Sunday, May 31, 2015

What If They Vote To Restructure?

Ken O’Brien

Despite an overwhelming turnout at the public hearing against the plan to restructure the Middle/High School, it appears that the School Committee is set to support the proposal.

Barring a last minute change of heart by a member of the majority a plan that was revised as recently as last Wednesday and the impact of which was still being discussed at a subcommittee meeting on Monday night will take effect on Wednesday. 

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Kill The Restructure Plan

We first reported on the restructure plan on May 22. If you go to the report now, it is dated May 27. Unfortunately we did not save a copy of the original file, so we do not know what changes have been made. However, what is clear is that this is still a work in progress. Reason enough to stop the insanity and delay any immediate action.

Budget And Finance Subcommittee Of The School Committee Agenda - June 1, 2015

Budget And Finance Subcommittee Meeting

Room M100 - 25 Cole Ave

June 1, 2015

6 PM


Friday, May 29, 2015

Telegram Article Elaborates On School Committee Actions

Ken O’Brien

In an article titled Southbridge school board takes on restructuring, council criticism, Worcester Telegram reporter Brian Lee addressed recent developments in the district.

The article states, “Speaking about various issues in the highly politicized school environment here, Mrs. McLoughlin confirmed that she took part in a conference call about the proposed restructuring with two senior associate commissioners at the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. One call was before Tuesday night’s public hearing, the other was Wednesday.
“But after viewing the proposal, and verifying that it contained substance, the DESE officials told her “to proceed in any manner as the district and School Committee sees fit,” Mrs. McLoughlin said Friday.” 

Southbridge School Committee Agenda - June 2, 2015

Southbrdige School Committee Meeting

MacKinnon Council Chambers

June 2, 2015

7 PM

This meeting is to complete the agenda started on May 27, 2015


Southbridge Town Council of the Whole Meeting - May 28, 2015

Look At The Timeline

Ken O’Brien

There appears to have been a hold put on the School District’s restructure plan as a result of input from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

But there remains the possibility that the proposal will still, somehow, receive the go ahead from the School Committee. The fact is that they have only a month left before the town election that could shift the balance of authority on that body. 

Southbridge School Committee Of The Whole Meeting - June 1, 2015

Committee Of The Whole Meeting

Room M100 - 25 Cole Ave

June 1, 2015

7 PM


Thursday, May 28, 2015

Do You Have A Copy Of The DESE Letter?

I have been told that the restructure plan was halted by a letter from the DESE to the School Committee. It was reported that this letter was passed around last evening. Could anyone in possession of this letter send me a copy at

Ken O'Brien

Southbridge School Committee Meeting - May 27, 2015

The first fourteen minutes of this video contain a concert by the Southbridge High School Jazz Rock Band.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Okay, We Listened – Now Go Away

Ken O’Brien

Two weeks after dropping matching stink bombs on the town, the School Committee got a sample of public opinion last night.

First, of course, they put the lie to their charade of holding a search for a new Superintendent. Having carried out the process with all the speed and devotion we might expect from the Chair’s pursuit of relection, the four member majority extended the contract of the Acting Superintendent for another year.

Not to be outdone as a symbol of mendacity and reprisal, the newly ensconced Acting Superintendent unveiled her deeply researched and thoroughly vetted plan to restructure the Middle/High School. 

Southbridge School Committee - Public Hearing on Proposed Restructure of SMHS - May 26, 2015

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Moriarty Comments On Restructure Proposal After Hearing

Following tonight's hearing on the proposed restructuring of  Southbridge Middle/High School, Town Council Chairman Shaun Moriarty issued the following statement;

I've offered numerous comments on the situations facing our public school district. I, along with most other members of the Town Council, allowed tonight's public hearing on the proposed school restructuring to be one for the general public, opting not to speak once more. I will say but a few things on the matter at this point and time.

Telegram Reports On Restructure Hearing

Under the title Southbridge school reorganization plan meets resistance, Telegram reporter Brian Lee summarized tonight’s meeting on the proposed restructure at Southbridge Middle/High School.

“The School Committee hosted a well-attended public hearing Tuesday on a proposed restructuring of the 3-year-old middle-high school that would eliminate 13 administrative positions and create 12 new ones in 2015-16, including the creation of principal jobs for both programs.
“Many people expressed that the proposal was being rushed and was perhaps politically motivated to target certain existing employees.” He reported.

He then went on to summarize the comments of a number of those present. 

