I'm starting to get a little tired of the antics of the "Yes" brigade. For the most part, as soon as they find out someone plans to vote "No", it starts - you don't care about the kids, you're selfish, you're irresponsible, and on and on and on. It sure tells me a lot about their mindset.
First of all, I do care about the kids. But I realize that if we weren't throwing so much money away on things we shouldn't be, there would be enough money to raise the per-pupil expenditure to the level it ought to be at. The "Yes" position seems to be that "if we throw enough money at it, things will get better". I keep hearing "We don't have a spending problem. We have a revenue problem." I call bull$hit on that. We do have some revenue limitations, which is an issue, but by far the worst problem we face right now is excessive and unjustifiable spending.
The attitude and actions of the Yes brigade are not only offensive, but self-defeating as well. Apparently they still haven't learned their lesson. Hopefully after this override attempt goes down the drain, they'll wise up and realize their one-trick pony approach is actually what's hurting the kids. Not going to hold my breath, though.
Unjustified and wasteful spending is not just a school department issue. It's a city-wide issue, and until some administration decides it's willing to address it instead of pandering to special interest groups like the MEF mommies, nothing is going to change. Sad.
Can you fill me in on the excessive and unjustifiable expenses? This is a good place to come to get the other side of the story.
1. The modular classrooms. Remember they decided on those because it was too expensive to re-open one of the non-utilized schools? Oh - wait. Now we're going to be opening Beebe again. 2. A 5.5 million dollar learning common, where no learning actually happens. 3. Full health care for part time employees. Life long health care for retired part time employees. Start with those.
More options were available, and were proposed and rejected. One of those options was re-opening the Beebe School. We were told that would be too expensive. Now, apparently, it's not. So what changed? Given the circumstances, spending that money on the learning commons was misguided at best. No one has ever been able to adequately explain to me how it's useful or modernizes an aging building, except asthetically. So it's "pretty" - who cares? Nor has anyone shown how it improves the so-called "student outcomes". Wouldn't putting two or three classrooms in that space have been a better idea? It isn't the building that educates. It's the teachers, or at least it should be. A case in point is the science labs, where by all accounts no science is being taught. The law requires health coverage for part-timers who work a certain number of hours - 20 hours of a 40 hour position, or 18.75 hours of a 37.5 hour position. Start hiring part timers whose hours fall under that level - 19.75/40 or 18.5/37.5 - and stop using part-time jobs for political patronage, which is what has been going on here for years. The point is that until I see reasonable efforts being made to actually reduce these kinds of expenditures, I will not vote for an override, and so far I see more effort being expended to avoid talking about things like that than is expended on actually doing something about it. It's a given that our revenue-raising ability is limited. Shouldn't we then be having more of a discussion about how best to use what we do have, rather than tossing millions of dollars at someone's pet projects designed only to get votes? Override proponents not only do not want to even discuss it, they $hit all over you when you even try to bring it up. Every dollar saved is worth exactly the same as every dollar in new revenue. Melrose is like Easter Island. Keep building those stupid statues. And what the heck is wrong with this site? Why won't it allow new paragraphs all of a sudden?
“Start hiring part timers whose hours fall under that level - 19.75/40 or 18.5/37.5 - and stop using part-time jobs for political patronage, which is what has been going on here for years.” That’s exactly what’s happening. Take a look at the employment opportunities page on the city website - https://www.cityofmelrose.org/human-resources/pages/employment-opportunities All full time or benefits-ineligible part time positions, kept below the threshold so as to not have to offer benefits. Case dismissed. Would you like to offer up your next gripe?
The MHS "library" (now glorified as "Learning Commons") contains even fewer books than it did before its expensive overhaul. The focus of this wasted barn of a space (then and still) is towards "digital learning," Taymore's "forward-thinking" move away from actual teaching. No one should be deluded into thinking that this marks actual improvement in student outcomes except for the fact that motivated students can sit in front of a screen in that vast space (instead of at home) more hours during the school day and perhaps learn something instead of sitting in classrooms of marginally qualified "teachers" who will bore them to death with their unpacked rubrics and massive amounts of busywork. Unmotivated students will be just as poorly educated in the Commons as they were in the classrooms, but the administrators can check off a box that says the students educational needs are being met (garbage in, garbage out).
