Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Linehan/Cahill have conflicts of interest

UPDATE:

In the “what’s good for the goose is good for the gander” category, a commenter to this blog post noted that Shaun Cahill’s wife, Lisa, is also on the school department payroll. I was unaware of that until now, but the information is accurate as she pulled in $42.5K in 2008, according to the town’s annual report.

The last paragraph of this article reads: “This is not a personal issue for me. The next time this situation comes up (and it will), please copy this article and swap out the names and board affiliations. I will not have a different opinion irrespective of who’s involved and of which board we’re speaking.”

Well, true to my word, I am appealing to both Shaun and Jessica to see the bigger picture of what’s good for the town and decline to be sworn in if successful in the election.

By the way, another commenter (who missed the fact, as I did, that Lisa Cahill works for the school department) pointed to Bob Guerin’s wife being involved in special education. She is not on the town payroll. She does, however, volunteer her time through her work as co-chair of the Special Education Advisory Council, a part of the PTA. I commend her for that work and wish many more of our residents would find the time to contribute in such a beneficial way. Is there a conflict of interest here? I do not see how.

Finally, Andrea Killion’s husband, Jim, serves on the Zoning Board of Appeals, a committee appointed by the board of selectmen. I’ve not been able to dream up a scenario where these two roles would have an inherent conflict of interest. If you do, you can post your scenario below.

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ORIGINAL POST:

Jessica Linehan is a candidate for the Town of Sandwich’s school committee. I don’t believe I’ve ever met her, but she strikes me as a very nice, smart and competent person. Her performance at the annual Enterprise Newspaper Candidates’ Forum was pretty good for a newcomer politician in that she was gaffe-free and made some reasonable arguments for herself.

The problem, however, is that her husband, Gary, is a teacher in the Sandwich Public School System. Since the school committee is at the top of the heap, the ultimate master of the school department, Jessica would become one of Dr. Mary Ellen Johnson’s seven bosses. As superintendent, Dr. Johnson has enough on her plate without having to deal with a boss whose husband is an subordinate.

The superintendent, principals and school committee spent a great deal of time this year hashing out a budget that eliminated over twenty positions but managed to hang on to our critical curricular programs and even added a few opportunities for our kids.

Next year’s budget wrangling is going to make this year’s exercise look like full-day kindergartener’s play. Without an override, which I contend is unlikely to garner any support while we remain mired in this economic recession, we will likely see the teachers’ ranks decimated.

And that’s where the conflict of interest raises its ugly head. Gary earned $57,500 during calendar 2008. Jessica is the library coordinator for Rockland Public Schools, earning $59,500 during calendar 2007 according to the 2007 Rockland Town Report. I assume she was paid a little more in 2008. I know Gary was. His $57,500 pay was $6,100 (or 11.9%) more than his 2007 salary of $51,400.

So roughly half of the Linehan family income rides on the outcome of the decision to lay off teachers to balance the fiscal year 2011 budget. And Jessica would be on the board that ratifies that decision and reviews the superintendent’s performance. Problem, anyone?

Of course, Jessica would have to recuse herself from certain budget discussions, but only those that involve line items that directly affect her husband. The legal interpretation of the conflict of interest law the town received when Mark Wiklund was appointed to the finance committee (whose wife is a teacher in the system as well) was remarkably hands off. Apparently, only a few things would have been off limits regarding Mark’s participation and votes. He chose, instead, to resign from the finance committee, a practical decision I admired at the time and still do.

Hank Tuohy, on the other hand, remains on the finance committee and does not bother to leave the room anymore when the committee discusses the school budget. He used to. What’s changed? His wife, Donna, took home a hefty $74K in 2008 from her school department job.

Jessica’s case would be far different than Mark’s or Hank’s. The finance committee does not have any direct involvement in the decision to layoff school department employees. The school committee does.

What happens if Jessica were to engage in discussions about setting user fees, or establishing supplies budgets? These discussions would be allowed by the state’s conflict of interest provisions, but facing having to cut teaching positions versus cranking up user fees or slashing spending for supplies, don’t you think that the real (not the legal) conflict of interest would be lingering throughout the discussions?

And what about Dr. Johnson’s annual performance review? Would you want to be Dr. Johnson going to this executive session discussion right after issuing a pink slip to a school committee member’s husband? I wouldn’t. I’d think twice about issuing that pink slip. Perhaps I’d choose a different name just to avoid that uncomfortable scenario.

In my opinion, there is simply no good reason for the voters to subject the town, the school department, and the school committee to a clear and ongoing conflict of interest that could manifest itself in many ways that I haven’t even touched on.

I have no doubt that Gary and Jessica are fine people and wonderful parents to their two children. This is not a personal issue for me. The next time this situation comes up (and it will), please copy this article and swap out the names and board affiliations. I will not have a different opinion irrespective of who’s involved and of which board we’re speaking.

Copyright 2009 Randy Hunt

51 comments:

  1. WOW I did not know that the Selectmen could endorse or not endorse someone running for an election. How about Mr. Cahill conflict with having children in the school system and being involved in the Sheriffs department and having the K9 units go through the schools. What about Mr. Garrin who's wife is involved in special education are these conflicts?

    I would rather have a school committee member that has children in the Sandwich School system than going to another school. What does that say about that candidate?

    If you want to get involved than look at what the school committee is doing in regard to the budget and the ridiculous spending that they are doing.

    How about Dr. Johnson and her huge salary?

    Start concentrating on what is right for the children and the community as a whole.

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  2. I see in the 2008 Sandwich Town Report http://sandwichmass.org/PublicDocuments/2008%20Annual%20Town%20Report.pdf that Lisa Cahill earned in excess of $42,000 as a teacher in the Sandwich School System.
    How is it that you see Ms. Linehan as having a conflict of interest, yet you fail to mention Mr. Cahill's situation?

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  3. What in the world is the problem here? We live in a SMALL town! I'm thankful for the people who step forward and serve. I'm not checking out the town report and posting links to spouses' salaries! Who are you, anonymous?? Lisa Cahill has every right to work for the town and draw a salary. Her husband has chosen to volunteer his time and talents on the School Committee. They own a house, pay taxes, and their children attend our schools. If you don't like what you see, then step up to the plate.

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  4. Anonymous people: Why not write letters to the editor of your local newspaper, who would require your names, rather than post anonymous comments to a blog? Just askin'...

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  5. Anonymous people: Why not write a letter to your local newspaper, rather than post anonymously to a blog? Oh, that's right; you'd have to give your name.

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  6. Randy, Randy, Randy.... Before you post anything, find out the facts! Are you above the Massachusetts State Board of Ethics? We think not. The State Board of Ethics determined that there was NOT a conflict of interest 3 years ago when Mr. Cahill ran for office.

