Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Parents: Time to be heard

Parents, what is the last thing you have on your mind in the middle of a Cape Cod summer?


On the other hand, you may be at the point where you wish that Labor Day was next Monday.

But there is unfinished business on the part of the school committee that will affect your kids.

If you believe that the new programs in reading, literacy and math are worthwhile; if you believe that new technology in the classrooms is useful; if you believe that the virtual high school class offerings are out-of-the-box thinking; then you might want to speak up.

The school committee is either going to reconcile with our superintendent (see my plan for doing this by clicking here) or start a search for a new superintendent.

Why do I imply that these new programs are potentially in jeopardy if the school committee doesn’t make some level-headed decisions soon?

They’re hobbling into a budget season where an override is likely going to take center stage. Having already shot themselves in one foot by not asking the teachers’ union to forgo raises in FY2010, they are about to pull the trigger on the other foot by entering an all out fracas created by dismissing a superintendent at the worst possible time.

This should seal the fate on any possibility for passing an override and usher in the inevitable slashing of every possible program in order to honor the terms of yet another unaffordable union contract.

The committee meets next Wednesday, July 21st. Show up and let them know what, as a parent, you want them to do.


  1. Yes!

    Just: July 21st is next Wednesday, not Thursday.

  2. Randy,

    Are you sure that the School Committee did not ask the teacher's union to forgo raises in the current year? It seems like they have been trying to get cooperation from the union for the past few years, but have not had success. I will say that it is past time for the teacher's union to forgo a raise or two. I fear for the future of the district if they are unwilling to do this. Lots of taxpayers have seen their income reduced in the past year or two and will not understand why they should vote to increase their taxes to cover raises for municipal employees at this time.

  3. Randy
    which school committee members were envolved with the negotions of the union contract

  4. Randy: This post once again highlights the downside of the "Fab 4s" recently executed Coup Dé Tat, and reminds me of Winston Churchill’s often quoted wry observation: “However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.”

  5. First off, I forgot that this year is now FY2011 (still thinking it was June). I was referring to FY2010 in my post (now corrected). No, I do not have any inside information on the FY2011 contract negotiations with the teachers' union and the SC.

    This has been talked about before, but the BOS and SC met in executive session in the spring of 2009 (towards the end of Linell's year as chairman) and agreed to attempt to extend the municipal unions' contracts by one year, thus getting them in sync with the major school department union contracts.

    At that meeting we also agree to wait to ask for any unions to "take a zero" until the teachers' union contract came up (2010). Then we would ask them all to take a zero for FY2011. I argued at that meeting that we would be able to get by without firing anyone (or not many) if we got zeroes for both FY2010 and FY2011 from all of the union members. I didn't win that argument.

    At the next BOS meeting, the non-union department managers came in to announce they would take a zero for FY2010. That set off a firestorm with the SC members thinking that the BOS reneged on the mutual agreement.

    Having watched that A-bomb go off, the BOS decided that we might as well ask for a zero for FY2010, which the municipal unions agreed to. Remember also that they agreed again to a zero for FY2011 this past spring, which allowed us to stave off any personnel reductions.

  6. So, the schools come in with a -1% budget and will deal with additional Chapter 70 cuts this year, but no teacher's union concessions. At the same time, we have municipal union concessions and a budget increase albeit small. From where I sit, neither override will fly.

    If the teachers forgo a raise, I would support a school override. The district has implemented cost cutting measures and changed programs to deal with the reduced budget. All that is missing for me is concessions from the teachers union.

    On the municipal side, I appreciate the union concessions, but wasn't there an underlying agreement that no jobs would be lost? When will it be time to examine core vs. non-core services? I'll wait until that is done and some changes are made before supporting a municipal override.

  7. (this was originally posted to the wrong thread)

    You have no idea what the School Committee may have (or not have) offered the union. Those negotiations are still in process and have been going on for a year.

    The only "real" public fact known is that the prior school committee was unable to reach any sort of compromise with the union so they agreed to bring in an outside mediator. Because the negotiations are still in process, there is no report as to what the sticking points are -- but I would think wages are certainly an obvious point.

    A wage freeze is only a temporary fix (although it does help future escalations) -- the only REAL savings would be in job elimination which saves both payroll & benefits costs. yes, there may be a temporary uptick in unemployment costs -- but the saving in payroll & benefits will certainly offset that.

    The Committee would have to be a bunch of damn fools (or ALL union spouses!!!) to agree to trade job security for a wage freeze -- the only place a District can gain any savings is through reducing personnel costs.

    Nobody wants to eliminate anybody's job -- but if there is not going to be any increase in revenue, there NEEDS to be a decrease in expenses. There is no other choice.

    Many of the school unions HAVE taken freezes -- the Teachers (SEA) are the only ones who apparently have refused so far. It's too bad because they have virtually eliminated any chance of ANYBODY supporting a school override in the near future.

    There are many great teachers in Town. BUT, they need to stand up and get control of their own union -- before the current union leadership kills the District.

  8. I totally agree with the last post. Wage freezes aren’t the same as permanently cutting costs. The municipal side hasn’t done a sustainable and repeatable anything to bring expenses more in line with revenues. The sad fact is that all town employee contracts still grow at rates faster than tax revenues. All wage increases must be brought in line with our fiscal reality before asking for prop 2 ½ overrides! Until that happens - VOTE NO.

  9. Randy why do you continue to allow commentors (Mr Guerin) as an example to blame 4 members who has nothing to do with the ongoing union talks when it was previous sc members is just putting out misinformation. But he always was good at that

  10. Is there any scientific proof that having 35 kids in a classroom is inherently bad? Shouldn't first-grade teachers be able to teach 35 to 40 kids how to read, instead of the 5 they have now? I went to a voc school in the 80's, and I learned history in a class with 38 kids, and I can name my presidents. Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison and Monroe. The private sector has to do more, why not them?

    Do we even need a superintendent? Can't the principals just run the schools? Just fire this Dr. Johnson guy and give us his salary back!

