Friday, October 31, 2008

Failing Grades!

The budget issues for the Fall River School Department seem never ending. After weeks of finger pointing and grandstanding it seems that the our elected leaders have just about closed the gap.

Right from the start we should have known we were in trouble. The Mayor introduced HIS plan for reducing the budget, and then various committee members introduced their plans. How come nobody seemed to be working together to come up with a plan?

So, our elected leaders seem to be close to closing the gap, but how did they do it? They picked what was most palatable from plan A, and moved on to what was most palatable from plan B. Basically, in my opinion, they looked at each plan and choose what cuts they could most easily live with. The Mayor says, this makes no sense and that it's like trying to assemble a picture using pieces from different jigsaw puzzles. I have to agree with him.

I have deep fears that a few months from now we'll be revisting this issue. I have deeper fears about the next fiscal year when there is nothing left to cut!

I've already suggested that they start from scratch and build the budget from the needed essentials out. I've also suggested that the budget just may not be enough to achieve our goals. Instead of figuring out what we need and how much it will cost, our school officials keep chipping away to meet a number that is simply what the Mayor dictates.

Okay, if we're not going to compare our costs to that of similar districts, if we're not going to zero budget, if we're not going to look for ways to increase the school budget, what should we do?

Let's start by revisiting the foreign language requirement at Durfee. This was something voted in place just a few short months ago. The idea is college bound children need to have 2 years of foreign language and that every Durfee graduate should have that. Great idea, but we can't afford it. We need to focus on efforts and money on the core subjects (English, Math, Science, Social Studies). We should reverse that vote and make cuts to foreign language. If some foreign language is dictated by law, then we provide only what is required. We should then cut foreign language at the middle school level. Again, I understand the benefit, but we need to focus on the essentials. Having a child speak Spanish is not helpful if he can't pass Science.

Next we need to cut after school sports. I KNOW that people will just hate the thought of that. However, we have about 10,000 children in our schools and the vast majority do not participate in after school sports. I understand the benefit. I understand the positive aspect this has in the lives of many of these children, but we can't afford it. Having a child play football is not as important as having him pass Math. Still I think school sports is a positive thing for students and for the school and for the community. Perhaps the community at large could step up and provide funding for school sports to continue.

We need to increase the bus routes to the 2 mile radius that I believe is required by the state. If we did that we might be able to save some money on transportation costs. We also need to make sure that children our attending the schools closest to where they live. If they're not, and it's because of parental choice, we should not be providing those students with busing.

We need to look at the music program. Much like after school sports, this is a program that I think has great value but only benefits a small portion of our student body. We should either cut the program, reduce the program, or find other funding sources.

I think we need to consider cutting the Gifted and Talented program. Again, I think this is beneficial. I think it's something we should want. But it's not something we can afford.

We need to focus our resources and our money on making sure we're providing the basic, essential education that every child is required to have. We should not be making cuts such as cutting classroom teachers, that hurt the ability to provide those crucial educational foundation that life long learning is based on.

49 comments:

Anonymous said...

Lefty,

You seem to grasp the concepts of "zero based budgeting. This the way that anyone who has studied school finance builds a school budget. It is a shame that those responsible for our financial mess in the school department either don't understand or don't want to follow these sound, long used concepts.

Anonymous said...

Lefty,
This is what politics is all about. Who and what get cut seem to be a delicate balance for any astute politician. We are naive to think this is ever "just about the kids!!" ( Remember Brian Bigelow's mantra before he decided to Vote for Nick Fisher.) The mayor would never remove himself from the chair, because it would remove his power and ability to help "friends" looking for jobs in the schools.
Removing the Chair would also allow school officials the ability to challenge the Mayor's priorities in his budget i.g Cutting the school budget, while increasing personnel at City Hall!
I accept some of the squabbling as part of our Democratic process. What bothers me most are some of the individuals on the School Committee, who have not proposed plans. Shouldn't we expect that there be three to four plans instead of two? It just seems every budget crunch it's the same people or "faction" coming up with the bail out plans, yet we pay each Committee person their salary, plus full benefits.
Wether you like or dislike the proposed cuts, I have to look at those proposals and atleast acknowledge that there are some officials doing their job.
I am not impressed by the Vice Chair's position at all. It's easy to go on the Mike Herren Show and state that you are against cutting teachers and sports, but thats not leadership. Quite frankly, I think it would have been impressive for the Vice Chair to say we're not cutting teachers, and this is how we're going to do it. Rubber stamping the Mayor's proposal is not a proposal in and of itself.
I have been around education for a long time and I always love when new candidates run for office. Every candidate talks about bringing new ideas to the table, but that never seems to happen.
Where are the potential School Comittee candidiates now, and why are they just watching? Why aren't there more "activists" getting involved. It seems nobody wants to get involved when the money isn't flowing. Maybe this is just Fall River being Fall River!-------------------------i-------