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  7. To the most recent Anonymous: Read my blog post again. That is precisely the point I'm trying to make. By the letter of the ethics laws regarding conflicts of interest, there are very few things that would generate a violation.

    Your characterization of "the State Board of Ethics determining that there was NOT a conflict of interest 3 years ago when Mr. Cahill ran for office" is completely wrong. The conflict of interest was recognized and Mr. Cahill must recuse himself from certain deliberations and votes. Anonymous, Anonymous, Anonymous... Get your facts straight before you post your comments.

    So, yes, Shaun has been and Jessica would be cleared to serve on the school committee as long as they recuse themselves from certain deliberations and votes. Of course, we'd be down to five people able to vote on the most important business in front of the school committee. Just think, two more school department spouses on the committee and a quorum would not be possible to decide on the most critical items our town faces. What then?

    My point is that there is an ever-present cloud hanging over anything they do as members of the school committee. It's an elephant in the room you cannot make go away. Everything is inter-related in one way or another.

    Sorry Shaun. Sorry Jessica. It's just not right.

    To Janet: I completely agree with your plea to have more people step up to the plate. With more than 14,000 registered voters in Sandwich, it's shameful that we have an unopposed candidate for the board of selectmen.

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  8. I understand there are 14,000 registered voters, but we are all painfully aware of how many people actually vote. That being said, the people that truly pay attention to what's happening on the various boards is even drawing from a smaller pool. My husband and I often joke about the fact that we may be the only two viewers of SACAT on a weekly basis. Honestly, there's probably maybe 100 interested viewers each week. I agree with Janet Eshbaugh, before we make any attempt to limit "who" our candidates can be for public office in our town, we must find a way to encourage more people to step up to the plate. For anyone who watched this week's school committee meeting and witnessed the nonsense and abuse (not to mention, outright mistruths stated) by some members of the "sports" parents, the fact that public service is thankless job was quite apparant. Try being the parent of a high school student during contentious union negotiations last year -- that was a special experience!

    My point is, we simply don't have a large enough pool of candidates, qualified or otherwise, to start restricting who can and can't run. As an avid SACAT viewer, I have never witness Mr. Cahill take a stand that could be considered "jaded" by his wife's job. I have, however, witnessed many questionable statements by Mr. Twohey on FINCOM. That's just one viewer's opinion. I personally hope Shaun does get re-elected, he is a fine man and someone we should be proud to have serve as an elected official in Sandwich. In the meantime, Randy, if you can find a way to get more people interested in running for public office, I'd be happy to give you a hand. One gentleman running for our Board of Selectman is disgraceful. I will sorely miss Mr. Pannorfi!!

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  9. Randy:

    I see your point regarding potential “conflicts” but truth be told isn’t a spouses work affiliations really just one of many potential conflicts voters should consider? Why include or exclude candidates for just this reason?

    For me, I like our current process best. The press, the candidates themselves, informed voters and the election process makes every effort to provide voters with all the facts and information necessary to form a judgement about a candidates knowledge, skills, interests, abilities and affiliations and then voters chose. This just seems so.........so American and so democratic.

    Call me old fashioned but I think nothing works better to form a government than honesty, transparency, lots of information and the ballot box.

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  10. Bob, good comment, but I probably pay attention to these things more than the average Joe, and I either forgot or never saw the press on Shaun’s conflict of interest. Does Jessica's campaign push card mention that her husband is a teacher in the Sandwich Public Schools? That would be “transparency.”

    Did the article in the Cape Cod Times mention these conflicts? No.

    Did anyone say anything about it at the Enterprise candidates’ forum? No. (Well, truth be told, Andrea went so far as to mention that she doesn't have a conflict of interest, but that subtle comment was lost on 99% of the viewers.)

    Did the Sandwich Broadsider’s article about the candidates mention these conflicts? No.

    What about today’s Sandwich Enterprise editorial? John Paradise endorses Guerin, Cahill and Linehan. No mention of Shaun’s conflict of interest. John does say this about Jessica’s: “The fact that Ms. Linehan’s husband is a teacher at Sandwich High School will complicate matters a bit, requiring Ms. Linehan to remove herself from some discussions and votes, but this should not knock her out of contention.”

    Bob, you said: “For me, I like our current process best. The press, the candidates themselves, informed voters and the election process makes every effort to provide voters with all the facts and information necessary to form a judgement about a candidate’s knowledge, skills, interests, abilities and affiliations and then voters choose.”

    With silence from the press (except for the one-line blurb in John Paradise’s editorial) and the candidates, just how, exactly, do the voters become informed about such a direct conflict of interest? Deliberating and voting on the teachers’ contract is the single most important agenda and budget item the school committee wrestles with, and Mr. Cahill and Ms. Linehan can’t be there to weigh in.

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  11. Randy:

    I think most voters (those who will actually vote) know what's what. Shaun is a true independent voice. Judge him by his record.

    Linehan has run a somewhat anti-School Administration, anti- School Committee campaign. She has campaigned with teacher's union officers.

    Most of us who vote and pay attention know what's what and get it. I have a great deal of confidence in the process -- it almost always gets it right.

    In my mind, the right vote and outcome is: Guerin, Cahill, Killian.

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  12. Randy, I've been following your Blog from it's inception and can only say that this topic was the best and one which I agree should have been more publicly discussed. All of the contributors made excellent points, some were thin on the facts. Great discussion.
    Thank you Wendy for your comment.
    Bob G.I agree with you, those who are truly interested and follow what's going on will sort it out. I have, and plan on voting for Gurein, Cahill and Killion for School Committee. Frank Pannorfi, East Sandwich

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  13. It seems to me that Randy and Bob G have very long arms from patting yourselves on the back.

    Lets get down to it - you both want monkeys in office so you can tell them what to do. It wont be so nice to have someone who is truly interested in the children of our schools, or someone that might say "hold on" we can't take a vote right now. You would rather fool the public like you did when voting our Super into office and giving such a HUGE increase on money when she was not even past the second round. But why don't we now cut teachers jobs and DOUBLE, yes DOUBLE tax our citizens for the field tax that you will not show the public the make up of the 208,000.

    I really think that some of the school committee should loose their own agenda and concentrate what is important here and that is teaching our youth.

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  14. Randy –

    Judging from the last, nonsensical post you are a man of your word – you’ll post almost anything from anyone.

