6 million budget for Stamford Elementary School by 4.5 percent, or $72,000, the School Directors are considering making the principal's job half-time, among other cuts.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at North Adams Transcript.

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Bill

Clockville, NY

#1 Mar 27, 2010
If I remember correctly Principal Leo Ethier was part time principal and part time teacher. That worked for many years without any major difficulties. The statement about Art & Music being mandated does not necessarily mean that there has to be a seperate teacher for each it just has to be included in the curriculum by having the classroom teachers fill in those positions. The course of study is still being taught just not by a specialized teacher. Without having been at the meeting itself from the context of the article. Both sides seemed to have good idea's but neither side was willing to compromise on any points. While this is a difficult situation and the education of the youth is paramount. There needs to be compromise to fulfill the main goal of preparing the youth of today to be the leaders of tomorrow.
chatterer

Wynantskill, NY

#2 Mar 27, 2010
Leo was amazing, one of a kind, he was the heart and soul of that school. You can hire one teacher to teach both subject- music and art. Ct Plunkett has no room for art, so they have "Art on a cart." This is where a cart is wheeled from room to room to get their art/music requirements.
Rosey

Granville, VT

#3 Mar 27, 2010
The elementary school on Florida Mountain has a half-time principal, half-time teacher and has done just fine. It's very common in rural towns.
Think about it

Granville, VT

#4 Mar 27, 2010
In most small towns a full time principal is not needed. If there is a crisis in the school system on a daily basis then there is a problem with the Adminstration in this school if they can't get a grip on problems with that many students. What I have a BIG problem with is when the principal requests taking from the children to benefit herself and the teachers. Is this someone who has your childs best interest at heart.
Attendee

Granville, VT

#5 Mar 27, 2010
At this meeting the principal had brought up about providing no transportation for the students so that none of her staff gets cut. In this day and age why would anyone want their children walking to school. Is it worth our children being kidnapped so that these teachers can get raises?? What are you thinking??
Otto Man

Chesterfield, MA

#6 Mar 27, 2010
Attendee wrote:
At this meeting the principal had brought up about providing no transportation for the students so that none of her staff gets cut. In this day and age why would anyone want their children walking to school. Is it worth our children being kidnapped so that these teachers can get raises?? What are you thinking??
That's right.I couldn't have said it better myself.
NCLB has changed things

Wynantskill, NY

#7 Mar 27, 2010
As per No Child Left Behind, in order for classroom teachers to teach art, they need to be certified to teach art. In other words, they need to be art majors or take several courses and a test to be certified-every single teacher would need to do this. It's not an easy process- nor is it an easy process to find a teacher who is certified in both art and music.
old goat

Middlebury, VT

#8 Mar 28, 2010
For education purposes: State of Vermont requires CERTIFIED art and music teachers. For those who remember Leo as a "part-time principal, part-time teacher," I suggest you do more research. Leo also kept an ancient, probably unsafe heatinfg system working for years. Want to go back to that as well? Also, NO ONE at that meeting proposed cutting all transportaion. Your personal vendettas are showing, people.
old goat

Middlebury, VT

#9 Mar 28, 2010
furthermore, you hypocrites, it was YOUR SCHOOL BOARD, two of whom still sit there, that went for state and federal money to build sidewalks and crosswalks that would have legally allowed them to force walking to school for some students under the guise of "fitness" and even made a big town celebration about it. How quickly we forget!
destinys child

Middlebury, VT

#10 Mar 28, 2010
Old goat, you are right. People should do a little digging and research newspaper articles and they would find that plans for crosswalks, safe cycling/walking routes, lighting, and more were made before Ms. Choquette was hired. It's about time some truths were told in this town
Resident

Roxbury, VT

#11 Mar 28, 2010
Wasn't at the school board meeting, so I have no idea what was said, however here are my thoughts:

1)Leo was great, but sadly he is gone and we have no idea whether he would have been able to weather this financial storm any better. Let him rest in piece.

