School Committee Meeting

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School Committee Meeting

Postby momof2girls on Wed Jul 30, 2008 9:32 am

Has anyone seen the agenda for tonights meeting?

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School Committee Meeting

Postby GymMom on Wed Jul 30, 2008 9:44 am

I had to call the Superintendent's office this morning and asked to have it e-mailed to me. The agenda was forwarded to the schools' web person but it hasn't been posted, as you know. Call Mary Maguire @ 978-640-7800.
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School Committee Meeting

Postby momof2girls on Wed Jul 30, 2008 9:55 am

Thanks Gymmom I just called apparently the woman who has the agenda is getting married and is too busy to post it.
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School Committee Meeting

Postby GymMom on Wed Jul 30, 2008 10:45 am

That's what I was told, too!
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School Committee Meeting

Postby Mom74 on Wed Jul 30, 2008 2:10 pm

Wait, if you get married and are too busy working on your wedding during business hours you aren't responsible for your work? Fantastic.

I know how snarky that sounds, but come on.
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School Committee Meeting

Postby JQ on Wed Jul 30, 2008 3:38 pm

It's crap like that which is getting everyone in the town fired up....people not doing their jobs. That's the craziest excuse I've ever heard!!
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School Committee Meeting

Postby GymMom on Wed Jul 30, 2008 3:39 pm

I was surprised that the superintendent's secretary even mentioned it. Earlier in the week when I inquired about the not-yet-posted agenda, I was told that the web person was probably on vacation. [img]images/smiles/icon_rolleyes.gif[/img]
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School Committee Meeting

Postby TheFirm on Wed Aug 06, 2008 6:56 pm

Parents fight to bring back teachers
By Chloe Gotsis, Staff Writer
Wed Aug 06, 2008, 12:00 PM EDT

Tewksbury -
Terrified at the thought of their children crammed into a classroom with 30 other students, local parents pleaded for the last minute help of the School Department to reinstate teachers in the classroom, just weeks prior to the school year's start.

By the close of the meeting, after rounds of words flying back and forth like slingshots from the mouths of fed-up parents questioning the motivation and efforts of the five members on the committee, parents could breath a sigh of relief. The committee ordered both School Superintendent Christine McGrath and Business Manager Jack Quinn to examine where they could return seven teachers back to the school system.

The town’s student-teacher ratio of 17.5 to 1, which according to the Department of Education’s Web site is one of the highest in the state, is only expected increase this year with the reductions in teachers fiscal budget. Of the 14 schools with the largest student-teacher ratio throughout the Bay State, Tewksbury is the second largest school district with only 262 teachers for 4,697 students in the 2007-2008 school year, according to the site.

Spearheaded by the efforts of two parents including, Andrea Regina, a Qunicy Road resident and mother of seven, 155 Tewksbury parents petitioned the School Department to reexamine the fiscal year 2009 department budget.

Regina questioned committee’s commitment to the public when she brought the petition forth at last week’s meeting.

“I don’t feel as a committee you are engaged or connected to what people really want,â€￾ said Regina, also a reading specialist and tutor, who has both taught and volunteered in the Tewksbury public school system. “Have you ever really spent time in one of our already congested classrooms? If you did, you might see a teacher try to present a lesson to an incredibly wide range of abilities and personalities.â€￾

She continued, “if you did, you might actually detect the light of enthusiasm for learning dwindling in their eyes when they get inadvertently overlooked yet again. We want you to do what your job mandates — you to bring back teachers. Put education first. Put the kids first.â€￾

Regina asked McGrath why as superintendent she personally was not “shouting from the rooftops: Students first, keep the teachers?â€￾

The questioning did not end there. Dianne Morris, Birchwood Road resident and mother of three, was next to speak, taking on School Committee Chairman Scott Consaul for his comments at the June 25 Special Town Meeting.

“I have spoken with many, many parents who feel as I do that they were in total shock when our School Committee Chairman stood up at Town Meeting, did not endorse amendments that would benefit the education of our kids, and then continued to give a sermon about getting along with the town and accepting what the town gave us as what was best,â€￾ said Morris.

“You then continued to speak on behalf of the seniors and you spent more time speaking about standing up for what is right for the seniors than you ever did spend speaking about what was right for our children,â€￾ she said.

Both Morris and Regina found an ally on the committee in Dennis Petersen, who said he feels the women’s comments were legitimate. Petersen made a motion, which was tabled, to set up a subcommittee of parents, teachers, administrators and committee members to further delve into the budget.

