It is with deep sadness that I write this this brief missive over the loss of school committee member, Carrie Kourkourmelis, our one true voice of reason. The one member parents of students with and without disabilities could voice their concerns and dismay over the the services their children are (or are not) receiving. She spoke out for the residents of Melrose without any thought or hopes obtaining any personal gain. Over and over I would watch these meetings seeing other members of said committee gang up on her, refuse to 2ND her motions and out-right bully her. For all of the parents who CKK assisted and listened to with an open mind and kind heart, please come forward and openly speak up over this terrible, terrible loss.
At first I thought it was a joke. Something must be especially troubling in the schools that she resigned now. It's obvious she had the guts to battle against bad things all these years. She stuck it out all this time. With her inside knowledge, however, she must know something very bad they've done for her to leave the committee now. I expect the rest must be doing something unethical or illegal and she felt she had to leave so as not to be complicit.
Disagree with nearly every issue that CKK has pushed, including the reason for leaving; but thank her for her service. Jaime MacAllister-Grande, welcome to the SC. Time to move forward.
From what the free press wrote, looks like OCR's wrist-slap changed nothing in Melrose.
Are all the abuses of special ed families, non-english speakers and the administration's bullying against so many others finally coming to roost? Maybe Kourkoumelis suspects indictments are coming down soon and wants no part of it.
No shame for her and only thanks from me. I watched for years as she worked hard to improve the system against the sycophants on the school committee. The schools now are much better because of her work - even though the behavior of administrators is worse than ever now violating federal laws.
What a shame for Melrose, but it's good news for other towns, since it means that Melrose will continue to attract nothing but bottom of the barrel teacher and administrator candidates. The good ones will continue to go elsewhere.
I agree that there must be a giant rat hidden in the woodpile. The timing of this makes me wonder what else is about to become public.
Thank you, Melrose! Idiots.
I agree. Melrose won't find another school committee member who understands the depth of the problems. Or if they do, they'll want to join the mayor's club and pretend it's all good.
This is truly a great loss for Melrose children and taxpayers. My dear friend...after 5 years of hell I can't say that I blame you one bit. I can only hope that the Taymore, Dolan and those that have condoned everything that you have tried to bring to the light of day see the inside of a courtroom.
And if you thought things could not possibly get worse, it appears that there is going to be a pi$$ing contest over who gets the seat.
Well, the officials can thank themselves and their stupid charter committee for writing such a bad and highly flawed city charter. CKK didn't run in the last election (her spot is open in 2 years), so Kraunelis would be the logical inheritor of the spot going by when her position and her election cycle was. Naturally they want Miss Kindergarten Mommy, the same one who has gotten so cozy with Paymore and had her bring in that disastrous "Improv" troupe (obvious conflict of interest notwithstanding, shame on them) to deal with CT's little "race" problem, so the district's crack legal team is trying to bulldoze the way clear for this "friendly amendment" to the School Committee, as it were. They certainly don't want a republican dad on the committee! (Anything, even a convicted felon, is more acceptable than that!) If Ms. Toddler Mommy is allowed to prevail, parents of older kids can just kiss goodbye any further pretense at caring about the high school because everything (that isn't already) will be 100% focused on Cyndy's "babies." What a cluster####!
How is it possible that no other SC member thinks there is a problem - a big problem with the way Taymore handled the situation? 100K in legal bills is OK? Covering up the findings when #2 was in a superintendent race for a different city? Then hire a PR firm to help smooth all the edges. I can't believe there would be a single person in the city of Melrose that does not appreciate the time and effort CK put into the schools. She always had the best interest of the students in mind - and the taxpayers. Today is a very sad day for the City.
I agree with one thing in your post...that is that the seat should belong to Jason Kraunelis. He ran with integrity and was HONEST with the voters but he came up a little short. I wish him luck in his new role and look forward to his contributions.
Tafka Vuvu: As a mouthpiece for Robbie and gang, no surprise to us that you don't agree with Carrie's concerns for ethical conduct within the school committee city hall, city solicitor's office and school administration.