Anonymous said...

With Cindy Keene and Meg Mayo Brown both having students in the Gifted and Talented program, I doubt you will EVER see it cut.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the topic of teacher-coaches and how Mr Martins is always moving to cut them, I don't know if the public is aware of this, but those coaches have every Friday when they are NOT IN THEIR SCHOOLS. They have a professional development day every Friday where they get together with the curriculum department to go over numbers. So they are actually in the schools only 4 days a week.

Anonymous said...

It is true that the coaches are not in the schools on Fridays. They are off at professional development. When they are in the schools, they are NOT providing services to children. They give information and advice to teachers. They are nice individuals but can we really afford the luxury of having people on staff who do not work with students?
Joe Martins was correct in attempting to eliminate them.
Many of them have been upset lately because they are being used for coverage in the short-handed buildings. They are most likely terrified at the thought of heading back into
the packed classrooms with no support.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what school you are in, but the coaches in my school do NOT do coverage. They flit about the building much of the day. Their response to being asked by teachers to work with a group of students is that Meg Mayo Brown will not allow them to do that. They do not do lunch, recess, or dismissal duty, etc. In contrast, our school counselor being used to do all of these. Although they are technically teachers by contract, they do not provide direct service. Principals like coaches because they interpret test data and make the job of the principal easier for MCAS. Teachers would like more hands-on help from coaches, especially with class sizes of 30 and beyond.

Anonymous said...

How much would cutting Gifted and Talented cost? There are about 25 kids in each class that would need a teacher anyway, even if they were not in this program. I completely disagree on this one. There are PLENTY of positions in the mayor's proposal that could and should be cut before sports and Gifted and Talented programs should even be a thought.

Anonymous said...

I agree the gifted and talented program should not be cut. There is no extra expense for this program. I think the coaches should be cut and we should use the students from the National Honor Society at the high school that need to perform hours of community service. These NHS students could tutor the students in MCAS prep or other subject matter where the needs is. We should not be cutting any expense in the budget that touches a teacher. There is plenty of money to cut elsewhere. The committee just voted to transfer the empty school buildings to the City with no stipulation to have any of this money come back to the school department. We are paying a CSO fee of 365,000 in this years budget while we are cutting teachers.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with you Lefty. Sports and music are nice and they are positive--for a pitiful few students. It's totally ridiculous that so much money is going towards these programs when Johnny can't even read--or pass math--or pass science. Priorities people.

And the transportation issue is one I also agree on as far as kids going to the school closest to their homes. I know of at least 2 families in Fall River where their children are going to different schools. Now I can see if you're talking about one's in grammar school and one's in middle school, but I'm talking the kids are either both in middle school or both in grammar school. And guess who gets to pay for the transportation of these children. That's right, you and I do. I don't even have kids and I have to pay for this? Give me a break.

And the fact that we're paying for these "coaches" who won't even help with the children is insane. Are you kidding me? Please tell me that's a joke.

The best part about this whole thing is that the City isn't even paying some of these bus companies for their services...I don't know about any of you, but I don't keep working for people when I'm not getting my money. How soon before the bus companies all revolt and go on strike or something? I'm just saying...

Well, I've got to go and try to process more of this. It's very frustrating and I have so many things going through my mind that I can't even focus on one thing which is why I jumped around in my post. Have a good one.

Anonymous said...