    Heminway Street

  11. We should have a residency requirement for teaching Sandwich! You think these teachers who pocket $150,000 a year and sip mint julips in Hingham care about Sandwich kids? No way!!
    That would open up jobs for Sandwich residents too. I can teach kids about polar bears for $150,000 a year!

  12. My name is Jack

    I don't have kids in the school system, and I am tired of the town's hands in my pockets every year. I worked hard and my sons went to Archbishop Williams and I paid tuition AND taxes and I don't complain.

    But now I do. I don't want to pay more for more math and reading "programs." What is that? Don't they have them already and why do they need more.

    You bet I'll be there on the 21st but I won't be supporting the teachers or the superintendent or anyone else. Cut the schools, make the parents who have kids PAY tuition. It's not fair. Privatize the schools and we won't have any more worries.

  13. Trish Lubold where are you? I hope you move back to Sandwich, we could use you now more than ever!

    Randy, I expect you to address the SC next Wednesday. Tell them what you tell us! If you are running for senate now is the time to show the people of Sandwich what you are made of!

    D. Adams.

  14. Randy, can't we close the Wing school? It's old and costs a lot to run, and it has its own powerplant tat eats up money. Pack the kids into Oakdale and Forestale and turn the Wing school grounds into a biotech tax haven. The town will get tax revenue and save money. Times have changed, the town can't support all these schools. The person from Heminway Street is right, we should go for a "less is more" approach and really scale back.
    My son is in SHS and he gets C's, that's because I pay him.
    D and F= I take the front wheel of his moto-cross bike and hide it under my bed. He can get C's with 10 kids in the room or fifty, I motivate him. He is my son. He chooses to get C's to keep his moto-cross bike moving and he decides not to get B's.

    The kids who are going to Harvard are destined for that in first grade, they can still get into Harvard sitting next to my son in a class of 50. I'm with you Heminway, pack them in and cut our taxes! Randy, if you make this happen you will have lots of support in town!

    We should also close the powerplant on the canal and turn that into a shopping center.

  15. D. Adams:

    The fact that I'm running for the state rep seat is the reason why I won't be at next Wednesday's meeting.

    This is not an issue in my campaign. I would have written my editorial piece irrespective of running for state rep. There is no mention of it on my election website, nor should there be.

    I have had the appropriate conversations with the people involved. It is now time for them to decide what to do.

    If I appeared at the SC meeting, no matter how sincere my intentions, it would be characterized as some sort of campaign ploy. I don't want that. I want the focus to be on the SC and I ask that parents encourage them to do the right thing.

  16. Thank you for your response. That makes sense.

    I just feel this town is getting a little dizzy over this. The tone of the last SC meeting was absur, with one member reading a personal attack on an educator and resident of the town...with his wife sitting two chairs away! Bad news, Randy, bad news.


  17. Hey D. Adams, I agree with you. I would LOVE to see Trish Lubold on the 21st. It would be nice if the person responsible for setting off this whole superintendent mess was in attendence, even in a Bourne sweatshirt. I'm going, Trish, are you?

  18. Randy: In response to the anonymous post implicitly questioning my record on contract negotiations I offer the following facts:

    During my years on the Negotiating Committee we always sought a “0” growth year and we always requested concessions on employee insurance co-pays. We never offered any salary adjustment amount that exceeded actual town tax revenue growth rates.
    Meaning – that we never offered a contract that exceeded “all in” (merit pay, plus step adjustment, plus longevity pay) a growth rate of 3.5%.

    Keep in mind that all town contracts, including teacher, police, fire, all of them, still today grow on average about 5.5% a year. This is the primary driver of our so called structural deficit.

    I also authored the somewhat famous Committee letter to the union leadership that called the current contract unaffordable and unsustainable. (That letter is still available on the Sandwich Taxpayers Association web page).

    While I served on the Committee we didn’t budge on financial issues EVER; but we and the taxpayers “lost” in arbitration.

    I would also note with pride that it was while I was on the committee that a requirement for formal, written teacher evaluations was finally negotiated and written into the union contract. A stipulation the union leadership opposed and negotiated for more than 10 months.

    The Committee’s written minutes record and substantiate everything written here. As John Adams once said: "Facts are stubborn things."

  19. I sat next to Trish Lubold at Hemispheres about a year and a half ago, and she told me to my face that the school mess would no longer be her problem, she was moving to Bourne. Unbelievable that the person most responsible for this tornado has left Dodge.

    And to the person who lives on Hemniway Street: Dr. Johnson is a woman, and he makes less than $150,000 a year.

  20. I have to assume the last few posts were all from the same person. I would hate to think there are that many uninformed idiots out there.

    I'm not defending teacher compensation -- but they certainly don't make $150K. And, many do live in town.

    The Committee has been in discussions with the union for more than a year. Has the new committee even met with the union in the past 2 months? Since Kangas has all the answers -- how's she doing with the negotiations?

    At least Guerin seems to understand the issue and knows facts -- unlike the majority of the new committee (and many other idiots).

    Who would fire the only person in town who has actually cut costs and achieved better performance results as we go into a year with a huge projected deficit. AND there's still no plan to replace her, there is still a major legal liability out there, AND the committee took a month off.


    There are no classrooms with 5 kids.

    I feel sorry for any kid whose parents have predetermined his future by first grade. I feel more sorry for a kid who thinks a motocross bike is more important than his education. (although that sounds like a genetic problem!)

    As for "fire this Johnson guy & give his salary back ..." Oy, vey!

    We're in trouble.

  21. Some kids are motivated for different things, my kid likes the woods and riding his cross bike and hunting. I am don't think all of these ideas are good, but we should think differently. Outside the box, as someone wrote up top. My kid will get something different out of school than yours. I like Harvard, but my kid likes the woods and his motorbike. I know some kids have nothing to motivate them in school.
    Let's have two schools...one that is basic and teaches life skills and another that is more for academic kids. My kid doesn't play the trombone, doesn't play soccer. Should I pay as much as a kid's parent who plays soccer? And the trombone? and writes for the newspaper? And takes AP classes that have 15 kids in it and the best teacher? Two levels, two tax rates. My kid is ready for for life. Yours is ready for college. I don't think that's too bad.

