Thursday, May 21, 2015

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. 

I am appealing to friends, family and acquaintances who are residents of Southbridge. The Southbridge School Committee is contemplating restructuring the High School/Middle School at next week's meeting, which will be held next Wednesday, May 27th at 7 pm in the Town Council Chambers. They gave the Acting Superintendent a 1 year contract to provide "stability" while they hopefully conduct a search for an Experienced Superintendent. Today, the Assistant Principals were told that if the restructuring was to occur that they would lose their jobs as of June 30th and would need to reapply for the "restructured " positions. The principal was told that if the restructuring was passed that she would be immediately laid off.

There has been no stability at that school since they moved to the new building. A Number of you have moved your kids to other systems. It is time to take back the school system and to have the School Committee listen to the citizens of this town.

I am asking all of you to consider speaking at the Committee 's public forum which happens at the beginning of the meeting. You could say as little as "please vote against the restructuring. Our system needs stability." Or you could say more. It is time to show our dissatisfaction with the underperformance of the system, and the people who run it.

As taxpayers it hits us where it hurts. Lower values, harder to sell homes because people don't want to come here.

I love this town. I see lots of potential, but the schools have to get this right. It is all about the KIDS, not political agendas.

Please join me there next Wednesday. Large numbers will get the message across. And please Dress for Success! 

Thank you.


  1. Watch for Their Dubious ActionsMay 21, 2015 at 1:18 PM

    Well Mr. O'Brien here's a prediction fro tje same person who predicted this winter that McLoughlin would be pulling her children out of the district. Look back and see how you viewed that prediction.

    Well here's another prediction . . . Due to the huge gallery of individuals who actually care about the students anticipated to attend Wednesday night's meeting one of the four in the majority will be "excused" from the meeting. This will cause a 3-3 tie on the proposed middle/high school restructure. A "special " school committee meeting will be called at the old high school. No serious notice, no serious interest in public opinion, and most importantly, no TV. (Hopefully Mr. Bshop will bring his camera and tape the meeting as he has done with several meeting)

    But at the end of the day, the dead will get done.

    The only action left for the public is to ostracize these four in the majority, and seriously take recall actions against Quinney and Abrahmson.

    1. There are two ways of dealing with what you suggest.
      The first is that at any subsequent meeting the vote could only be reversed by a motion to rescind. If that motion is not announced at the preceding meeting or on the agenda it would require a two thirds vote to pass.
      The preferable method though would be (assuming your scenario takes place) for a member to immediately propose that a vote be taken to rescind the vote (not reconsider). That motion would also be defeated since it would require a two thirds vote to pass. This would also prevent the motion from being brought up again until a new committee is seated.

    2. It's all about the powerMay 21, 2015 at 2:32 PM

      Circle back to July, 2012 - 1st SC meeting for newbies LM & KD - they voted to extend Ely's contract w/o any kind of a 'review' / 'evaluation' - fortunately, that ultimately did not fly
      However, the wheels were already in motion for a vote to go from a conjoined building w/2 principals and support staff as it was designed - to a 1building /1 principal set up - do you remember his 'when I stand at the end of the driveway and look back, I see one building"
      Ely spent his days in July dropping hints @ his confidence that when the vote was taken to do just that at the next SC - it would go his way - and so it went - 30 days before the start of school - and the justification (stated by Ms McLaughlin) was that the previous SC had only tabled the issue and had not voted Yea or Nay....
      And so...a new principal (w/questionable credentials - and absolutley NO EXPERIANCE as a building asst principal or principal) was APPOINTED -no job postings internal or external, no vetting - it was a done deal
      The search for a super should have been initiated when the fabulous Buzz rode into town (I will admit, I drank the KoolAid and thought he would get things on the right track!) HA! - he 'appointed' everybody that was willing to do his bidding....including Gardner and Stanton....his actions (rubberstamped by the SC every step of the way) have led to the school dept circuling the drain....
      Now - here we are in the 11th hour again - and they want to changeback to the original set up of 2 principals - a parting shot if you will....
      I agree that this is a done deal - tho I was actually leaning towards their arrogance in making the decision Wed nite (no matter how many people are protesting, no matter how fiscally irresponsible it is - SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY CAN
      However, the prediction of the previous commenter, that it will be ultimately done at a 'special meeting' is certainly in keeping with the sneakiness of many of their actions all along.

