Melrose School Committee October 18th 2022
1:39 into this four-hour debacle one can listen to the quavering and utterly insincere voice (crocodile tears a-plenty) of Finance Chair Driscoll as she once again tries to shove the festering mess under the already bulging rug.... Everything being revealed (and much more that is still buried in records that would, thanks to Driscoll et al, take many public records requests and fights, successful though they are, with the Secretary of State's Office to uncover) can be tracked back to this snarling, disingenuous, officious, power-mongering, evangelical lifer on that board who worked for many years (including now professionally with the MA association of School Committees) to create the policies and practices that are now revealing their ugly head, which is sadly only the tip of the iceberg. This is the person who always predicates her remarks with her fake concerns "for the students" but in fact has enacted policies and procedures (and hired, via her many years of votes) the most vile, incompetent administrators) that devastate students, teachers, and wreak havoc for the taxpayers. Neither she nor her numerous collaborators have ever been held accountable for their many years of bad acts, with direct harms to children, teachers, taxpayers. It's terrible that it's taken this enormous thing to force a spotlight on these awful school committee members including the mayor, of course, (& city auditor & many others) who sits there fully complicit and totally impotent in his chronically incoherent ramblings.
Melrose City Council Special Meeting October 11th 2022
Citizens and teachers finally react by being "flabbergasted," "heartbroken," etc. All of that is appropriate. Sadly, those reacting are more than a little late to the party. During the Oct. 11th meeting the disgusting City Auditor basically admitted that the practices that led to the current disastrous fiasco are not new. The same thing was admitted, albeit in cloaked fashion, by the consultant from the company hired by the schools, paid by the taxpayer, and used for a long time. So why are they now "shocked," "heartbroken," etc. when none of this is new, and in fact may have revealed a glimpse of a much deeper system of irresponsible (and ILLEGAL) manipulations of line items?!
2:40 Eugene Gibbons (unfortunately, like so many others of the gullible Melrose public, a quite strident Override supporter) was spot on in her astute questioning and calling-to-task public commentary. She characterized the situation brilliantly when she said this is not about preserving the city's bond rating (as the mayor and city auditor disgustingly tried to portray it), but about, among other things, a breach of public trust, and an Olympic level effort to pass the buck. She aptly honed in on there being such a large amount of pandemic recovery funds still available and now spent (without public input first!) on covering the butts of the city officials for the squandered 2.2 million (oh wait, it's now 3 million, oh wait, who actually knows because it's the methods of accounting at fault.... said the paid consultant Oct. 18....). Gibbons questions how many desperately needed areas (not just Special Education) will have to be further neglected because those funds are being spent in a CYA maneuver. Clearly those "overspent" "double deducted" expenditures weren't directed towards teacher salaries or student services, as was revealed in the dozens of detailed and passionately expressed laments by the many teachers who testified on Oct. 18. With chronically failing WIFI (where is Neil Ellis, Chief Information Officer for schools and relative of Melrose City Engineer Ellen P Ellis--nepotism much?), dozens of unfilled positions causing students to have quite literally no teachers for whole days/weeks, special needs students whose IEPs have still not been read let alone fulfilled, and on and on.... the devastations are real and quite a few have tragic consequences, some of which won't be known for a long time but nonetheless track back to the wretched failures of the Melrose Public Schools.
With the large reactions from all there is still one key element that is not being said. These problems are long-standing in Melrose, and it's only because there is now a target of a huge amount that somehow disappeared that the larger public is rallying. But the public bears quite a large share of responsibility for their irresponsible and chronic looking-the-other-way and re-electing of truly awful representatives, along with its perpetual shunning and shaming of the few who've ever stood up to these vile and self-serving officials. There have been a handful of truly heroic individuals who have tried to warn and inform the Melrose public, and they've done so selflessly and with dignity, only to be ignored, mocked, bullied, and who apparently have finally given up on a public that has demonstrated it really doesn't care when it counts. Now when it's too late and so much devastation has occurred (pandemic only highlighted the wreckage to the children's education and mental health, but it's been going on a long time in Melrose) there is outcry. Good. Some humility, self-reflection and self-criticism from the PUBLIC are seriously in order for this community to have allowed these devastations to occur.
Famous story of the THREE ENVELOPES ...A newly hired CEO took over at a firm and while moving into the office discovered 3 envelopes in the top of the desk...The CEO opened the packet and it said, "REORGANIZED" and do not open the next envelope for three months...So the CEO did exactly that and reorganized .. 3 months went by and the company was still not preforming...So the CEO opened the second envelope and it said" BLAME THE PREVIOUS ADMINISTRATION"! The CEO did just that, began throwing everyone under the bus but that did not seem to work either...3 months went by and the CEO opened the last envelope and it said..."PREPARE THREE ENVELOPES"!!...
What a JOKE!! She is a cancer in our community - Good Riddance, adios, hasta la vista, don't let the Raiders hit you on the way out!! She has always been an incompetent, divisive, woke ideologue hellbent on destroying communities in her unhinged drive for social engineering. The entire school committee should go - THEY are responsible for this decision - based on Kukenberger's past history THEY should have seen this coming. Why didn't they? Because they were knee deep in lying and dodging shrapnel from the mascot fiasco, the Halloween disaster and a school system that is horribly broken.
The Melrose Patch had an article about how we should not be celebrating the fact that She is leaving and the public discord is uncalled for..... To the author of that article and in regards to the social discord which they only disapprove of when it is against one of their own - I would look to the leaders of your party i.e. the lying Indian and decrepit Brandon - it all rots from the head down. Just like Melrose.
The administrator's took a expensive vacation knowing teacher's and paraprofessional's had no contract!