Moriarty Provides “Blow By Blow” Of Hearing On Facebook

Town Councilor Shaun Moriarty The debate over the proposed restructuring ought not to be about any individuals or personalities, but rather process and what works for the students.

Six speakers into public hearing, one supports restructuring while five others oppose it. Opposition complains about administrative turnover over recent years, while applauding efforts of current administration team.

More updates to come. 

Southbridge Council's Committee Of The Whole Rescheduled

The Southbridge Town Council Committee of the Whole meeting originally scheduled for this evening has been rescheduled. It will now take place on Thursday at 6 PM.

Council Chairman Moriarty released the following statement on his Facebook page:
"In order for the Town Council to have a better understanding of key components of the School Department budget, and to allow citizens interested in the Town budget AND the proposed restructuring of Southbridge Middle/High School, the Council of the Whole meeting originally scheduled for this evening has been rescheduled.

One Third Of SMHS Students Chronically Absent

Ken O’Brien

Today’s Go Local Worcester contains an article titled “The 25 Central MA Schools with Worst Chronic Absentee Problem”.

The article observes that “According to the statistics from the 2013-2014 school year from the Department of Secondary and Elementary Education, the districts across the state that have the worst chronic absenteeism issues are Fall River (31.7 percent of students are chronically absent), Holyoke (29.4), Southbridge (27.8) and Boston (24.7).”

Chronic absenteeism refers to students that miss 10% or more of the school year.

It ranks the worst schools for chronic absenteeism in Central Massachusetts. In that report Southbridge Middle/High School ranked second in the region with a rate of 34%. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Don't Miss The Restructure Rally At 25 Cole Ave

The show starts at 7 PM Tuesday in the auditorium.
You'll be told the procedures after you get there.

Refresments will not be served

Southbridge Weekly Bulletin

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We hope you will share this bulletin with your friends in the community, and we invite your organization to get involved and use our publishing tools to get the word out about your upcoming events & activities!

Telegram Article Focuses On Bishop Candidacy

Ken O’Brien

The Worcester Telegram is reporting on former Southbridge High School Principal William Bishop’s candidacy for the School Committee in an article entitled “Fired principal running for school board in Southbridge” by Brian Lee.

The article states, “One month before opening the middle-high school on Torrey Road in 2012, then-high school Principal William K. Bishop was shown the exit, in a controversial, last-minute job elimination.
“Mr. Bishop, who had a year left on his contract and had expressed a desire to retire after fulfilling it, is now running for School Committee of the underperforming district in the June 30 election.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Countering The Coup

Ken O’Brien

Let us understand a fundamental notion of Parliamentary procedure.

That notion is the motion to rescind.

A motion to rescind takes a prior vote on a motion and makes it as though the vote had never occurred. The motion to rescind can take place at any time and applies to all but a few, limited cases.

Let us apply that notion to the current proposal to restructure the Middle/High School. 

Education Reformers Have It All Wrong: Accountability From Above Never works, Great Teaching Always Does

From Salon

Excerpted from “The Allure of Order: High Hopes, Dashed Expectations, and the Troubled Quest to Remake American Schooling” by Jal Mehta. Published by Oxford University Press

In late 2001, three months after the September 11 attacks, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) passed both House and Senate with strong bipartisan majorities and was signed by a Republican president. Promising to use the power of the state to ensure that all children were proficient in reading and math by 2014, proponents heralded the act as the greatest piece of federal education legislation since the creation of the original Elementary and Secondary Education Act in 1965. By requiring the states to set high standards, pairing them with assessments that measured whether students were achieving those standards, and holding schools accountable if students failed to do so, NCLB, in the eyes of its sponsors, would close achievement gaps and make America’s schools the envy of the world. 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Superintendent Releases Restructure Proposal

Ken O’Brien

The Southbridge Superintendent of Schools, Sheryl Stanton, today released a report on the planned restructuring of the Southbridge Middle/High School. 

The report runs 88 pages.

It can be found by clicking on this link: Southbridge Middle/High School Restructure Proposal

Southbridge Town Council Committee Of The Whole Agenda - May 26, 2015

Southbridge Town Council

Committee Of The Whole

MacKinnon Council Chambers

May 26, 2015

6 PM


Southbridge School Committee Agenda - May 27, 2015

Southbridge School Committee Meeting

MacKinnon Council Chambers

May 27, 2015

7 PM


The Restructure Question – And The Cost

Ken O’Brien

At Wednesday night’s meeting of the EHS subcommittee the vote was taken to adjourn thus recommending the budget approved at the prior meeting. The entire video of Wednesday's meeting is provided in the post below.

