Saturday, March 31, 2012

Is Ely Moving On?

Ken O’Brien

Less than two years after succeeding Dale Hanley as Southbridge School Superintendent, Eric Ely is apparently seeking greener pastures.

According to Knoxnews.com, Mr. Ely is among ten semifinalists for Director of the Roane County school district in Tennessee.

According to the report published on March 29 at 9 pm, “[Wayne Qualls, hired to oversee the search] said the board will conduct interviews April 12-13 and April 26-27 to further trim the list, and will likely vote in early May on the successor to Dr. Toni McGriff, who is retiring June 30 as head of the 7,500-student school system.”

Mr. Ely was hired by Southbridge in July of 2010. According to an article in the Worcester Telegram and Gazette at the time, “Mr. Ely had come under fire in Schenectady after the recent sentencing of former school department Facilities Manager Steven Raucci. Mr. Ely is accused of tipping off Mr. Raucci to a multi-county investigation against him. Mr. Raucci was recently convicted of placing bombs on homes and vehicles to intimidate the owners. According to a published report, some of his victims were school employees he had argued with about school issues.
Mr. Ely has said the reports that he tipped off Mr. Raucci were inaccurate.”

A departure by Mr. Ely at this time would be particularly inopportune. Not only is the district preparing to open a new multimillion dollar middle/high school, it is also undergoing a realignment of its elementary schools. There is also the ongoing controversy surrounding the district’s compliance with the state on its accelerated improvement plan.


61 comments:

  1. Do you blame the guy for wanting to leave? Would you work for people who threaten you on a daily basis?

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    1. No I dont blame him for wanting to leave but ther is more to this story than the public knows. Everyone knows that some school committee members pushed to get Mr. Bishop in as H.S.Principal. From band director to principal, is he really qualified? The assistant prncipal who evaluates each teacher does so in a professional manner but is then over ridden by the principal because he knows he has the marjority vote from the school committee to do what he wants. If Mr Ely steps in to resolve the case he is told by two members of the school committee to back off. All this information came out after the last school committee meeting. Ther is no harmony among some school personal. They should clean house and when elections time comes lets get the honest citizens to run.

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    2. Would the "two" you refer telling him to back off be the "Chair" and "Vice Chair"??? In order to clean house - boot out the "Fab 4"

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    3. When one watches the school committee meetings, it is quite clear four members are attempting to send Mr. Ely packing. It's personal for them, protecting and promoting Mr. Bishop at the expense of the children of our town.

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    4. let Mr. Ely do his job "Fab 4"

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  2. Mr. Ely should just hang in there until the June election, changes are coming!!

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  3. Hang in there Mr. Ely till the June elections, changes are coming

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  4. Southbridge should be ashamed at what is going on with its political powers on both the school committee and town council. I think that this has been the worst ever in Southbridge. A band leader for a high school principle who was always tipping a few at the mill street location during the remodel friends getting jobs that should have gone to better qualified people. School committee members not paying taxes or water bills on time are bad examples to show the residents who voted for them. Mr Ely will be gone either on his own or by the four. Lets see the DPW main man gone but nothing to do about the water meter issue or the water and sewer for the new high school, The DPW assistant gone she opposed the same, the Fire Chief gone and now Mr Ely Maybe Martha should come to Southbridge to investigate and you will see who's name is attached to everything it will not stop until we make a change and I highly doubt that it will because most of the RESIDENT don't care they show this by not doing nothing. Wake up Southbridge

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  5. Maybe one of Mr. Lazo's "7 Commandments" should be, "Honor thy children - all the children of Southbridge"

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  6. I'm friends with both Scott Lazo and Jack Jovan.

    Let me say this in response to your question:

    Both are smart people. The folks in town hall, trying to make fools of them, are the jerks.

    Lay off these guys. This is nothing but BS on their part.

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    1. Dennis if you are such good friends of the Lazo's and Jack Jovan you would tell them to back off and stop with the BS...Its going to all come out when people have had enough then you will see who created most of the problems in Southbridge. Yes they can be nice people but they also can be very bad. The good old days are coming to an end and taking care of the good old boys are ending to. Stop blaming the people at the Town Hall for their problems they created the problem and nobody else.

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    2. I agree...living in the "good ole days" needs to end. When you have been able to get away with things as many years as they have, it's hard to go back to the "straight and narrow". In order for it to really change, "Mutt and Jeff"; "Frank Burns and "Hot Lips", I mean "Doctor Demento", need to walk into the sunset.

