Saturday, October 22, 2011

Can we advertise our way out of declining enrollment?

Guest article by Carl Johansen

Without question the past several years have taken an emotional toll on the students and parents who have or would have attended Sandwich High School.

The recent suggestion by Mr. Catalini to do something about the loss of students--who are now attending other schools--by paying to promote our school district has some merit. Running promotional ads, no matter where, to sell our schools needs to be given some serious deliberation before we actually implement it.

No doubt that the Sandwich schools have some reasons to be proud, but is promoting that to the outside world the way to stop the increasing loss of Sandwich school children to other school districts?

The use of educational funding would take dollars away from our current students, so this investment must be justified. Because we do not know, other than through anecdotal evidence, the reasons for the enrollment decline, it makes me wonder if a conditional study could be performed to confirm the reasons for the flight to other districts.

If the study can provide the answers and they are related to the past several years of disruptions, I would be more inclined to support an advertising campaign for a short time to reeducate the general public, parents and children alike, on the good points we offer in the Sandwich School District. Until such data are forthcoming, however, I would be hesitant to support such an expenditure.

What say ye citizens of Sandwich?

45 comments:

  1. The Sandwich School system has one of the most powerful tools in Town to promote itself. It gets equipment, a TV channel and is paid by we Comcast Subscribers to operate it. I guess some parents don't like what they see on T.V. I hope we are doing exit interviews with the families that take their children out of school.

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  2. When people started to notice this trend, the exit interview for the parents would have been the number one priority for Guidance counselors since they are really the last ones that see the child! It shouldn't take a Doctor to figure that one out! Maybe with the lower student number, the employee trend should also follow!

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  3. I support the idea of a conditional study to understand the reason for this flight to other schools. It certainly does seem to be the trend. I would like to know for sure if our public school is competitive with the alternative choices. If our public school is not competitive, then why is it not?

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  4. As usual, Michelle has his facts wrong. The schools do have access to a cable channel -- as does everybody in Town -- but they aren't paid anything to operate it.

    I agree with the exit interviews --- it would be nice to see some facts mixed in with the hysteria.

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  5. I also agree that many people don't like what they have seen on TV. That's probabably why some people can never get elected!

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  6. Too much money is never enough for Sandwich Schools, as we and our parents before us have donated larger and larger shares of our shrinking incomes. Falsely advertising that our school turns out better and more qualified students perpetuates distortions. We don't need to fund studies,just compare students going on to engineering, advanced science or math degrees at leading institutions with competing school choices!

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  7. I don’t really think you are going to repair the damage done in recent years by a marketing campaign. Anyone who has witnessed the school committee meetings and the fiasco involved the last couple years will see right through the whole campaign idea. It would be like the US Congress cutting a piece of the budget out to produce propaganda in an effort to restore their image.

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  8. Channel 14 is the Educational Channel and through the efforts of the SCT staff and the cooperation of the SHS administration we have opened the SHS Media Center. Being at the school every day after school and having the center open has fostered a very productive relationship with the school administration and the students. They have a better understanding of the way in which they can use channel 14 for the school system. Mrs Booras,the SHS principal, is beginning a new program, taped in her office by the SHS Media students this coming Friday. Each month, the last Friday of each month, she will go over highlights at the school and give informational talks about such subjects as the accreditation process, Capstone classes and myriad educational subjects. An e-newsletter begun this month by the SHS Media Club will be populated by students feature articles from various clubs within the school, athletics etc. Channel 14 will not only be the station that school committee meetings can be seen but eventually will have many school activity/programs broadcast there. There are already programs that have been taped by the students on channel 14. Positive things are happening and better access and new technology will make many good things possible.

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  9. Mr. A. says….

    What? Spend education dollars on marketing a school district he has been so against the last couple of years? In my opinion, many of the reasons that people were, and are, turned off by the Sandwich schools is how we were represented in the blogs and papers the last few years. He was a part of that negativity. Now he wants to consider using education dollars to change that perception? I believe we are on our way to a much better school district with Dr. Canfield. That was due to the vision of four school committee members who took a lot of heat and personal attacks in the past year. How could this have been avoided? Maybe if some former school committee members and the former superintendent hadn’t brought frivolous lawsuits that were ultimately found baseless, but still cost the school district money and damaged its reputation. Maybe if some of the current school committee members weren’t so concerned last year with getting in the paper and on the radio as to try to disparage the reputations of others on the board. Now, maybe the Cape Cod Times could focus more on the good things in the school district, instead of what gets posted on the blogs, or being spoon fed information from those whose agenda was to paint the district in a negative light. (After nearly four months, we are still waiting on the acknowledgement from the Cape Cod Times that we do have a new superintendent!) So currently the discussion from some of those people is to look into the possibility of spending education dollars to try and market the school district? Really? How about stopping with all the competing negative agendas and work together for the best interest of the kids and the district? That is the best way to market a school district.

