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Thread: Our School "Reconfiguration"

  1. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by TracyScheidemantel View Post
    Not to mention missing the info re: our High School, which will affect every one of the people in that room and even moreso, their children!
    You're right, Tracy. I left before the HSBC completed their assessment, and I shouldn't have as I'm very interested in the enrollment number and target population build number that the SC will provide. I want to make sure it is in sync with the downward trend that necessitated the elementary school reconfiguration. So I can say that my children are already affected! Thanks!

  2. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Baron View Post
    I've listened to Tracy spout off for months now, both in public forums like last night where she couches her comments in "civility" and in private when she spewed venom and lies about me.
    Don't recall ever spouting off to you "in private" Jeff, sounds like it wouldn't have been so private if you were there! And I'm glad you equate me with civility- it's not easy with you, but it's good practice for all of us.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Baron View Post
    I can specifically remember Tracy talking to a real estate agent in town on election day, right outside of Town Hall, telling her how stupid my ideas were, how I was just an "angry Loker parent", insulting me personally, etc. and subsequently getting her head ripped off in return by this lady..
    Well at least back then you were listening to me! I suppose you could've just walked away, like last night.
    Sorry Jeff, that was a discussion (and a rather heated one at that!) about the merits of the override, with someone who I have known all my life. As much as you'd like to think I was talking about you, I'm sorry to say we did not talk "candidate".

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Baron View Post
    I still have the e-mails where Tracy, writing as a representative of SOS, asks people in town to put up signs for their candidates when in public, she and SOS denied endorsing any candidates at all. I still got 'em if you want to see 'em. Tracy does her truly dirty work in private and then denies it...
    I am a volunteer for SOS, as well as other organizations. That does not take away my right to support a candidate. If I was unclear that you backed the override, as it was constructed, maybe your campaign message was unclear or didn't feel genuine. You recently said yourself that you believed the override should have been a menu style. Maybe that belief was part of people's doubt as to your sincere full backing of the override. Just a thought.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Baron View Post
    By the way, she is not alone on this front. However, besides XXXX and XXXX, the others chose to follow the course of action I suggested above and let last night be.

    She had an opportunity last night to let sleeping dogs lie and let people who clearly have experienced a loss compounded by extreme mismanagement of the reconfiguration speak their peace and move on.
    I'm not sure I remember your "suggesting" any such "course of action" to "let sleeping dogs lie". Seems I remember something more like a call to come and be heard and take part in a "revolution"? Guess what Jeff, we have all had losses and been inconvenienced, not all of us choose blame, muzzling, demands and incivility as a response.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Baron View Post
    Instead of doing that, she jumped up yet again and attempted to walk us all down the path of why we were all so wrong and misguided in regards to our reaction to the situation. Disgusted, nearly the entire audience of approximately 100 people (my best guess) walked out.
    Luckily I was not addressing the audience!
    Thankfully, we have SC members and Administrators who have the maturity, integrity, patience and respect to hear all kinds of views---and certainly don't cherrypick when to "decide to choose a different path" (aka the path right out the door!). If you are going to be honest Jeff, at least don't ruin it by backpeddaling that it's "not to say that" you "would do so again".
    Last edited by Kim Reichelt; 09-17-2008 at 09:00 AM. Reason: for consistency with edits to original posts

  3. #78
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    Without addressing the ridiculousness of this reply point-by-point, I will simply close my involvement in this section of the thread by stating that I stand behind everything I said and, no matter how it is restated by Tracy, doesn't change a thing. I'm uninterested in continuing a back-and-forth.

  4. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stacey Adelman View Post
    I have to respond to the above comments about frustrated parents not staying for the rest of the SC meeting. I for one DID stay for the whole meeting, and I am one of those parents who do not agree with this reconfiguration. In fact, there were a few of us who stayed until 11:30 last night!.
    My bad Stacey, I shouldn't have written "all", you are right, there were some who did stay and I'm sorry I stated it wrong. I'm not faulting anyone who needs to leave, but with such passion surrounding the safety and education of our kids, I was very surprised so many left--especially those who spoke with such concern.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stacey Adelman View Post
    I have also gone to every SC meeting since February, (except one in August). I do not remember seeing the above there. However I am willing to give the benefit of doubt that the poster was glued to her tv set watching on Waycam. .
    I don't claim to have been to every meeting! But I do find it interesting that Jeff says he has "listened to Tracy spout off for months now", and you don't remember seeing me! Another example of how differently two people can see the same exact thing.