The mayor said at the last meeting that he will not be signing the warrants to pay these vendors for transportation in July and August. The city administrator said that if they want to get paid, they will have to file a court action against the city. They are making a federal case out of the fact that the school dept didn't file its purchase orders on time and they are sticking to it, while in the past, they just did the right thing and paid the bills, even though it was against proper budgetary practices. Dennis Sullivan had another one of his flimsy excuses as to why he could not provide them with the signed contracts for this year's transportation. That is a separate item. This guy is totally incompetent, yet they keep voting and voting to keep his job. This school budget is having lasting effects on the whole school system, it will take decades to recover from this, this is as bad or worse then the strike of 1978. The effects of that strike are still felt within the system today. Were it not for that strike, the counselors and psychologists would still be part of the teachers' union, where they truly belong. The only reason they were kicked out was because they crossed the picket lines in 1978 and were awarded a bonus while the teachers were docked their pays. There are so many other ways in which that strike still haunts the system that I hate to see another round of divisiveness hit it now, when education is so critical to the health of the city and region. This is a GIANT step backward.

Anonymous said...

some thoughts on previous posts............
gifted and talented is a good thing people, doesn't matter who's kids are in it, they qualify, they are in. would people whine about Mayo-Brown's kid if he/she had an iep ??.................
coaches are a luxury, time to go..
the guidance counselors on board now were middle school and high school students in 1978, in the current contract they work more days than teachers and a longer work day, the pay is not much more than a top level teacher when those factors are included, most of the teachers will tell you they would never want the guidance job for any money...
why is nick fischer still employed ? the mayor keeps saying he is "only one vote" but his one vote was used to keep nick fischer as superintendent...hmmmmm think some campaign contributors might have something to do with that vote bobby ?...
what kind of pictures does nick fischer have of the mayor ? they must be good ones for him to still be getting a paycheck, guess that could be said about dennis sullivan, cindy keane, etc. too................
school councelors are doing before school duty, cafeteria duty, after school dismissal duty, discipline, attendance, in addition to their guidance job, coaches do not see children aside from passing them in the hallways between classes....
why is omari walker still at work everyday ?
ralph olsen knew all about the money, why is he still there ??? both should be on leave now.....
do you get the feeling dennis sullivan is being rewarded for taking the heat while fischer says nothing ? nobody takes a beating like that without something being in it for him, he can't be that incompetent....
while the district is coming apart at the seams nick fischer is at ribbon cutting ceremonies, SMILES, and just driving around..anyone see a problem with that while his payment package tops $200,000 ???
where is the missing plow for one of the $50,000 trucks the supervisors got in facilities and operations ?....who is the supervisor of custodians that was eliminated in buildings and grounds, yup read that again, the position did not exist........
gus martinson was leaving before the position was cut, cutting his job was another scam put forth by nick fischer's team...
the school dept has a long history of not paying transportation bills, ask the owner of yellow cab...
the mayor knew he was going to add the stormwater fee when the budget for '09 was signed and approved and he said nothing..how does that make the employee who supported his campaign feel now that he or she just got cut and is losing their house ???...
why did the teachers all sit down when the mayor told them to at the school committee meeting ? Haven't they heard of civil disobedience ? he can't dictate your Constitutional RIGHT TO FREE SPEECH, we live in a democracy people, stand up and protest, it is your rigt to peacefully demonstrate, so you get kicked out, big deal, go down fighting the czar not laying down when he tells you to......

Anonymous said...

My counselor is full of cuts and scratches from restraining kids all day. I wouldn't want her job for that kind of money. Never know what diseases you can get. Teachers are told they can't raise their voices, can't punish the kids, can't do this or that. Prinicpals can't suspend them too many days either. Too many parents call the superintendent and he has to be bothered. Now they are running the schools. We have to keep these crazy kids all day while the parents sit home and watch TV and smoke cigarettes. They never answer their phones when it's the school calling. They're not too dumb. Seems like they have it made while we get the out of control kids all day in the schools. What a world.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:10
Sounds like you need a new job!!

Anonymous said...

I suggest we cut Meg Mayo Brown.

Where I come from there is 1 Superintendant with a clerical worker. Then there are single Principals at each of the schools, with an exception of 1 Vice Principal in the High School.