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    3. Gutsy Anonymous, yes, the employees that create the bills send them out. I don't blame good folks like Max or his colleague (her name slips my mind). Don't forget the last time people didn't pay their bills either...this public outing is childish.

      If you don't get paid, you take court action.

      God forbid, you ever get in a predicament (I don't know the reason they didn't pay their bills), and your name winds up in the paper.

      The only good news is most people don't read the SNEWS. But for the grace of God it's not you.

      Unless you're Councilor Clemence, with plenty of money, friends and lawyers, that is.

      Neither you nor I know the circumstances, and your math is lovely, if that's what you're paying. If this town is dopey enough (it is) to let someone pay over 8.75 years, then you really are defending their timely action?

      Where were they 8 years ago?

      Did you blame the Conference Center? Hell, they get Federal subsidies, regardless of how many people stay there. Unlike other hotels, but you seem to want to give them a pass.

      Why is that, I wonder?

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  7. Watcher, I have no idea what you're talking about with regard to "backing off and stop(ping) with the BS". If you know something, say it, don't infer something no one can understand.

    Most of the problems in Southbridge were created by a number of Councilors, and multiple inept Town Managers, out to benefit themselves at the expense of the people.

    That's the "Town Hall" I'm referring to. There are a lot of quality people at Town Hall that have nothing to do with the mess we're in, I'll agree with you on that.

    And of course, there's enough blame to go around, so don't forget the apathetic voters who decided to not get involved and allow a bunch of ninnies to pick our pockets through multiple tax increases, water and sewer rate increases, and a new Prop 2 1/2 override that no one can afford. Oh, and the $184,000 street sweeper coming down my street today. Luckily, Southbridge seems to be flush with cash.

    I wish I shared your optimism that the good old days are coming to an end, but how?

    Take a look at today's SNEWS and see how few people are running. Can you tell me how those days are going to end when there aren't at least three people, aside from the incumbents running for TC (or School Committee, for that matter)?

    Please don't answer with the petition that won't make this ballot in time, trying to turn things back.

    As stated before, if you can't get people out now to vote, you won't be getting them out to a Town Meeting either.

    But perhaps you know something else we all don't know?

    One final point: I'm friends with the Lazo's and Jack, but, and they would acknowledge this, that doesn't mean that I always agree with them. They have done much more good, in my opinion, than not.

    For comparisons sake, compare them to Nikolla and her road to nowhere, and our in-house Counselor Clemence.

    You really think that they are shining examples of success and prosperity?

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  8. Dennis yes I will agree that taxes and water and sewer rate increase should fall on the shoulders of the Town manager and all of the Town Council. Its a shame when you go to a sub committee meeting and you see them vote on a 46 million dollar budget with little action taken by them everything is yes yes yes. They keep spending and we end up paying the bill. Yes its starts with the leadership of council Ms Nikolla. But we have no one to blame but ourselves because we as a community just don't care we don't run for office we don't change things, we keep putting in the same people and nothing changes. The small group that tries to change something is so far off the wall that educated people like you and Ken stay away from them which I don't blame you, I do the same. Yes the Lazo's have done a lot of good things for Southbridge but they do it for a reason. let me give you some of my thoughts.
    1. during the planning of the new high school it was decided by the planners that they didn't want this to go before the voters because they were worried that the voters would vote it down, which I believe they would. Building a new school will not make it a better system. Lazo was involved with this and with his supporters they swayed the weak manager to go along.
    2. High school principle was a band director with no experience in running a school but because of his friendship with Lazo politics were played and he got the job. Is our high school any better today. No
    3. Look at the Lazo that was chairmen of the town council it is well known with his dislike of the town manager that he made the job difficult, go ask your friends at town hall of the his behavior at town hall when he went there and the verbal attacks he made to the manager he did this during council meetings also shutting down anyone opposed to him even not allowing citizens forum at some meetings
    4. Also Chairmen lazo made it clear to his inner circle that he was going to get the assistant at DPW because of problems he had over a water meter and they were going to get the DPW head also because of the water and sewer project for the new high school. The Fire Chief was also against this because the system was designed to small. Where are they today all gone. The old saying get out why the getting is good I assume they took the advise.
    The list goes on and on and only time will tell, hey maybe I am all wet with what I have to say but this what I heard. Yes as I said the Lazo's have done a lot of good things but like the rest of us there is always a reason

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    1. 1. I absolutely agree that building a new school does nothing to change the attitudes of learners or some educators for that matter, and most definitely, not of parents that will never get involved. It's a state of the art building that will house the exact same issues and challenges. Having said that, the old eyesoar of a HS needs to go. But, if you're going to build a new school, start with a new attitude, and institute some discipline, and a dress code: dockers and Polo shirts. Sorry kids, you don't have a Constitutional right to express yourself in school. This can be changed if someone had the guts to do it.