    For those who care, here’s a quick list of what I’ve been doing “for the children” during the last 3 years:
    I have worked hard to increase administrative efficiencies and control costs, improve and expand program offerings as well as improve school communication with the taxpayers, and other municipal departments.
    I have helped oversee the hiring of an experienced professional Administrative Team including a new Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent, Business Manager, two Principals, and 2 Community School Co-Directors to ensure that all state curriculum and financial guidelines as well as the objectives of the Community’s long-range strategic plan for the schools are being met.
    Despite budget restrictions, we have worked to implement a new Full Day Kindergarten program and expand the World Language program in grades 5-8 at no additional cost to the taxpayers.
    I was part of the team that promoted the hiring of a District-wide Buildings & Grounds supervisor with responsibility for coordinating the maintenance of all school-owned property. Real cost savings have been achieved through the utilization of existing school and municipal maintenance staffs and the reduction in use of outside contractors.
    I helped the District achieve further cost reductions by promoting the consolidation of Administrative operations from Dewey Ave to the High School and the consolidation of the proposed new School for Early Learners building into existing classroom space. These moves eliminated both current operating costs as well as long-term capital costs and transferred the Dewey Ave property to the Town for a potential sale and return to the property tax rolls.
    We have improved communication with parents and other taxpayers through their efforts to expand and modernize the District’s website, as well as implement a system-wide emergency calling system to quickly inform parents of any important school announcements.
    Besides suggesting that sports groups could pay as little as $3 per participant/per year to help offset fields maintenance costs, just what other evil have I done?

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  15. Just for everyone's info, I have never not posted a comment on this blogsite. The fact that I monitor the comments keeps people within reasonably civil bounds. But that guy, Anonymous, gets pretty close to the edge from time to time.

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  16. Now what does everyone think!!!!
    Karma what goes around comes around.

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  17. I think the post from Mr. Geurin says it all. I could list all the things the parents do in regards to volunteering but the list would be to long. It is a shame that it comes down to what one does v the other.

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  18. I've been following the comments on this particular topic and someone beat me to the punch about Ellen Guerin. That is strictly a volunteer position. However, the Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SPED Pac) is NOT part of the PTA. Massachusetts law mandates that every town in MA must have a SPED Pac to represent the interests and rights of special education students and their parents in their school district.

    That said, there are parents in town who feel there is a conflict of interest with Bob Guerin on the school committee and Ellen Guerin on the SPED Pac. Bob Guerin not being re-elected will allay those who have concerns about it, I guess. There are folks in town who feel that the school committee and the SPED Pac need to distance themselves from our superintendent a little bit and make sure they have the best interests of the students at heart.

    Speaking of our superintendent, I fully agree with 2 points other commenters made: (1) that the superintendent should have been offered the $140K that was budgeted for the job. I'd like to know whose idea it was to suddenly offer $152K. That extra money could have been used somewhere else in the school budget; and (2) that the process to elect our superintendent was a complete joke...no public vetting, no input from the community, nothing. I think we were all fooled with that one and we'll pay in the long run.

    I hate to say it but she is NOT the right person for the job. This is a candidate who, during the search process, didn't make it past the first round of cuts. Many people don't know that she was a finalist for the superintendent's job in Salem, MA just before Sandwich hired her in July 2007 as our curriculum director. Here are quotes directly from meeting notes of the Salem School Committee meeting of April 9, 2007..."Mr. Allen stated that Ms. Johnson was very personable but he is concerned about a lack of experience in the budget process and personnel." "Mrs. Gachignard stated that Ms. Johnson impressed her the most initially because she has a wealth of experience but lacks in budget experience."

    Funny how we have a superintendent without much budget experience overseeing our budget woes. She just seems to cut, cut and keep cutting. Staffing is a case in point as well as special education. Before coming to Sandwich, she was a Local Instructional Superintendent and Achievement Manager in the New York City public schools. That sounds like Curriculum Director to me. Then again, I don't really know what type of responsibilities she had in that position and most parents don't know either because she wasn't vetted in public at a school committee meeting so we could learn more about her.

    So, here we are...there are many rumors out and about with respect to potential changes throughout the school district. There were rumors this past fall and many of them came true. I fear that the latest rumors will come true as well. In that case, God help us all...

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  19. Excellent information regarding our supt. You hit the nail on the head about how she got hired, on a night that it was not on the agenda, $12,000 over the budgeted salary and after receiving a 12-2 no vote from the committee for a second interview. This from the committee that was asked to find a supt and they chose 2 other candidates. and then dismissed by the school committee. Thank you for your choice Mr.Guerin, Mr.Simmons. Thanks for trying Ms. Marshall.
    Now, Dr.Johnson has an interim business manager who resigned several weeks ago (after working with her for 14 days) in his letter of resignation stated that if she continued to spend at the rate she was spending she would put the school budget into a hole we would not be able come out of...and that he also strongly advised her against the school committee taking over the community school "it will be a financial and politcal disaster". So, now we have a supt. who is going after parents and kids to take there money. Ask Dr. Johnson about informing the school principals this week that a portion of the 7th/8th grade dances (fundraisers for the kids field trips and programs that they work hard for) is now going to fund a program at Wing. Yes, I know that the kids will not lose their trips, just that the PTA and the parents will have to kick in more.
    Look out PTA's in Sandwich, she is going to be coming for your money too!
    It is about time that people get mad....oops they did and they voted in 2 new people to the school committee! I am sure Ms. Killion does not know what she is going to do without Mr. Guerin, she was all set to say yes to him in Ms. Lubolds place.

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  20. EXCERPTED FOR AN EARLIER POST: Here are quotes directly from meeting notes of the Salem School Committee meeting of April 9, 2007..."Mr. Allen stated that Ms. Johnson was very personable but he is concerned about a lack of experience in the budget process and personnel." "Mrs. Gachignard stated that Ms. Johnson impressed her the most initially because she has a wealth of experience but lacks in budget experience."

    Ms. Johnson has recently shown just how much she is lacking in matters of personnel. She cuts positions before she even knows what it is that those people do! She has no clue as to the daily operations of our schools, except where her pet project is concerned. This brings me to the "wealth of experience." That is clearly in ONE area and obviously does NOT extend to state and federal laws governing Special Education, which is being drained to fund her literacy program.

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  21. I'm "Anonymous" who quoted the Salem School Committee. A few more thoughts on our superintendent...

    * Most people don't know but she was pretty much at the bottom of the pool of applicants during the search process.

    * I agree with one of the commenters...thanks Ms. Marshall for trying. You seemed to be the only one with common sense.

    *I've had teachers tell me that morale is lower than it has ever been.

    * I also heard (on good authority) that Dr. Johnson wants to take the money raised by the 7th & 8th grade dances to fund their field trips and programs and use it to fund tutors (that's probably because she cut that line item out of the school budget...look out parents)

    * I've also heard (on good authority once again) that Dr. Johnson has indicated there are to be no more than 3 goals on the IEPs of special ed students. NO ONE has a right to limit the number of goals on a student's IEP. It flies in the face of what IEP stands for...INDIVIDUALIZED Education Program. Limiting goals is contrary to special ed law that states that "...IEP means a written statement for each child with a disability...that includes a statement of measurable annual goals, including academic and functional goals, designed to meet the child's needs that result from the child's disability..." The law does not indicate a minimum or maximum number of goals. My child has 6 goals and that's due to the needs presented by my child's disability. Other kids may have 4, some may have just 2. Limiting a child's IEP goals means you're setting expectations low for these children...it means less work the district has to do to educate them because expectations and achievement standards have been lowered...and when the district doesn't have to do as much to educate these kids, it provides Dr. Johnson with the opportunity to make further cuts to special education. How sad...