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  10. Hi everyone - I guess I will put my thoughts out there on how we're evaluating high schools, since I have an 8th grader and we're making that choice right now. We're not basing our decision on any of the turmoil the district has experienced, mainly because I think despite the disruption positive work has continued in the classroom, nor are we considering the Newsweek ranking, or even MCAS scores. Our family is looking primarily for three things, in this order: 1) a culture that encourages academic success and intellectual exploration, and in which our kid will feel valued by peers; 2) a wide variety of course offerings, particularly at the higher levels and in topics that interest our kid. In his case, he would like four years of progressively difficult math beyond Alg 1 and Geometry and computer science course options (as opposed to applied tech), and preferably not on line, but the broader point is that a wide variety of courses will meet individual needs of HS students; 3)a funded, stable, comprehensive band program. I don't know if we'll end up at SHS - it's a possibility, but my son's top two choices at this point are 1) Sturgis (despite the lack of CS courses) and 2) D-Y which has a great set of CS offerings and a great music program. My point is that the reality is that within the public system we have choices, and every family is going to evaluate those options differently to meet the needs of their kid. Advertising won't change what's happening at the school, so maybe it makes more sense to use resources to see what families are looking for and make changes to the school to meet the demands. Maybe most are looking for things SHS *does* have, and then advertising those things makes sense. That's how you compete right? Marketing research, then product development, *then* advertising. That's my two cents for what it's worth. Hope you're all well - Christine

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  11. I would say that we should not spend this money. Public schools in general could do a lot to improve their image simply by pushing the kids to learn more about their academic responsibilities. They give the kids and teachers half days every other week (and letting them sleep in isn't helping students at all when they will soon have a boss to answer to). I'd be more prone to send my kids to a school that is going to push them academically and prepare them for having a future as a decent employee. If I could ever afford to pay for a private school, where manners, dress code, and personal responsiblity enrich their education, I'd do it in a minute. So for me, it's not image at school committe meetings, but the lack of life's prepareness that turns me off to public school in general. No amount of money marketing or studying will make a difference. This country is turning out some of the laziest, irresponsible people I've ever seen. How about spending money on courses such as "how to manage expenses in your first apartment"... "How to describe something without the over-use of the word "like"; or "What's a credit score and how it affects your life" ... and one more "How to be responsible for yourself". These are sarcastic classes, of course, but still ones I feel kids could benefit from. Improve the expectations of the students and the parents will keep the kids there, not marketing a brand name.

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  12. Johansen, What is a "conditional study"? I thought we could not spend money on non-education items. Exit interviews might help, but costs time which in turn costs money-Maybe we should just keep a record of where the children move and maybe ask them why as they leave, we could the $50,000 and ask for a less than $500,000,000 override. Maybe the school committee should argue less and concentrate on the children. Hopefully Dr. Canfield will get the answer for zilch. The last Superintendent told the Pro Johnson majority that there was no way to find out where the children who left went. Maybe she should have known that the schools send records somewhere. She could have found out where they went. If its Upper Cape where a lot went, then you know those children want a technical type of education. If they went to Catholic High Schools, maybe it was for the religious aspect. Maybe if it were Falmouth Acadamy, then we know why. My point is, let's try to get the answer with out spending 50 grand.

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  13. Hire a sports trainer will 'ya?

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  14. Oct. 25th 5:55 AM. If I get it correctly, the trainer you write about is there to save lives and help the injured. Funny how the old Superintendent tried to push the person out of the building although she said she was "for the children". Now Mr. Johansen who supported her to the max wants to possibly spend 50 grand to bring in outside students just so the town can get money. For him, it appears not for the children, but for the money.

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  15. Good Afternoon All

    Here is a video from The Barnstable Public School System. http://vimeo.com/28822101
    Something like this would do a lot for school pride. Take a look.

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  16. I think that this Catalini guy ought to promote the positive through the example of the Sandwich Schools not by that which the public will see through. You can't say we are in the top 500 high schools when we are not, you can't say that things are going well when we have drugs running rampant in the schools, when teachers are so divided, when there is little money available for programs, both in academics and sports. If Mr. Catalini would resolve some of these problems then the "branding" will take care of itself. Can you imagine if we put $50,00 into sports programs or into academics or iPads. Let's get the schools working and let's face it, the schools are good but far from great. I am sure with the current leadership, we can once again get the schools to the days of Peter Canonne.

