Monday, June 16, 2014

Adding It Up – Part II

Ken O’Brien

So now we turn to candidates for Southbridge School Committee.

It certainly has been a record year for this group.

First of course we have the superintendent.

He came on board with much fanfare.

Then the local blogs (or should I say this blog) began digging into his past. We turned up a number of facts that, perhaps, should have been discovered by those who hired him in the first place. 

His response has been a relentless attack on this blog – while deciding to move on. Of course that too should come as no surprise. He did the same thing in Brockton, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family and then, six months later he was on to another job.

In the meantime he has also ranted about the state’s unemployment system while being repeatedly defeated by it. So we have that cost to bear. We also have more and more parents opting to send their children out of the district with the impact of those costs. Let’s face it, he’s cost us a bundle.

Nevertheless, the current School Committee saw fit to appoint his hand-picked successor. They actually had the audacity to claim that there was no such title as “interim superintendent”.

But now we come to the selection of those to appoint in light of this ongoing debacle.

The clearest choice is Raymond Page. He stands head and shoulders above the rest in terms of his balanced approach to education and the needs of our students.

The second choice is Scott Lazo. While I have been critical of him on some issues, he has nevertheless been a stalwart advocate for children. I stress that I do not agree with him on all matters, but on balance he belongs on the committee.

The final choice is Christopher Olivo. He initially started off as the selected candidate of those in charge. However, he has grown in the role. This was most obviously demonstrated in his objection to the appointment of Ms. Gardner as Superintendent. But it was also preceded by his objection to the abysmal treatment of the Guidance Department personnel. I say, give him a chance to grow some more. 

That last remark is especially telling in light of the remaining two candidates. Whether it is someone who has chosen to suddenly eliminate access to all the things that they have said in the past or someone who has blocked me from comments on her own site, they are clearly people who only want to hear those voices that support them. We’ve seen the consequence of those types.


  1. Go Charter School ProposalJune 17, 2014 at 6:00 PM

    Having attended several celebratory gatherings over the past few weeks, the conversation has seemed to end up with the state of our school system and it's rapid decline over the past 24 months. Many, many parents has disclosed that they are having trouble getting their children to even be put on waiting lists for consideration to neighboring school districts; never mind actually get accepted.

    What is a parent to do? Well until we can vote the current four women out of office are children are trapped. That's unfortunate, actually tragic. A family who bought a house in Southbridge, wanting a solid education for their children, are screwed.

    This situation paints a good picture of the need for a charter school in Southbridge. I understand that a group of former and current educators from the Southbridge Public Schools are meeting to formulate a proposal to the State Department of Education. Their proposal, when completed and presented, should receive careful examination from the DOE, and the community. But then again, the DOE has been overseeing the current dismal school system!

    There are potential facilities in several closed school buildings, fields on Dresser Street, a plethora of quality teachers locally, and a definite need a higher level of expectations for all stakeholders. These stakeholders include not only the students, but the parents, teachers and leaders of this school.

    I wish these patriots well in their quest to make the children of Southbridge as prepared for college as their peers in neighboring communities.

    1. where are these educators forming a charter school in Southbridge? I want to join them as a current educator.


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