    Maybe, Mr. Hunt, you could focus on doing something creative with the powerplant land. There are jobs, tax revenue and income there. Homes, condos, a marina, commercial, retail...we got to think beyond July 21st, folks, or all our kids are going to be without a front wheel.

  22. re: motocross kid. God help us -- if you can't even motivate him to study by paying him, he's destined to be a drain on society forever.

    Are you really OK with this?

    He might as well quit school now and stop distracting my kid (and all the other hard-working kids) who are forced to sit next to him.

    Instead of "closing the power plant", how about the Town takes your house and makes a parking lot -- rather than wasting tax dollars trying to educate a high school dolt who only wants to play on his bike.

    You should be ashamed.

  23. "fire this Johnson guy & give his salary back ..." = instant classic

  24. So if people with "non academic" students should pay a lower tax rate, should people with no students pay no taxes?

    How about police & fire -- I bet the people without kids use more fire/EMS services -- and I bet a "non academic" student will use more police services. (Pardon the generalization ... there just aren't that many AP kids showing up in Barnstable District Court lately!)

    I can't see charging people more to get the "good" teachers in AP courses. (How about we fire the "bad" ones?)

    I do agree, however, that trombone, soccer, football, hockey, etc. should be paid for by the parents -- why should taxpayers pay to entertain anyone elses kids?

  25. Seriously?
    Someone in America in 2010 believes that a high school degree prepares their kid “for life?”
    What kind of life?
    The U.S. Census Bureau has released data proving the substantial value of a college education in the United States. Workers 18 and over sporting bachelors degrees earn an average of $51,206 a year, while those with a high school diploma earn $27,915 - a number fairly close to what the government defines as “poverty level” for a family of 4.
    But wait, there's more. Workers with an advanced degree make an average of $74,602, and those without a high school diploma average $18,734.
    Every village may need one idiot but lets not make it a house full.

  26. Rest assured that Motocross parent is not paying as much as the parents whose kids participate in athletics or music or clubs. There are fees for all of these activities. $150 per sport per season plus any required equipment and clothing, $80 activity fee for music/clubs and then you can add in the cost of instrument rental, field trips etc..

    To Jack: One of the reasons that people move to Sandwich is for the quality of the schools. I am sick of hearing people say that they don't use the schools so they should not have to pay for them. The quality of the schools help maintain your property values and make Sandwich a nice place to live. Public education is a shared responsibility.

    RE Mr. Guerin's comments: Thanks for all of your work on the negotiating team. If I was a young teacher in Sandwich, I would not join the union because when it refuses to forgo raises, it does so at the expense of the most recently hired teachers.

  27. If you were a young teacher in Sandwich, you'd be on unemployment. Or teaching in another town. Do people really believe the teachers of Sandwich are actually selfish and hope to bring the town down? C'mon, this is a bigger issue. Even the superintendent has labeled the teachers. Small wonder everyone is at each other's throats.

  28. Thank you, Randy, for trying to keep parents informed about this issue. Unfortunately, as a parent with 4 kids in this district, I've learned that the only way to get parents to SC meetings is to threaten to cut sports or charge field fees. The same old faces will show up and the rest of our parents will be sitting on Sandy Neck roasting their S'Mores! :)

  29. I'm not sure I'd label the teachers as selfish just self interested and self motivated -- at least the one's with a few years in.
    If you were a “young” teacher is Sandwich you’d be unemployed. Why?
    Because the union leadership refuses to negotiate a contract the town can actually afford.
    So, as a direct result, every year we lay off the newest, youngest teachers in order to pay for the unaffordable contract increases the union leadership demands.
    Ever wonder why and how your tax bill could increase every year; year after year, and yet there are still teacher layoffs and budget cuts? This is the answer. Plain and simple.
    If your income grows by 3 dollars and your payroll grows by 5 dollars – which essentially our town’s current state, you have to cut OR you could raise taxes.
    Call it selfish or self interest or whatever PC term you care too but lets also call it the truth.

  30. My son rides the moto-bike and that is his passion. He doesn't enjoy high school liek a lot of folks, but he will be fine, and he works hard enough and I reward him with the front wheel. I hated school but I'm good. I don't begrudge anyone any success, but there are different avenues for all. I didn't go to college but I got a business I work hard for.
    We pay a lot of taxes, and only a few kids benefit. Everyone complains about the teachers...I say the town isn't helping the average taxpayer. Let's go barebones and let the cream rise to the top.
    That's why I liek Johnson and a lot of folks in this town do too. One million bucks out, 25 people gone, and she's going for more. I want to help her. I'll be there next week. So will Lubold the Bold! Let's clsoe a school and consolidate it, sell the land, put half the kids on computers and let them learn on the cheap from someone in India. That's this virtual classroom thing, my kid is looking into it. It's the future and we'll be on the front wave as a town. And save cash. I would run for SC and probably win, too. But I don't have the time.
    Sports should be private. I'm sick of hitting lacrosse balls on my 'cross bike in the woods. Keep Johnson, close the Wing, cut 25% of the teachers, out-source the learning to India and get the school off my tax-paying, moto-cross riding back.

  31. TaxMan, of course teachers are self-interested. That's called CAPITALISM. Why would a veteran teacher of 20 years with rising costs and a family take a pay cut for a recent 22-year-old to stay down the hall? Maybe if that veteran had socialist leanings. But this is America, people make their decisions for economic self-interest. You can call for wage freezes, but don't act like the world is falling when the teachers say no.
    It's not the veteran teachers' responsibility to subsidize the pay of the younger teachers, it's the community's responsibility. We have forgotten that, and are stuck on some sort of pinwheel. If we keep banging our heads against the union, we'll never make a long-term fix.
    The ideas of the motorcross parent are starting to make sense.


