Last night the School Committee voted to eliminate the hard-fought Arts Chair position, along with the Math Chair and presumably the History chair positions (consolidating ELA & History under "Humanities").
Where were all the Arts parents? All that advocacy has now been treated with total contempt.
They also raised fees outrageously, in the case of Ed Stations by 20%, others by 8%. (Thank you to Lizbeth DeSelm and Jaime M-Grande for voting no!) They did only the most cursory review of the various fees, even ignoring the error in the Music Fees "analysis" shoddily put together by the outgoing Business MisManager. They claimed the usual lack of time for more thorough analysis, while the superintendent did her usual whining and ranting about everything, as did the mayor.
This committee is entirely out of control. It makes a mockery of due diligence and demonstrates thorough contempt for any kind of legitimate process.
While there were thoughtful and articulate parents there to speak for eliminating the Red Raiders logo/mascot, only Mr. Mroz was there to address the larger issues, like the very real civil rights issue of the Secondary Handbook, which the SC voted to approve even though he demonstrated quite thoroughly that it is in violation of basic Due Process clauses of the state law and has already led to violations hurting students.
Does this mean that the current faculty members holding those chairmanships have already indicated they are leaving the district, thereby giving CT license (in her typically contemptuous mode) to do whatever she wants? It looks like there is a new "Reorg" chart in the agenda. Very messed up.
So are supposed to believe that Talbot can now effectively manage/lead the arts in addition to foreign language (which she has not managed well at all)?! This is just gross.
And are we supposed to believe that putting one person in charge of all of Math and Science/Technology is going to bring this district from "good to great," that this is even a manageable load? It is already known that the math head is leaving to join the former science chair in Chelsea (good riddance to both for the damage they've caused!).
Is Singer now in charge of both ELA and History? If so, that is just wrong.
Clearly there will be some bombshells in the SchoolSpring listings coming up shortly, things they don't want us to know until they think we're all gone for the summer.
agree with LTResident
CT & SC (since they are absolutely complicit) got rid of the wrong employee when they forced the resignation of the art teacher. That doesn't mean that getting rid of the chair position is correct, however. The person holding that position was a disaster from before she was hired, as anyone who spent 1.5 minutes looking at her amateurish websites advertising her "vocal training" could have foreseen.
Getting rid of the Math Chair position and possibly the History chairmanship are absolute foolishness. CT is always complaining about a lack of enough middle management. So now she thinks that by bringing in more "interventionists" and other euphemistically entitled hacks that this will suffice. Why? Because it's cheap and she can claim a "balanced budget" thereby getting RD off her butt.
The School Committee is now a total bunch of cowards. Their rants and whinings are tiresome indeed. They also know jack $hit about Robert's Rules and need to be called out. Two members tried feebly last night, but they were cowed by the legendary bullies that command the show.
Seems that a likely subtext is that some of these chairs have given their notice, though that wasn't said directly apparently. So the super is using the "opportunity" to "consolidate" and lay down to the edicts and temper tantrums of RD, caring not a whit for the consequences academically or to the community as a whole. Maybe she has made a deal to leave also, which would explain her obvious lack of caring. Shame on all of them!
Don't hold your breath. That vindictive, insensitive, calculating witch is going no where. I wish she'd fly that broom home to Salem permanently. I also wish someone would drop a house on her as well. No, not literally. I mean the house of cards she's hiding in with Driscoll and company, her flying monkeys. Monkey see, monkey doo (did) all over Melrose.
Middle/High School students now have to pay a $25.00 fee for clubs even if they do not belong? Every student has to pay?
"Middle/High School students now have to pay a $25.00 fee for clubs even if they do not belong? Every student has to pay?"
Ask the idiotic school committee members, who seem ready to vote in just about anything, including an outrageous 20% increase for Ed Stations, 8% on top of already bloated athletic and music fees, etc.:
How many other ways are they going to try and reach into our pockets???? These people really have no shame! They have their hands out at every turn. This is Public School, folks! And no, ARRA funds were not "denied" to poor little Melrose, hence the trumped-up "budget crisis" RD is stamping his feet about.
$3.5 MILLION DOLLARS left over in "free cash" from last year's "Budget Crisis"! How do you think they square that? Answer: They don't. And they think we won't care enough to pursue this either.
So they cut 3 Department Chairs but they are claiming they have not made cuts! They claim this is "level service"! No. Wrong. This is a huge and damaging slashing of essential administrative positions (the wrong ones, by the way).
These people are outrageous and need to be removed from their elected offices. Follow the money, find the laws being broken, and get these people removed!
"find the laws being broken"
Because certainly there are....