However, near the end of the meeting Town Manager Paicos addressed the issue of the proposed restructuring of the Middle/High School. In slightly more than two minutes he summarized the underlying logic of the proposal and the associated costs of that action.

Southbridge Town Council Education and Human Services Subcommittee Meeting - May 20, 2015

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Moriarty Comments On Restructure Hearing

Town Councilor Shaun Moriarty

I try not to fall into the trap of conspiracy theories and Machiavellian plots, but one can't help but wonder with the actions being taken.

After a very public and vocal call to action for delay in a rushed restructuring plan of Southbridge Middle/High School, the School Committee has scheduled a "Special Meeting" for Tuesday, May 26 at 7:00pm at the former Southbridge High School auditorium at 25 Cole Avenue. 

School Committee Schedules Hearing On Restructure Proposal

Public Hearing on the proposed restructure of Southbridge Middle/High School

Location: Auditorium - 25 Cole Ave

Date: May 26, 2015

Time: 7 PM

Colognesi Calls For Citizen Action

Council Chair Moriarty has released a statement by local community and business leader Terri Colognesi calling for a halt to the School Committee’s reorganization plan.

“A local leader — not an elected official but someone whose spirit and actions truly live up to the definition of a leader — has put out a call to action through a social media post. I was going to directly share that post, but wanted to ensure that privacy settings wouldn't prohibit any and all interested parties from seeing the posting. So, after consulting with her, I am posting a screen shot of the post and providing the copy of the text in the post.
I encourage any and all to rally to the cause.” Moriarty said in posting the statement.

Here is Ms. Colognesi’s post. 

Moriarty Releases "No Confidence" Letter

Town Council Chairman Shaun Moriarty has released a copy of the letter that body has voted for expressing its lack of confidence in the Southbridge School Committee.

TO: School Committee
FROM: Town Council
DATE: May 20, 2015
SUBJECT: Letter of No Confidence

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Stop The Lame Duck Quack-Up

Ken O’Brien

It seems clear that this town has had enough of the ineptitude of the majority running the school committee. If any further proof of that was needed it came in the vote by the Town Council expressing its lack of confidence in that board.

The problem remains, however, that prior to their departure the Chair and Vice-Chair seem intent on ramming through actions that will long outlast their remaining tenure.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Southbridge Town Council Meeting - May 18, 2015

This video is now complete.

Telegram Reports On No Confidence Vote

Ken O’Brien

Reporting that the “Town Council said it will send letters about the vote to the Massachusetts Association of School Committees, the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and acting school Superintendent Sheryl Stanton.” Brian Lee recounted last evening’s stunning turn of events.

He noted that, “The no confidence vote was approved 8-1. The council cited as its rationale a dissatisfaction with the school board’s decision last week to again delay the search for a superintendent, and a proposal by the schools to restructure the middle-high school with two principals, among other reasons. The middle-high school on Torrey Road now has a lone principal, and the restructuring will have budget implications late in the process, councilors said.”

Monday, May 18, 2015

Breaking News: Southbridge Town Council Votes "No Confidence" In School Committee

By a vote of eight to one the Southbridge Town Council voted no confidence in the Southbridge School Committee this evening.
Councilor Amelia Peloquin was the sole member to vote against the motion.    

More to come.

Southbridge Weekly Bulletin

Welcome to the Southbridge Weekly Bulletin from, your source for discovering the best local info & upcoming Things To Do activities around Southbridge.

We hope you will share this bulletin with your friends in the community, and we invite your organization to get involved and use our publishing tools to get the word out about your upcoming events & activities!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Why’d They Diss Bliss?

Ken O’Brien

Allow me to return for a moment to the issue of the recent action by the majority of the School Committee to extend the contract of Sheryl Stanton for another year.

At the time of the vote the Committee had an application in hand from Steven Bliss who had recently announced his departure from the position of Superintendent of the Dover-Sherborn school district.

Committee Vice-Chair Kara Donovan referred to any consideration of Mr. Bliss as changing the process for a person. Committee Chair Lauren McLouhglin stated that she believed Bliss had submitted his letter based upon inside information, which she found very concerning. 

