Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Public Deserves An Answer

Ken O’Brien

On Sunday morning we posted a column titled “More Confusion”.

In that article we reported on credible claims that students who had failed the 10th Grade MCAS in 2013 had in fact been retested. If true, such claims directly contradict the announcement made at Tuesday night’s School Committee meeting by the District’s Superintendent.

In addition we reported on rumors that the consultant’s contract with former schools’ Superintendent, Basan Nembirkow, had been terminated. 

It’s now been two business days since these reports. It’s been a week since the Superintendent’s announcement.

So far we have heard nothing from the Superintendent or the School Committee.

These are not matters of some small consequence. These are not unfounded claims without substance. Either they are true or they are not.

They deserve a response. What is not needed is another week’s delay while the District leadership engages in damage control and attempts to concoct a plausible explanation. If the retests were given then we need an explanation as to what monumental breakdown in communications led to the initial announcement. If they were not given, then the public should be assured of that fact and that the District is working to rectify the matter. We are, after all, paying the bills for this ongoing disaster.

We are also paying for the sweetheart contract with a former Superintendent whose failures have only been amplified by these most recent developments.

This School Committee has a well-earned reputation for lacking transparency.

They have ample tools at their disposal, not the least of which are the town’s and the department’s own websites. 

Confirm or deny. Don’t perpetuate further rumors. That is the least that you can do – the very least.


  1. Ray Page should speak outSeptember 30, 2014 at 4:23 PM

    It has been clear that the only person on this School Committee who has a mind of their own is Mr. Ray Page. His questions have been very deliberate and to the point. It is time for him to break ranks and speak out. Teamwork has its limits, and those limits are reached when the students, the faculty and the public are getting screwed.

    1. Dr. Page is the only member of tjis committee left that I trust. What do you know? Tell us please.

  2. Stop Hurting Our ChildrenSeptember 30, 2014 at 4:58 PM

    You can't help but notice that the silence is deafening; not only from the school department, but also from the town council and the State Department of Education.

    Checks and balances folks? Only checks going out from this school committee. We are looking at millions of dollars in the past two years for poor decisions. Time to cut our losses, have the State take over. This will allow for all contracts to be voided with the unions, bring in real administrators, and perhaps help restore a measure of confidence from students/parents that they certainly lost at this point.

    I can't figure out McLoughlin and her band of fools just don't do the right thing and resign. Do they really thing they're making our district better? Can they really be so blind?

    When Tarrantino and Laliberte blew 3.6 million dollars more than the town appropriated they hit the road before the size of that loss was fully recognized.

    What will it take for these four women to get out? A recall is not practical for all four because of the nearness to the end of McLoughlin and Donovan's term. But we can recall Quinney and Congdon.

    It's time to stop hurting our children.

  3. Does anybody have any idea how many years it will take to undo the damage that these people have done?

  4. I'm sure our school system will be a featured player in the town's bicentennial, right?

    1. Going Broke in SouthbridgeSeptember 30, 2014 at 5:33 PM

      We made be in total bancruptsy by the time 2016 gets here. Still waiting for several law suits and arbitration awards to be paid out. We might as rename the town Mirik & O'Connelville

  5. Do you possibly mean O'Connor Ville? Because that is MY attorney's name. Please feel free to compare the 2013 8th grade scores to the 2012 7th grade scores.

  6. It appears that there is a lack of hard information on these subjects. From what I hear, Buzz is still on the payroll though some members of the SC and the Admin rather he wasn't. Apparently he won't let go. As for the testing issue there is confusion a lot of which is definitional.

    1. And therein lies the problem - we are unable to get any hard information on any subject - and the credibility of any info coming from Administration or the SC is shot - so what little info does come out is suspect. What a shameful debacle.

      Are we here on this blog the only ones aware of this??? What about the parents of the 38 or maybe more that were/are affected? Their kids are seniors - geez - did they take the retests - or didn't they; I don't do FaceBook but I can't believe that there has not been some chatter about this there.

      Is everyone under the Cone - eh - Code of Silence??!!?!?!?!?

    2. This is typical of what happens in this town. Something becomes the hot topic for two or three days and then people forget about it. The problem has only gotten worse with the demise of the local paper and the fact that the T&G only reports on the headlines and ignores the details.
      As a result those in positions of influence have learned that they can ignore such matters because they will go away in a week. When election time comes few care to be bothered with dealing with the real problems of governing and so we are left with the old timers or newcomers who want to make a name for themselves of their business,
      Most people don't care and only take an interest at election time when they are swayed more by friends and families of incumbents unless they get caught up in a sudden wave for change. That usually leads to situations like the one we have now. And the average person just doesn't care or fears the result of drawing attention to themselves.

  7. If we really want answers we should show up tonight at 6:30 at 25 Cole Ave for the meeting of the Policy subcommittee.

    1. Policy Subcommittee? They don't follow the ones they have now!
      Stop wasting everyone's time.

  8. Channel 4 Looking for AnswersOctober 2, 2014 at 11:33 AM

    To the Parents and Students of the 39 Students Hurt by This Gaff,

    Joe Shortsleeve of Boston television station Channel 4 contacted me yesterday regarding this situation. Joe is a lead investigator with the stations I Team Unit. He is well aware of the current situation and would like to talk with some of the students/parents that were impacted by this failure.

    Please contact Mr. Shortsleeve directly at: jmshortsleeve@wbztv.com He is a very nice man and does a great job. He makes you very comfortable when talking with him.


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