  32. Being payed by a government is not capitalism. Just to be clear, there is a huge difference between a "wage freeze" and "taking a zero". A "zero" pertains to the base salary ONLY. Step raises continue, longevity increases contnue, equestrian stipend raises continue (if Sandwich has one), coaching stipend raises continue etc. etc. etc. A "wage freeze" means no raise of any kind across the board for club participation, hall duty or ANY other negotiated raise including base salary. Wage freeze means wage freeze.

  33. Tamien,

    Its not my responsibility to subsidize the pay of veteran teachers. I had a job for twenty years and was just laid off. I am now working two jobs for about 60 hours a week and guess what, I can survive and keep my family healthy.

    Barack Snobama

  34. Simply amazing!
    Taxpayers and the School Committee (see Guerin’s comments above) repeatedly ask the teacher’s union to forego a pay raise for one year and to agree to slow the rate of growth of their mandatory annual wage increases and that’s unfair and a bad thing?
    Read that again folks – the proposal was to merely slow the rate of growth!
    Just imagine it folks, you offer the teacher’s union guaranteed annual raises of 3.5% a year for the life of their contract and the proposal is rejected because they’d rather get 5.5% a year.
    Their solution? A tax increase by proposition 2 ½ override.
    Are you kidding me?
    But of course, its for the children.

  35. Tamien,
    If that is the way it is then I would advise young/new teachers to decline union membership. Why pay dues to an organization that is only looking out for the veteran members?

  36. Exactly, any government employee is a socialist by definition. They are not part of our system, they live in their own bubble. If veteran teachers want to eat their young, I'm for it. Take a zero or pack the kids in. Better yet, take a zero and pack the kids in!!! If they complain about having 35 kids in their class, cut more and give them 40!

  37. It appears the battle lines have been drawn for next year's override petition. The municipal side (police, fire and municipal employees) have taken 0's for two years. Guaranteed override for municipal will stand a chance of approval. Schools will never be approved unless SEA steps up. It's simple but it will get ugly. There'll be an uproar and mudslinging for certain. Eventually, our SC won't know what hit them and they're sure to cry foul. Whatever happens, the bad press will certainly kill property values so we'll all lose. Anyone interested in a 4 bedroom colonial in Forestdale?

  38. I'm with you on the School override. Without SEA taking a zero or two, it will not fly. It is time teachers! Look around you.

    On the municipal side, we need to see some work on core vs. non-core services. Make something happen with this whole transfer station issue, etc. before that override passes.

  39. Folks, here’s the deal:
    Every employee contract in town grows total compensation by about 5.5% each and every year.
    Property tax increases run about 3.5% a year.
    That 2% gap gets “closed” by Proposition 2 ½ overrides every few years unless and until taxpayers say No.
    Maybe, just maybe, the town’s School Committee and Board of Selectmen might want to consider not signing contracts that grow total compensation by more than 3.5%?
    This isn’t a revenue problem folks; it’s a spending problem!
    Vote No.

  40. It's interesting that your calling parents attention to this issue. I understand one of the selectman has organized a group of citizens as an advocacy group for the schools. I don't know if this group Citizens for Quality Education is a special interest PAC or not. It appears they are made up of a small group of teachers, parents and are being led by Mrs. Grundman. Does this group represent the BOS views? I understand that part of their long range plan is to support a school override. Can a selectman run a group like this, isn't there some conflict of interest? Does the SEA work with this group? Lots of questions, do you have any information regarding this?

  41. Go to the Mass Department of Ed. The state mandates a certain level of funding--called the Foundation Budget--and adds in Chapter 70 aid, which is the town's share of state money for special education and low-income students. Punch in some towns. Compare per pupil spending with other towns around.
    Close the Wing, cut 25% of teachers, put the high school kids on computers. We can crush the spending!

  42. I don't know the answer to your questions Tax Man, but I do know that Dr. Grundman and Mr. Barrette represent what is good for the schools first because they believe that is what is most improtant for the town. Mrs. Grundman better watch out or she might bet her chops chopped again with this one. You know, she campaigned on doing something abou the E. Sandwich citizens not having proper fire department coverage, then we found out that she realized that there was no money. Dr. Grundman wants to be queen of Sandwich, but it won't fly. We are on to her and on to Barrette too!

  43. To the last poster about Dr. Grundman and Mr. Barrette, I agree with you. With those two on the Board of Selectmen, the school has two votes off the bat. They always have to talk about schools and the accomplishment of schools (EVERY EVERY WEEK) Let's get rid of them. One does not even have a watch.

  44. You can't possibly but Barrette & Grundman in the same category. The only thing they have in comon is that both have kids in the school system -- so they KNOW more about what is going on.

    Barrette is a former School committee member and a Sandwich grad who has lived in other Districts over the years -- he knows what Sandwich has -- and he knows what other Districts have.

    Barrette is also a West Point grad with extensive experience in management and education -- Grundman has a track record of incomplete projects.

    The Schools represent 2/3 of the budget -- don't you think SOMEBODY on the BOS should be somewhat familar with them?

  45. Cut French: It's an elitist langauge and no none speaks it except to order more unemployment benefits.
    Cut club stipends: Teachers should be willing to work the clubs for free if they have any professional courage. Kids can pay for supplies or trips
    Cut coaching stipends: Little league coaches volunteer, why not high school coaches? I would coach a moto-cross club if they want. Kids can pay for their own soccer balls and bus trips. And who cares if Sandwich field Hockey beats Medford?
    Re-evaluate all Special Education students. Reducing the count will reduce the spending.
    Cut Spanish. Kids can learn that and Chinese and whatever else online (like French). Or get a private tutor.
    The town should offer reading, writing, math, science and history. Gym, art, theater and atheltics should be private. THAT will reduce spending. The 90's are over.
    And for revenue, we need some industry. Raytheon?
    -Ohno Bama

  46. Uh, if the union holds out and gets their 3.5% or 5.5% raise, don't the veteran teachers just go on their merry way with their raises and we the parents wreck our kids? I don't want to cut any more young teachers. Anyone out there have any ideas?

