The School Committee voted to raise the ECC tuition by 8% at the meeting currently televised. It wasn't on the agenda that they would vote on that topic. It was the superintendent's update. If they knew in advance they were going to vote and didn't disclose it, that would be against the law.
Before the meeting, some parents spoke about raising the tuition 8%. Supposedly, the School Committee didn't plan to vote on ECC tuition, but they voted to raise it 8%. Was an 8% increase already discussed somewhere or was it a pure coincidence that the parents who spoke all had in mind, independently, the same increase the school committee decided upon without planning to discuss it?
For the record, ECC fees are way too high now for what the kids get. I shouldn't have to pay extra to subsidize the elementary schools. It's not much different than making me pay for kindergarten or first grade when my children get there. We're paying in advance for their FREE public education.
ECC fees were listed on the agenda, and the proposed fees were part of the agenda packet, under Finance and Facilities Item #1 (action needed). Look on the IQM2 portal.
And if the fee increases bother you that much, you don't have to send your kid to the ECC. Preschool is not mandated in any way (or even K for that matter). There are plenty of other lower cost options out there for preschool, so why don't you choose one of those? Or don't send your children to preschool at all - you can wait for the free all day K options.
The city has no legal obligation to provide public preschool, beyond what they are legally required to do for special education services. In fact, it is unethical that the district has been subsidizing the ECC at all. It should be entirely self funding, through tuition, for anything beyond our SPED obligations.
Well, the city used to subside the ECC a little bit, but now it is not only self funding but running a bit of a profit. But I agree, city school budget resources need to be directed to the education mandates that the city has to meet, not preschool.
They called it the title one program years before Franklin and before Ripley. They used special ed money from the state for classes for the special ed preschool children and invited other children (those of parents traveling in the right crowd) to go for free to balance out the classrooms with typical kids. After a while the mayor saw they could take lots of money from rich parents to pay the special education costs which the school was required to spend. Most administrators now get 50% more money than before ECC. The mayor gets 25% more. Pots of money for raises. Do the math.
Title I students went for free, on track children DID NOT go for free. That I can guarantee you.
"Since city accounting is so murky"
In a nutshell!
A couple of points to make
-All ECC teachers are highly qualified. They all meet the criteria and have their teaching license thru the DOE. All have a Bachelor's Degree and most have a Master's
-There is no longer any Title 1 funds at the ECC. They were given over to the elementary school several years ago.
-The ECC houses many specialist as well: PT, OT, Speech and now some offices for Ed. Stations. These staff members serviced not just ECC students but students through out the city. So if the City wants the operating costs off the books then some of that should be teased out as those town wide specialist need space somewhere and we all know that it is not going to be found at the elementary schools! So those light bills, heating bills and janitor costs should at least partly be paid by the school dept. budget.
-There is a strange situation at the ECC. The teachers who have their SPED certification are allowed to join the union. The paraprofessionals are in the Para Union. The teachers there who are licensed from PS-grade 3 to teach have not been allowed in the teacher's union. They are being paid far less than their fellow teachers, including the ones the teach in classrooms right next door! It has been going on for years and the teachers keep trying to join and get the door slammed in their faces. I am not sure how this has even been allowed. They are teachers in the district so why are they not in the union?
-Back when the ECC opened I recall reading in the paper that the school department was pleased that one of the SPED teachers salaries was now being paid by the ECC budget. Not sure if that ever went back on the School Department books but since that is a position that is required by federal and state law then it really shouldn't be paid by the tuition paying families.
Just some points to ponder
So are the paras at the ECC paid by a grant or are they fully funded through the ECC payroll? I do not understand why all the teachers are not in the Union. There seems to be so many different rules. Is the ECC considered private school or public? Very confusing.
Paras are paid thru tuition
ECC is part of the Melrose Public Schools and therefore is a public school
As for some teachers not being in the union? Good question.
True but every other ECC that is run by a public school that I know of (and there are more and more) the teachers are under union contract.
My understanding is that it doesn't matter if you are a SPED teacher, necessary for the program, or not. It sounds like it is arbitrary who gets to be in the union and who doesn't. I have never heard of this model before/
Might have something to do with who the last union leader in Melrose was.
My understanding is they have tried and they have been threatened with "I can just fire all of you". They are all very scared that they will lose their jobs if they push too hard.
The non-union teachers get paid considerably less, and do the same job. It is the strangest set-up I have ever heard of. Naturally, the non-union teachers try to get jobs in other buildings, if they are certified to teach at that level. I had a friend who did the non-union thing, and then moved on. She said she just sucked it up for awhile making peanuts, because she wanted to stay in town, and knew she had a better shot of getting placed at another school if she just played the game and kept her mouth shut. Her pay went way up when she was finally able to get the union teaching position. Totally bizarre.
It was CT who said she could fire the nonunion teachers. CT said she could dismantle the Franklin in 5 minutes. She said they are employees at will and could be terminated at anytime. Some assumed they were in the union when they were hired by a public school system. They didn't find out until working for MPS for a few weeks that they were hired as "employees at will". By then they left their former jobs and it was too late. The 5 day multi-age nonunion teachers at the ECC have more direct student contact time than any other teachers in the district and make significantly less then the union teachers. Also they are not allowed to be in the sick bank and have no protection. They do not get reimbursed for their unused sick time when they retire. They teach 8:15 to 2:10 5 days a week. No lunch break. The students do not get gym, music or art so they are with students the whole day 5 days a week. They eat lunch with the students. They are not allowed to leave the building. If you forget your lunch you go hungry. The union teachers have no students on Fridays. Two nonunion teachers were asked to resign or be terminated this year. Most teachers there are very unhappy. The nonunion teachers were promised by Joe Casey that when the teachers from the Ripley school went to the Franklin they would be in the union. That never came to fruition. The nonunion teachers tried to get in the union. It is really sad because the teachers at the Franklin are hard working and dedicated. The whole situation is disheartening.