    * I agree that Dr. Johnson doesn't fully understand what is going on in our schools. She cuts personnel and services without realizing the full implications of doing so. The special education teacher laid off at the Forestdale School is an example. All of that teacher's students were put in regular education classrooms according to an article in the Sandwich Enterprise. Did Dr. Johnson think her literacy program was going to be the answer for these students? Was any thought given to the fact that maybe inclusion is not appropriate for some or all of these children? The May Institute program at the Wing School is another case in point. There are people who are unaware of this great program, a program and a relationship Sandwich has had with the May Institute for the past 12 years or so. The staff may work at the Wing School but they are May Institute employees. This program is going away (Dr. Johnson told me the program was going away because the May Institute was leaving the Cape but the May Institute told me otherwise). Dr. Johnson fails to realize how this will impact children with autism, Downs Syndrome and other severe cognitive disabilities. The school district will never be able to replicate this type of program. I know of a mother who drives from HARWICH every day to bring her child with autism to this program because there is no such program on the lower Cape (for those who are wondering, this is considered an out-of-district placement for Harwich and so Harwich pays Sandwich to educate this student...it doesn't come out of our budget). What will this mother do now?

    * I agree...people need to get mad and have shown their displeasure through the school committee election results. I can't say I'm sorry to see Ms. Lubold go. Her motion to hire Dr. Johnson has set this district on a course we may never recover from.

    All of this is disconcerting and unsettling. We need transparency and open dialogue with parents. We need someone who will lead us out of this quandary we're in...

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  22. Well said! Thank you for the insight.

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  23. I would like to note that Shaun Cahill was the other School Committee member that stood alone with Ms. Marshall in voting against the appointment of Ms. Johnson. The Townspeople must have like that, because Mr. Cahill was re-elected.

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  24. Kudo's to anonymous on May 9th......Keep the information flowing....Now let's get more parents and teachers (if they are not too afraid of losing their jobs) to go to the school committee meetings and really start to pay attention, ask the questions (and have Dr. Johnson herself answer them not the new chairman)
    Also, another thank you to that substitute teacher/parent for putting her neck out to say what we are all thinking at the last meeting! I too want the teachers in the schools doing the job we are paying them for. I know they want that too!

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  25. First Anonymous on May 10th...I did forget to mention Shaun Cahill. I did appreciate the fact the he sided with Ms. Marshall.

    Second Anonymous on May 10th...thank you for mentioning the substitute teacher/aide/parent who spoke up at the most recent school committee meeting. She was an aide that worked with my special needs child (and other kids in the class) during the 06-07 school year. She loves what she does and is good at it. She also is a friend whom I have known for over 10 years. She is a wonderful person, has a great husband and has a terrific bunch of kids. She is a person of integrity and strong moral character. I called her a few days after the meeting to tell her that I appreciated the fact that she spoke up. The first thing she said was that she was reprimanded for doing so. I then said I knew that would happen but I was grateful that she stuck to her convictions, her values and her ethics and did what she thought was right. She then said it wouldn't stop her from continuing to speak up and thanked me for appreciating the fact that she spoke up. Good for her!

    Unfortunately, most teachers are afraid to speak up because they fear losing their jobs. I have to say, though, that we are fortunate to have many excellent teachers in our schools. As I've said before, I've had many teachers tell me about things going on behind the scenes because they are concerned and how morale is at an all-time low and how they're glad I'm speaking out...they say that someone has to do it and hope that more parents will speak up.

    I'm tired of having no input in the decisions in this district. After all, it's my tax dollars (and yours)! I can't stand finding out about what is going on "after the fact," especially when many recent decisions have been made without any thought as to their future implications. Once we parents hear about it, it seems to be a "done deal."

    As I've said before, we need transparency, open dialogue with parents and I'll also add honesty.

    I'll finish my post with a couple of quotes that come to mind with respect to what's going on right now...

    "To know what is right and not do it is the worst cowardice."
    --Confucius"

    "There's nothing more demoralizing than a leader who can't clearly articulate why we're doing what we're doing."
    --James Kouzes and Barry Posner (teachers in the field of leadership)

    Have a good evening, everyone.

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  26. I'm back again with additional comments. Dr. Perrin, our special education administrator, is leaving at the end of the school year for a job at the South Shore Collaborative, a sister organization to the Cape Cod Collaborative. These organizations have programs for children with profound and severe cognitive, emotional and behavioral disabilities that are substantially separate from the general school population.

    While I and other parents have sparred with Dr. Perrin over services for our children, we've usually been able to put good programs together for our kids and many of us feel that he really does want what's best for them. We are fortunate to have a special education director that, in a way, understands our advocacy. He has an advantage that many other special education directors do not have and that is the fact that he had a special needs sibling whose care he was actively involved in. There are parents who know of this and appreciate the fact that he can relate to us on a different level.

    Unfortunately, he has to work within budget constraints and with our current superintendent. I know what I'm about to say I've heard from other people; however, many rumors that I and other parents and staff have heard for months now have actually come true so I've come to put some stock into what I've been hearing. Anyway, I personally feel that our superintendent has a lot to do with Dr. Perrin leaving the school district. I have heard she is making special education decisions without consulting him and overturning decisions he has made. Who wouldn't want to leave if you have to work with a boss doing those types of things?

    This does not bode well for the special education students in Sandwich not to mention the district, in general. Many parents and staff are afraid that our superintendent will hire someone without any input from parents, staff or the public...someone who will be a puppet and do what she asks them to do without questioning her.

    Sandwich is a great town with a lot of great people and a lot of great kids. We can't let our school district become like many other districts across the country whose behavior when it comes to special education starts to border on the unethical and dare I say, illegal (refer back to my previous post about limiting goals on a child's IEP).

    Sandwich deserves better and so do our kids...

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  27. I am a new anonymous and I must inform you that so many of you have misinformation. Have you any idea how fortunate we are to have Mary Ellen Johnson in our district? She is a visionary who has the education, experience and connections to put Sandwich on the map as an innovative school district. Anyone who thinks that "business as usual" is going to continue to be in the best interest of our children, has not looked carefully at the the average Sandwich child these days. The new literacy model is reseach driven, self funding after these first two years of a PREPAID frontloaded program. You do know that the literacy model was funded with a grant I hope. NO jobs were lost as a result of the literacy teachers, right? If you think otherwise, please trace your rumors back to the source and ask for a copy of that budget. If we could harness the negative energy created on our sports fields by the rumor mill and fuel our committees with it...imagine how great we could be. Another thing speaking of sports fees...do people know the profits that the three day tournaments generate? Why on EARTH wouldn't our town demand that a cut of that money goes back to the school, who maintains the fields? The fields get decimated after some of those jamborees. If our soccer clubs and such work with the schools rather than against them, we'd have most of our sport budget woes under control. ok and finally the whole use the dance profits for tutoring? Once again, some busy body heard part of conversation and turned it into gospel. It just is NOT true.