“Next Please” your arguments are fool hardy and conveniently ignore the obvious. People do not have blind trust in their Melrose elected officials because of their past actions. Also, what incentive does the city have to reduce the negotiated 84% health insurance paid for its employees at the next available opportunity if the override passes. What reforms has the city made since the 2015 override was defeated? What was the annual savings from these reforms? The administration’s contention that it cannot make more cuts with out drastically hurting city services is self serving and untrue.
This demonstrates exactly the point I was trying to make. I'm not responsible for what anyone else posts on this website. I am entitled to be offended when I say I'm against any override until I see full disclosure, and maybe even a forensic audit and someone calls me too stupid to understand the issue, or that in some way I'm "against kids". You've just done exactly the same thing - without giving any consideration at all to my point of view, you call me holier than thou and a hypocrite. It is a fact that the most rabid of the override supporters outright lied the last time, and so far not only are they not giving any assurances that they are not lying this time, they instead pull a page out of the Dolan playbook and attempt to demonize any who oppose them. Trust has to be earned. So far the Yes proponents have given me no reason at all to trust that what they now say is any more truthful than what they said then, and their refusal to even address civilly any contrary viewpoint just confirms it for me. And to be clear, I don't have a "side", unless it's truth, honesty, and civility - things that have been sorely lacking in Melrose government for well over a decade.
Obviously you do have a side - the no side. And that's fine. I was simply pointing out the hypocrisy of complaining that the yes people called you names when your fellow no voters are just as guilty of calling others names. Call out both sides, or accept that it's an uncivil debate. Don't try to pretend that one side is being more uncivil than the other when there are plenty of name callers on both sides. The most rabid no voters also tell their fair share of lies. Again let's not pretend one side has a monopoly on truth. I respect your point of view, and personally voted no last time, though I'm changing my vote to yes this time.
Finally we can air this out. As part of the NO from last time we had to have meetings about how to handle insults, curses, some even threatened. I watched a yes person flipping off No people. The stance taken was ignore the ignorance. First meeting it happened and I refused to speak because a yes voter jumped down my throat over a question. Interrupted rudely and treated such disrespect this person should be band from meetings. At that point I wanted to just hear the facts and make an educated decision about the over ride.. assumed I was a no. At that time I was against the 5.18 but thought maybe their was a more reasonable number. What was it 25,000 on your last campaign. That’s worth a new police cruiser. I have to say I’m sick it too. When you have nothing you are forced to resort to insults.
VOTE NO! Follow the facts.. the truth!!!
From what I'm seeing, the "undecided" and "No" side has the most valid position. The Mayor and "One Melrose/MEF' proclaims that we need to get educated on the override. The undecided crowd asks (as they have since before the last failed override) to show us the legal fee costs and total costs of settlements we are incurring due to incompetence of the SC chair, committee members and top school administrators (you know, the info they wouldn't release and then wanted to charge school committee member $7000 for back in 2014) This info has still not seen the light of day for a reason. They know the taxpayers would be shocked at the costs that are being incurred to defend these incompetents. In August 2018, Alderman-at-large Monica Medeiros requested a copy of the current population projections survey (funded by the tax payers of course) to help residents understand how the projected growth in school age children plays into the override projects. We are now into December and the Mayor still refuses to release the study. So here are two simple requests for public documents that would shed some light on whether there is a need for an override. Sadly, the taxpayer has yet again had to fund the legal fees to defend these ridiculous and unlawful positions to the Secretary of State's Office even though the city knows darn well it is required to release under the State's Public Records Laws but simply refuses to do so.
So when the Mayor, One Melrose, and MEF crowd start advocating for us to "get educated" about the override lets see them put their money where there mouth is. Do they really want an educated voter? Do they want transparency? I think we all no real answer.