She was truly for the teachers and the improvement of our schools. It is sad to see her resign. It is a shame that the school committee cannot work in unison. I hope she does not give up for what is right and continues to pursue those who are lying and are hiding something. "Darkness cannot hide from light". May the truth prevail.
Who is cooking the books here?
Just got the Free Press in the mail. I'm shocked and saddened to see Mrs. Kourkoumelis resigned. For years, I've known her to be a principled person, dedicated to improving our world and community. We need more like her in public office, not less. She has worked tirelessly for the students for many years against the herd of sycophants (great word) on the school committee.
In Mayor Dolan's quote he wants people to believe she resigned because it was hard work and she didn't want to do it any longer. It's clear she was never afraid to do hard work. You could see it each week on TV in the statements she made at meetings. She was always prepared when the others didn't know what the issue was about. It's obvious she could have done that hard work forever. She also did the hard work standing up to the sycophants (my new best word)on the school committee. She could have done that hard work forever, too.
For her to resign like this must mean that there is something really rotten occurring in the Melrose School administration and School Committee. Here's how it probably went.
They must of discussed something confidential at one of the secret meeting sessions that the superintendent did something that was really bad. Just as at the open public meetings, Mrs. Kourkoumelis would have taken a stand against the bad thing and wanted consequences.
They probably all voted 6-1 to allow the superintendent to continue to violate students' civil rights, with Mrs. Kourkoumelis being the only one against violating students' rights. Mrs. Kourkoumelis also probably didn't want the school to spend legal fees defending the superintendent so she could continue doing illegal things.
It seems the superintendent did something very wrong. The school committee found out and didn't hold her accountable. They probably helped in some of the coverup. Then they all lied and said the superintendent did great things (instead of that she violated the law).
No one on earth could work with an organization that corrupt and get good things done. Not even Mrs. Kourkoumelis. It's amazing she got so many things done she did. She made the Melrose Schools change over the last six years despite the majority voting against every good thing.
There is no joy in Mudville today folks. Another Melrose Messages hero quits. First JLB quits the BOA and now CKK quits the school committee. What's a whiner to do? Don't kid yourself, CKK never got anything done on the SC. She is in lock step with the whiner board...your opinion doesn't matter if you can't get people to agree with you. The small list of clowns on this board have very strong opinions, as does MFD, GM and CKK, the problem is the entire voting community has heard the platform and rejected it. MM is your island, enjoy it. In the real world you are a bunch of crack pots that can't accomplish anything.
You must not have kids who were in the schools before 2010. If you did, you would know how bad things were then and that Carrie K. was the one always chiding the schools to do better. Everyone on the school committee always votes against her, but the things she brought attention to were the things they finally addressed. Every good thing done for the schools the last five years that the schools publicize, she made it happen.
Look at it this way. During all the years Thorp, Dolan, Driscoll, Constantine, Casatelli, Lehman were on the school committee the schools went further and further downhill. It went downhill while they all claimed how wonderful everything always was.
After Carrie got on there and brought the problems into view of the public - along with Larock for a while, they couldn't just ignore them. Every vote of 6-1 against Carrie highlighted that problem and the superintendent was forced to address it.
There is not one thing today that people say is good about the schools that she didn't bring attention to first. Textbooks, technology, building issues, AP scores, curriculum, staff issues. That's just a few of the big ones that come to mind.
More evidence the MM crowd is completely delusional. By its very nature when an individuals proposal goes down 6 to 1 the idea is soundly rejected and the measure not implemented. I forgot about LaRock...another quitter.
She actually made nothing happen, she was on the wrong side of every vote. Her 6 year career has not a single victory...and then she betrayed the voters trust by quitting and blaming everyone else for her ineffective and combative style.
I voted for her every election and would continue to do so for every year she would have chosen to run again. Those people were vile to her and represent everything wrong with this city, but she continued to fight on for the people who elected her and the children of Melrose that couldn't. You must be Martha, one of the other SC members or the delusional people they represent. Thanks is totally inadequate for what Carrie has done for my children and this community. Melrose should be beyond ashamed.