  2. Rules, What Rules!May 21, 2015 at 3:06 PM

    Me. O'Brien,
    Do you think these four arrogant destroyers care about the rules of law? They don't even care about the rules of decency!

  3. Since it was supposed to be two schools with two principals, and the proposal now is to actually correct that mistake in making it two schools with two principals , why is everyone appear to be so upset?
    Does it really matter how we got here if it was the correct thing to do from day one?
    Put the politics aside, put the politic fractions aside, Put the SC egos and dysfunction aside and stand for the correction that these two distinctly different schools need.
    Seriously, I'm all for it!

    1. I'm not opposed to the two principal plan. What I object to is the haste with which it was assembled to serve solely as a means of getting rid of the SMHS principal Ms. Earls.

    2. What's the hurry?May 21, 2015 at 3:55 PM

      'Just Do It' - is what they have been 'just doing' all along - no thought to the $$$ ramifications - contractual ramifications - never mind the continuing instability - pls understand that by Ms Stanton continuing for one more year (while she finishes her PhD) - the justification for not searching till after the new SC is seated - means that we will continue in the cycle of the current superintendant - 'selecting' new principals, asst principals - should not the NEW superintendant - one hopefully, with experience (especially w/budgets etc) be the one to guide the school system in that direction and look for building principals /asst principals?? Maybe, one principal or 2 - they need to be the right fit.....

    3. Okay, with the plan but you buy into the conspiracy story of getting rid of Ms. Earls lets discuss that.
      What makes you so sure she is being gunned down here?
      Where is the proof?
      Maybe there is action of complicit behavior worthy of her departure regarding the MCAS signature debacle. ultimately we don't know either way.
      (but the watergate type of purge rumors are indeed out there. )

      Even if you are right the battle cry here has been do a search and let Stanton apply for the position. So, then whats good for the goose is good for the goose in this case. Let them all reapply and Ms Earls included. The cream will rise to the top as they say.

      I see this call to action as more political fodder. Well deserved mind you but political fodder just the same. By calling for an action without knowing any details. Honestly it seems so premature and petty with the latest Southbridge politic pawn being used as the mouth piece.

      What the SC needs to do is be transparent and educate the masses on the need, the financial position swaps to offset any increased costs and provide a full explanation of this decision.

      Without knowing the details of the above any one going to speak out at this meeting is simply curiously concerned and a rebel without an informed cause.

      If the details which will hopefully be provided in this meeting don't meet your standards then and only then should a call to action be made. Alternatively,
      I think those planning to speak out should ask for citizen input to be moved to after the plan presentation (once on the agenda.) Otherwise they will have to wait two weeks and the plan will be implemented by then.

      There is nothing wrong with demanding answers. Revolting before knowing the who what where and why is politically silly.

    4. They're after EarlsMay 21, 2015 at 7:15 PM

      As far as proof that this is a vendetta, yesterday Mr. Cacace was told that when his contract expires at the end of June that he'd have to re-apply for the position. Interestingly enough he was the one who Gardner told to falsify paperwork and he refused.

    5. Interestingly enoughMay 22, 2015 at 1:07 AM

      Thats not proof of a vendetta since all Assistant Principals have to re-apply for the position or the new ones coming forward.
      However, during the interview perhaps Mr. Cacace could answer why he remained quiet when Gardner was going after former principal Amy Allen during the MCAS scandal? Seems like Cacace has a Duke or at least an Earl protecting him. There is more to this story than was told to the public. Instead we are left with mystery to solve and like always the butler did it except the evidence magically disappeared.
      Mr Cacace is all your signed MCAS test filing in order?


