Friday, October 18, 2013

Southbridge School Committee Agenda October 22, 2013

LOCATION: Robert G. MacKinnon Council Chambers, 41 Elm Street

DATE: Tuesday, October 22, 2013

TIME: 7:00 PM


  1. The lapse of knowledge about their own rules as well as procedure by the remaining school committee members continues. The addendum to the agenda is based upon the belief that the committee chairman cannot chair a subcommittee. The rule they are suspending from the policy manual reads as follows:
    Subcommittees may be created for a specific purpose for Committee action.
    1. The subcommittee will be established through action of the Committee.
    2. Subcommittee chair and members will be appointed by the Committee chair, subject to approval by the Committee.
    3. The subcommittee may make recommendations for Committee action.
    4. The Committee chairman and Superintendent will be ex-officio members of all special
    5. A subcommittee will be dissolved by the Committee upon completion of its assignment, or it may be dissolved by a vote of the Committee.

    The policy would indeed prohibit the chairman from being chair of a special subcommittee since they are an ex officio member. But the negotiations subcommittee is not a special subcommittee. It is a standing subcommittee established by the school committee at its organizational meeting. There is nothing in this policy that prevents the chairman from being a member of or chairing a standing subcommittee. Consequently there is no need for this agenda item. It only serves to perpetuate a misunderstanding.

    1. It is also worth noting that, until an election is held per the policy manual, Mrs. McLoughlin is not the chairman. She is the vice chairman acting as chairman. The committee could ultimately choose someone else as chairman.

    2. Hopefully, they will!

    3. Agenda item XII. D. states, “Vote to appoint a Vice-Chair for the School Committee for the remainder of the 2013-14 school year.” But that position is not vacant (not yet anyway). It is the chairman position that is vacant.
      The school committee policy manual states:
      “1. Nominations for the office of chairman will be made from the floor. The chairman will be elected by a majority roll-call vote of the members present and voting. If no nominee receives a majority vote, the election will be declared null and void and nominations will be reopened.
      2. Upon election, the new chairman will preside, calling for the election of a vice-chairman, secretary and recording secretary, in order. The procedure used for their election will be the same as that for electing the chairman.
      Any vacancy among the officers occurring between organizational meetings will be filled by a member elected by the School Committee. The election will be conducted as described above.”
      Therefore the committee must first elect a chairman. If that person is the current vice chairman, then they must elect someone to that post.
      It also might be asked if it is appropriate to do this before a seventh member of the committee is selected.

    4. Mary Ellen PrencipeOctober 19, 2013 at 8:24 PM

      You are correct, Ken. The agenda should reflect the election of a chair. Mrs. McLoughlin, at this point in time, is vice chair acting as chair due to the resignation of Mrs. Woodruff. If Mrs. McLoughlin is elected chair, then there should be a subsequent vote to elect a vice chair.

    5. Will they now violate the Open Meeting Law by adding an agenda item which, if they knew their own policies, clearly could have been anticipated?

    6. Thanks for the tip. We'll be watching.

  2. Does anybody else see multiple problems with school committee semi-actions XII. E. and XII. F. ?

    1. Appears that some people have a time problem - What’s up with 2015?

    2. For starters, what kind of decision are they making, and what kind of certainty are they offering parents, students, faculty and tour operators when they “conditionally approve” these trips subject to “…all preparations for the trip hav[ing] been completed including, but not limited to….”. The “not limited to” leaves open a completely undefined basis for cancelling the plans. What deposits (potentially non-refundable) might be required prior to the 90 day window being specified?

    3. Conditionally Yours,October 19, 2013 at 10:40 AM

      “...conditionally approve” - exactly what would those conditions be?

    4. So far they are, “Final approval will not be granted by the School Committee until all preparations for the trip have been completed, including but not limited to, all logistical details involving transportation, accommodation arrangements, supervision and funding.” The real confusion, at least for me, is the “but not limited to”. This could be just about anything.

  3. Is there any word about when the SC and the TC will hold a joint meeting to replace Woodruff? Who has expressed interest in the position?

  4. A Query For QuinneyOctober 19, 2013 at 11:40 AM

    Perhaps it would be appropriate for Mrs. Quinney to comment on your points during the meeting. She is the chairwoman of the Policy Subcommittee and there is time set aside for her on the agenda. What about it Erin? You wanted the job. Now that you have it let’s see if you are up to it. Or is transparency just a campaign slogan?

    1. That’s a very good idea.
      These people should be setting an example for the students in our schools. What kind of example are they setting when they either don’t know or understand the rules? Worse yet, what kind of example are they setting if they claim to know the rules and simply choose to ignore them?
      Maybe they need remedial education classes.

  5. How can the school committee possibly justify or plan to enforce a policy on bullying prevention that is presented under New Business when they don’t obey the policies that apply to them? That is the height of hypocrisy.

  6. This whole discussion is unfair to the members of the committee.
    They are following the two most important rules of government:
    1. Do as I say, not as I do.
    2. Sh@t rolls downhill.

  7. I hear that Scott Lazo is interested in filling the vacancy. I hope that's true, and I hope they have the sense to wait and make him chairman. They need somebody else on that committee besides Dominko who knows what they are doing.

  8. Face reality Ken, you’re wasting your time.
    This bunch of self-righteous know-nothings is more interested in philosophical blather than real action. As you make painfully clear they have spent no time learning the fundamentals associated with their jobs. You only have to watch the painful video of their special meeting to see how they set an agenda that they are totally unprepared to discuss in any meaningful way.
    But to expect that they will mend their ways or admit their shortcomings is to expect them to publicly commit a capital offense against the very egos that drive them. They shed crocodile tears over the fate of our children while spending their time considering what will make themselves look good. That goal boils down to finding a target to blame rather than doing the hard work of finding a real way to improve things. “Let’s conduct another survey that shows how much we care about what the public thinks”, and “Let’s blame those greedy people in Quaboag for using tax money to lure our children to their superior performing district.”
    Just like the wacko birds in Washington, pointing out their shortcomings and foibles will only make them feel more isolated. And just like the nutjobs in D.C., that isolation will only strengthen their resolve that they are right and the world is wrong.


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