Thursday, March 15, 2018

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Narragansett Regional School Committee forms a District Re-Organization Advisory Committee. One purpose of this committee will be to help guide the administrative team and school committee shape a vision for the future of the NRHS district.

Within this letter, which was distributed through the Town office, as was explained to me. The school committee wished the committee to be made up as follows;

1 school committee representative from each district town (Templeton & Phillipston)
1 select board member from each town
1 community member from each town
1 teacher from each school (5)
1 UFCW member from each unit (cafeteria, secretary, paraprofessional)
1 member from each town's Advisory/Finance committee
Town Administrator or equivalent from each town.

Here in lies my concern; Templeton Advisory Committee did not receive the invitation/notification; not a phone call, no email, no letter, which would or should have come by way of town hall, as in the board of selectmen's office. I found out by way of a newspaper article and then contacted the school district.
There was a deadline of sorts within the original letter; December 11, 2017.

My conclusion is this was a deliberate move to leave Advisory Committee out of the loop and make it appear Advisory did not care or was not paying attention. ( I suppose it could have been a lapse because of the holidays approaching ) :) I draw this conclusion based on past actions by the current town administrator and board of selectmen. Games, plain and simple, as in those calls for resignation and bogus open meeting law violations, which after much bluster and newspaper coverage, never went anywhere. The responses from the Advisory Committee were never appealed to the attorney general's office. Selectmen Fortes stated at a recorded meeting "that we have to be the adults here." - Then he posts a tweet of himself doing a face first plunge into a swimming pool with a beer in hand, now that is an adult!

I was at the BOS meeting when mention of the creation of this district committee was stated and that the district was looking for a member of the board of selectmen to serve on it, no mention of Advisory Committee, even as I sat there at that meeting. Sorry boys and girls, I am now on that committee! I thank the Narragansett School district Committee and the superintendent of school.
No Name,

The discussion about labor negotiations which I am also the representative for (for both boards of selectmen) is not the same. The labor negotiations is a subcommittee (I believe) to do collective bargaining. The BoS representative as stated by statute is allowed to sit in on executive session and has a responsibility to inform both boards of actions that are not publicly disclosed until after the negotiations have taken place or so was explained to me thus far. This reorganization committees, which is another committee that I am a part of, is a committee made up to determine how the new school system will function. For example, grade 5 has the possibility to be moved out of the Middle School and into Templeton Center which also means that Phillipston would need to receive 5th grade students as well. This isn't nearly as simple as it sounds because it could raise all sorts of potential issues such as busing, equal education opportunities, staffing, etc that wouldn't be seen by the School Committee alone. So they formed an advisory committee that was made up from equal members from both towns to explore the financial and political impact of reorganizing the districts to make sure they are agreeable to both communities before being placed into action.

Hope that answers your questions and always feel free to email me with any questions or message me on Facebook and I would be happy to supply any documentation that you need, answer any questions, or point you to subject matter experts.

Respectfully yours,
Cameron Fortes

No Name & Anon,

To my understanding the District Re-org committee is an advisory committee to the School Committee and the School Admins. Attached is a link when we established it. There is a letter in the packet from the School Committee of its charge and purpose.

Cameron Fortes
So, who is the we and they? Which was it, school committee forming the reorganization committee or was it the selectmen forming it?
Since the reorganization committee will be reporting to the school committee, I think the answer is plain.
And no, I do not worry about getting labeled inappropriately. Perhaps I have my stone tablets mixed up. Did they have stone tablets in the stone age? Might have to jump into the time machine and go find out. Now, is who on first base or is he pitching?

Checked in with the Assessors office today to inquire what $1.00 on tax rate raises:

$622,843.00, so an override to cover school and ALS funding increases (proposed so far), it will be a bit over $1.00 on the tax rate. There is a police station project to get funded and the new school is scheduled to open in the fall of 2019. So expect the worse case and hope for some other options to materialize.

Nancy Tuckerman of the Amy Vanderbilt Complete Book of Etiquette writes that in the USA, unlike the UK, a boy can be addressed as master only until age 12, then is addressed only by his name with no title until he turns 18, when he takes the title of Mr.,[3]:662 although it is not improper to use Mr. if he is slightly younger. Robert Hickey, deputy director of the Protocol School of Washington, states that "use of Master [as] an honorific when addressing boys is considered old fashioned outside of conservative circles.
Since I am both old fashioned and conservative in some things, as in I still write checks and opt to receive bills through the mail (sometimes called snail mail) and I pay bills in person with the bill in hand and ask for a paper receipt. I also do not think the term master was around in the stone age. 
Certainly Master Fortes must be in charge of something.
Is it master or mister? Titles, honorifics, and other designations can be difficult to remember, especially for non-native speakers.
  • Mister is a title for an adult male.
  • Master is a title for a minor male, or someone who is in charge of something.
School District reorganization committee meeting scheduled for Monday, March 26, 2018 at 4:30 PM at the central office - a pubic meeting. You should attend,

The last meeting, Templeton Town Administrator was there but no Templeton selectmen, which again brings the question; why put selectmen on committees when they generally do not show up?