      2. I don't know Bill Bishop well, but I share your concern's regarding qualifications. We should have at least pretended we were looking across the country for someone, and, at best, found a highly qualified principle with a track record of success.

      3. That's a two-way street. I've dealt with the Town Manager who likes to come across as Mr. Rogers, but to those who know him, he's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. He gives it out as well as Steve does, so he's not lily white by any stretch of the imagination. The Town Manager makes his own job difficult, and needs four assistants to keep making it difficult. He is underqualified and overpaid. Want to talk about shutting people down at Citizen's Forum? Watch Freulein Nikolla treat anyone, citizen or councilor, like total shit. That's worse.

      4. I have no information on this rumor, so I can't respond to it. However, look at it from the other side: the water meter wasn't hooked up, but they are supposed to pay. Would you? I wouldn't.

      Just as I've given you my perspective, others have given you theirs, it sounds like. You have to listen to all sides and make up your own mind.

      I'm not telling you what to believe, but what I believe. Be wary of someone telling you that you must believe them. Chances are that they are wrong, but...

      That's my opinion.

      The list does go on and on...who's responsible for that non-existent Businnes Park we have a road for, but no business?

      Or the great Cashella contract that was going to end our problems, but results in a $46 million budget?

      Or, the TWO, count them, TWO, street sweepers that went up and down my road three times today. Why did we need a new one if we had a backup? Doesn't the new one do a good enough job on it's own?

      For almost $200k, it should.

      Or the $250 fines for trash...or...

      You get the point.

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    2. Dennis I have to admit it I do get the point. One thing I will agree on maybe two. The Town Manager needs to go and Town Council needs to have a real shake up but until the town wakes up we wont see much change. maybe another street sweeper, cop, or fireman.

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  9. Dennis and others your getting off topic.Keep your eye on the ball. The ball being what the Fab 4 and BB is trying to do to Mr. Ely, who is trying to turn this school system around!Stay focused!! If not the master of deception(BB)
    wins.

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    1. Well, I'm still not sure what you're talking about, so unless you can be very specific, I'll leave it at that.

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  10. Can we get back on track? This started out about Mr. Ely, the School Committee and the hidden agendas the School Committee "Majority" currently have.
    Here's a couple of quotes:
    "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." Groucho Marx
    Absolute power does not corrupt absolutely, absolute power attracts the corruptible." Frank Herbert

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    1. Thank you for helping to moderate this site. I'm sure that Ken is so grateful. But you ask to get it back on track, and then go off on a tangent that means nothing to anyone but you.

      Specifics, not quotes, advance arguments.

      Now you can get back on track please (with apologies to Ken for my trying to moderate!).

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  11. S.E.A and Jacobson vrs the Southbridge School Committee.Check the out this public document that hasn't been released yet and find out who won and WHY!! It's cost the taxpayers of Southbridge Tens of thousands of $$

    Alex

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    1. Alex don't worry the Southbridge News and Gus has this document. They'll do the right thing if the school committee won't!!

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    2. Besides the administration at SHS aother place of focus should be the guidance dept.They just deal with drama all day and mental health issues!

      mother of student

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    3. Dear mother of student, this should be addressed by the PRINCIPAL but will it!!

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    4. Alex, please tell us what you're thinking about it. By the time the SNEWS reports on it, they'll finally be publishing an article on the sinking of the Titanic.

      We all know how timely they are, and how they're in the pocket of Town Hall.

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    5. Dennis,I guess your right about being in the pocket of town hall.

      Alex

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  12. It won't change, it's a small town run by people with a small town mentality. Always has been, always will be

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  13. Were is the United Southbridge Group and The greater Southbridge project they were all fired up about getting involved and working on issues that effect the community in a whole. this school issue is very important and should be followed by all....O I am sorry they only get involved if it was the landfill....hey there is a landfill next to the new high school maybe they will.....NOT

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    1. They're too busy bitchin and moaning because nobody will sign their dumb ass petition

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    2. As one who was attacked by some in the group, I think it's important to point out that it's not everyone, as far as I know.

      However, I would love to know if they're together or divorced, since I haven't heard or seen anything either.

