At the school committee budget hearing last night I heard Jackie Doherty and Allison Laraba both state that they ‘couldn’t stomach” making any more cuts
. You think Jim Leary or Connie Martin enjoy that? At least these two and John Leahy were trying to be fiscally responsible and trying (in my view) to send the Teacher’s Union a message.
I understand Dave Conway being in lock step with the Union, for years he was one of them and he can sympathize with them. But for Jackie Doherty and Allison Laraba to not only accept that the Union gave no concession but want to SPEND $200,000 on them for Professional Development instead of using that money for books or computers is really stomach turning. You had the chance to stand up for the children, parents and voters but instead you chose to pander to the Union.
Tell the kids who don’t have a media/library specialist or asst. coaches how much more important Professional Development is instead of these positions. Tell the people who were laid off that their positions don’t matter as much as Professional Development does. Explain how it is sound fiscal management to start the 2011/2012 school year -$511,000.00
Having to make cuts and taking a stand against the teachers like it or not this is part of being on the School Committee, you should have known that when you chose to run. For the three of you to NOT vote to cut the professional development fund instead of using the entire $511,000.00 in one time money makes my stomach (large as it is) turn.
Connie Martin, Jim Leary and John Leahy are going to have a hard time getting anything changed as long as the other three members are in lock step with the teachers union. The Mayor can’t vote on some personal issues (but can vote on the whole budget, which makes little sense to me but apparently it’s a quirk in the law that allows it). This school committee is clearly split between professional people who understand the need for fiscal responsibility and change in business as usual and 3 people who pander to the Union and don’t have the stomach to take a stand against business as usual.
It is time for Dave Conway, Jackie Doherty and Allison Laraba to decide if they have the stomach to survive another bad budget and pro-longed contract fight because if they don’t have the stomach now, then they need to step aside and let people who have the guts take their place and make the hard choices they don’t have the stomach for.
School Committeeman Jim Leary responded to my post, I feel it’s only fair to Jim and the School Committee to share his view has a full post so here it is.
The school committee did not meet w/Mr Georges face to face, however, the superintendent, asst superintendent, Jay Lang, and our legal counsel, Jim Hall, meet w/him on multiple different occassions and for multiple hours. In addition, the Headmaster meet w/ Mr Georges several different times. Each trying to work out an agreement w/him that is reasonable considering that we have limited $$$.
The school committee meet several times going over the unions proposals (all of the unions not just the UTL) and providing returned offers that are very reasonable and timely.
Mr Georges would like to change the subject and avoid what is really going on. The fact that we did or did not meet w/him face to face is pure nonsense! Furthermore, Mr Georges had no problem when we did not meet face to face when we allowed him to work full time as a union representative. Bluntly, this is pure theater and is used to avoid the real issues!
The actual offers that are on the table are what we should be discussing. I would like very much to provide that information, but cannot do so.
Lastly, the school committee and the administration deserve a lot of credit for the $4 Million….it was not easy. And, the majority of the SC pushed to save the taxpayer on the food service dept….We will gain $340K profit due because of your school commiittee. Last year we had a $700k deficit….
I forgot to add this – Mr G’s comments pertaining to Jim Hall adding additional stips is pure nonsense!!!
When I attended the School Committee meeting tonight I sat there listening and taking notes and was ready to come back here and blast the Teacher’s Union and their President Paul Georges for not making concessions and not having more people switch from Master Medical.
Except after the Committee meeting adjourned I walk over and introduced myself to Paul Georges to see if I could get a comment. Mr. Georges could have easily told me No considering what I have written in the past, he also could have quietly told me off. He did neither.
Instead he told me that the Sun was correct that the teachers had agreed to give up 1 day unpaid, take the day before school starts off and save the School Dept. $450,000. He also pointed out that while the savings in the Health care was not what the committee wanted at least it was something and that the Union did try to educate the members on alternatives.
The main sticking point according to Mr. Georges is that the negotiator hired by the committee kept adding stipulations that the union would or could not agree to. He also stated that the Lowell School Committee NEVER met the union face to face to negotiate. A fact that disappointed him greatly.
IF that fact is true and at this point I have to believe him, then the School Committee shares the blame for not being able to reach an agreement. If this is their tactic for negotiating a new contract, it is wrong.