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  28. The Anonymous from May 11 REALLY needs to get his/her facts straight. D. Johnson is NOT the right person for our district and we are NOT fortunate to have her. Anonymous from May 11 said about Dr. Johnson, "She is a visionary who has the education, experience and connections to put Sandwich on the map as an innovative school district." Are you kidding me? All she is doing is making decisions (and not all good ones at that) without regard to their future implications, particularly with respect to special ed. Given your statement above and the one about the literacy model, are you a school committee member or family member of one? Or maybe one of the Special Ed Parent Advisory Council co-chairs? That's a topic for a conversation some other time. Let's just say that the co-chairs have never really involved parents in setting the Special Ed Parent group goals (they've just been handed out at meetings for us to know what they are working on) and many parents don't feel comfortable going to the co-chairs with their special ed issues for help because they don't really feel like they'll get help...I'll just end there before I get off on a HUGE tangent.

    I've mentioned that the May Institute program is going away. Dr. Johnson said the program was going away because the May Institute was leaving the Cape...the May Institute told me they received a letter saying that she was ending the relationship over budget issues. What does that say about her? Do you think she's such a visionary now? Once again, parents demand transparency and open dialogue, not to mention honesty.

    Do you know what kind of staff it takes to work with these kids and their disabilities? No you don't! There is no staff in our district right now who has the extensive training and years of experience that the May Institute staff has (which I mentioned before are May Institute staff, not school district staff). With unqualified staff, these children will cost (yes, money that is) more to educate than if they received a quality education in their early years. Without a quality early intervention program, many of these kids will never be in inclusion classrooms (or at least, not spend as much time in them as they could have), not reach their full potential and may have to live in a group home. The decision to end the May Institute program is going to have a direct impact on these children's lives. Do you want to use your tax money to support them as adults when a quality early intervention program could have given them a great start in life and helped enable them to live independently as adults? Why don't you write a check now?

    Oh, and limiting IEP goals...that information came staight from meetings Dr. Johnson had with staff and principals. So no misinformation there.

    Let's see...the literacy program...while I think it's helpful, it seems to be Dr. Johnson's pet project. I can see it being useful to prevent kids who are behind from slipping further being and needing special ed services. That's great but Dr. Johnson needs to focus her enegeries elsewhere.

    Enough said for now...we need new leadership in Sandwich.

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  29. It’s always interesting to see what happens to a community when budgets grow tight and difficult choices need to be made.
    These recent posts certainly reflect the fact that we currently face some serious financial challenges. It is always about money and there is never enough to go around.
    Which is why we so often end up talking about adding fees or cutting vital services.
    But, where do our school dollars go I wonder?
    Why not read the Town’s Annual report and find out.
    I chose to review the Town's Annual Report pages listing teachers with last names beginning with the letter “C” but you can pick any page yourself, the results are always the same:
    Here's a Sandwich teacher (last name starts with C) paid $58,476 in 2007 and in 2008 paid $65,683. That’s a 12.3% raise.
    Here's another, (last name also starts with C) paid $56,534 in 2007 and paid $68,731. That’s a 21.5% raise.
    This year the school budget grew by 2%.
    Add fees or don’t. Pay for teacher training or don’t. Pay the Superintendent or don’t. None of these actions by themselves or collectively will fix or fund a system that’s collecting 2% a year in new revenues and increasing salaries by more than 12%.

    The fundamental problem with our school budget is teacher compensation. It’s too high and to pay for it the school board must either add fees or cut services.

    That sad reality isn’t going to make anybody happy. And, fixing the problem will take leadership, courage and straight talk.

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  30. You have to be a little careful about comparing the 2008 and 2007 annual reports for salaries. During 2008, 27 payrolls were paid rather than the normal 26 (just because of the number of Thursdays that landed in calendar 2008).

    For our long range plan update, I will present a thorough comparison of salary increases over the five year period from 2004 through 2008. The comparison will eliminate anomalies, such as people coming on and leaving the payroll, and adjust for the 27 payrolls in 2008.

    Having said that, Bob Guerin’s suggestion that we need to rein in salary increases is spot on in order to create a sustainable budget model for the future.

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  31. I have been involved with the Sandwich public schools for over 35 years- and have seen many programs and people come and go. Our small town has grown so quickly- but somehow we have still managed to keep many of our outdated and sometimes antiquated teaching philosophies in place.
    Take a look at the MCAS scores for special education in all of our schools- NONE of the 15 3rd grade Special Education students at Oakridge scored proficient last year and this data is alarmingly similar in other grades at other schools. The SPED model has not worked and change is necessary.
    I'm not sure that most people realize that our district is under pressure from the state to improve these scores- if we don't meet our AYP in this subgroup, they come to intervene- it's that simple. Dr. Johnson is being proactive to amend a situation that needs immediate attention-
    She really doesn't have a choice.
    As far as the parent who spoke at school committee- she was misinformed and used propaganda-like tactics to incite hysteria. Do you really believe that Dr. Johnson is laying off teachers so that other teachers can wine and dine and stay in hotel rooms? Don't you think that the Channel 7 I-team would have jumped at the chance to write about this story?- let's get real.
    As one of the anonymous people stated, the literacy program is paid for already- no one was laid off as a result of this initiative-and the literacy program just may be one of the vehicles which turns things around in our district.
    Many of the 'bloggers' have said that they speak in the interest of children- but really have no concrete suggestions for helping. This all seems like adult nonsense, and no one seems to really have enough information to know what is truly right for our kids. Participants seems to be partaking in disorganized bashing- but as a first time blogger- I am wondering if maybe this is the idea.
    Dr. Johnson is doing her best to do what is right for kids- they are her first priority. Some may believe that she has made some mistakes- but at least she is in the game- actively trying to make things better. Reforming the SPED program, initiating the literacy model, filling our classrooms with books, adopting a research supported math program, training teachers to be part of a school based leadership team, providing ongoing professional development in content areas, collecting data on our students,and much more- all these intiatives are already enriching and improving the academic lives of our students. Do complaining and whining do the same?
    I suggest that you hang in there for the next two years and see what happens to our district under Dr. Johnsons's leadership. It is unfair to judge her so strongly in such a short period of time. Let's look back at some of our previous superintendents- Did any of them initiate any specific programs or models which directly and profoundly improved the education of our students? Many of them just signed off on the budget that the principals prepared and stayed under the radar. If you figure out their salaries in relation to hard work done- they are the ones who were way over paid!
    Change takes time- and courage.
    I have been around long enough to know that many in our district fear change, and will fight desperately to hold on to the status quo.
    When these changes, which seem so jolting now, are given the chance to take hold- you will see our district transform- and as one blogger said, we will be 'on the map' as a progressive and innovative district. You will see scores going up, enthusiasm in teachers, students and parents, and we will have a district that actually has 'a pulse'.
    Everyone is talking and talking... about staff being grossly overpaid, the decadent salaries of candidate's spouses, dance and sports fees being spent in a criminal way, teachers partying on the town's dime, and other rumors gone wild. Does any of this discussion have anything to do with our kids? It think it's time to drop the politics and gossip and talk specifically about what is best for the children of Sandwich. Otherwise, we're just wasting time here.