There are no department heads, but rather a teacher in each subject that works with other teachers in that area to develop uniform curriculum.

We need to cut THOSE FRICKIN' ADMINISTRATORS of which we have so many that it boggles the mind.

The school committee, as usual, keeps going for the teachers -- probably to instill some sort of a sense of fear in us all.

The article in the Herald on Thursday (I believe) indicated that three administrators were going to be cut along with some twenty teachers. I suppose it's the teachers who had to work for their degrees and earn their opportunity to work in the schools that don't count. It must be that the administration level is loaded down with political favors.

School Committee people such as Kevin Aguiar or Shawn Cadime do little more that grandstand without action. They always require more information about anything before moving forward, which is downright apalling.

Our leadership system is flawed. The fact that the Mayor has as much influence as he unjustly does is an atrocity.

Thanks to people like Mr. Aguiar, Mr. Cadime, and Mr. Mayor, I'm taking my child out of the Fall River schools.

This city has illustrated to me just how little it cares for anything other that political "reach-arounds".

I hate Fall River and I can't wait to leave.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:10,
Just like you don't want all teachers categorized by the few who are lazy, don't teach, show movies that have nothing to do with subject matter and don't give homework because they don't want to spend their time correcting it, do the same for parents. Not all parents sit home and watch tv and smoke cigarettes all day. Yes there are parents out there that don't care and it is a shame, but there are also parents out there who do care, who teach their kids the right things and are involved. Don't put all parents in the same category and I won't say all teachers are lazy and whiners.

Anonymous said...

From anon 4:10 to Anon 8:08
you are right= I stand corrected and apologize if it seemed like I was talking about all parents. not all parents do that. just a few. so it makes for a tough work day and i got carried away. I apologize for that.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:08
Why don't you run for office. Seems like you have a good handle on things.

Anonymous said...

Let me first state I don't have a horse in this race. I'm not a teacher, have a relative who is a teacher, nor do I have a child in the system. I am a new taxpayer of moderate income status who has successfully shepherded my child through the educational system (not Fall River) resulting in an Ivy League degree in science and presently enrolled in a doctoral program.
Lefty, how much money does the Gifted and Talented cost versus the amount the school system spends on special needs? Will any of the SEPD students ever get into MIT, Harvard Cal Tech or any good university? Will any of them become doctors, scientists, inventors, businessmen, leaders? I know it sounds cruel and elitist to state the obvious, but its the truth.
Why are there such shortsighted people in this community? I am flabbergasted to hear that the department head in math at Durfee was eliminated. (Fortunately, the decision was subsequently reversed)
My father was a blue worker who never graduated high school, I was the first in my family to attend college, my child stood on my shoulders and has gone higher. I realize Fall River is a mostly blue collar community,
however if we don't invest in helping our students to reach their fullest potential
we are doing them a disservice.

Anonymous said...

Why on earth did you move here? Just curious.

Lefty said...

My point is if we're going to cut, then we should cut at the extras, like Gifted and Talented, before we cut classroom teachers. The cuts that are now being made are going to have an impact on the quality of education that every child receives.

I still believe the right way to do this is to start from the bottom and build up. Compare costs and structure with similar districts and streamline accordingly. I think we also need to look into region approach for some of our services. Maybe a regional special ed would be more cost effective. Maybe regional purchasing for supplies and equipment. Maybe as a region we could use the same programs and same text books and save from the effort.

However at some point we really just need to figure out what it costs to run the school system the way we think it should be run and then fund it accordingly.

Anonymous said...

I'm a graduate of the gifted program in the FR public schools who went on to a prominent university and (knock wood) to a life and career that are going well at the moment. I can state unequivocally that the gifted program saved me. I was bored out of my mind before that ... unmotivated, unchallenged, and without any excitement for the common denominator education that was necessary to teach across a wide spectrum of abilities. I had absolutely no sense of my own potential, because I'd never been given work that tested my limits. Given the relatively minute amount of money that would be saved, in the context of the enormity of the fiscal challenge, it's beyond me why FR would eliminate the program and deny its brightest kids their best chance at success.

Anonymous said...