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  14. Getting back to the original subject...
    Bottom line is, BB and the Fab 4 need to leave; not Mr. Ely. BB's head is the size of a football right now. It makes him think that he can do and say anything he wants. The Fab 4 enable him to create an atmosphere at the High School of, "It's my way or the highway". The teachers have nowhere to turn in fear that they will be fired if they come forward. The students are beginning to get brave enough to speak up only to be shot down in a behind closed door meeting with BB and JJ. Technically, that meeting alone should never have happened without Mr. Ely being present.
    Until things change, BB will continue his rein of terror holding his four fingers in the air in defiance. BB, the insanity needs to stop. Retire while you can on your terms rather than the alternative...

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  15. If it wasn't for Mr. Leach and Mr. Austin that ship on Cole Ave would have sunk a few years ago!!

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    1. I whole heartedly agree with anonymous....life jackets should be issued ASAP.

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  16. Alex, If Gus from the snews doesn't release the DOCUMENT the maybe the T and G will? Come on Gus, do it!!

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    1. My son just told me that there was a fight in his classroom at SHS yesterday! The teacher was struck as he tried to break it up! According to my son this happens quite often inside and outside the building. Are these incidents reported by BB to Mr. Ely or Not? My guess is NO!The snews can verify this incident.

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    2. Not only should something like this be reported to Mr. Ely but the police should be called anytime there is this type of behavior! This is the only way these (expletive deleted) will learn!!

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    3. SHS + enablers = BIG Problems

      Alex

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    4. Alex, I beg to differ. B. Bishop + enablers = BIG problems.

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    5. There have been many fights in and outside the high school during the past couple of weeks. Yes, a teacher did receive an injury when he attempted to break up a fight that occurred Tuesday. This has not been the first time a teacher has been assaulted in the high school under the Bishop regime. Most don't know about the fights, teacher assaults and student behavior that warrants suspension at the very least, never mind expulsion. You see, BB loves housecleaning, especially sweeping - under the carpet that is. He wants the public to believe that the high school runs like a well oiled machine because he's at the helm. It's all a facade. He keeps the press out, the police out, the superintendent out, and he has 4 school committee members that will protect him. Everybody should be asking WHY?

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  17. If anybody is able to provide me with a pdf copy of S.E.A. and Jacobson v. Southbridge School Committee I will post it.

    I lack the technology resources to do it myself.

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    1. P.S. My email attachment limit is 10MB. Anything larger will require a CD. My email address is available at the top of this blog.

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    2. K, I can turn a paper copy into a PDF, if that helps. I've heard the rumors and I'm very interested in seeing this too.

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    3. Amelia:
      Thanks. I'll get back to you. I'm waiting to hear on another prospect.

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  18. Let's get out the tar and feathers . . . We will all meet at the the football field. Please bring the following: rotten fruit, eggs, bags of doggie doo and anything else nasty that will stick to whoever we don't like. We will visit the Lazo's, the Jovan's, the Bishops, and anyone else who doesn't measure up to the low standards that we set for ourselves.

    Let's damage peoples reputations by innuendo just because ... well because we can. The one thing about tar, feathers, and rotten eggs is that the filth and even the smell wears off in time. . . but not the damage to the soul.

    Some people don't have their facts straight... Bill Bishop stepped up to the plate when no one else was willing to. He brought with him a vision for the school. Bill knew our students, our community, and the staff at SHS... There has been a turn around at SHS ... That is undeniable. Just go back a few short years under the reign of terror caused by "She who should not be named in polite company".

    Under She Who Should Not be Named, there was total anarchy at SHS ... She took the position that it was the staff's fault for everything... If a student did something wrong . . . It was the teacher's fault. She hired so many qualified people . . . She had to because they all quit within weeks of taking the job. But this is not about her [however, you must put things in context]

    There have been, in the town and in this blog, baseless accusations bout an illicit cabal of Bishop, Lazo, and Jovan... Well where are the facts... if what is said is true someone should go to jail... Ah, but it is the beginning of election season in Southbridge and everyone knows that politics in Southbridge is blood sport. Some political operatives sling feces for a purpose and others do it just to see the effect. So let us get down to some fact about the current issues between the School Committee and Mr. Ely.

    1. Mr. Ely was the compromise candidate for Superintendent. Go back and research the Bishop Hearings. (Because that is what they were.)

    2. Mr. Ely, at a school committee meeting lied to the committee about the state demanding that there be one principal at the new school. Ely said that he was told by the DESE that with one building there could be only one principal. This was, at a latter meeting, openly denied by the representative from the DESE. I think her words were that the DESE would never say anything like that.

