I have been where you fear to go…
I have seen what you fear to see…
I have done what you fear to do…
All these things I’ve done for you.
I am the one you lean upon…
The one you cast your scorn upon…
The one you bring your troubles to…
All these people I’ve been for you.
The one you ask to stand apart…
The one you feel should have no heart…
The one you call the man in blue…
But I am human just like you.
And through the years I’ve come to see…
That I’m not what you ask of me…
So take this badge and take this gun…
Will you take it? Will anyone?
And when you watch a person die…
And hear a battered baby cry…
Then so you think that you can be
All those things you ask of me…?
“Tears Of A Cop” – author unknown
Thank you to Officer Maguire for his selfless years of service.
Meet the new Lowell High Head Master Edward J. Rozmiarek
A few things that I really liked about him were his plans to try to bring a small town school feeling into a school of 3500. Some ways that he has done that is by coming into classrooms, introducing himself in the halls, attending students events like the senior election, and coming up with new ideas like lunch with the headmaster.
Meet the new sped director Sheila O’Brien
I found the highlight of the discussion with her was the alarming increase in preschoolers entering our schools with an autism diagnosis. In the last 2 years they have added 4 autism classrooms to try to ease out the number of out of district private placements. Instead, the classrooms have filled right up with new placements and the existing out of district placements are still in place. Just alarming numbers and the state circuit breaker funding have been diminishing steadily.
Discussion with Dr. Scott
Some of the parent’s questions-
Can school be cancelled on voting day and can it be used as one of the teachers professional development days instead?
It will be referred to the CPC to survey parents. Many parents want their child to see voting happening, and many do not want their child home that day because they want to vote alone or participate in the process.
Any forecasts into 2012?
Dr. Scott said that 2012 will be a devastating year to the school system with 8 million in stimulus funding drying up. There are no answers at this time what will be cut
How will new principal hires be handled and will parent participation be included?
Dr. Scott said they will be posting soon and a parent will be part of the committee
Why is there an inequality in what some middle schooler’s learn at different schools?
A summit is being held with all 4th grade teachers to talk about what is working and what is not.
Would you consider banning cell phones completely in school with all of the bullying and sexting issues going on?
There is a cell phone ban in the school and many parents want the child to have the phone for safety reasons for the walk home. It is not off the table however.
Thank you to Ms. Laraba for taking the time to attend!
We have had some pretty sensational stories hit the paper this past year but I have not seen the follow up to any of them. Do you think that they are still ongoing?
“Lowell City Councilor Kazanjian’ records subpoenaed by DA”
“Kazanjian project’s sewer tie-in questioned: Chelmsford building was linked to Lowell system despite city’s denial order”
“Police Investigating Lowell Property Sale”
“FBI joins Lowell inspection probe”
There is a continuous smell of natural gas on Woburn St. National Grid said that they know that there is a leak and odor and that they are monitoring it daily. They have come in my yard three times to dig little test bores. They said that one line on Woburn St. was “disturbed” by the sewer work and it was dangerous so they fixed it and that the other line (in front of my house) is leaking from the sewer work but not “dangerous enough” for them to repair.
They said there is already scheduled replacement over the next few months so nothing will be done now. As far as I am concerned this is unacceptable. If they need to keep monitoring it daily and the odor is obvious then something needs to be done. I have been EXTREMELY patient after losing water for 5 days because of antiquated city maps that showed my water line off the wrong street, continued yellow/brown water, having my phone line and siding ripped down by machinery, and now a gas leak and odor. I am done being patient when it comes to a natural gas leak. Cast iron pipes in Massachusetts were laid between the 1800′s and 1940. It certainly did not make me feel better when the National Grid worker told me “you should feel better now with us monitoring your home daily since the leak was reported then before when you just had extremely old gas lines that nobody was monitoring”.
This title came from watching the meeting with my 5 and 6 year old tonight. With five tv’s in the house the only one they wanted to watch was what ever one I turned on the “boring” meeting. I had to watch the meeting from home this evening instead of at city hall due to scheduling problems which proved to be difficult with two girls who have the summer stir crazies. You know the drill…she hit me, she looked at me funny, she touched me, change the channel, etc… So Gerry can fill in the blanks if I leave out any major points. There did not seem to be any major shockers this week and the meeting only went from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm. (smack in the middle of my children’s bewitching hours)
- The committee is waiting anxiously to see if they will be receiving 3.5 million dollars in Race to the top funding and how it can be spent. Not sure if it will just be for teachers or if the library specialists will be included. May hear by next Wednesday or Thursday.