Folks, maybe it's time, to demand that our superintendent resigns.
Sounds like the ECC has near sweatshop conditions for the nonunion teachers. The move to the Franklin from the Ripley was 8 years ago. Disgraceful that this has gone on so long.
The SC, the MEF, the anti feather crowd, someone, should be championing this cause. The Human Rights Commission, the Women's Commission, someone. ALL of the people, I just mentioned spend A LOT of time telling others what is right.
This isn't right. Where is the support?
Good evening Melrosians how are all of you doing? It's Sunday night and it's a bit cooler. So what kind of school system does melrose want in the future? Why am I asking this question, because it seems to me, under this current superintendent and some members of the school committee, nothing will change.
What's surprising is that many MEF parents lurve the ECC and see no greater starting point for a Melrose education. I see it as early indoctrination into a system that is deeply flawed but I disagree with most of the MEFers ideas.
Since they love it so, shouldn't they be championing the rights & fairness for the teachers regarding the union situation? Or does the MEF only go out to grab for their families directly?
The HRC should see this as a basic violation and the Women's Commission? It's part of their purported mission statement since women are affected.
Do you really think the Lewis/McAndrew/Grover crew would do anything that might shine a light on a problem in the school system? They want the public only thinking happy thoughts, so they feel good about handing over the dollars. This situation at the ECC does not jive with their narrative.
Let's get right to the point. All of the stuff is decided before they have the meeting. That might be a hard pill for some of you to swallow but whatever the mayor wants and our superintendent wants, there will be a vote for yes for whatever they may be doing or voting on. Are deals being made? Of course they are, we all know that, this is Melrose. Maybe the bigger question here is, is the job union or non union? And who has the pleasure of deciding that? Well folks, lets see who responds to this or doesn't respond. It's almost like an accusation has been made out here, and there is no clear transparency of what is going on here. For you folks that don't understand that; it doesn't matter what the public have to say, it's the pretend game, they act like they're listening but they are not. There minds are already made up before the meetings happen. Am i being tough? Yes, why not after seeing what clown patrol puts out all the time. I have to tell you, that is a joke. But lets get to the bigger point, if only our mayor and school committee and superintendent would really be honest with all of us, we might know the truth. But I don't think any of us will know the truth because there are a lot of trade offs. Why do I say that? Look at the history of mayor dolan being in office of the mayor. One day the board of Alderman have health insurance, time goes by and things get tough, the board of alderman no longer have health insurance. Why do I say that? Because the board of alderman and the school committee do come together a few times each year on the budget process here. So the big question has to be asked, if money is that tight, why hasn't the mayor taken health insurance away from the board of alderman? Maybe some of you ask the same questions that I'm asking now, maybe the local papers are asking the same questions. But we know the papers won't ask these questions because blank blank blank don't have the courage. Because that is causing us a lot of money, that could be used for an education. Theres no way in hell that the board of alderman works 40 hours a week, you're in private section you have to work 40 hours a week to obtain health insurance. So folks my opinion is that most of this comes back to mayor dolan. And of course he'll give us a song and dance. But you know folks, we can change that overtime. Anybody in this community can beat the mayor in a general election. A lot of you don't think that it can happen, well it can happen. It will probably never be anybody from the board of alderman, they all make good money, and they like practicing law and whatever else they are doing. So stop buying into the bull**** that theres no money here, there is money. Our mayor just wants us to pay it because he's tired of every year handing over money from the city. Because that has been whats going on for the past 3 years now. It's just my opinion as a tax payer. But maybe this will wake up a lot more people. And maybe some of you that have backed mayor dolan for all these years ask him that question in person. He has his inner circle, we all know that. All this is is my thoughts and opinion. I tried to put this out there with nothing but respect for all. I'm not taking any cheap shots because this is about what's going on in the community. Mayor DOlan has been putting the breaks on, on what the city is going to hand over to the school department. I think he's basically telling our superintendent she needs to really figure this all out. I think the only thing that she has figured out is that she needs to pass it on to us tax payers and parents that she forgets that we pay her salary. Yes we all know that she is not going to take a raise this year, we all know she doesn't have health insurance through the city it saves us money. I have to say thank you to her, she saves us money. So mayor Dolan I hope you enjoy what you are doing to the folks of this community, and what to I mean by that? Let me put it this way to you: because your override didnt go through like november, you're going to take it out on the kids and parents of this community. Make them pay more. You probably will succeed in that, but you should keep one thing in mind, when you hit people in the wallet, you have to wonder how much longer people will keep on voting for you. You can laugh tonight but the days that somebody steps up to the plate, decides to run against you, hopefully this community can come together to oust you out of office and so we can start out new with some new ideas. Well folks thats it for tonight. I've given you all a lot to think about, please read it a couple times to understand it. Either you sit down and respond or you dont. I expect none of you will respond to it. But maybe our local newspapers will look at it, or other folks and ask what's actually going on in melrose. Where is all of the money going? Goodnight to you all.