Why would "Melrose be beyond ashamed" because an official they elected couldn't get along with the rest of the school committee? CKK couldn't get a single thing done in six years, she had her OCD mentally ill crony show up at every school committee meeting for years to rant and rave during public participation, and she the rest of her time on this website with her husband sh*tting all over the school committee. She made the right move for her family and her own mental health when she resigned. Elected government was clearly not her thing.
What she said.
What she said.
I knew what happened was wrong but didn't know what I could do. Now I feel bad I didn't get all the other parents together and make a big deal about it two years ago. You always think there is someone in power who will make sure the right thing gets done so you don't have to get involved. You think it's not your place. You don't want to go against the grain. I was wrong. I'm sorry I didn't stand up for the children.
All excellent insights about the depths to which Carrie dug with the open and full intent to improve a flailing and failing public school system. Over the past 40 years in public education across three school systems, three more in major consulting opps, and four NEASC accreditation appointments,not to mention three terms on the Melrose School Committee, I've seen just about every type of school committee member from the criminals who take money for jobs at one end to the Carrie's at the polar opposite. Yes, most reside somewhere between, but very few are in the category of Carrie Kourkoumelis for one major reason. They can't mobilize a majority to bring accountabilty when confronted with the depth of patronage and insider dealings within the committee. The other problem is most serve with a modicum at best of the necessary intellect to understand the magnitude of their responsibilities, thus relying on and trusting the powers that are to guide them. Look at our track history and revolving door of administrators and superintendents. Then add Rob Dolan as our overall leader. Seriously, folks, what leadership/management role would you give Dolan and/or Taymore if you owned a company? The city is a 45-million-dollar business; the school system 30 million. Now you know why a third of our parents send their kids to parochial, private and charter schools. At best, our best teachers labor under a lack of organization and leadership, while too many others steal a check or FT health benefits. It's a mess, and now we have lost one of the very few who got it and had the guts to put herself out there for the kids. They lose; Dolan and Taymore don't win a thing with her resignation. They get another block of time to sell ice to the buying Eskimos. The override vote showed they can only do that for so much longer. Thanks, Carrie. Your service is truly appreciated by all the kids, most of the parents, and some of the school personnel. Get some well-deserved rest.
Just got back from vacation tonight and I see that CKK has resigned her position on the school committee! What a shame - well - Ms. Driscoll - you certainly did what Ms.Thorp could not do before you! Silence the only member who really cares about the future of education in Melrose! Now - the SC can pass all those useless norms without a dissenting vote. You can now hide all those lawyer costs due to the incompetence of our school admin staff. Also, go by to transparency - since the rest of the SC members are only lemmings of the chairperson. What an absolute disgrace!
Makes me wonder what the executive session on February 28th was all about:
"To discuss the reputation, character, physical condition or mental health, rather than professional competence, of an individual". Logic would have presumed they were finally going after the superintendent, but THIS is Melrose.
Were they actually going after Carrie for not signing the McCarthyist Norms? You know, those quirky little Norms that completely contradict good governance, transparency and SC member's oath of office? The Norms that illegally strip the independence and fiduciary responsibility of the SC members given to them by the voters and instead consolidates those powers.... with the lunatic SC chair?
Haven't seen this kind of insanity since the Trump Pledge!
Or were they after the Assistant super for the OCR debacle?
I am sooooooo glad that my children are no longer in the Melrose School system. The last one graduated a few years ago. I have watched for years as the School Committee turned a blind eye to the issues that really matter to the parents of Melrose students. Well, all i can say is good luck to them. They have no real voice anymore on their side.
"I saw that there is a woman, Alexa Majors, trying to inspire some local dialogue and positive community action in response to Ms. K's resignation. Hopefully there will be sustained efforts in the greater community to make something meaningful out of the huge first step forward Mrs. K's leadership has provided."
This needs to happen! Desperately!