- The duty assistant position will be drawn up and impact bargained with the teachers union. As Dr. Scott said this could be a “long journey”. I am sure Mr. Georges is not going to just roll over on this one after the recent paraprofessional layoffs and I am not sure I would blame him on this. I know in the private market people are laid off all the time and replaced with non-benefited part timers. It does not make me feel better that it happens however. I will have to read the job description before commenting more.
- The Varnum School was handed back to its rightful owner this evening. Maybe the city should have asked for a security deposit? Mr. Leary did ask, “Will it be shiny and clean when we give it back to the city” and Mr. Lang responded “Spic and Span”. The neighbors and taxpayers in the area will be glad to know that it will be finally cleaned. However if they look at the condition of the old Butler School they may not be too optimistic.
Kim Scott submitted this the other day but I missed it. My apology to Kim….
Tonight there was an athletic subcommittee meeting to discuss the comments in public forum given by Mr. Moore (the new Lowell High Football coach) that there were safety concerns and possible legal issues if the committee went with reduced staffing levels. Of course Lowell Football needs more then 3 coaches but the problem is who will pay for them?
At tonight’s athletic subcommittee meeting Mr. DeProfio said that Mr. Moore’s information was incorrect and that he “heard” those numbers on safety from someone secondhand and they were wrong and he had been spoken to. Mr. DeProfio gave out a spreadsheet showing how other towns have at least 7 coaches but what he left out is who pays those coaches.
For example, he said that Methuen has 7 coaches but I can only find 3 listed on the Methuen salary schedule. The Lowell coaches are paid extremely overpriced stipends compared to local towns and the only way around them is to use volunteers like other towns do. The dialogue between Mr. Leary, Mr. Leahy, and Mr. Georges got pretty heated.
Sorry Mr. Moore, but intimidation will not fly with this committee and administration. As Mr. Millinazzo asked tonight “who is driving this bus Mr. Moore, the athletic director, or the school committee”?? I am thinking Mr. Georges is at the front of the bus.
Gerry: I was unable to make last night’s School Committee meeting but regular commenter Kim Scott attended and wrote today’s Post:
The School committee meeting this evening was quite eventful in my opinion. It seemed like there was a lot of tongue holding not to offend the unions.
The amount of $249,305 was cut from the original 2011 athletic budget and then the motion this evening was to restore $176,668. This was to be done by limiting coaching positions to (1) Varsity coach, (1) Assistant coach, and (1) freshman coach that already has a separate freshman team.
Mr. Lang prepared a great chart showing all spending per sport and then giving a per student cost.
Jeff Moore who is Lowell High’s new football coach spoke and said that this was not the deal he was hired for and that there have been over 30 students that have received concussions. He stated that the School committee needs to think about safety before making these cuts.
Dr. Scott made it known that it did not seem appropriate to hear about safety and legal concerns now in a public meeting. Dr. Scott surely would have done her homework on the number of staff needed for safety reasons if it had been brought to her attention earlier as it should have been.
Mr. Leary made a motion to add another $20,000 in addition to the $176,668. This was struck down by Mr. Millinazzo, Ms. Martin, Ms. Doherty, and Ms. Laraba. Ms. Laraba commented that it seemed Mr. Leary pulled this number from thin air and that he did not have an explanation of how he came up with this round number. Ms. Doherty and Ms. Martin were concerned that we are taking money away from educators to pay for sports and did not want to add more.
Ms. Martin then made the best motion of the evening for Dr. Scott to report on how many coaches are needed by the Football coach to assure player safety and then make them either fundraise, hire volunteers, or cut the number of players rather than to cut other sports programs.
- I would agree that Mr. Leary should not just throw out a round number like $20,000 and that his motion should have been to add back XYZ employees that he thought were needed and explain why to the public.
- The coach’s stipends are too high and it seems they were the targets of the cuts vs. equipment, refs, and floor time which is good.
- Mr. Moore said that Everett has 13 coaches on the sideline for the children’s safety. I sent an email looking for the number that is on actual payroll but I would guess that the majority are volunteers. I know Cambridge lists (1) Head Coach, and (1) Assistant only. I think he may be making a mess for himself.
- Other cities that I have looked up have a flat stipend and no step system like Lowell.
- I understand that Mr. Leary and Mr. Leahy do not want the athletes to suffer but when do we let Mr. Georges know the money just is not there?
- I appreciated the ski coach saying he was trying to negotiate lower lift ticket prices to save the city money. It was nice someone was trying.
- The girls and boys sports are NOT equal still