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  17. Carl Johansen would state to those that are unable to comprehend the posting above. First off it has nothing to do, to bring any students from outside of the district to Sandwich. It is all about finding out what is the reason for Sandwich taxpayers children are for leaving our school district and putting in place a plan to correct what ever the reason or reasons may be.

    Long before Dr Johnson took over the District I question and requested a study of those that were leaving to make an attempt to find out those reasons, that request was not followed through and unfortunitly once Dr Johnson became involved with all the conflictions in her life she also did not, to my knowledge, put any effort into that study as well.

    It is my understanding that Mr. Catalini attempt is to also provide some logical blueprint as to the reasons why present student s here in Sandwich are now going elsewhere to be educated. If we donot undertand the why's some are leaving, we can never ever put in place a way to correct it.

    From a layman's view
    it is a very simple task to have some one other then school personal ask the questions of every student and there parents as to the reasons why another school district has been chosen for there child, rather then the Sandwich district.

    Once the data is recorded you now have an actual account whereby corrective measures can be taken to correct any and all unknown reasons

    Carl Johansen

    A concerned citizen of Sandwich

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  18. Parent of Eighth GraderOctober 26, 2011 at 9:22 AM

    I agree with Christine J-S. I don't particularly care about the Newsweek rating or MCAS scores. We are looking for the course offerings, sports and clubs that are a fit for our eighth grader. They are all at the high school today, but we are concerned about the next few years and that is why we are looking elsewhere. The uncertaintly with regard to the school budget, teacher contract and the high school pool are all factors for us.

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  19. 6:49, I hope we don't EVER return to the days of Peter Cannone!!! A nice guy, but the standard solution to every issue was to eliminate a program -- but NEVER reduce employees or employee wage increases!

    That certainly made for a happy (and quiet!) union -- but it sucked for students and taxpayers!

    Although, I do agree the branding effort seems silly.

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  20. Johansen, what are you babbling about now. The note above yours would simply point out that the writer's opinion is that we should not spend the $50,000 on advertising and maybe correct the obvious. Why did you not just correct what you thought was wrong instead of pompously writing "for those that are unable to comprehend". People, as you have indicated many times on this blog see things different ways. I did not see that what the person wrote was so different from your thoughts. I think most prudent people would have understood the jist of the writer's comments. Another action of pompasity on your part is to think that although you defended her more than anyone else, that you could ask and get her to do a study. Why did you not just ask the board of education? Many times, and I know this to be fact, that she was TOLD that she should simply direct the four schools to note down where the students were leaving to and then to ask their guardians why. If she had done this, then we would have had a better handle on things. Yes, she was conflicted, but she was the cause of the confliction.

    Bottom line is that we should not be spending $50,000 we do not have, but just listen to the reasons the parents give for leaving and if they are warranted fix them.

    You know as little about education as I do. I suggest you stick to fishing and keep Sandwich for wasting all the time it did with Johnson trying to change the law while doing it. You were wrong then and probably wrong now.

    Have a nice day.

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  21. To 6:22 AM. I believe Mr. Johansen was speaking to the poster of October 24th at 7:26 PM. As I read that blog, I think that the writer might have been saying that Mr. Johansen's ultimate goal would be to have the schools bring in people from the outside to bring in more money. I do not believe that Mr. Johansen believes as much in the children as he does in getting lees of an inflow for the schools to make up for the loss, otherwise he would ask for the $50,000 to be spent on fixing the wrongs of those who have written within this blog. As for a study or whatever, all we must do is ask a few questions of the parents and you will see why they either have moved, will move, or are thinking of it. We don't need a conditional study; its a waste of time. We do need to reach out as this blog has done by posing the question and you will see the answers without a study. Perhaps Mr. Johansen should put something in what some refer to as a newspaper (Sandwich Enterprise) and just put in an additional a statment to either write in to the enterprise or to write something on this blog. If Mr. Johansen does not want to do this, perhaps the powers that be at the Enterprise might kick start the dialogue. Answers are out there, just empower the people to answer and don't have all the answers yourself; have an open mind, and above all when you are terribly wrong, admit it.

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  22. In the advertising, could the schools put something in like; "teachers are very caring of themselves and selfishly put themselves over non-contractual things that they did such as going to PTA functions, dances, etc" Then they should explain "that despite the taxpaying citizens losing their jobs or working two to make ends meet and losing income, that the teachers are respectful of them by selfishly taking a raise just as they have each and every year since the day they started as a teacher"

    Advertise that because most teachers are starving and losing money (pay increases don't count).