    6. Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Colognesi Calls For Citizen Action":

      I think the first step to resolving all this is to collect as much information as possible. This should begin with release of the independent investigation report. Gardner in open session waived her right to executive session on the matter and ask that it be heard in open forum. That should therefore justify release of the report. I believe the Attorney General should be requested to review the matter.

      It is my belief that information in this report would demonstrate that Mr Cacace and Ms. Earls did support Amy Allen in such that they refused to be manipulated into false testimony. My understanding of events is that Gardner was attempting to deflect blame onto Amy Allen for the MCAS fiasco and Anthony was being bullied into false testimony against Amy.

      As the current administration is under gag orders, and closely obeys these we as the public are left with questions. Speculation which is slanderous in nature will not help our town.

      I feel for the professionals who conduct themselves with such decorum as to be repeatedly attacked with no allowance for defense. I support our principals with principles.

    7. Let's act like big boys & girlsMay 22, 2015 at 2:56 PM

      I too support our principals w/principles - and the staff as well - they have been trying to do their jobs and teach our children under the most horrible stress - this has pitted staff against staff - fearful that even if seen talking to former staff on the outside - in their private lives - will result in retribution. Great team building! Sooo sad...

  4. What happened to 'Kids First'?May 21, 2015 at 3:59 PM

    Too bad no one objected to the haste 3 years ago

  5. Don’t lose sight of the fact of what’s coming in the June election. Torres and Ortiz are being backed by the same group that supported McLoughlin and Donovan. On the other hand you’ve got Lazo and Bishop who are, well, Lazo and Bishop.

    1. To: the follow upMay 21, 2015 at 4:38 PM

      So the only true independent candidate is Shaw?
      I don't know anything about him but as an independent rather than a team I hope he wins to break up these team concepts that quickly make up a majority.
      It's suppose to be a true committee not just a majority of a committee.

    2. Bishop & LazoMay 22, 2015 at 11:33 AM

      Mr. Bishop was principal and Mr Lazo was on school committee when I moved my children out of the district.

    3. Damned straight. REMEMBER, the downfall of the district all started with those two.

    4. I remember it this wayMay 22, 2015 at 1:58 PM

      REMEMBER - Mr Bishop - and his hard working staff brought the High School from a Level 3 to a Level 1 - verified by the state just prior to the opening of the new school - that didn't happen overnite

      REMEMBER - there were 88 School Choice students returning to the new school in September, 2012

      REMEMBER - the change from 2 principals to 1 principal (w/no experience)- and elimination of all programs that brought the HS to Level 1 - happened 30 days prior to the opening - courtesy of Mr Ely & his helpers on the SC (that did not include Mr Lazo)

    5. To: the follow upMay 22, 2015 at 2:26 PM

      Mr Shaw is not as 'independant' as you are being led to believe - as a former teacher - he is aligned w/the Abrahamson/Quinney camp....

  6. WOW! The EVEL QUARTET has moved the Wednesday night meeting to Tuesday night! There is a town council meeting on Tuesday!
    Where? You have to be kidding me!
    No TV.

    1. they've scheduled a hearing on the restructuring proposal for tuesday night.

  7. I would applaud Mrs. Colognesi for her admirable stand, but not when all she is doing is bidding of her friend to save her job. Maybe if Melissa Earls did her job and not F off she wouldn't have any to worry about.

  8. This is the problem with Southbridge. Everyone is out to protect their "friend" - NO ONE is putting the student or the community first. Personal relationships in the system has been one of the biggest downfalls. I am no fan of Ms. Earls. I spoke to her at the beginning of the year regarding over 40 students in one of my daughters classes and 35 in another. She spoke to me so rudely and disrespectfully. I was so put off that I avoid that school like the plague now. On my June ballot, I am writing in "STATE TAKEOVER". I invite others to join me.


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