    3. While we are discussing the problems between the Southbridge Public Schools and the DESE there is the following. In the DESE report concerning the Accelerated School Improvement Plan the state representative read goal after goal of the plan followed with "No Evidence Submitted". And, our illustrious superintendent's only reply was "if I would have known that you wanted evidence, I have it right on my desk. . . You can judge the truthfulness of that answer for yourselves.


    4. As to the comments made that we are chasing Mr. Ely away, well maybe we should just go back to December when it hit the press that Ely was seeking a job in Ohio. What was his reply to that? Something to the effect that he had a standing application and didn't know he was up for the job. Well, judge the truthfulness of that statement with the release that he is a finalist in Tennessee.

    Finally are there problems in the school system . . . Sure. However, there are a lot less than there were just 5 short years ago. Is the new school a cure for all the problems at in the schools . . . No, but will it help... Certainly. And, one thing for certain is that all this muck raking, cuca slinging, and name calling is not going to help anything. Maybe we should leave all our implements of character assassination at the football field and bring a little cooperation, compromise, and commitment to better our town to the table

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    1. damage to the soul - I guess that didn't matter to your great savior in the case of Mr Jacobson did it? I'm betting that it won't matter to you when Ely's soul gets damaged by this group.
      Add to that the long list of names that have left, or more appropriately RAN, out the Southbridge revolving door and take a REAL HARD LOOK at the remaining VETERAN SCHOOL COMMITTEE and veteran ADMINISTRATORS. All those Souls where damaged too!
      It's time for exit interviews and the TRUTH.

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  19. Well we can see this was written by someone associated with Mr Bishop. The only thing going on at the High School are the cover up of incidents happening everyday in that building. There is much more going on then you would think. They should be calling the police everyday but they are not allowed to. They want to handle things themselves which is wrong. The only way that things are going to change is when a MAJOR incident happens. Little by little they are losing control of that school. Why don't you see how many personnel changes have happen under Mr Bishop's leadership.The good old boy attitude is ramped in the school. As far as the Lazo's and Jovans they should be setting an example by paying their tax,water and sewer bills on time and not using a statement like I am unaware of it or I will look into it is plain BS and you know it. School personnel ARE NOT going to speak openly about the problems going on at the high school because they know what is going to happen. You wanna straighten out problems at the high school bring in a private investigator and start questioning school personnel with assurance that there will be NO reprisals against them and you will get your answers but that wont happen as long as the FAB 4 are around. Remember the Groel Report that took care of a questionable chief. A new school will not better educate our children, you start with good quality teacher that want to and enjoy teaching our children, not teachers that dread going in everyday and just go through the motions. You have a good elementary school system and you can have a good high school to. Clean house starting from the top. Stop the good O'L boy stuff, stop the politics, bring back the quality of education that is expected by the students. Listen to what they are saying they are crying out.

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    1. Your name implies it all... You and your ilk would rather stand by or sling arrows, but when the hard work of transforming a system is need you stay on the sidelines and try to bring those with vision and elbow grease down in a vain attempt to make yourself look better. But we see and know you for what you are....

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  20. Let us all hope that the "good O'L boy stuff" will not rear its ugly head when it is time to choose a "deserving" senior at SHS to receive the hefty AO scholarship.

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    1. Well if they do perhaps the AO will give it 10 quarters late and only after being asked for it and being unaware. Of course they should say WE are "looking in to it" or WE will be "Taking care of it"

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    2. In regards to the AO scholarship.If BB is on that deciding commitee he should excuse himself from it if a student's parent is on the school committee,especially if their part of the Fab 4!

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    3. Why didn't the Chairman of the School Committee{JJ} release this major decision when it was decided by the State. This is going to cost the town thousands of dollars. This is PUBLIC INFOMATION!! The taxpayers need to know what happened and why.

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    4. Oh what a tangled web we weave when try to deceive. {The taxpayers of Southbridge}

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    5. The word is recuse, not excuse, anonymous.

      It's also what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.

      If you're going to criticize an educator, a teacher, or the School Committee, at least do some of your own homework and try to appear smarter than those that you criticize.

      Otherwise, you appear to be GED recipient.

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    6. JJ...who are you to criticize? You don't know when to use "Your" and "You're"

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  21. Well said! This entire blog has become the joke of the town!

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    1. Given that this blog had as many hits just yesterday as usually turn out to vote in a Soutbridge election, it must be the funniest joke since Cartman and Jimmy came up with the fish sticks joke.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03msxmxUcc4&feature=related

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    2. This is not a joke of the town. The issues being discussed are only the tip of the iceberg...[deleted]

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    3. I think it behooves all involved to avoid hurtful remarks about particular people's children.

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