    Also advertise that Shaun Cahill should get this contract done and done now. He should show the same leadership that Ms. Marshall showed for so many years.

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  23. As usual, I read what Mr. Johansen says and then I wonder where he is coming from. He says that in order to correct "it is very simple task to have someone other then school personal to ask the questions of every student and there parents as to the reasons as to why another school district was chosen for there child rather then the Sandwich School District.

    Your comment has been said in other words several times this past year of so on these blogs. Why is it that when a parent asks for school records to be forwarded to another schoo that at that time school "personal" could ask the parents why the children are being sent elsewhere. That is really MUCH more simple than getting non school personal to do it.

    If you were to look, you would see that many are going to Upper Cape and to charter school. Perhaps they are going to Upper Cape because it provides an education that Sandwich does not and can not provide. I wonder if you understand that it is a Regional School that provides a hands on learning enviroment, the type of environment that does not exist except at such schools. Trade schools are different. They are an extension of sorts to the Sandwich Program. As for the charter school. It is very popular among students and parents in the Cape Cod area. This type of school provides an education, that at least to this point, is unmatched by any other program in this area (in my very humble opinion). Parents have a much greater say in what goes on and can't be controlled as Sandwich parents can be controlled. As for what I am guessing is a very large percentage of students, Catholic Schools are popular because parents who practice their faith, think (whether they are correct or not) their child will get a better and more ethical standard of faith and morals. Also, many who do not hae the faith of the church find that their child needs the perceived discipline of these shcools.

    Its not Rocket Science and has been presented before. We don't need "non-school personnel" doing this research. It is very simple and can be done quite quickly.

    Instead of spending $50,000, we should take $12,000 and put it aside (if not the whole $50,000) for the combining of the computer systems. That is probably costing the Town much more over time thant the students fleeing the town.

    Also, when you see all this moaning by teachers for respect. How does that play in to those on the line about sending their children elsewhere.
    These parents wonder why well paid teachers are moaning about not having a contract as if it meant that it prevented them from not going into an insane home for teachers. When we see a school committee whose leadership without fails does not answer questions to the newspapers, the public, or to those who view them as the majority. When it sees the same people go up to the microphone and to the newspapers time and time again but remain cowardly afraid to throw their hat in the ring. For me, this last paragraph says much of the reason for my sending my son and daughter elsewhere.

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  24. Lotsa typos Karl, but I get the point. You are correct.

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  25. Mr. Catalini, you said, I believe, that as far as you knew, Sandwich was the only town on cape that is not marketing its schools. Can you give examples of what other towns are doing. I too can say that as far as I know, Sandwich is the last, but I can honestly say that as far as I know, Sandwich has the most children with proficiency in English. I can say that because I do not know of the proficiencies of othe districts.

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  26. @anonymous of 11/4 6:11 AM. I am quite surprised and somewhat disappointed with Mr. Catalini not answering your comment. I feel sure that he must have read or heard about it.

    Any how, I have yet to see any of it and would be interested on which Towns have spent money on this and what those Towns feel have been the benefits of the advertising.

    I guess, like many, once elected, this blog means very little to those politicians that used it as part of their election strategy. I was hoping that Mr. Catalini has a good advertisement for the Plymouth man who beat up the Sophmore the other day. Is this what we get for bringing in problems such as this? I am not sure what grade he is in, but to my understanding, if he so chooses, he can stary until he graduates.

    It appears that Mr. Catalini cares more about getting more students, meaning more money than he does protection of Sandwich youths.

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  27. Did I here correctly that Ms. Marshall was honored for her work over the years. I'll bet it gets little if any play in the news.

    Congratualtions Ms. Marshall, you have been one of the best board members in the history of the Sandwich Schools.

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  28. Well, well....did you see the Enterprise. Again a bashed person gets an award. For the ones who want Mr. Galkowski gone, lick your wounds. He has shown how he is actually a great conservationist. Its kinda like the ones who bashed Ms. Marshall, she gets bashed then gets an award for lifetime achievment.

    As for me, I intend never to listen to those who bashed Galkowski and Marshall and will not listen to those who bash people trying to help the Town by getting involved in economic development, leading the Wing school for many years. I will never listen to those who constantly complain about what is wrong thinking always that their sense of morality is the only one, knock good people for sensation and constantly touting what is right or wrong, but failing to risk office.

    Congrats to you Mr. Galkowski, your a good man.

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  29. Some people are negative and some are positive. I for one am negative to those who are negative and positive to the rest.

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  30. I think it was very nice that the former School Committee member was given an award by the MASC.