I am curious... what year did you graduate, and where was the gifted and talented program then? This is a new program. Also, isn't it sad that we have so few "gifted and talented" students in FR that we have to segregate them into a small group? Some communities have the opposite problem.

Anonymous said...

While Music and Sports might appear to be extras, in reality they are what bring some young people to school. The music department of our public schools has produced talented musicians who have become principal players with orchestras such as the Boston Pops and Boston Symphony. Others have won Oscars, Tonys, Grammys and other awards for their skills as composers. Example: Joseph Raposa, the Musical composer for Sesame Street.

There have been young people for whom sports have made a difference in their admission to college. I'm not referring to those who have made a big splash, but the student-athletes who have been admitted to Ivy League schools and other academically superior colleges. Their participation in extra curricular activities did in fact make a difference in their college acceptance. I know because it made a difference for two of my children. They both graduated from well-known colleges and now have very successful careers in their chosen professions.

Sports, music, drama, and other extra-curricular activities are what get some kids to come school and that's half the battle. Once in school, most young people learn a great deal. They may be looked upon as extras, but they are the "hook" that gets some kids to really learn.

Anonymous said...

In the late 1960's through the early 1980's, there was a gifted and talented program in the Fall River Public Schools. It existed within the junior high schools (later middle schools) until it was cut due to Proposition 2 1/2. It involved about 200 students spread throughout four schools. The program, as one previous writer has stated, challenged young people whose God given intelllgence left them bored with the normal curriculum. Many of those who participated in the program have gone on to become highly successful in their careers, sadly unknown to a many people in Fall River. One young man who graduated from Durfee in the mid-1980's today is regarded as one of the six acknowledged experts in the field of robotics. What would he have become if had been given an extraordinary academic challenge in his middle school years?

Anonymous said...

We don't have a small group of gifted and talented students. The School Department will only pay to treat a small group as gifted and talented.

Anonymous said...

What could be the effect of cutting after sports from our schools?
Yes, there would be some savings, but let’s consider for a moment what has happened elsewhere when such an action was taken. In 1983 the City of Philadelphia, faced with a major budget crisis cut all interscholastic sports, all extra-curricular activities, and intramural physical education programs from it schools as a cost saving measure. During the 1983-84 school year, juvenile crime in Philadelphia rose by 1/3. The following school year the professional sports teams in that city funded the programs that had been cut and juvenile crime dropped 40%. In the spring of 1985 the Philadelphia School Committee unanimously voted to restore funding for all interscholastic sports, all extra-curricular activities, and intramural physical education programs. Granted that Fall River is not Philadelphia, but cutting sports means taking away a far more positive choice for young people than simply hanging out on the streets.

Lefty said...

Gifted and Talented may be a great program and sports and music also have a positive impact but how can we fund them when we cutting teachers and paras, increasing classrooom sizes and reducing the support in each classroom at the same time?

Obviously we need to cut administration down first and cut it down to the absolute essential staff. But we're cutting core educational services. The effect is not just on the Gifted and Talented, or the musically gifted, or the athletic, it is on every child in the system. How can we allow that to happen?

I don't like the idea of cutting programs that enrich, inspire, and motivate our children, but the focus has got to be on providing the highest quality of education to the greatest amount of kids.

I'm glad people are defending these programs, now tell me how to keep them.

Anonymous said...

The cuts have come about as the result of the absolutely stupid way that this budget was built. Anyone who has studied School Finance, and I have, knows, that budgets are built based upon student needs NOT a predetermined politically driven bottom line. The Mayor dictated a bottom line. Proposition 2 1/2 gives that power to a Mayor. The bottom line was TOO SMALL to begin with. Taking into consideration normal rate of inflation, the budget should have grown by about 3% just too maintain the level of services from last year. It is clear that the Superintendent and his leadership team did as they pleased. There is nothing which can be identified as being based upon sound principles of school finance in this whole budget mess. There is NOTHING left to cut out of the classroom. When this is all over, the students will be the ones who suffer the most. What has happened at Durfee High School could well lead to its loss of accreditation. The only way to keep programs and activities which help students is to pass an honest school budget that is needs based, not politically driven by a Mayor and a School Committee that are more interested in being reelected than protecting the educational welfare of our children.