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  32. The May 11th Anonymous returns...

    IEP goals? Yes, they NEED limitations IN ADDITION to demanding excellent teaching practices for all children. I would expect all teachers to implement these practices on a regular basis for all kids, but I promise you it it just not done with consistency under our current model.

    You may be speaking of one particular sped child who needs many, many accommodations and modifications but that is not true across the board.

    Don't water down the curriculum. Don't have the kids on IEPs do the evens then add 10-20 points so they get an A or a B on the report card. Let me tell you this may be a sarcastic slant on how many ieps are translated, but it is not far from reality.

    Make the classroom teacher and the sped teacher (not volunteers or esps) the responsible team to teach all children. Yes, yes, yes....differentiate instruction and assessment to meet the needs of kids that are on IEPs, heck why not differentiate for all kids? (remember how hard SAIL worked in this town for years and years?)

    Aren't those kids entitiled to special education as well? Yes, just not business as usual. It hasn't been working. Just look at the numbers. If you are not an MCAS fan, fine. Toss that stat out, but what have you got that is better that shows that these kids are making the kind of progress they need to make to surivive in the world beyond graduation? Nothing, you have nothing.

    I will support Dr. Johnson and the team that she needs to hire to keep all the balls in the air. She wore three hats this year, making the salary of one. Careful with throwing salary figures around without attaching qualifications to them.

    Now, on the topic of severe SPED issues, I do not claim to have any information about. I am talking about kids that are mainstreamed and expected to pass MCAS and graduate from SHS.

    See you at the school committee meeting. I do hope you attend.

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  33. I feel the need to respond again to the comment above mine from Anonymous of May 11th. You may feel that IEP goals need limitations but I'll say it again, the law doesn't state a minimum or maximum number of goals and it doesn't matter whether the child has severe, moderate or mild special needs. The law does not differentiate there. I hate to use the word "illegal" but it would be against the law to limit the number of goals. The number of goals is based on the child's needs and so the number of goals can vary from child to child. The law is the law. So sure, maybe a child with minimal needs only requires 1 or 2 goals. Then again, maybe more. Each child's situation is unique.

    I agree with you on other points. All people should demand excellent teaching practices for all children... Don't water down the curriculum...Don't give them part of the work and then add points to their final grade...Differentiate instruction to meet the individual needs of these kids...Differentiate for all kids.

    I agree with your point that all kids are entitled to special education (not in the sense that they have a disability of course) but a case in point is my spouse who was on an IEP because my spouse was gifted. The special education law in that particular state had 2 sections...true special ed and gifted. Children also have different learning styles. One of my kids had a teacher one year who gave her students a survey at the beginning of the school year to determine their learning style. I'm sure she then did her best to teach to her students' style. That's 1 year out of the 6 my child's been in school.

    There are parents out there who feel that their kids are settling for average because teachers need to teach so many with diverse learning styles that some kids aren't challenged enough or kept motivated enough. Too bad Project Sail is no longer around. One of my kids is like this...only does what needs to get done...the minimum and nothing more...even prefers not to do extra credit...and my child is very bright (high honors). We wish we could motivate this child more.

    Anyway, just my 2 cents.

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  34. Thanks for speaking at the school committee tonight. More people should at least come. That way the information is first hand. See you in two weeks!

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  35. Regarding the May 11 Anonymous posting. yes we need our special Ed teachers to be better prepared but we also need our general teachers to be better prepared. If it wasn't for some of the ESP's in these classrooms (one on one) these students would be lost.

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  36. Last night many committee members and planted teachers that were present had a lot to say regarding respect. I think that respect starts at the top and over the past many meeting the committee has not shown much respect to the parents and taxpayers of the town who had the courage to go to the meetings and to speak up. They were treated by certain school committee members with no respect.

    Its funny that it's okay to ramble on and on when you tell the committee how great they are but when you ask questions or state opinions you get ganged up on by members or comments are made at the next meeting when the people are not there.

    We are adults. Lets all begin to act like it. Lets concentrate on moving forward and doing what is fiscally right. These are our children and lets provide what we can afford without double taxing their families. Lets get over thinking about how we can screw the families over and over.

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  37. This year, the 2% increase in the school budget actually required cutting $1.2 million since our school systems costs grow at a rate well beyond 2% (see earlier post above).

    It’s likely that the school committee will need to CUT another $1.6 million in 2011 and another $2.2 million in 2012 based on the Town’s current budget projections (rough estimates both) and assuming no new fees and no new taxes.

    So, how do you cut $1.6 million assuming teacher cuts and salary reductions are off limits?

    Here’s one option based on the content of the earlier posts on this blog page:

    Eliminate the entire Superintendent’s office and the Business office too and save about $550,000 still leaving a $1 million dollar deficit to close in 2011.

    Cut all professional development and save another $300,000 leaving a $720,000 short fall.

    Cut all technology spending, including returning all lease/purchased computers (leaving the schools with no computers in the classrooms) and save another$180,000 give or take.

    Eliminate all school sports and save another $300,000.

    Still the 2011 deficit is a ballpark $270,000.

    Cut all textbook purchases and save another $125,000

    You’re still $145,000 in the red.

    Eliminate the entire school nurse/student health program (roughly $145,000) and presto – a “balanced” budget.

    Keep in mind that in 2012 you will have to cut another $2.2 million.

    No Kidding! No fooling!

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  38. Randy, great Blog althouth I must admit I am not a blogger. I prefer to speak to people directly and give no creedence to those who hide behind an anonymous name. To all of the "anonymous" people out there I encourage you to put your typing where your mouth is and go to the source of your frustration. Pick up the phone and call the Superintendent or the elected members and voice your concerns openly. I am sure you will be well received. I encourage you to do the same with me. I expect this will be a tough term on the School Committee based on the economic climate, however it is an opportunity for us to show our children how we can work through this. The goal is what is best for the children's education and the community. The school will get what they absolutely need and not what everyone wants. The past committee had to make difficult choices and the current one will as well. I can tell you that I will be making those decisions based on the facts and not personal opinions or feelings and bullying tactics. I believe that Bob Guerin and Trish Lubold served very effectively and with integrity. I thank them for their service.