Friday, May 15, 2015

Southbridge Town Council Agenda - May 18, 2015

Town Council Meeting

MacKinnon Council Chambers

May 18, 2015

7 PM


The Hypocrites’ Ball

Ken O’Brien

After slow-walking the superintendent search process the hit-and-run Chair of the School Committee and her sycophants decided that the Acting Superintendent’s contract should be extended and the selection of a permanent superintendent should be left to the incoming committee.

In a related matter, immediately following her contract extension, the newest one-year wonder presented a plan to reorganize the middle/high school. The (supposedly) carefully-crafted, extensively vetted plan had no associated job descriptions and no budgetary impact associated with it. 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Father Says Staff Member At Middle School Assaulted Son

Fox 25 News

A father says a staff member at a Southbridge school assaulted his son and then called him to apologize. FOX25 is working to get answers for that Southbridge father.

A staff member at Southbridge Middle/High School is involved in a DCF investigation and Thursday, FOX25 spoke with a father who says his son is at the center of that investigation. He told FOX25 that his 14-year-old special needs son is in the 7th grade and was assaulted by an assistant principal.

The Public Deserves A Response

Ken O’Brien

For the second time in two weeks citizen Steve Demers appeared to speak during Citizens Forum at the Town Council Meeting of May 5.

The appearance was as a follow-up to his appearance at the meeting of April 27th, and was in response to comments made by the Town Manager at the close of that meeting.

During his comments Mr. Demers apologized to any officers who may have been offended by his earlier remarks. However, his remarks indicated his feelings that his initial comments had basically been ignored. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Candidates For Southbridge Town Election

Ken O’Brien

The slate for the Southbridge Town Election is pretty well set. A couple of candidates had not returned their papers as of 2:30 this afternoon.

 However, the big news is confirmation that Lauren McLoughlin and Kara Donovan never even took out papers to run for re-election to the School Committee.

The candidates for office are as follows:

Southbridge Town Council Meeting - May 5, 2015

Monday, May 11, 2015

Southbridge Weekly Bulletin

Welcome to the Southbridge Weekly Bulletin from, your source for discovering the best local info & upcoming Things To Do activities around Southbridge.

We hope you will share this bulletin with your friends in the community, and we invite your organization to get involved and use our publishing tools to get the word out about your upcoming events & activities!

Monday, May 4, 2015

May The Fourth Be With You

Southbridge Weekly Bulletin

Welcome to the Southbridge Weekly Bulletin from, your source for discovering the best local info & upcoming Things To Do activities around Southbridge. 

We hope you will share this bulletin with your friends in the community, and we invite your organization to get involved and get the word out about your upcoming events & activities!

  • Book Club: And Then There Were None
    May 4, 2015 from 6:30pm to 7:30pm
    Southbridge, MA
  • Standardized Tests - Bastardized Mess

    Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

    American students face a ridiculous amount of testing. John Oliver explains how standardized tests impact school funding, the achievement gap, and how often kids are expected to throw up.

    Saturday, May 2, 2015

    Tour of the Southbridge Landfill April 29 2015

    A Film by Paul Zotos

    In conjunction with their MEPA application Casella sponsored a tour of the landfill on April 29. At that time they pointed out the various areas that would undergo site assignment as part of the proposal. Paul Zotos participated in the tour and made this video record.

    May Day Festival Cancelled

    May Day Festival Cancelled
    We regret that we had to cancel today's May Day event.
    We apologize for any inconvenience.
    Quinebaug Center for the Arts and Humanities

    Friday, May 1, 2015

    Sanders Promotes “Worker Cooperatives”

    Ken O’Brien

    As he promised, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) has launched his Presidential campaign with a focus on issues.

    Among the 12 platform planks that he published there are several traditional ideas such as rebuilding American infrastructure and guaranteeing health care to all. But the very last platform offers a genuinely fresh idea: boosting America's worker co-ops.

    The Sanders campaign writes:
    We need to develop new economic models to increase job creation and productivity. Instead of giving huge tax breaks to corporations which ship our jobs to China and other low-wage countries, we need to provide assistance to workers who want to purchase their own businesses by establishing worker-owned cooperatives. Study after study shows that when workers have an ownership stake in the businesses they work for, productivity goes up, absenteeism goes down and employees are much more satisfied with their jobs. 

    Southbridge Town Council Meeting Agenda - May 4, 2015

    Southbridge Town Council Meeting

    MacKinnon Council Chambers

    May 4, 2015

    7 PM