2)The towns people, short sightly I believe, voted the school board cuts to save on taxes. I'm not sure anyone thought what would happen to taxes when the school is gone and no one wants live here anymore.

3)If we, as a town, want to save money in education we need to start at the state level where most of the mandates come from.

4)I believe the walk to school program was a state-wide intuitive, not something only our school board came up with.

4)There is only so much money so something has to give, the sooner we drop the pettiness and all sides give a little, the sooner this will be over.
Stamford Townee

Pittsburgh, PA

#12 Mar 28, 2010
This goes out to Old Goat: While cutting transportation altogether was not 'officially' on the principal's proposal sheet, she did bring it up at the meeting as a possible option. In fact, the asstistant superintendent, in effort to give the idea some credibility, cited the example of a school up in the Northeast Kingdom that does not provide transportation. This idea was opposed by parents in the room, several of whom have children who live more than a mile from the school. Walking to school would not be an option for them. As far as the sidewalks initiative, there are alot of leaders in this town who have not finished what they started. Finally, can we please have an intelligent exchange on here without resorting to name calling? We might actually learn something from each other in the process.
Stamford Townee

Pittsburgh, PA

#13 Mar 28, 2010
Resident wrote:
Wasn't at the school board meeting, so I have no idea what was said, however here are my thoughts:
1)Leo was great, but sadly he is gone and we have no idea whether he would have been able to weather this financial storm any better. Let him rest in piece.
2)The towns people, short sightly I believe, voted the school board cuts to save on taxes. I'm not sure anyone thought what would happen to taxes when the school is gone and no one wants live here anymore.
3)If we, as a town, want to save money in education we need to start at the state level where most of the mandates come from.
4)I believe the walk to school program was a state-wide intuitive, not something only our school board came up with.
4)There is only so much money so something has to give, the sooner we drop the pettiness and all sides give a little, the sooner this will be over.
Well stated- you have some very good points.
old goat

Middlebury, VT

#14 Mar 28, 2010
to Stamford Townee, you are correct as am I: former selectman Bill Morehouse and some of the current school directors went after grant money to put in sidewalks and offered ideas for walking and cycling to school four years ago. My point is people are now implying that Choquette is in some way neglecting child safety when the words come from her lips but when the others delivered the same proposals and even found ways to fund it four years ago, they were not villified.The name-calling in this town has many supporters on all sides of this issue.
Ideas from Readsboro

Lisbon Falls, ME

#15 Mar 28, 2010
I recently picked up a Stamford Town Report to see for myself what the big disparity was because Readsboro and Stamford actually mirror each other in many many ways.

One glaring factor stands out.....Its the unfortunate and disproportionate numbers of student in the Elementary school compared to the students in Secondary Ed.

Enrollment in Stamford Elementary is reported in the report to be 67 and Readsboro's is 64.....very close.
The reported Secondary Ed students in Stamford is reported to be 44 while in Readsboro it is only 26...a difference of 18 High School tuitions.

If an average High School tuition is about $12,000 ,that would mean Stamford's total school budget would be approximately $216,000 more than ours. Subtracting that from the initially requested $1,564,903 would leave $1,348,903 compared to Readsboro's $1,334,105, again very close.

Two (2) points I would like to make:
1) High School tuitions are the largest variable from year to year that any School Board has to consider when you have School Choice. A large graduating 8th grade is a financial nightmare if the graduating 12th grade is small. The delta cost is enormous and you have no control over that cost.
2) As a result of #1 above ( as we have experienced here ourselves ) boards tend to make cuts of programs and services at the Elementary level to maintain some type financial stability of the combined budget.High School services and tuitions ( except transportation ) seem to get the least attention. We had to deal with the question of "it is fair to penalize elementary students because of a high secondary education population"?
Only you can answer that for yourselves.
Ideas from Readsboro

Lisbon Falls, ME

#16 Mar 28, 2010
I also have read about the concept of designating a public High School, as 2009 legislation allows?