  47. People need to make it clear to the School Committee that there will be no override for teacher raises --- no matter how many union drones they pack the board with.

    AND everybody else has to start showing up to vote so that the union loses its grip on the Committee. Otherwise every kid gets screwed.

  48. Good Morning MR. Hunt One has so many topic discussions going on here it is a little difficult to sift out the chaf.
    On one note of interest, if we are to save the young and more innovative teachers in the Sandwich School district they will need to vote out or not join the union represenative who has place this whole school district in peril, because of her actions. The time has come for the young teachers in the system to take a stand and be accountable for all the good things they have brought to the Sandwich schools over the past severel years. The degree of learning would not be as successful had the Union leadership had its way in every subject matter. The trouble now is you also have four School committee members who have taken the same course of action and have forgotten the pledge they took when they were sworn into office.

    Carl Johansen
    A concerned citizen of Sandwich

  49. Why is some contracts valid (Dr. Johnson ???) and teacher contracts not valid. Where in any sc meetings does it show that the 4 members voted for the teacher increases that they are being accused of and if they voted for those increases why are we in negotiations with an outside mediator.Once again half truths and lies concerning what is going on. A select few didn't get their own way and now they are making statements that are just plain lies. Where are the grown ups send the kids to time out

  50. Young teachers joing the union for legal protection (they have insurance for a lawyer if someone sues them) and because the union negotiates on the young teachers' behalf. And long before young teachers could walk, unions fought difficult battles. Before unionization, every newly elected school committee member put a niece in the cafetaria kitchen, a son as football coach, a husband as English teacher, firing the previous occupant. It was a mess. Unions stopped the nepotism. Before, a superstar teacher would be axed so a Board of selectman's neighbor could have a job.
    Anyone know what's going on in the negotiations? The teacher's union didn't take a zero in 09 b/c they were in the midst of a contract that was not negotiated too well by the SC. If an SC loses in arbitration that quickly and that completely, well... The other big muni unions were negotiating new contracts, so they could take a zero. The teachers union lost 20+ members, why would they take a zero in the midst of a contract if they could not save a soul? Does that make sense? Johnson could have used that as leverage, instead she cut and then asked. I bet if the SC asks for a zero in the new contract, they'll get it.

    But, it's a lot easier to demonize than to think constructively. I do know one thing for sure...Johnson ain't coming back. And the chances of Mr. Hunt's plan of sending a superintendent from NYC with an Ivy League doctorate degree to executive classes on the town's dime...that will fly as far as a moto-cross bike without a front wheel.

  51. I got a kid through SHS and have two more in the pipeline. Still trying to play catch up on the town-school finances, seems health care and retirements are hurting town, too. Did Perry try to get all munis/teachers on state plan? Medicare? But to Carl, has anyone checked out the loss of new teachers and why? Some cut, some fired, some leave? I've seen at least a dozen leave in my kids' schools. It is very high. I know a bunch have left last couple of years, more than 20.

    -Town Neck

  52. So much garbage, so little time ...

    Johnson's contract runs through next June but had to be renewed by June 30 of this year. The new board chose not to do so (after the old board screwed up).

    The teachers' contract runs through this August.

    The last teachers contract went to non-binding mediation (not arbitration) at the request of the old committee. The old commiottee settled the last contract at a rate lower than was given to police & fire -- but still too high. As a condition of settling the contract, Guerin made the union leadership sign a letter acknowledging that the rates were unsustainable and would result in lay-offs.

    The next year -- surprise! there were lay-offs.

    The contract negotiations started again last year and when the union again wouldn't cooperate and the old committee again went to outside mediation. Nothing has been reported out in the past 2 months.

    Young teachers are fleeing because they see the handwriting on the walll -- the union will eat their young in order to maintain senior jobs.

    The old teachers are retiring because they know a wage freeze is inevitable so their pensions aren't going to be increased by hanging around another year.

    The days of unions preventing nepotism are long gone. It's time the municipal unions get paid for results and performance -- not for how many years they have managed to get up in the morning and drag themselves into work.

  53. Sandwich teachers will get a raise.........you can bet on it. The percentage they will end up getting is going to make us all vomit. Why and how? Because, with the MTA backing, the SEA will show the arbitrator the nearly six million annually this town gives the district over and above what is required and has for decades. The argument of the town not having money for anything will be shown to be false..........by its own hand. No good deed goes unpunished. I have said this 100 times before and I will say it again. The school district is a government within a government and each and every year they hand Sandwich a bill and say, "Pay it". There isn't a GD thing this town can do about it. We have all been having this "discussion" for 30 years. Reminds me of my dad yelling at me as a young adult. "Charlie, you came home at 11:30 Wednesday night....12:00 last night and it is 1:00 now....WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO GET HOME ON TIME!" My answer was, "Tomorrow, dad."

  54. I always thought that the Town Charter isn't hat it could be. If it only allowed for the Town to bring forward its budget by major spending committees. Then the General Town Government, Library, and Schools could all give their own budget. They themselves would be responsible to make their case to the Town Meeting and to the voters. They would place their own overrides on the ballot (after Town Meeting Approval)and then we would not have all this bickering about Townside Schoolside. The General Government would not have to worry about schools and Schools about General Government and Library etc. etc. Each would stand on its own. Certainly not all, but some of this bickering could be nullified.

  55. It's not a charter issue. State law says there's only 1 town budget and that total tax revenue (and theoretically expenses)can not grow more than 2.5% (plus new growth and a few other things -- including state aid.)

    Selectmen can propose a total school budget amount but only Town Meeting can actually authorize it. And ... only the School Committee can allocate the total school budget to specific line items.

  56. Thanks for the lesson. Perhaps I did not articulate what I meant. Presentation of budgets are done separately. Yes, there is one budget but it can be done in parts. Each portion of the budget should be on its own and each potential override should be presented by each of the responsible committees.

    There is more. Each committee should do its own presentation. It should be thorough. Each committee should field questions from the Town Meeting. Selectmen should only present those articles that involve themselves. The citizens who brigh their own petition articles should present and defend it. This is common practice elsewhere.