    Quote Originally Posted by Stacey Adelman View Post
    Instead of criticizing people who clearly are still upset over losing their wonderful school, teachers, friends and traditions (I was a Loker parent for 8 years), maybe you folks should come up with ways to repair our community without the nasty karma! .
    I'm not sure who "you folks" are, but I do believe I have put a great deal of time, thought and care into joining school communities. Many people have. PTO's, administrators and parents have volunteered countless hours giving tours, creating new PTO's, making scavenger hunts, having school picnics, welcome coffees, new parent orientations, welcome posters, class playdates at playgrounds prior to start of school. Well you get the picture. I'm not saying these things should make everything better, but the list of ways that people have tried to join communities together is quite long. I think part of the problem lies in your comment that "you folks should come up with ways to repair our community". The communities as we knew them will not be repaired. They will be redefined and created---for all of us, by all of us.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stacey Adelman View Post
    Yes, everyone does indeed have a voice. Use it to avoid problems,to solve problems, not to create problems. Loker parents just feel like our voices haven't been heard.
    I agree, voices should be used to solve problems. Not being heard, and sharing a differing opinion are two very different things. I believe that there are alot of people doing their best to get us through so many changes. Most of what I hear is that the kids are fine- even having a great classroom experience. We all need to pitch in and be part of the solution to the remaining challenges.

  5. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Baron View Post
    I called the decision spineless, Jeff. You weren't the only one to make it, either. Take it personally, if you wish. I believe I couched it in an earlier post as a referendum on job performance and not as a personal slam.
    Oh, so I should take your unwarranted insult professionally (or "aprofessionally," since I'm not paid), then? Sorry, but your "couching" doesn't change the fact that it's a personal attack (a non-sensical one, to be sure). Whatever you might think of my decision to support the reconfiguration, you can hardly characterize it as spineless. Spineless would be abandoning a position of mine in the face of external pressure. Rather, I held firm to such a position despite that external pressure.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Baron View Post
    I'd also issue a challenge specifically to you, Jeff. You are on the budget committee that is working to craft our next town budget. My understanding is that people have approached the committee and suggested citizens-at-large be installed as voting members. So far, that request has been denied because "public comment should be enough." Make that happen. Involve people in the process instead of telling them the result. At worst, you get buy-in. At best, you get creativity. Our "peer" towns all do this. Why not us?
    Technically, the Ad Hoc FY10 Budget Committee ("AHFC") is *not* tasked with crafting the next town budget. That budget will be built using the standard process. The AHFC's charge is to look for revenue increases and cost savings--often inter-departmental--outside the standard process.

    I served on the FY07 version of this group. There were three members then as well--one each from the Board of Selectmen, the Finance Committee, and the School Committee. That format worked quite well in including public input. I cannot speak for my fellow members, but I'm satisfied with replicating that successful 3-member board. The AHFC's recommendations are fully non-binding, so there's no real power behind its votes, and there will be plenty of opportunity for the public to have meaningful input.

  6. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Grasso View Post
    Jeff D.,

    I appreciate the fact that you've always been willing to engage and address questions in this and other forums. Alas, I do find myself in disagreement with you often.
    I wonder if "often" is really true. I suspect that we're actually in agreement a majority of the time. For instance, I direct you to some thoughts of mine in the direction that the Wayland Public Schools might take. I'd appreciate your feedback on that direction.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Grasso View Post
    Speaking for me, I've become quite irritated at the "we made the decision to pass the override" refrain. I'm quite aware of that justification, and the repetition of it doesn't make it more correct. 'That horse has sailed,' as the president would say.
    I'm happy to let that reasoning lie, but as long as people continue to challenge the decision, I'll be forced to explain that decision. Damned if I do, damned if I don't I guess--my other option is to by guilty of XXX's odd accusation of "stony silence" (or words to that effect).