I have investigated that concept for Readsboro and find it not to be as clear cut as we would like. In 2002, Dick Sears pushed legislation to allow Stamford and Readsboro to get State reimbursements for Technical Education at McCann's due to geographic isolation from Bennington....good for both of us.
I have inquired about if we designated Drury, what happens to tech training which any student may be entitled to? In Vermont, public schools either have a tech center or are in a district with a tech center,so all students get accomodated. That is not the case if Drury gets a designation. Tech training in VT is only in the 11th and 12th grades, but McCann supplies tech training in all four (4) years. That is a big question of choice, financial factors if parents pay the extra in the first two (2) years and go for no added cost in years three and four? I have had letters and calls into Sears, Hartwell and Moran and anxiously await their replies.
I proceeded to get them involved as we were told by Dr Wright that the Commissioner of the Department of Education and his head of the Department of Education Legal Office told him that if parents or students opted for McCann's that parents would be responsible for any tuition over the "state high school average".....I dont feel that was the intent, but I also dont feel they considered Dick Sears's actions of 2002.( this is in Title 16 )
pickles55

Easthampton, MA

#17 Mar 28, 2010
CT Plunkett does have an art room which is being used for art! There are 2 art teachers so one stays in the art room and the other uses the cart to go to the classrooms.
Okey Dokey

Granville, VT

#19 Mar 28, 2010
Ideas from Readsboro wrote:
I also have read about the concept of designating a public High School, as 2009 legislation allows?
I have investigated that concept for Readsboro and find it not to be as clear cut as we would like. In 2002, Dick Sears pushed legislation to allow Stamford and Readsboro to get State reimbursements for Technical Education at McCann's due to geographic isolation from Bennington....good for both of us.
I have inquired about if we designated Drury, what happens to tech training which any student may be entitled to? In Vermont, public schools either have a tech center or are in a district with a tech center,so all students get accomodated. That is not the case if Drury gets a designation. Tech training in VT is only in the 11th and 12th grades, but McCann supplies tech training in all four (4) years. That is a big question of choice, financial factors if parents pay the extra in the first two (2) years and go for no added cost in years three and four? I have had letters and calls into Sears, Hartwell and Moran and anxiously await their replies.
I proceeded to get them involved as we were told by Dr Wright that the Commissioner of the Department of Education and his head of the Department of Education Legal Office told him that if parents or students opted for McCann's that parents would be responsible for any tuition over the "state high school average".....I dont feel that was the intent, but I also dont feel they considered Dick Sears's actions of 2002.( this is in Title 16 )
Well Jackass I hope you don't have children because you are limiting our choice and good luck trying to change things because it has not happened in the past and probally won't happen for MANY years to come.
YUPPERS

Granville, VT

#20 Mar 28, 2010
KARMA COMES BACK TO BITE YA!!!!!!
Resident

Roxbury, VT

#21 Mar 28, 2010
Transportation is not a bad place to look for some cuts. Long ago in Stamford, I understand it's a different world today, there was no transportation if you lived withing a mile of the school. More parents work today than then so it might take a little more planning (car pooling, making the school bike friendly again, etc), but I believe it could work again. Group pick up and drop off to eliminate stops could also help both with cost and kids safety.

I also don't think its unreasonable for the faculty and staff to have a pay freeze. I would be willing to bet that just about every parent in Stamford has had their pay frozen for at least a year if not longer.

I don't agree with making the teacher's pick up more of their health insurance because it could mean that they go without.

A half time principal could certainly work, but finding someone qualified to agree to this could prove to be very difficult. I would advocate for re-negotiating the principal's salary first.

Finally, I agree with The Truth that the principal's personal life did not help endear the, then new, principal to the community as well as favoritism running rampant in the school but neither of these have much to do with the budget process.

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