Here is what happened; the mayor decided he no longer wanted to take money from the city side of the budget each year to help fund the school budget. In order to do this, he would need an override. The question was, who could he get to fund and run an override campaign? Everyone knows that, as parents move through the system, they become more and more disillusioned and dissatisfied with public schools each year. So he, along with the school committee, turned to the preschool and elementary parents of MEF and started grooming them for the job. The SC sent out very biased surveys asking parents what they wanted funded by the school budget, then came up with a list of positions to prop up elementary school instruction. They wanted to add another layer of "support" personal at the elementary level, then tossed in one police officer and a HS teacher, even when no one was asking for them, just to say the override would support public safety and the HS also.
Make no mistake, the override was all about the elementary parents, and convincing them to run the campaign. The override was sold as a "wants not needs" attempt to "bring the district from good to great". There was no mention of staffing cuts or overcrowded classrooms, or of a looming budget deficit. We were told that the schools were doing fine, and the override would just make them better.....at least at the elementary level. Once the money was voted in, there was no mandate that it had to be used for these extra support positions in perpetuity, so the SC could easily cut these positions in a budget crunch and still have enough money to avoid cutting teachers or positions that would be noticed.
The mayor and the MEF group and the people running the override campaign were very confident they would win. Mostly because they were completely out of touch with the majority of public school parents whose concerns about their children's educational experience had been ignored completely by the campaign. In fact, the override proponents were openly hostile toward parents who criticized aspects of the public schools, and were very quick to shout them down on social media any time they tried to share their experiences. So many public school parents responded the only way they were able.....with a no vote.
The mayor and MEF and the people behind the override campaign were shocked when they lost. So the mayor has decided that " the people have spoken", and that he will no longer use budget surpluses to help fund the schools. He wants the parents to feel the pain of overcrowded classrooms and staffing cuts so that the NEXT time he asks for an override, they will give it to him. That is what this sudden " budget crisis" is all about. It's all about politics....the kids don't matter one bit.
@Parent, well said.
The mayor knows there will be a couple million dollars of free cash next year to pay for the schools as there is every year. He refuses to allocate it to anything real because that's the money he wants to use to buy votes to win the next mayoral election.
Notice they're cutting out the essential academic core of the high school while leaving all the facilitators, coaches, kindergarten paras, behavioral specialists, reading specialists and ETFs at the elementary schools.
It's doubtful that the district can require this activity fee of all parents, regardless of what the incompetent attorneys might claim. Of course PTO dues, bandaider contributions, etc. will all suffer. Probably there will be fewer stupid flamingos purchased for MEF as well. These arrogant a$$es on the school committee have never wanted to acknowledge that they are continually dipping into the same pockets over and over again for everything, whether it's PTO, their stupid Trivia Bee, MAAV, E-camp, Grad Night, sports fundraisers, extravagant local or international field trips, 5th-grade grad party extravaganzas, sports fees, music fees, art fees, Ed station & ECC outrageous tuition hikes, etxxxxingcetera. Bend Over Parents. We have you over a barrel. You are just an open checkbook and a vote or two as far as we are concerned. Don't you dare think or question, let alone criticize, because if you do, the shunning will commence immediately. Pay up for each and every thing without question and we might still include you when we convene our next coffee klatch and maybe our kids won't bully your kids, But no guarantees on that.
No, it is probably legally unsustainable to charge every middle and high school student for an activity fee. Where is the law that says payment is required? That would in effect be a tax. By the way, the trash "fees" charged are not in the least bit legal. Just ask Donny C if you need confirmation of that fact. (Of course what's his excuse for not taking effection action and choosing to be pathetic and passive? No excuse, just like so many other places where he had the intelligence and legal wherewithall to make things better but hasn't.)
It will only require a couple of intelligent attorney parents to fling the demand for the fee right back in their arrogant faces. Then watch that pathetic school committee do its bizarre dance to come up with another scheme, like a voluntary guilt and shaming process (oh, pardon, let's be sure to call it a "procedure," not a "policy"). But of course it will all be accomplished in a thoroughly INTENTIONAL procedure with the full intent of "reducing the delta." (LOL)
Why are we always taking away from the High School positions. We have so many new positions created at the elementary level over the years. Necessary ?
Scads of them. Reading specialists, all sorts of interventionists, "data" specialists, you name it. Between Casey and Paymore, they have littered the elementary schools with a myriad of extra staff, starting with all those "co-teachers" (remember them?). Meanwhile the h.s. keeps getting short shrift and that parent population stays mum just counting the days until their children are "out." It's so messed up.
Unclear what these hires are doing. The elementary schools are just as much of a disaster and getting worse every year. Teachers are literally handcuffed to the curriculum to the point that every minute of every day is accounted for. Forget about two recesses for K or 1st grade in Melrose. And heaven forbid elementary teachers want to do something original or have an ounce of autonomy. Not in this city. Heard the administration even took over e-camp.