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Grasso View Post
    As I asked last night, what exactly happened in the time the decision was made and the school year started? By accelerating the reconfiguration (why? to pass the override!) you and the members of the SC promised that the elementary school product would be unchanged, albeit with "minimal disruption." Given the confusion that accompanied the start of this school year and the lack of clarity around busing -- I disagree with that the problems are "transient" -- I will ask again: was the system that was set in place for FY 2009 the best that the Wayland Schools could do, or was it the best it could do with the directive that elementary transportation costs would not exceed those budgeted last year (save for fuel costs)? Remember, you set the expectations, not the community. You assumed that responsibility by 1) accelerating the decision (why? ...); and 2) refusing the motion to delay it. You made a promise of maintaining the elementary school service that you have yet to keep.
    I agree--the disruption has been more than minimal. Both the School Committee and the Administration regret that disruption, and the Administration is working hard to rectify it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Grasso View Post
    Further, I'm unsure when you speak for the SC and when you speak for yourself. Last night when asked about whether the budget savings would be realized, Dr. Jurist turned to you and said you had data to confirm that the savings were in line. When you spoke, however, you couched your figures as "back of the envelope" and as your own.
    I'm not sure what's unclear--I explicitly noted that my remarks were mine only, as the Committee had yet to discuss them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Grasso View Post
    Like the school service promise above, the actual savings from this reconfiguration is an integral figure. I'm aware of the personnel expense assumed to generate the $395,000. I am keenly interested in following this figure. Besides Principal Abrams, how many of those FTEs were eliminated -- not reassigned elsewhere in the school budget or to other areas (like the Board of Health)?
    My understanding is that all of the proposed personnel reductions were made.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Grasso View Post
    Further, what are the incremental bus costs we are seeing, or will see if the decision to add buses or drivers is reached?
    We don't know yet.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Grasso View Post
    Also, if BASE costs have to be increased, I would find it hard to call that budget neutral as those who have to pay the difference would not appreciate subsidizing incremental costs on your behalf. This on top of the override tax increase, don't forget.
    BASE is intended to pay its own way. While it may be unfortunate that its costs increase because of WPS changes, we can't have BASE be the driver behind major district decisions. That's not to say that BASE can be ignored, just that it needs to be kept in proper perspective.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Grasso View Post
    I don't wish to be combative or antagonistic. However, if the disruption to the elementary schools continues to occur with little actual budget savings to show for it, there is no way to define this reconfiguration decision as anything but a diminishment of the Wayland Schools in general, override or not. I'd begin to really question the value of the product received here for the taxes paid.
    Let's be clear. The disruption is almost completely an operational one, not an educational one. I'm not trying to whitewash the real operational challenges that families are facing, just pointing out that (sorry, but you really leave me no choice here) the Committee's decision was to preserve the educational program while reducing cost, so as to reduce the size of (and increase the likely passage of) the override. I've seen nothing to suggest that the cost savings won't materialize--at present, by my estimation, we're currently $50k better than our projection (one classroom section--I said $60k Monday night, but will use this more conservative number until we get something official).
    Last edited by Kim Reichelt; 09-17-2008 at 09:30 AM. Reason: edit to remove individual's name

  7. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mary-Ann Wohlfarth View Post
    Hi,
    I sat through the painful sc meeting last night, and what struck me as most bizarre is how the sc members, Jeff D. especially are willing the take the fall for Gary Burton. Is he untouchable? Are good administrators that hard to find? NOT ONE SC member contradicted or even questioned one comment Dr. Burton made.
    First, I heard Dr. Burton take responsibility for the transportation situation. That said, he would not have found himself in that position had the Committee not "overrode" his recommendation not to do the reconfiguration for this year. I would be interested to know which of his comments you think that we should question/contradict?

    In my experience, a good manager doesn't throw his/her employee under the bus when challenged from above (for instance, when the public, sitting above the School Committee, takes exception to the Superintendent, sitting "below"). At the same time, a good manager takes that and any other warranted input into account when managing/evaluating the employee. I'm not "taking the fall" for anyone, I'm doing my job.

    As I've said elsewhere, I find the superintendent evaluation process to be broken. Public criticism by the Committee of the Superintendent is counter-productive to the education of Wayland's children. This unfortunate fact is all the more true in the current climate. When I have constructive feedback for the Superintendent, I deliver it to him privately and in a timely fashion, not once a year in public. If you don't like that approach, you don't have to vote for me, but it's a wholly appropriate approach in my opinion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mary-Ann Wohlfarth View Post
    I have had issues with the curriculum, the behavior of the students, the quality of the teaching, etc., and I find the responses to be arrogant.
    Can you please be specific about these issues and the "arrogant" responses?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mary-Ann Wohlfarth View Post
    Why attack the SC, especially one person, who happens to obviously have [no] intention of changing his mind. Why attack private citizens for having a difference of opinion?
    I'm in full agreement with you on the pointlessness of such attacks. As for changing my mind, I do so when warranted

    Quote Originally Posted by Mary-Ann Wohlfarth View Post
    Dr, Burton is the HIGHEST paid employee in Wayland. He has perks beyond the private sector, as does Brad Crozier, his assistant. THEY WORK FOR US. We pay their salaries.
    I think that you would be hard-pressed to find many CEOs of $30M+ businesses with compensation packages lower than that of the Superintendent.