    It was even nicer that the award was presented by her old colleague who is now the President of the MASC. Coincidentally, that member also hired the MASC to replace the last Superintendent. What a small world.

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  31. I thought the SC replaced the old Superintendent.

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  32. The SC paid MASC to run the search process. I believe they also talked about paying MASC to re-write the school department policy manual.

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  33. TO 2:20. AS I HAVE SAID IN THE PAST AND WILL CONTINUE TO SAY YOUR COMMENTS ARS HALF TRUTH AND LIES. PERFECT EXAMPLE AS TO WHAT I HAVE BEEN SAYING. WORDS CAN BE SLANTED TO THE NEGATIVE DEPENDING ON WHO IS COMMENTING. SHERRY IS AN OUTSTANDING PERSON AND WOULD NEVER STOOP TO WHAT YOU ARE EMPLYING. GET YOU FACTS STRAIGHT BEFORE YOU COMMENT.

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  34. 3:58 I agree with you. Some still fight the fight for Johnson. They do not believe that the courts can be right. They can not believe that someone other than Johnson can runt the School system. The continue to lie. They will not give up and so I will not either. Sherry got kicked after many more years of service than those who ran to change what they called "the old ways". But notice, they have now disappeared.

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  35. 3:58, What lies? The President-elect of the MASC is a former Sandwich School Committee member and the Sandwich School Committee did hire the MASC to run the Superintendent's search AND hired them to help re-write the Policy Manual. I'm not questioning whether somebody is outstanding or not, and this has nothing to do with johnson. It's just an observation, and its certainly neither a lie, nor a half-truth.

    I think Canfield is doing a fine job, and its nice to see people running the school rather than just running their mouths.

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  36. Mr. A Says…

    To poster 7:34 – nice post. I see you ruffled some feathers and the old tactic of, “if you disagree with them – insult them”, is back. Where have I see that used before? I could be wrong but I believe it was a unanimous vote to hire MASC. There may have been an abstention, not unusual for someone on the board last year.

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  37. Poster 7:34 in response to Mr. A saidDecember 1, 2011 at 10:19 AM

    Mr. A,

    Insult...I think not, that crowd does not insult. It is just my plain old negative self. I love everyone, even you, and even the guy who knows much about what he says and does it under several alias'

    Sandwich is a nice place to be, a nice place, yes it is, really, it is. Yes

    Toodles

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  38. MASC DID NOT HIRE THE SUPER AS YOU STATED. THATS THE LIE. THE MEMBER DID NOT HIRE MASC, THE SC DID.JUST ANOTHER LIE YOU TRIED TO PASS ON.

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  39. Mr. A. Says...

    To 10:19 AM - I agree with you about Sandwich. When people work together for the common good, and that might mean we will not always agree but we do it with respect, Sandwich can be a nice place. Thanks for the love and right back at you. :)

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  40. All Caps. Yes, you could say a lie, but I think the point is that the perception tells a story as well, even if it is the wrong story.

    Politics as usual above all else, no matter the topic or the political party, or the candidate, or the committee member is hated by I would say the majority of citizens. Arrogance and politics as usual time and again clouds the good judgement of good people in the political world. Even in a town like ours.

    You can't fight "politics as usual." But people feel had when they perceive it as part of an action, especially when things get chaotic and destructive like the SC between April 2010 and May 2011. No one person is to blame. Those directly involved, including posters here felt something bad was being done to them. Because they were directly involved the kept trying to "fix it" through their actions. The rest of us just felt sick and helpless. It's over, but I suppose many are still only stuck in the blame game.

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  41. Kudos to the members of the BOS who stood up for the schools last night by saying school business needs to be left to the school committee. It is good to see clearly defined roles and responsibilities as an issue.

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  42. HEY, CAPS! LAST TIME ...

    READ IT AGAIN -- SHE SAID:

    "...Committee did hire the MASC to run the Superintendent's search AND hired them to help re-write the Policy Manual."

    OBVIOUSLY THE COMMITTEE HIRED THE SUPERINTENDENT AND OBVIOUSLY THE COMMITTEE HIRED THE MASC.

    I'M STILL NOT SEEING ANY LIES OF HALF-TRUTHS.

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  43. 12:35 READ THE POST FROM 2;20 THEY SAID MASC "HIRED THE SUPER" THATS THE LIE.BUT BEING A NON OBJECTIVE SHEEP THAT YOU ARE, I EXPECTED YOU NOT TO SEE THE WHOLE PICTURE OF LIES AND HALF-TRUTHS

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  44. CAPS...I read it. You are correct.

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  45. Inuendo, half truths, accusations.......it goes on and on to J's supporters. They just can't give it up.....much as her detracters can.

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