This committee is basically charged with making recommendations to the school committee about how to arrange the classes in the two elementary schools, new Templeton elementary school and Phillipston memorial school. The March 26 meeting is the date when the committee is suppose to formalize ideas to present to the school committee. The is a member of the school committee on this committee. One idea is to have k - 5 in both schools with pre-k in Templeton.

It is also my understanding that the school committee is under no obligation to use any ideas or recommendations the reorganization committee puts forth.

Ideas include a plan A and plan B:

One being K thru 5 in Phillipston and pre-K through 5 in Templeton and the other being all grade 1 through five in Templeton Center and all pre-K and K in Phillipston but nothing has really been discussed at length or voted as a recommendation yet, that is suppose to happen on the 26th of March.

I do not and did not "miss" anyone, merely passing on the record of Templeton selectmen in attendance of this particular committee; 4 meetings held and a Templeton selectmen has shown up for one meeting. For the record, I missed one meeting.

Also, with regards to equal education, what ever is offered at one elementary school has to be offered at the other school, for instance, a music teacher, art teacher, technology and health teacher has to be offered and available at both schools. Placing of students is really quite simple, Templeton students at Templeton school and Phillipston students at the Phillipston school. One subject discussed was would students in the new school have an unfair advantage over Phillipston students because they have a new building with better facilities such as class rooms with bathrooms in them. Busing is an issue because of the number of buses and the distance to be covered in both towns. How many runs to get all students to their school on time.

Again, final say is up to the school committee.
from the Associated Press:
Increase in state minimum wage? Sales tax reduction?
MSBA gets funding from sales tax. These potential state ballot question bear watching.
BOSTON — The election is 10 months off, but already committees supporting and opposing questions on the November ballot have raised more than $2.4 million.
By far the most money has come from labor unions, including the Massachusetts Nurses Association, which backs a proposal calling for strict nurse-to-patient ratios in hospitals, and the Service Employees International Union and other labor unions that are backing three questions, including one that would gradually raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour.
If past is prologue, those fundraising numbers will continue to soar between now and Election Day.
The group that raised the most last year, the Committee to Ensure Safe Patient Care, relied heavily on union money.
The group is pushing the question that would require nurse-to-patient ratios and has raised nearly all of the $1,051,300 it pulled in last year from the Massachusetts Nurses Association.
The group says the question would increase patient safety by setting a maximum limit on the number of patients assigned to a nurse at any one time.
An organization opposed to the question, the Coalition to Protect Patient Safety, raised a single $10,000 donation last year from the Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association, which says the question will drive up costs.
The group that has raised the next highest amount during 2017 was Raise Up Massachusetts, which brought in $511,441. The group supports the minimum-wage question and a question that would help guarantee paid family and medical leave for workers.
It also backs a proposed constitutional amendment dubbed the “millionaire tax” that would impose a 4 percent surtax, on top of the state’s regular income tax, on any portion of an individual’s annual income that exceeds $1 million.
Much of that group’s money also came from organized labor, including the Service Employees International Union, the Massachusetts AFL-CIO and other unions, including the Massachusetts Teachers Association and the National Association of Government Employees. The group has also pulled in $110,000 from the Sixteen Thirty Fund, a Washington DC-based advocacy group.
Another group that raised a hefty sum in 2017, Freedom for All Massachusetts, is hoping to persuade voters not to repeal a 2016 state law barring discrimination on the basis of gender identity in public accommodations. The law allows transgender people to use bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond to their gender identities.
Freedom for All Massachusetts reported collecting $356,805 in 2017 and also relied in part on union money with a Service Employees International Union political action committee contributing $100,000. The American Civil Liberties Union, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, and the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ advocacy group, also contributed to the group.
Keep Massachusetts Safe, the group pushing for the repeal of the 2016 law, reported raising $13,368 in 2017. The money came entirely from individual Massachusetts residents.
In some cases no groups have yet formed on the opposite side of an issue.
A group supporting a question that would lower the tax from 6.25 percent to 5 percent, the Massachusetts Main Street Fairness Coalition, reported collecting $326,750 in 2017, virtually all of it from the Retailers Association of Massachusetts. The question would also require the state to designate a weekend in August of each year as a sales-tax free weekend for most items.
No group has filed papers with the state Office of Campaign and Political finance to oppose the question. The office also reports that no groups have filed in opposition to the minimum wage, family leave or millionaire tax questions.

Another question with no organized opposition yet would support an effort to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. The group backing the question, People Govern, Not Money, reported raising more than $108,000, much of it in small dollar amounts.
It’s likely that spending on ballot questions will jump in coming months.
Overall spending by both sides of a single ballot question in 2016 that would have let Massachusetts add up to a dozen new or expanded charter schools annually outside of existing caps topped $43 million. The question failed.
While there are limits on the amount of money individuals can contribute to political candidates, there is no limit to donations to ballot question committees.