I guess in one sense you are right - I do have a side. It's not the Yes side or the No side - at least not yet. It's the truth side. The full disclosure side. I'm not going to vote yes if I don't feel like I have the facts, or if I feel as if I'm being misled or lied to. The Yes people outright lied to us the last time. Now the onus is on them to show me that they're not doing so again. If they could do that I'd consider a yes vote. But when all they can manage is to insult anyone who asks for details, it doesn't do much to convince me. Do some No people respond to their insults with anger? Sure. That's human nature. When someone tries to bull$hit me I also find it annoying, and on occasion I might be tempted to respond with a resounding "go f*** yourself" too. But I haven't done it here, and I won't. I also won't vote to spend five million bucks a year forever if I think I'm being fed a line of bull$hit - again. If you don't understand why I'm skeptical you haven't been paying attention the last ten or twelve years.
Not until the truthful facts are released as to what the "CIVIL RIGHTS VIOLATIONS" cost the city
not only in dollars but in what assistance was given to the victims involved.
The guilty parties took no responsibility for any of it and you can not 'MOVE FORWARD" from
something that has never been honestly addressed.
The simplistic explanations for the current so-called budget woes are just so inadequate. The "structural deficit" is an artificial construct, one of several such artificial constructs carried over year after year every time Patrick and RD needed to cry budget wolf, something they and now GI have done virtually every year. Another Dolan favorite false construct is that the "stimulus ended," thereby "denying" Melrose federal funds that were only granted one time and were never meant to be an annual recurring item. It's just bogus that this "denial" is being advanced every year now after the one-time stimulus was granted. It's not a "denial" when it was never a real thing in the first place! Everything about the way the budget is structured and presented by Melrose officials is aimed at grabbing the sympathy of gullible voters and elected officials while concealing the many deceits enclosed.
The ones punishing students are the administrators and officials who make terrible decisions year after year, and the elected officials who codify this with their budget votes. It never had to be this way, nor does it have to continue. Yes, of course there are a number of fixed costs that the district is mandated to pay for. But that just isn't the whole story. Buying the whole package as presented by the administration without looking carefully at the particulars already provided and demanding all those that are actively being concealed is what is punishing the students and the taxpayers.
If anyone thinks that the budget "truth" is being told, they are sorely mistaken. There are lots of well-meaning citizens trying to do the right thing by supporting this boondoggle, just as some of the officials are also trying to do the right thing (cannot say all of them, because some are brazenly working to suppress the full truth and actively misrepresenting the situation, ONCE AGAIN).
Just because something is in the "Free Press" or on the mayor's blog does not mean it's true! It's ironic that the article being tagged here is about hiring an assistant city solicitor, as if that was somehow a virtuous thing. If anyone cares enough to pursue how many wrong-headed and in fact documented inappropriate (and in some cases illegal) actions have been taken by long-time Dolan city solicitor RvC, there are many file folders full of them and plenty of publicly available info as well (despite the chronic efforts to conceal that which is supposed to be transparent to the public!). Hiring another lawyer to be under the direction of RvC is just more foolishness rubber-stamped by the SC and BOA. That also did nothing to stem the enormous tide of special ed legal costs that have burgeoned under this wretched superintendent and her TWO useless and/or damaging assistant superintendents (remember when Melrose only had one?). Look at the total enormous expansion of the school administration budget under these menaces, and then look at student outcomes and see if you think students and taxpayers have gotten what they are paying through the nose for!
There are individuals in this city who understand the actual issues and try their best to convey it despite the shunning and bullying they get for their thanks. If you want to know the truth and stop "punishing" students, it's there to be explored thoughtfully, or rather, some of it is there, while the rest of it needs to be demanded.
Full Forensic Audit
Did Monica get an answer regarding her appeal for documents?
No, Monica has not received any of what she has asked for in August. I believe there is a pending complaint with the Secretary of State's office, Public Records Compliance Division. The documents are all required to be released if they exist, which they do.
If there's nothing to hide, then why not make them available? If it walks like a duck......
The lesson nobody ever seems to learn is that it's not the mistake that gets you into trouble. It's the cover-up.