  57. That's reasonable. Even if TM can't change any individual school line items, they CAN change the total budget. It would also force the SC to justify their numbers (and maybe highlight those members which are hopelessly over their heads!)

    I also think TM should see presentations from at least the the other major departments - Police, Fire & DPW.

    There needs to be some control, however, so the same fools don't keep getting up and asking stupid questions because they didn't bother to do any homework. The fools will end up driving everybody else out of the room (the few they haven't driven away already!)

  58. If there were a "menu" for different department overrides then how in the world is the school dept going to ride the coattails to get what they want? The argument against seperating out individual override requests is that it will pit one department against another. For those who perpetuate this position I have a 20 year old news flash for 'ya. It has been the schools vs the rest of town for decades and everyone knows it.

  59. Sandwich needs to get over several issues to be able to move on for the sake of the children!
    2 Years ago people! I did make a surprise motion to appoint Dr. Johnson but you all didn't know all the political b.s. that went on behind the scenes for months prior, that brought me and the board to that point. Blame Shari Marshall's "random search" committee, if you still don't trust what we did go back and look up Dr. Young and Dr. Johnson's bag job search committees. Now you all can finally move beyond that (Shari still hasn't!) Dr. Johnson has done more work cleaning up our schools and adding programs while addressing the budget 1.5 million shortfalls for over 2 years and hasn't yet mentioned an override. These board members want to keep Dr. Johnson's programs. You can't keep programs when you fire the creator!
    Now, the current 4 members fired her last month for no "just cause" and obviously she should be looking for a friendlier affluent school system that appreciates her dedication for the children. Now we start Budget season with a 2 million shortfall and no leader? You don't really think Dr. Johnson is gonna help this dysfunctional board get thru the budget season and ask for an override? The union, Shari, community school regime, field usage all were behind sabotaging her work for our children. It will be very interesting to see if the great teachers, parents show up this Wed. at 7 to finally support Dr. Johnson's work and send a message to the 4 witch hunt board members. Marshall, Linehan, Crossman and Kangas. Don't let these members control and dictate your children's futures, Sandwich schools will run for the sake of the SEA Union not your children's educations if you fail to do anything about this situation. To the blogger that misinformed people again with their statement, I did say the schools would be in a mess the night Bob Guerin lost the election and we were at Hemispheres and Linehan won due to Laura Carlise.SEA Union Pres. emailing everyone to bullet vote Linehan. A bit Psychic I'd say now!
    Good Luck Sandwich, no one is fighting for our children anymore. You get what you don't fight for teachers, parents and taxpayers!
    Friend me on Facebook if you want me to run against Shari in next election! If I don't hear from you I will resign from worrying about the Sandwich Schools and just watch the boats go thru the canal!

  60. A school override is not just unpopular with the "usual suspects". Many parents who worked extremely hard with an organized group in support of the last override are vehement that they will not ever support another override for the schools. Personally, I was a rabid supporter of the last override and I will NOT support a school override and WILL support a municipal one. Not one more tax dollar to the SEA until they step up and take the same zero that police and fire have for two consecutive years! Mrs. Carlysle's ridiculous statement at an SC mtg last June about how exhausted teachers were by 4:00 stuck in my craw! Most people today work 2 jobs and getting off for the day at 4:00 pm would be like a gift! I will campaign strenuously against any override for the schools!

  61. I hope you go to watching the canal, just don't surprise anyone with your mouth.

  62. I post this as a pure observation of all of the above posts to date.

    To me it is obvious from all of the miss information stated and some issues mentioned in a partially correct, or incorrect way, or suggestions made e.g, sell the power plant property, that the vast majority of you need to read the local papers more, listen to the Board of Selectmen and School Committee meetings on a regular basis, attend Fin Com meetings during Budget hearings and most important of all, attend Annual Town Meeting where you have the opportunity to vote a Town Budget up or down.

    As for the comments on our political leaders, the majority of you put them in office, stop complaining and simply take corrective action.

  63. Teachers start at 7 a.m. The majority of sandwich teachers have second jobs. Many coach teams or advise clubs, long hours and little pay. I don't think Mrs. Carlisle was being ridiculous in saying teachers may have a hard time concentrating on professional development after 8 or 9 hours.

  64. I had a conversation with Dr. Cannone about the schools last month. If you know him, you know he's certainly no fan of teacher unions. He actually had very prescient, interesting solutions about the current situation, budget included. Nothing too radical or harsh. I'm not him, so I won't write his words. (Maybe Ms. Lubold can burn him in effigy and capture his thoughts in the smoke? Smoooooooke on the waaaaaater.) Talk to him if you know him.

    Otherwise, let's just cut the budget back $6 million to the bare requirement and let parents pay for things like books, desks, water, sports, langauges, wood, whatever. I'm sick of paying for other people's education.
    -Town Neck

  65. "Hey, I blew it a few years ago, and everybody distrusts everybody as a result. So the school committee has been tied up in mortal combat for years...Get over it! And you should re-elect me so I can drive over to your town and fix things for you."


    Time to move on to a new era in town and school politics.

  66. Did anyone go to the meeting tonight? I got back from a fundraiser to watch the DVR'd meeting and it didn't record any meetings on Channel 14.

  67. Sandwich Community Television's Facebook update reads:

    "The School Committee meeting film crew had technical problems this evening. Comcast will be called in the am to fix the live signal at the Sandwich High School. All connections were A-OK at the studio end. The meeting was taped and we will broadcast it tomorrow on Channel 14 and it will be on the Video on Demand on the website also. We apologize for the inconvenience."

    I was there. Two (2) parents spoke at public forum.

  68. What seems to be a major problem, not just connected to this subject, but to the school committee "important" meetings. There is always, always a snafu! They meet and speak about "workshop issues" in a setting where there are no cameras (I was told that this is more conducive to getting things done by one sc member a year or so ago. Simmons, watch him on meeting trickery, set up an important meeting with the community school in the Superintendent's office where there were no cameras (convenient for him, not us) and on and on and on. New board old board its the same.