Consaul defended his dedication to education, which he said spans more than 14 years.

“I think everyone on this committee supports restoring teachers,â€￾ he said. “I was 22 when I first started serving on the committee and I’ve been on it for 14 years not because I get paid a lot, not because I enjoy the often irate people. I do it because I believe in education, particularly public education. Please don’t anyone think that I don’t support education.â€￾

The committee requested McGrath and Quinn bring at least seven teachers back to the classroom prior to Aug. 27.

“I don’t disagree with you,â€￾ said McGrath. “I’m in full agreement with you. I felt I couldn’t go forwards without the direction of the committee. We can certainly go and look. But I think you’d want us to go and look at where the need is. We’ve struggled with this. I’ve had 16 administration meetings. I guess we’ll go back again. We are crosschecking how many people and classrooms are over 30.â€￾
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School Committee Meeting

Postby duffyhouse on Thu Aug 07, 2008 1:01 pm

Nothing new re Scott Consual looking like he supports the schools on the outside, but on the inside, he's all about staying in with the "IN" crowd, the good 'ol boy network that is still alive and well in out Town. See below re his comments when he opposed our, (TCPG's), Growth Management By Law at Town Meeting in May of 2001. One of TCPG's reasons for suggesting a temporary moratorium on building until a Master Plan Committee was in the works and until a Planning Director was hired, was the already overcrowded schools getting even more crowded with all of the residential building that was going on at that time. Something else I forgot about until I read this excerpt, is Scott Consaul STILL a law partner with Richard, aka Dick, O'Neil???

"Tewksbury Issues, posted 10-30-2001 02:29 PM:
quote: Originally posted by bitwise:
[B]The only school committee member at the Town Meeting in May when the Growth Management by-law was discussed was Scott Consaul. Scott Consaul is a law partner with the builder's lawyer Dick O'Neill.
When asking for the budget increase they talk about increased school enrollment.
When pressed for support of growth management they came up with someting like most of the new students are from the existing homes not the new developments.
The School Committee WAS at Town Meeting, but Consaul was the only one to speak in opposition to the growth management by law. Copied below is poster "Rippington's" post from 5/11/01:
""Excerpt from yesterday's 5/10/01 Advocate:
School Committee Chairman Scott Consaul said after the meeting the areas the committee identified for further review are transportation, math textbooks and operations. " We cannot cut the salary account without layoffs, " he said. " The town continues to send us children and we need to add teachers to educate them. The most direct effect of this is we are looking at a spending freeze before we start the new fiscal year. "
Specifically notice this sentence:
"The town continues to send us children and we need to add teachers to educate them."
Yet he voted against adopting the growth by-law! ""
Consaul's own words from last May have, and ARE, coming back to haunt. What happened to the school budget's upcoming "spending freeze" they were anticipating??? They knew months ago that the things were going to be tight. As a result they should have been EXTRA vigilant these past few months, and not have depended on their "crystal ball" (or as Consaul publicly called it- their "radar screen") for answers. In my opinion, they overspent their budget in anticipation of their "usual" percentage of future state funding AND hoped to recoup the 600K they were denied in the Spring. They can't even blame things on the economy-it was tanking early last year. And we all knew in May the State was probably not going to finalize their budget on time.
Can't wait 'till Fin Com Thursday Nov. 1, 8pm at Town Hall-it should be interesting!. "
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School Committee Meeting

Postby Curiosity123 on Thu Aug 07, 2008 1:20 pm

I personally will work to see he is NOT re-elected. I was there at both meetings... He is not for the betterment of this town's school aged children! It's apparent and the mom and dad voters need to wake up!
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School Committee Meeting

Postby U8Coach on Thu Aug 07, 2008 1:51 pm

From what we have seen over the past month with the filling of Keith's slot, it looks like there are going to be a lot of candidates to work with / choose from in April.

FYI - Consaul and Sitar ran unopposed for their current seats back in '06. Times have changed indeed.

This coming election is going to be crucial and I agree with C123 that parents need to be more active than ever to get the right people onto the board. Talk to your friends and neighbors and get them involved anyway you can.
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School Committee Meeting

Postby mojo123 on Sat Aug 09, 2008 10:08 pm

I have always voted in every election. I must say even when board members ran unopposed if I didn't like the job they were doing I voted for no one. At least the polls would indicate to the school committee member they did not have support.
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