Anonymous said...

just a thougt...we have nick fischer who spends our money like there's no tomorrow, czar bob rides into town and under budgets the schools, the combination of the two creating a massive budget deficit. czar bob hires alan silvia to make suggestions about positions in the schools that should be cut, many being direct service to kids (remember though czar and nicky saying it's all about the kids - OK)..so we know his expertise in how to operate a school is suspect at best due to lack of experience not ill intentioned. we have been given a variety of different amounts that are said to be the right amount, funny that fischer's team and czar's team never seem to come up with same numbers or even close for that matter. czar bob getting a bit more worked up as people question him, funny way to act if you know you are correct (with numbers and intentions). slick nick gets quiet but interestingly he is very very quiet, not fighting back really, just sits there and takes the hits (as he collects a tidy sum of course)...school committee demands numbers, can't agree on anything, czar bob demands teachers "sit down" when they try to exercise peaceful civil disobedience (for those too young to remember, this is actually a first ammendment right, you remember the first ammendment, it gives us the right to free speech in this country, very common before george bush)...so my point you ask ? czar bob is hiding something, slick nick, well we all know he is hiding something, czar repeatedly questions competence of slick nick but does nothing about it, he is still on payroll..why ? Omari and Olsen are still on the payroll, why ? Funny how we don;t hear about the teacher who sent e-mails to entire school dept about Omari's history, wasn't it slick nick who fired the teacher and defended Omari ?????
It is becoming increasingly suspicious that the rats in town are spending their daylight working hours on the 6th floor, Rock street, owning WSAR, and we are the victims of the infestation. Czar wants to spend $100,000 to eliminate the rats but the wrong rats will be eliminated in fall river. The rats sent packing should be the ones in the suits who messing with our city ...Dirty deals are going on in front of us people and the spin masters are doing their jobs of making sure we are distracted...the stormwater fees are potentially illegal, see silva vs fall river article on other blog...slick nick has probably misappropriated state and federal money, czar has probably done same..we need to expose the real rats so start nosing around and make this blog work as the people's voice to expose illegal activities, someone reading this knows something, a lot of someones know bits and peices, time to connect them and get on removing the vile creatures from their positions

Anonymous said...

so my point you ask ? czar bob is hiding something, slick nick, well we all know he is hiding something, czar repeatedly questions competence of slick nick but does nothing about it, he is still on payroll..why ? Omari and Olsen are still on the payroll, why ? Funny how we don;t hear about the teacher who sent e-mails to entire school dept about Omari's history, wasn't it slick nick who fired the teacher and defended Omari ?????
It is becoming increasingly suspicious that the rats in town are spending their daylight working hours on the 6th floor, Rock street, owning WSAR, and we are the victims of the infestation
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
They are all in "bed together". The mayor was supposed to look good bashing fischer but it backfired , he has underestimated the fall river citizens again. Look at the common denominators . They are all connected and in it for their own egos and power not the kids or taxpayers.

Anonymous said...

http://www.heraldnews.com/homepage/x1470904295/Correia-meets-City-Councils-deadline

There are no term expirations for mayoral appointments to the Board of Police, Board of Assessors, Board of Health and Retirement Board.
Council approval is needed for the following five seats on the Planning Board: Karen Medeiros of 411 London St. (term expiring June 1), Albert Nadeau of 405 Quincy St. (term expiring June 1, 2011) and Mario Lucciola of 54 Chavenson St., (term expiring June 1, 2012); and new appointments, Ernest M. Edwards of 1875 Bay St. and Alan Silvia of 684 Woodman St. Their terms will expire June 1, 2013.
Several appointments are close relations to Correia’s staff. Janice Santos is the wife of the mayor’s administrative assistant Jeff Santos, and their son, Eric, was recently appointed to the Licensing Board. Silvia, Janice Santos’ brother, chaired Correia’s inauguration committee and was a city police officer who retired after 20 years in 1996.
Edwards is the husband of Kathy Edwards, Correia’s chief of staff.
When asked about the ties, Kathy Edwards said, “Janice and Jeff and Alan and I all know the mayor since we were 12 to 13 years old … We all know him through the CYO program at Our Lady of Angels” parish.
She and Jeff Santos worked for Correia as state representative for well over 20 years each.