  69. Does anyone know how many "young teachers" lost their jobs last year. Over the years, the boards cut positions, but few teacher jobs because of attrition. Of those cut, how many were "young", how many and how many were inovative. If we don't give raises (other than steps and longevity)then some of the "old teachers" might stay on to increase their high five for retirement; wouldn't this keep "young" teachers for getting on board. Once again, Johansen, you words don't match facts. I wish I had all day to do nothing but point out what is right or wrong and not have to run for anything or get on a board.

    Braless 32A

  70. Braless 32:
    All staff reductions are by contract made on the basis of seniority.
    Seniority by definition removes first those individuals with the least years of service.
    Logic dictates that most often least years of service and youngest are synonymous.
    I wish all your many pressing responsibilities kept you from posting anything Braless.
    You usually attack posters, obscure and misstate fact and otherwise distract from the debate.
    Are you that misinformed and uneducated or are you simply trying to obscure the truth?

  71. Actually, Dr. Johnson has in recent years carefully written and managed job descriptions. So, she has, in limited circumstances, been able to move out some deadwood (older staffers) when she made her cuts.
    Of course, this really really angered the teachers union (they prefer to eat their young).
    Its one thing to implement written performance evaluations (something the union opposed) but its entirely something else to cut staff based on qualifications and skills (or lack thereof) instead of tenure.
    Don’t believe me? Review some of the last two years worth of union grievances that were filed after staff reductions. What’s the unions’ claim? Simply this: Hey, you fired older folks first and your suppose to fire last hired.
    And the truth shall set you free……

  72. For the record, I'm assuming an earlier no-name commenter is referring to a special workshop I added to last year's schedule at the last minute to review Community School financials in advance of our regularly scheduled meeting.

    There was no "trickery".

    The public meeting was scheduled for the Administrative Conference Room (not the Supt's office) which is large enough for the Committee plus several members of the public -- and far cheaper to use than paying the custodians to set-up the library.

    After the Cape Cod Times began heavily publicizing the false rumor that the committee would be voting to close the Community School, the meeting was moved to the HS library in anticipation of a crowd.

    There was a crowd -- very few of whom had any knowledge of any of the budget discussions that had been taking place on TV, or which had been reported in the local paper, for several months.

    The meeting went far longer than scheduled and, despite the fact that it was scheduled as a workshop, any member of the audience wishing to address the Board was given the opportunity to do so.

    The meeting definitely highlighted the fact that the Committee needed to improve and expand its communication efforts.

    But, it also highlighted the fact that many people did not want to hear details. One speaker defiantly said she didn't have kids in the schools, didn't read the paper, didn't watch meetings, hated the internet, and didn't have time to call her elected officials to get information so how was SHE supposed to know what we were doing!

    I couldn't answer that.

    Maybe we should be dropping by her house each week and giving her some facts to mix in with the rumors she was hearing at Stop & Shop?

    (I have no idea what happened last night. I was home waiting to see the meeting also -- I don't know why SACAT did not even have the meeting on it's published schedule for last night.)

  73. Whether you hate the unions, love the unions, like the superintendent or dislike her, it all really does not matter. All of the vocal people out there better just take a step back and think about what they are doing and saying.

    Sandwich is about to face one of the worst budget years ever. If you care about your property value, shut your mouth and be part of the solution not part of the problem.

    Getting Sandwich on page one of the CC Times each week because of disputes caused by egos will help no one. In a peaceful way, encourage the unions to take a zero so the override has a chance if our town officials show us it is needed.

  74. Hi TaxMan. How does one get to "review some of the last two years' worth of union grievances?" Are they available somewhere?

  75. Well, grievances are sort of a funny thing. By contract they’re suppose to remain non public. Unless, of course, the union requests that they be made public.
    So, there isn’t an easy, fool proof way to get access. What probably is the easiest thing to do is to find a union member, school staffer or school committee member willing to share. And, if they’re not willing to share the actual original documents, you can usually at least get them to confirm the content. I never have trouble confirming and sourcing to multiple persons. All you do is ask.

  76. Grievances are considered non public. I have myself requested access to sandwich school union grievances under the MA Public record laws.
    I have been denied access to these written records in writing by legal counsel twice.
    I submitted my requests to facilitate the dissemination of this information to taxpayers.
    I think it would be interesting to know: how often are grievances filed, how often do the filers prevail? How often are claims denied? What is the origin of the complaints, etc? I have long believed that the union leadership abuses the grievance process and uses it to harass the Superintendent and Administration.
    The content of grievances is not and has never been closely guarded information – too many folks know, including: teachers, union reps, school committee members, support staff, administration and administrative staff, etc. I have always marveled at how many folks seemed to know when and why grievances got filed.

  77. Anonymous July 22 11:25 am:

    I could not agree with you more. Well said!!

  78. "..shut your mouth and be part of the solution not part of the problem..."

    "In a peaceful way, encourage the unions to take a zero so the override..."

    I believe those ships have sailed. Sitting quietly has not solved anything. People sat quietly for years while the Teachers Union took over the Town. 85% of the voters sat quietly again last May and look what happened!"

    The SEA has had 2 years to "peacefully" take a zero and they have effectively offered the taxpayers their middle finger and driven out anybody who tried to hold them accountable.

    People should be making noise to wake up the apathetic people that seem to have lost control of their town.

  79. TaxMan, you couldn't be further from the money...just look at the SHS yearbooks at the library from 07, 08, 09 or whatever. The young teaches are the ones being cut/leaving.

  80. What grievances???? I am teacher. I have only heard of 2 all year.

  81. Bob Guerin, are you telling us that we, as citizens, are not allowed to know how many greivances were file and for what reason? It seems that we should be able to know. I applaud your trying to get the answers.

  82. I went to the Mass Superintendent''s meeting in Mashpee last week. Guess which town has a terrible reputation among educational leaders?