  8. #83
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    John, I will most certainly not "step away from the keyboard" in the face of your bully tools of sarcasm, insult, and distortion. If we've learned nothing else from Karl Rove, it's that you don't let the mud fly at you without response.

    I'm sorry that my public demeanor isn't that of a Hollywood star. Have you looked in a mirror recently? If I explain something that some people don't need explained, that doesn't make me condescending. If I smile a time or two (difficult with a stony expression, though), that doesn't make me smug. And if I let people speak without interruption or direct/immediate response, that doesn't make me "stony."

    As should probably be obvious, I don't control who speaks at our meetings ("cheerleader" or otherwise), not that I have any interest in doing so.

    No John, as you so nicely put it, I will not "shut up."

  9. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Flaherty View Post
    This is a time to shut up and listen.
    You owe us that, at least.

    And while you're at it, call in those cheerleaders. Their words are falling on deaf ears and are doing much more harm than good.
    Let me suggest not posting on a public forum if you wish to "vent" without response (or "shut up and listen" as you so nicely termed it)!

    Aside from express "dissatisfaction" and "vent" (I'm stretching here...bullying is more like it!), what have you done to help this year's transition for the kids? I mean it is about them, right?

  10. #85
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    Default Just a volunteer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    Oh, so I should take your unwarranted insult professionally (or "aprofessionally," since I'm not paid), then?
    Jeff, are you just a volunteer?

  11. #86
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    Default Or a manager?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    In my experience, a good manager doesn't throw his/her employee under the bus when challenged from above (for instance, when the public, sitting above the School Committee, takes exception to the Superintendent, sitting "below"). At the same time, a good manager takes that and any other warranted input into account when managing/evaluating the employee. I'm not "taking the fall" for anyone, I'm doing my job.


    I think that you would be hard-pressed to find many CEOs of $30M+ businesses with compensation packages lower than that of the Superintendent.

    Or are you a manager of a CEO responsible to taxpayers?
    You seem to be contradicting yourself.

  12. #87
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    Default an unacceptable rant

    Quote Originally Posted by John Flaherty View Post
    condescension & smugness...... blah, blah, blah.....we don't believe you.....your lame excuses and explanations.....we don't want to hear them.....shut up....
    I thought that Jeff Baron's comments last night constituted an extreme descent to rock bottom, but John Flaherty has dug even deeper into the swamp of ignorance and insult. "Shut up"??!!?? OK, John has some strong feelings, we get that .... but does he think that that permits him to bully and insult? John and Jeff need to exercise some mature self-restraint before commenting, in writing and in a public forum, in such offensive and demeaning terms.

  13. #88
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    Default Why is everyone so upset?

    I can certainly understand why people are very upset.
    The elementary school system in Wayland has been comprimised, creating great strain on families.
    Dr. Burton may say he accepts full responsibility, but what difference does it make?
    We as parents are the ones responsible!
    If our children are harmed in anyway- are Dr. Burton's WORDS going to make us feel better? Are Tracy's comforting thoughts about the PTO's hard work going to help? NO.
    It is on the shoulders of the parents- period.

  14. #89
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    At the direction of the WaylandeNews Board, I have made some minor edits to several posts in this thread. These edits (which are clearly marked), served to remove references to individuals. These individuals are private citizens and have not participated in this electronic forum.

    We have had numerous emails from readers noting the declining civility of a small number of posters in this thread. They fear reprisal for posting differing opinions.

    There is no place for personal attacks on this forum. I would like to refer all posters to our guidelines for posting.

    I would like to remind all participants that their postings must be civil. This is a place to discuss issues, not personalities. Disagreement is welcome. Attack is not.

    The Board reserves to the right to make additional edits if needed to protect the citizens of this Town from personal attacks, and to protect the integrity of this Discussion Forum.

  15. #90
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    Steve,

    As the lawyer in you knows, it's real easy to take peoples' words out of context and either twist them around, or in this case isolate them from their original context and intent, to make it appear that the person said something or meant something different than what they'd really meant.

    Yes, I used the words "shut up". But outside of the tone that I'd set them in, you make it sound a lot worse than it is.
    Go back and read what I wrote.
    If you can't pick up on where I'm coming from from my tone, then I guess you'll just never understand it.

    .
    John Flaherty

    Any views expressed are NOT mine alone.
    Wayland Transparency - Facts Without Spin
    http://www.waylandtransparency.com/

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