Anonymous said...

Don’t bet on the state approving the use of grants funds to pay for positions that were cut from the budget. This is one time where the Mayor may be right. There is an exclusivity clause in the teachers contract that does not allow “out contracting” of their work. This was tried back in the late 1980’s. The FREA grieved it, took it to arbitration and won. I would not be at all surprised if a grievance has not already been filed.

Anonymous said...

Mayo Brown had better be getting her ducks in a row if she wants the super's job. I would be concerned if I were her because of her lies to the school committee, her blatant favoritism for her own children in the system. Does she have the support of the powers that be? Who will her competition be? I know a lot of you bloggers out there know some stuff on this.

Anonymous said...

One of the things that we have all overlooked is that if the school district of FR was run by someone with competency in school budgeting and who was invested in their community, they would have never allowed their school district to get to this unfortunate place to begin with. You do not have to cut music programs, gifted and talented programs or sports to balance a budget. What you do need to do is be very careful and efficient when hiring teachers, administrators, and support personnel. When a school such as Kuss or Henry Lord have between 8-9 administrators at the cost of approximately $100 grand a piece, to service 550 students is ridiculous. Let's cut that number in half and each school turn back 1/2 million to help balance the budget. This is without cutting teachers or paras. If you wanted to run the FR district a little leaner, then you might want to cut the day custodial staff down to one person per building or only one clerk or secretary per building with a part-time person to cover busy a.m. and lunch times. Another question that needs to be asked is what are the class sizes at the high school compared to the middle compared to the elementary? Some class sizes have about 15-16 student with two teachers in the class while others are pushing 30 students with a single teacher - Why? There is excess inside the buildings not only central office and if every administrator in the district worked as hard as the teachers do then maybe we wouldn't have a budget or AYP issue. It's time to hold administrators accountable - the administrators in the buildings for allowing the same staffing numbers for schools whose enrollment used to be very high but now are much lower yet the staffing and administrators for those buildings have never been adjusted to reflect this reduction in student enrollment. Start asking for specific numbers and job descriptions and salaries then compare them to enrollments. You will see that there are discrepancies and areas where you could save funds and people's jobs and provide the proper services to the students of FR. That is the very least we can do for our kids.

Anonymous said...

return to the pre-fischer / pre-DOE / pre-out of towner days when middle school administration consisted of a principal, 2 v.p.s and 2 guidance counselors. As it is there is only one v.p. in each middle school. employing dept heads, deans, redesign coaches, coaches for english and math is nice when there's money, there is not right now. keep the direct service personnel to kids. cindy keane's position was never supposed to be there..when ed costar retired the position was suppose to be cut, there was never a human resources director, leadership team, or any of this other crap...time to return to the basics. and also remember that education does start in the home with parents. parents who instill the work ethic needed to succeed, not the work ethic to leech off the welfare system.

Anonymous said...

Ed Costar filled an important role when he supervised the guidance and adjustment counselors. Now those people have no one above them with any knowledge base as to what they are supposed to be doing from a counseling perspective. The principals see them as an extra set of hands to help out and they are actually there for much more than that. When Ed left, he left the whole student services department behind, and there was only an interim department head for a short time. That department continues to be split up under three or more administrators, none of whom has any background in psychology or a related field. That is not the way things should be. This system is hurting itself by short-changing the kids like this. The nurses finally got a clinical supervisor after many years of being in the same boat. Now it is time to go back and do the same for the counselors. None of the top level administrators have a degree in psychology, not even the director of SPED. Most school systems do have someone at the top with a degree capable of supervising the counseling department. Fall River always had that too until 2 years ago.

Anonymous said...

