Friday, December 5, 2014

Southbridge School Committee Agenda - December 9, 2014

Southbridge School Committee Meeting

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

DATE: Tuesday, December 9, 2014

TIME: 7:00 PM

I. Welcome and Pledge of Allegiance

II. Presentations
            A. Student MCAS Awards
            B. John & Abigail Adams Scholars

III. Public Input* 

IV. Call to Order/Roll Call

V. Approval of Consent Agenda 
            A. Meeting Minutes
                        1. Regular School Committee-November 25, 2014
            B. Policy Second Readings
                        1. Policy BG-Policy Development, Adoption, Implementation and Review
                        2. Policy ADDA-Background Checks (revised)
                        3. Policy DJE-Bidding Requirements

VI. Chairperson’s Announcements

VII. Reports
            A. Representative of the Student Advisory Committee
            B. School Committee
                        1. Curriculum Subcommittee
                        2. Negotiations Subcommittee
                        3. Sped PAC Liaison
                        4. Policy Subcommittee
                        5. Superintendent Evaluation Ad-Hoc Subcommittee
            C. Finance Director
            D. Superintendent

VIII. School Committee Actions
            A. Declaration of Obsolete Desktop Computers as Salvage for the Purpose of Disposal                       through Recycling at a later date
            B. Establishment of a Finance Subcommittee for the 2014-2015 School Year

IX. Unfinished Business
            A. Structure and Content of Superintendent Report to School Committee

X. New Business
            A. The next regular School Committee meeting will be held on Tuesday, December 23,                       2014, at 7:00p.m. in Council Chambers.

 XI. Member Forum

 XII. Executive Session
            A. Pursuant to M.G.L. c. 30A, Section 21(a)(3), to discuss strategy with respect to                              collective bargaining (Service Employees’ International Union, Local 888).

 XIII. Open Session
            A. Discussion of positions contained in CBA with SEIU Local 888
            B. Adjournment

Items listed on the agenda are those items anticipated by the Chair that may be discussed at the meeting. Not all items on the agenda may be reached by the Committee, and other items may be added to the agenda at the discretion of the Chair or at the request of the Committee. In addition, the Committee atany time may go into executive session.

*School Committee Policy BEDH (October 2007), provides guidelines for public participation at School Committee meetings: “At the discretion of the chair, topics for discussion may be limited to those items listed on the School Committee meeting agenda for that evening; Improper conduct and remarks will not be allowed, and the chairman may terminate that individual’s privilege of address; All remarks will be addressed through the chairman of the meeting; The Committee will not hear complaints about school personnel nor against any member of the school community in public session.” 


  1. Too Little, Too LateDecember 5, 2014 at 4:03 PM

    Item VIII B. "Establishment of a Finance Subcommittee for the 2014-2015 School Year"

    Here we are two and a half years through the McLoughlin and Donovan debacle and they have decided to restore this essential subcommittee. $25 million dollar budget and the girls have not a clue how it has been formulated for the past three school years, or how to handle the complexities of such a budget. They obviously left such minutiae to their superhero Buzz the Magnificent. Ah, but Buzz slid out the back door a couple months ago without fanfare, after two years of destruction to our schools.

    After the $3.6 million dollar shortfall by the school committee a decade ago, I fear we are on a similar path. At least this time the members of the school committee can be charged criminally in the event of a budget shortfall.

    And now that we have the Gardner debacle taking shape, we can expect more extensive legal fees and an ultimate sizable payout to her. We just paid a former guidance counselor for her year and half off after a wrongful termination. The wrongfully terminated math specialist is about to win a similar settlement. Two former principals are awaiting their dates with the judicial system, certain to win sizable awards, etc. By the time these fools are done the Worcester law firm Mirik and O'Connell will be buying another high rise building compliments of the Southbridge taxpayers.

    So it sounds like a great idea to create a budget subcommittee. They can watch the committee piss away our tax dollars for anything but educational costs.