  83. I am a teacher,taxpayer and parent here in our lovely seaside town, sickened by the vitriole spewed against teachers on this blog. I am wondering if I am part of the "dead wood" if I am over 35? What is the age requirement for joining such an elite group? Do these posters feel they have nothing to offer new employees where they work? Have they been so asleep at their job that they have learned nothing to offer others in all of their years of work?How many graduate classes have they taken recently? I am told that parents routinely request to have their children in my class, have a file of wonderful "Thank You" notes from parents and children, excellent written evaluations (we have always had them,in a different form, despite what Mr. Guerin says), high MCAS scores and more. I have years of experience and new learning from graduate classes, professional reading and EXPERIENCE to share with the "young and innovative" teachers. I am one of the "old" innovative teachers( is this an oxymoron to the bloggers who would ay I am "dead wood?" because I keep up with my profession as all professionals need to do. Some of he "young" teachers are running out with the buses to get to their second job(as I did when I started and was unmarried) while many "old" teachers stay for hours after. Next time people want to post about teachers, remember I am one of them and am hurt by the contempt of theses posts. I may be the one that taught your child, loved every minute of it and never complained. I am the one that routinely spends hundred of dollars from my family's budget to provide extra science experiments, celebrations, decorations and more for your children with no expectation for praise, or reimbursement. Please stop bashing teachers-is that a way to get more out of us? What are you teahing your children with this negativity?

  84. The 90's are over. MCAS scores, teacher-student-ratios, and league championships have no effect on property values. Oceanside, that's us! We can split the younguns from the veteran teachers, obviously, it don't take much. Here's a word I had my kid look up. Eviscerate. That's whata we gotta do to the schools. Randolph cut their school budget by $15 million. Guess what? MCAS scores fell. Teachers left. There are 30+ kids in classes. Volleyball? See ya! UMASS took over hiring. Guess what didn't fall? Property values!

    I know I'd rather have my kid's science teacher paying for his school supplies than me. That's capitalism. I'm for Guerin. Expose the grievances! I heard one was about the food the teachers get for free! It wasn't good enough! That's communism. Cut all the younguns, pack the kids in with the veterans!

    Ohno Bama

  85. A young person has a second job? Oh the horror! I am in my late 40's with THREE plus I volunteer. My wife works full time as well. Time to clue in the "young techers" to get used to it. Speaking for myself, I do not lump the teaching profession into one ball of exhausted by 4:00 lethargic wax. What I will say is something we ALL know. Each and every workplace has the achievers and slackers. That is a fact. Heck, even at every single gruduating class of MD's........someone is at the bottom of the class. Randy will tell 'ya, there have been some pretty bad CPA's in his time. Difference between a bad CPA and a bad teacher is the CPA isn't in business very long. Thank you notes from students are very considerate. Continue to imform others of their value.

  86. To the anonymous teacher who posted on July 23d. Good for you! Just remember the source of the post that may have prompted this whole discussion about younger teachers leaving. Follow some of the posts on the subject. As usual people are on to him. He makes it sound as if all the lost positions last year or so were lost jobs. They were not. Some "old" teachers left, some I know retired so that a "younger" teacher would not lose a job. The truth is that there is natural attrition of teacher jobs by resignation, retirement, and, yes, new teachers who don't see teaching as what they want in life. The writer that began all this sometimes writes as if he knew what he was writing about, but at closer look, you can see that he writes what sounds good for his position any given subject, but never gives specifics. How many "young" teachers that were inovative lost their jobs. True, losing one is too much, but so isn't losing an "old" teacher. He often gets it right. He can spout off laws, regulations, but he seldom has back up for statements such as the one on "young" teachers. I find that he is simply a gerontophobe. Maybe its time for "young" blog posters to take over. Thank you for your service to our town and children. Thank you for keeping home values up all these years. Thank you for showing us the ability to write in a classy manner, unlike myself. I wish I had your talent.

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you,

    When all this budget stuff settles next year, hopefully with an override, I do not want to see teacher salaries destroyed, otherwise, who will be teaching my children, especially when the "old" teachers leave.

  87. From the Anonymous Teacher:
    Thank for the postitive feedback from the poster who wrote in.For the others, thanks for yet another round of misinformation.For the poster that is glad that I pay for his kids supplies- shame on you! Let me be the teacher and give you the definition of capitalism (reading a CPA's blog I would think you would be more knowledgeable) This is from Merriam Webster's Online dictionary:Main Entry: cap·i·tal·ism
    Pronunciation: \ˈka-pə-tə-ˌliz-əm, ˈkap-tə-, British also kə-ˈpi-tə-\
    Function: noun
    Date: 1877
    : an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market
    You think this is captitalism? I guess if I was in a private,not public school that definition might fly in a very big stretch.Are your children goods that are produced? What a loving and caring parent you must be- don't want to buy your kids supplies and reduce them to goods.Are they respectful of their teachers or is everything the teachers'fault? Oh, wait a minute, here's the definition of Socialism- I being the public employee, or the school, would be "the state" , therefore resposible for your family's needs?
    Main Entry: so·cial·ism
    Pronunciation: \ˈsō-shə-ˌli-zəm\
    Function: noun
    Date: 1837
    1 : any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods
    2 a : a system of society or group living in which there is no private property b : a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state
    3 : a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done
    Or,like other countries, should
    the children be charged for every paper they receive or purchase their own books to attend public school?
    As for the blogger who posted about grievances and food- we never asked to be fed. We also didn't ask to be squeezed illegally into a cafeteria against fire codes listening to an over-priced speaker promoting his business.As a matter of fact, I was upset (as a taxpayer) that money was being spent this way by the Superintendent.I am not alone as a teacher thinking this. Perhaps she thinks this is akin to private industry and we can be treated that way. Again, I refer to the definition of capitalism- I don't make money producing goods so I shouldn't have money spent on me in that manner. By the way, all the food is prepared by our hard-working cafeteria staff-these pople are your neighbors too,as am I.Your words hurt hard-working,innocent people doing their jobs.
    Why do you hate teachers so much? Don't you think your children pick up on this? What a shame.


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