    For those who have commented on my son not attending public school, I made the choice and financial sacrifice to send him to Catholic School because I wanted him to have the gift of Prayer and Religion everyday. I understand not everyone embraces this option. You should also know that we purposely chose to move to Sandwich because of the wonderful public schools here, should that have to be an option.

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  39. Let's guess here, is the Anonymous posters dis gruntled malcontent teachers, who don't want to change their 25 yr old ineffective curriculum? How could anyone be against Dr. Johnson's Literacy and Math programs after she based her decisions on well documented National research results. Dr. Johnson has accomplished more in less than a year, than had been done by the prior administration had completed in 3 years.

    Bob Guerin was a loss for the school children and a win to empower the MTA/SEA union even more than they already are! Ms. Linehan's suggestion to not pay for professional development (after an audit cited the prior district with failing to provide prof. dev. for 10 yrs.)Ms. Linehan already wants that money to transfer for rehiring teachers, isn't this a conflict already? Ms. Linehan needs to remember she was elected to advocate for the children and taxpayers, not her husband (H.S.teacher) and Ms. Carlisle/SEA Union Pres. There are many who will be watching Ms. Linehan's actions closely to ensure she does not violate any conflict of interest laws. I would hope she has already called the Ethics div. to get her clairifications regarding conflicts with teacher contracts, super contracts etc.
    Since there are still some people who continue to slander Dr. Johnson unfairly. I will be submitting an article to the papers explaning all the reasons I felt forced to motion to make Dr. Johnson our permanent Super. There was a great deal of back door politics and almost a "bag Job" for a puppet superintendant that would have benefitted the status quo groups, Not the school children! People saying there was no community input is completely false, community input was taken from the Fall of 2007 to May 2008. The article is long overdue to stop the outrageous slander against Dr. Johnson. Stay tuned, the article will be very enlightening as to who was really trying to appoint a puppet superintendant.

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  40. I am a new anonymous, and I am a district teacher and town resident. I have a real distaste for anonymous letters. Unfortunately, this year has seen two district employees (and town citizens) brought in to the superintendent’s office to “discuss” their statements made in the public arena. These discussions sent a clear message to other district personnel. You leave your right to participate in the public dialogue when you accept a job in this district. So I apologize for being anonymous, but I don’t feel comfortable that my job would not be targeted for making any comments that would do anything but tow the party line. However, I acknowledge up front that my creditably is diminished because I am not revealing my full identity. I apologize for this.

    I do have honest concerns about the direction the district has taken. I think on both sides that it easy to simplify the arguments and dumb down our politics. If you are for the superintendent and the current direction of the school district, you are “not interested in the children.” If you are against the current direction, you are a “tool of the teachers’ union”. The reality is that most people in this debate are being intellectually honest. They believe that A) the district is moving in a brave new direction that shows courage, or B) that these moves are myopic and could long term damage.

    Of course, my view can be discounted, because I am a teacher. One could write off my concerns as somehow self-serving (although I am not sure how either view necessarily helps me individually). Here is what I see. The School Committee has gone “all in” on their bet on Dr. Johnson. Whatever she claims to be reality is accepted as reality. There is little digging and questioning. My concerns with this are two fold.
    1) Dr. Johnson has a very clear worldview of education. The single most important aspect of anything we do is making sure that students are good readers when exiting the K-4 part of our system. In fact this is so important that a much larger chunk of our district resources should be devoted exclusively to this endeavor. While I agree with helping students read at an early age, it means that there is loss to existing programs elsewhere in the district. This means that some programs that have benefited kids will be cut or reduced to the point of ineffectiveness. A good example is that students and parents will be surprised when class sizes at the HS balloon next year do to a disproportionate focus on K-4. Dr. Johnson’s retort would be that a good teacher can teach 30 students just as well as 15---class size only matters K-4. Perhaps I am just an ineffective educator, but I would strongly disagree.
    2) Large decisions are being made without a consideration of why existing policy exists. Whether it is opening up Sandwich to a school of choice, pay kindergarten, the relationship between the community school and the district, etc. big decisions that have a large number of ripple effects are being made. Now this can be seen as a sign of strength and powerful leadership, but I think the Bush Administration has effectively shown that being headstrong alone is not always a sign of being a good leader.

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  41. (Continued) I am also concerned when I see an exiting of straight shooters in the district. I think the community should see the departure of people like Jim Lehane and Rick Reino as warning signs. I sometimes didn’t agree with these men’s views, but I appreciated the fact that they were very upfront about their perspectives and their desire to deliver effective education to the district. This unfortunately is a rare trait within district leadership circles right now.

    In the end I hope that I am wrong, and Dr. Johnson is right. I hope that the decisions she makes—often without a full grasp of the facts—end up showing that she is a true visionary who sees above the minutia that I am caught up in. Yet I don’t see it from within the organization. I see frustration, a lowering sense of morale, and an honest concern about what is happening to a district that many community members were proud of long before the current regime. I see some of the strongest educators in our system starting to look outside the district for employment. This isn’t because they are unwilling to "jump on the change train" or they need a “puppet” of a superintendent. I hope that I am not right, because if I am the town will be wondering what hit the schools. People will be asking about falling test scores, and the loss of more good people and important programs. What I fear is that this will take 3-5 years to come to fruition and by then the damage will have been done.

    Then it won’t matter whose puppet is running things….

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  42. Mr.Hunt Good Evening.

    I just took the time to read many of the above comments posted by those whom feel they have the opportunity to remain anonymous. One can see we have some rather skilled anonymous folks whom do not have the courage of there convictions and that is rather sad in a democratic world.

    Many of those anonymous posters have twisted many of the actual facts to suit the adgenda they seek and that also is a travasty for the children of Sandwich.

    The world of the hidden and elusive ethics we all need to understand, has no meaning given the choice of those anonymous to make inaccurate,false and judgmental properganda in the hidden world of space.

    I can assure every negative anonymous poster that the desicion to make Dr.Young the new Superintendant was a positive step in correcting a long time abuse in the teaching of children within the Sandwich School District.

    I would much rather have an honest person with aspiring skills than one whom could not add two numbers together and spoke with a forked tongue in charge of any leadership role teaching childeren in todays world.

    Operating a School district in todays world needs to be done in a business type of way and all whom are voted into the job as School Committee need to have at least a basic understanding of economics ,especially during these hard economic times. It can not only be about education, but providing the very best opportunity for our children given the avaliable funding to do the job.

    Mr. Gurin provided a strong leadership role during his chairmanship and was not afraid to make the very best decision after he anaylized all the data and the school district will suffer the loss of this leadership in my opinion.