When are the people who put the top administrators in place going to realize that in order for the educational component of the FR schools to become successful you must FIRST ensure that every student's needs are at least acknowledged and hopefully met. Yes, we do need parents who are responsible and give kids the healthy basics and support they need in school but the reality is that many, if not most, of the students we service do not come from that type of home environment. Which means that the trust in adults must be learned in school by our guidance staff, teachers and caring administrators who have the knowledge to understand that the education of children is multi-dimensional to include social & emotional health, physical health and then finally academic growth. Yeah, we have to do it all for some kids - so what. You do not hear the people who truly care complaining about this. The guidance counselors, nurse, adjustment counselors help to keep the kids emotionally healthy so that teachers can teach. FR is an at risk district why would you even think about cutting a guidance position? Here again, there are other cuts that can be made but that might mean that the higher ups would have to work until 5 or 6 p.m. and really earn their $120K - $170K. Maybe work some days until 7 p.m. so what, you are earning the money. Teachers work many hours past their contract hours too.

As far as Meg Mayo Brown goes, perhaps she should have been the original choice instead of Dr F. She is at least experienced, has knowledge and vested in the community. Don't blame her for the game she has had to play being in Fischer's cabinet for two years. What choice would she have? Her deal is curriculum and professional development and in that respect she has done a fine and admirable job. As far as the numbers game and having to support her boss, I feel bad for her. She's different than her boss but she may have had to semi-clone herself to survive within his cabinet. Give her a chance to speak for herself on the education of Fall River students then make your choice.

Anonymous said...

There's only one problem and that is she is a bold-faced liar. Is that a requirement for the job?

Anonymous said...

Anyone who has had the sad experience of working with Meg Mayo Brown will tell you that she would have been an even worse choice than Dr. Fischer. She is the ultimate micro-manager. She has little classroom experience. Has never spent any real time inside a high school and she can be extremely vendictive. She is an even worse dictator than the Mayor Ask the others from inside the school system who applied for her job. Tell will verify all of the above.

Anonymous said...

Maybe if we didn't political idiots running the school system, the kids could learn. From Fischer to Mayo-Brown to the principals . . . how successful have they been in their own right without someone in politics helping them out? Anyone can sit up there and lie and turn the other cheek. It's much harder to LEAD and work on the behalf of our kids.

Anonymous said...

Yes, the nurses, adjustment counselors and guidance staff help kids stay healthy so they can be successful in the classroom. However, in needy schools, you need every adult doing that job. In needy schools where the people who should be doing it aren't even doing it, you've got a big problem. Where is the city spending big bucks? At the top! If you are a great administrator with results (making AYP, retaining teachers, keeping teachers motivated and inspired) - by all means - please stay and collect that amount of money. However, if you can't motivate your staff, kids don't even know who you are, you are never in classrooms, you can't make good suggestions about best practices in the classroom and you are simply there to make yourself look good (and to collect that big pay check), GET LOST! IMO, Fall River is great at keeping the fat cats healthy. Fall River ain't so great at educating the kids . . .check out the MCAS rankings.

Anonymous said...

I am hearing rumblings again about Morton closing and the kids being farmed out. The principal at Morton is not invested in the school and it seems like they did that on purpose. Mr Murano was much more available to kids and staff and there was a better school last year.

Anonymous said...

The current principal was put there when the grammar school she was running was closed. She had no middle school experience as a teacher and/or administrator. For her it was take it or you don't have a job. Don't expect to see Morton closed. Remember the city paid over $1million to buy the land surrounding it to build a new Morton. There is no way to accomodate all of the Morton students in the other three middle schools. A more likely possibility would be to move them to the present Kuss Middle school when the new one opens next fall.

Anonymous said...

The plan all along was to have the Morton students move to the present Kuss (when new Kuss opens) while construction work was being done on Morton.

However, didn't some of the Morton school building money get diverted to the other schools. I don't think the city has the money to pay for the Morton expansion.

With no expansion, what's the point of moving the Morton kids to the present Kuss?

Anonymous said...

The present Kuss is bigger and in better condition.

Anonymous said...

That principal is one of the "mayo-brown girls club".

Anonymous said...

i say get rid of the guidance counselors.

once you get done cutting all the sports, music, art and gifted programs, there isn't going to be anyone there that needs any more guidance than how to get from school to walmart or one of the fast food joints.

Anonymous said...

Put the coaches back in classrooms instead of 4 days a week at school and the 5th day at a catered party. This will reduce class sizes.

Jackline said...
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