  2. Flick report not on agenda?

  3. Why a consent agenda, more transparency by the School Committee

  4. Watched the Curriculum Subcommittee meeting, no Superintendent present..why

    1. Was the director of Curriculum there? It is her job to set curriculum, not the superintendents. What makes school committee members think they know jack about curriculum? Thought school committee set policy and budget, not curriculum.

  5. School Committee appears to have been caught and now cant stand being accountable.

  6. Did you hear Abrahamson's diatribe during members forum? And his crew thought Lazo pontificated! OMG!

  7. How about those big city slickers pulling the wool over McLoughlin and company's eyes. Or did they know about this 5+ days off for 40+- school employees over the Christmas break.

    Some of those employees make over $2,000.00 per week. Do the math . . . about $100,000. in wasted spending by the girls. Was it pay back for political support during their campaigns? Was it stupidity? Was it indifference? What ever it was - it certainly wasn't the right thing to do for the community.

    Kudos to Councilor Carasco for bringing this to the taxpayers' attention.

  8. What a sideshow last night! Why didn't McLoughlin tell Quinney to just Shut Up! Also why didn't she make reference to the investigation that was just completed on Gardner? She needed to address the elephant in the room and just didn't step up. Who will be the next one gone? Garner or Earls and her assistant principals?

  9. I just took a look at the personnel roster at the school's central offuce and it seems to be much larger than I remember it. Does anybody have the facts on this? Were these positions ever approved by the School Committee?

    1. A review of all school committee minutes clearly concludes these not all current positions have been filled by a committee vote. I don't really think they know that they are required to. Or they don't want to shine light on the massive expansion of central office staff.

    2. I was curious about not just the filling of current positions but the creation of new positions. Certainly these would have required a committee vote and it seems that there are a lot of new ones with no votes ever having been taken.

    3. Just call the phone number at central office for a good laugh/cry regarding the amount of people that are working there. (508)764-5414. Not long ago, when you dialed this number, you received extensions for the superintendent's office, the business manager or special education office. Usually the superintendent answered the phone. WHAT HAPPENED? (Buzz Happened) This list goes on and on and on. This has just become ridiculous!!!.

  10. Can we get out of the lawsuits and teacher/ administrator contracts by filing for bankruptcy?

    1. A takeover by the state would eliminate all teacher/administrator/staff contracts. Pending lawsuits will still move forward; including the one that Gardner will certainly file at the end of the latest episode.

      However there is little chance of a state takeover. The state team will be presenting at the next school committee meeting. They will BS everyone stating that things are going great. It's certainly not true, but this is the song they'll be singing. They're justifying their existence and six figure salaries.

      The truth will unfold in 5 months. The fiscal shortfall will come to light. Gardner will be gone, so the committee will throw the entire blame on her (just as she has thrown the blame for everything wrong on the prior superintendents); the MCAS scores will come out in September and will absolutely be worse than this year's deplorable scores. The class of 2015 will be smaller than the 80+- graduates of 2014. The district enrollment will be less than the reported 1856 students this October. And on, and on.

      A state takeover would help us restructure the ballooned staffing issues, especially at central office. It would also end the outrageously generous union contracts that have been doled out over the past two years. From a financial standpoint, a state takeover is needed.

      However, is Southbridge so brain dead that we lack capable people within our ranks to get the job done? Does anyone here (other than the current school committee leadership) believe that all those folks from Springfield really care about Southbridge? I haven't seen ANY of these six figure folks moving to town. They care about their six figure salaries - period.

      Southbridge continues to look for a Messiah (the girls were sure that Buzz was such - wrong again). Southbridge continues to look for a quick fix, a silver bullet. Unfortunately it takes time and real effort to make systemic change. But as we have seen, it takes a very short amount of time and mismanagement to cause horrific systemic chaos and damage. This is glaringly evident in the colossal failures of the past two years under this school committee.

      Voting out Lauren McLoughlin and Kara Donovan will be a necessity to beginning the slow, difficult path to educational improvement in Southbridge.


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