    To answer one question, going forward, to help fund school programs Every employee should pick up 50 percent of the health and welfare cost and have the savings go to the school. That would be a fair proposal given these hard economic times that affect every one in Sandwich.

    Ca Johansen

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  43. The previous poster said:
    "One can see we have some rather skilled anonymous folks whom do not have the courage of there convictions and that is rather sad in a democratic world. "

    I guess this means that Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison's FEDERALIST PAPERS should have been dismissed as being part of "hidden and elusive ethics". I would argue that perhaps democratic society has benefitted from whistleblowers in the past. I would further argue that it is easy to seem heroic when one gives up nothing (i.e. their job or health insurance) in order to make their point.

    I further worry about hyperbole that speaks of "long time abuse in the teaching of children". What is the claim of abusive teaching of children based on? Or are we simply having a dialogue concerning how much one needs to pay in taxes? If it is just that I have no problem with it, it is an important dialogue to have; however, I think one shouldn't wrap that argument in the claim that this is to stop the abuse of children. It may more simply be a desire to have more money in one's pocket that might otherwise go to the school district. Again that is a legitimate argument to make, but I would suggest it should be made in an honest way.

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  44. Randy –
    One of the bloggers on these pages suggests that the “loss” of Mr. Reino and Mr. Lehane should suggest to taxpayers a weakness in the School’s current management system. I beg to differ.

    Mr. Reino’s last school budget wasn’t balanced; it was a mess. He “forgot” to budget for at least 3 existing teacher positions and he overlooked a massive deficit in the SPED transportation account. This is a matter of public record.

    Mr. Lehane ran a Community School that couldn’t balance its books either (without a lot of fiscal slight of hand). There was nearly $100,000 of pool energy costs “hidden” in the High School operating budget. There were other pool expenses (like chemicals and filter equipment) being paid for by Driver Ed. and the Surround Care program. This is a matter of public record. In effect, we’ve been cutting teaching positions to operate the pool. IF taxpayers think that’s wise, then so be it…….but shouldn’t taxpayers and parents know that’s what’s been happening?

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  45. Tonight's school committee meeting demonstrates once again, that some of our most outspoken residents are misinformed, and rude. The amount of chatter, during a student presentation no less, was embarassing! Be respectful, professional and get your facts straight.

    The teachers, Superintendent and the committee are in the business of making the schools better for the kids. Nothing they are proposing takes away from that. We need to look long term and more globally at the way we educate our children in order to keep up with the competition. What we have done in the past will not continue to work.

    Change it difficult. Let's support the system while it undergoes a paradigm shift that will put our town and our children in competition with the best of the best. We are not there yet, help us!

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  46. I think that what must be done by all who post is to carefully watch School Committee meetings.
    All that is said, whether by open forum speakers, committeemen, or the Super herself, should be verified. It is amazing at the lies that are told.

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  47. To our school committee and superintendent:

    Nice job with continued layoffs! The numbers have grown above and beyound what you had told the public and the number of ESP's has gone way up as well.

    But it is nice to see that you approved $40k for another position to help the superintendent. Now we will have less teachers and ESP's (one on one's) teaching.

    Keep up the good work!

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  48. It is important for all Sandwich voters to carefully listen and learn from the debate that will come from the school committee this coming budget season, or, more likely, before the budget season.
    The more they can confuse you, the more they will try. We have a School Committee, a Board of Selectmen (including two anything goes for schools people), a Finance Committee, and now a Leadership Committee. Why do we need a leadership committee? If there is a problem with the schools, and yes, every year there is, then why not just have each committee meet with the other. Frankly, the only problem is that even if we had a proposition 150 where we could more than go 1.5 times the curretn budget, the schools will have a shortfall. Why is there a problem with one of our elementary schools after the prior superintendent said she would fix all with a change in curiculum? Why do teachers get a 3% raise on top their steps upon steps. The current rate of deflation, yes, deflation is about 4.5% which means they will get a 7.5% raise on top of their steps of 3%. That is a big reason why. Why do we have great people leave the system? Maybe its the superintendent, you know the one that gets $157,000, oh silly me, only $152,000 for her symbolic giving back, you know giving back her substantial increase from last year. Throw every bum out except for hunt, linehan, and the woman who does not have her kid go to Sandwich Schools.

    Oh, I will not get a raise next year, I am only on Social Security and a very small IRA for my retirement, not like tha fat cats in the Public Sector.

    We need a new School Committee, Board of Selectman and people on the finance committee who debate rather than agree (except for the only one who knows anything about budgets, Mr Dedering.

    We also need people who believe in God, believe that we do have a decent government, have jobs, and are not completly partisan.

    Ask the Governor, the Education Governor, where is the beef? He hits local taxpayers, commuters, people who need to go to the RMV, have recreations etc., but those who are not citizens, those who take welfare and live with one of the fathers of their children do not get anything. How about the Education President. Where is the help?

    God Bless America

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  49. Dig everyone catch last night's school board meeting? It seems that people with Special Needs children are a bit unhappy with the ME Johnson, yet the school committee keeps praising her.

    Its time for the committee to either wake up or get voted out.

    I don't like the color of the paint on the wall.

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  50. The May Institute has fired a BUNCH of their group home workers as well as workers in their community-coping/job training programs. The "decision makers" aren't on the Cape or even in Randolph anymore--the beancounters are in GEORGIA now (one of those "right to work" states--which means "right for us to fire your ass without fair compensation). They've also been trying to deny the people who they fire without cause (the cause being they have been employed too long, make too much money and know what they are doing) unemployment, but the State of Massachusetts in on to them. If you work for May and they fire you, COUNT on them trying to get your unemployment denied. Stick with it, though, and you will win.

    The May Institute is not the organization it was a decade or more ago. It's a bunch of corrupt cretins who are doing a great job screwing over both their clients and their workers. It's beyond horrible what's happening with them--they are rapidly assuming a corporate, for profit style of management. It's only a matter of time before they flip their business model totally.

    Don't look to May for answers--they're a sinking ship, Quality Control is out the window with those guys. If you have a kid getting service from them, I'd look for another arrangement.

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  51. Just a little bit about the note from Ms. Simmons of 5/1. I suspect there are many more than 100 people looking at SACAT.

    I sphere in this town is not that great, but I know at least 50 people who watch meetings of the BOD. I know about 25 who watch the School Board. I know about 50 who watch the Finance Meeting.

    Just as an aside, most watch the Selectmen because that is where the power is, don't watch the School Board as much because most of the talk there is quite boring, and do wathc the finance committee because one get the best give and take there.

    People don't vote because they are busy at working and raising a family. They also understand that government is not transparent here. There are many sub committees on the School Board. When was the last time a committee met? Why do we have tri-board meetings, so they can set up the public. Nuff said.

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