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.

My opposition to the proposal is not some sort of belief that the current structure is fundamentally the best option. I have concerns with alterations to the athletic director's position, have questions and concerns about the ISS positions, and the delineation of various other duties. Ultimately, this is the purview of the School Committee, not the Town Council, and I respect that. I do not, however, believe that anyone — resident, parent, Town Councilor, or otherwise — is prohibited from having and sharing those concerns or asking their questions.

My opposition to the proposal is that it appears to be rushed for whatever reason. I readily admit and recognize that these sorts of plans are often hashed out and worked on for some time before becoming public, but it is hard to believe that is the case in this situation due to it not being reflected in any way in the first couple versions of the school department's proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year. I believe that the restructuring is too dramatic a change to put together in the matter of 8-12 weeks. I believe the restructuring should take place only after this fall's NEASC self-study and DESE evaluative study are able to shed some light on the progress of the current administrative structure. Let DESE do its job, make its recommendations, and then, over the course of the winter and next spring, and into next summer if needed, implement any needed restructuring of the administration. Let's not have a knee-jerk reaction to anything, let's not rush into anything, let's not push something through. I may support a thorough and deliberate restructuring process, but cannot support a rush-structuring.

My opposition to the proposal is not to preserve the job of any particular administrator(s) currently employed, but I do disagree with the assertion that there is no alternative to forcing currently employed and contracted employees to re-apply for positions rather than simply altering job descriptions and hiring alternative or additional positions, such as a middle school principal. I am not in the building, and there are always two sides to every story, but far too many people I respect and know not to be the type that speaks for the sake of speaking, who are in the school or have a child in the school, that the culture and atmosphere is the best its been in some time. That there is greater accountability than in recent years. The current administration, from the accounts of those who have direct knowledge and of whom I largely trust, is pretty well respected and liked by the great majority of students, parents, and faculty members. I've heard from but two other individuals who have offered differing points of view.

Lastly, I pledge, assuming I am serving on the next Town Council, that a forced restructuring will result in any sort of retaliatory act by voting to reduce the school budget to the minimum net school spending figure. I won't support any such call or threat or intimidation. Punishing the students is not the way to respond to a difference of opinion amongst adults. Anything to the contrary, offered or threatened, is inappropriate, foolish and spiteful.


  1. subject to receivership with or without noticeMay 27, 2015 at 12:46 AM

    MCAS scores didn't improve the state took notice.
    Taxes weren't levied the state took notice.
    The town council and school committee bickered and yup the state took notice.
    The town council took a vote of no confidence on the school committee and the state clearly took notice and knew with in twelve hours of that vote.

    By waiting for the fall when the state review will be done the STATE WILL BE THE ONE GIVING NOTICE OF A TAKEOVER.

    The state will be giving notice of higher tax rates up to the full tax levy limit negating this recent tax action vote of the council.
    The state will be giving notice to the town council and the school committee that neither is really in charge anymore because they have taken the town over in receivership.

    That said I agree with the chairman's very last point and give him six months before the state comes in to try and implement that.

    1. I keep hearing all this talk of tax increases if we go into receivership.

      Does anybody know if a state receiver is able to exceed the provisions of net school spending under the Educational Reform Act?

    2. Chapter 69 Section 1K(k) of MGL states: If a municipality has failed to fulfill its fiscal responsibilities pursuant to chapter 70, the commissioner may declare the school district as chronically underperforming, subject to the approval of the board. The municipality’s mayor or chairman of the board of selectmen shall have the opportunity to present evidence to the board. A vote by the board that a school district is chronically underperforming for fiscal reasons shall authorize the commissioner to petition the commissioner of revenue to require an increase in funds for the school district, alleging that the amount necessary in the municipality for the support of public schools has not been included in the annual budget appropriations. The commissioner of revenue shall determine the amount of any deficiency pursuant to the sums required pursuant to chapter 70, if any, and issue an order compelling the municipality to provide a sum of money equal to such deficiency. If the municipality does not provide a sum of money equal to such deficiency, the commissioner of revenue, pursuant to section 23 of chapter 59, shall not approve the tax rate of the municipality for the fiscal year until the deficiency is alleviated. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed as creating a cause of action for educational malpractice by students or their parents, guardians or persons acting as parents.

      I do not see anything in the law that would allow the state receiver to mandate a school budget that exceeded the requirements of net school spending under the provisions of the Education Reform Act.

    3. More $$$ for Lawyers and UnemploymentMay 27, 2015 at 8:03 AM

      It's not a lack of funds that are killing our schools, it's how those funds are being spent. Lawyers and unemployment are GIANT, needless costs. Not since the school committee overspent 3.6 million dollars has so much money been wasted. So get ready for massive more dollars wasted on lawyers and unemployment if this plan goes forward.

  2. write in ClemenceMay 27, 2015 at 6:40 AM

    Moriarty is running for re-election, yet he risks ticking ppl off by taking a stand. You got to admire that.

    A few years back, the full force of the Clemence machine worked hard to elect the current SC leadership, but Denise is silent on the subject.

    Denise created the SC mess, so I am writing her name in so she can try to clean it up.some might think her cousins Monique's motion of no confidence mitigated their involvement but it is two dimensional political posturing in a three do.ensional world.
    In this town, the Wizard behind the curtain and the wicked witch are one in the same. I am sick of their game.

    Manna had the nerve at the last Council meeting to deny their support for Ely even though the night he was appointed, Manna and the Clemence Clan were demonstrating in favor of Ely over Bishop.

    The focus might be the SC right now, but the problem is on the Council, and as she hopes to be re-elected, and since her greatest influence outside the Industrial Park Road is the current school committee leadership, I am voting for her for SC so she might have a chance to clean up her mess.


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