The Lowell Committee members need to sit down face to face with the Union and hammer out an agreement. All sides agree that 2012 is going to be worse than this year and we the taxpayers and voters of Lowell need both sides to sit and hammer contracts and concessions out face to face. Both sides must sit and work together.
It is only through the hard work of Supt. Scott and Asst. Supt. Lang that more cuts were avoided and they deserve the credit after already making 4 million in cuts.
The Lowell School Committee finalized their budget today. The Lowell Teacher’s Union made no concessions and the Health care switch was far short of the expected $300,00
The Supt. and her staff came up with over $300,000 in savings by signing a contract with Aramark, they also found another $140,00 in savings in circuit Breakers and tuition reimbursements. They need to be applauded for their effort.
The School Committee is using $511,000.00 in 1 time money to balance this years budget. In reality they are starting the 2012 budget that amount in the hole.
After sitting through the budget hearing I think Committee members Laraba, Doherty and Conway are being to pro union and should have cut the Professional Development Account as Committee members Leary, Martin and Leahy wanted to. You should never spend the one time $511,000 in one budget.
After much deliberation and long meetings the Greater Lowell Tech School Committee and new Supt. have reached agreement and a 3 year contract was signed.
Is it perfect? NO but it is better than what the last School Committee gave to Jim Cassin and did not include an automatic raise nor an annuity. Ms. Santoro did a good job protecting what she has earned as the Asst. Supt./ Special ED Director. She is getting an undisclosed lump sum for those unused days.
The School Committee did a good job not granting an automatic raise or the annuity. They capped the days she can cash in. I am not in favor of giving anyone 15 sick days, 7 should be a limit. I have no issue with the vacation time or personal/bereavement days.
All in all a pretty good deal for all sides and now the School Committee and Ms. Santoro can begin a new era at the School. I also see nothing wrong with privately deliberating a contract with a person. It doesn’t have to be done in public has long as a copy of the contract gets posted. (SO FAR NO SUCH POSTING ON THE SCHOOL WEB SITE AS PROMISED)
I wish MJ well in her new role and whoever she selects as her Asst. Superintendents.
I wish the School Committee beginning in August show more of a willingness to have open and transparent meetings (but won’t hold my breath)
Now tonight we see what the Lowell Teachers Union did or doesn’t do. I am hoping to be at City Hall tonight to see things 1st hand but so far that’s a 50/50 possibility.
Ellen Murphy Meehan to Chair Niki Tsongas’ Campaign
Congresswoman Tsongas sent out this release:
LOWELL—Niki Tsongas announced today that Ellen Murphy Meehan of Lowell will again Chair her campaign for U.S. Representative for the 5th Congressional District. Murphy Meehan chaired Tsongas’ successful campaign for Congress in a 2007 special election.
“Niki has been an outstanding representative for the people of the Fifth District. In Congress, Niki has led the charge to keep our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan safe, has been a true advocate for consumers, and always stands up for and speaks out on issues of fairness and equality. And in these challenging economic times she’s focused on creating jobs. I have known and worked with Niki for many years. She is accessible and accountable to her constituents, and she is working hard for us every day. I am honored to once again be a part of her team,” said Murphy Meehan.
“I have great respect for Ellen and her long record of activism, leadership and accomplishment. She is an invaluable resource for my campaign and I look forward to working with her again. Ellen understands that in these tough times our priority in the 5th District must be job creation and getting our economy back on track. I look forward to working closely with Ellen during this race to ensure that these critical issues continue to have a strong voice in Washington.”
Ellen Murphy Meehan is a native of Lawrence and has had a long career in public and charitable service in the Merrimack Valley. She has held a number of high profile leadership positions, including serving as Vice-President of Lawrence General Hospital, Vice-President of the Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce, and on the board of directors of the Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union in Lowell. Murphy Meehan currently runs a business consulting firm advising health care providers. She is an expert on health care policy and is an active leader on women’s issues. As campaign chair, Murphy Meehan will serve as a top advisor and strategist for Tsongas.
The PawtucketvilleCitizens group is looking for some help in their bid to stop the bladder dam:
Pro bono publico (usually shortened to pro bono) is a phrase derived from Latin meaning “for the public good”.
Concerned Citizens need help to prepare their opposition to the application ENEL has submitted to FERC for a “bladder dam” at the Historic Pawtucket Falls. They have 4 years of research and letters of opposition. They have 30days
If you can or know someone who can help , have them email email@example.com or ask them to call Deb Forgione 978-761-1395