School Roulette

01Feb11

Who's the unlucky winner?

The Long Range Planning Committee is having their final meeting on February 7th, concerned parents and residents should show up and voice their opinions. Here’s a hint: when a school is closed in your neighborhood, guess who’s actual property value goes down.

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201 Responses to “School Roulette”

  1. 1 athena856

    I would like to put the spotlight on education here in the Town of Stratford. The recently formed Long Range Planning Committee and the Board of Education are once again, discussing closing a school. So far, it appears that Franklin School is the one slated for closure. To me, this is reprehensible. Not only is Franklin the oldest school in our district (they just celebrated 100 years), but it will be the third school in the south end to be closed. The constant closing of schools in areas heavily populated by minorities and working-class citizens seems to be prejudicial at best. These children will be displaced and distressed, reminding us all of the weeping that occurred when Center School was closed.

    The age of the school also makes it an institution in the town, and as it is not in disrepair due to this age, it seems unfair to make this count so heavily against the school.

    Also, the closing of any schools in the district will negatively affect all students, as it will lead to fewer teachers and larger class sizes, which will in turn lower the amount of individual attention and the quality of education received by all students. Closing a school is such a disruptive event for the entire system that it should be a last resort after all other possible options are exhausted. The fact that Center school was closed only a few years ago and this issue has once again surfaced, points toward a lack of proper planning and poor management.

    I wonder when the other costs aside from running a building will be taken into consideration. Students who no longer feel that school is a stable environment may not perform as well. Where do new curricula and various other systems come into play? Some schools have ties with the communities in which volunteers come in and read to children. In discussing a K-2, 3-5 model, these issues seemed to be of concern to the Committee, but not when it applies to closing a school. Children feel very attached to the school they attend – evidenced by the way they frequently refer to it as “my school.” Although the necessity of making the budget work is important, one wonders if there is not another possible solution, one that will not lead to massive disruptions in the lives and education of all of the children of the town.

  2. 2 jezebel282

    Athena,

    Excellent post. (Nice avatar too). Apparently the BOE has been told that no increase in the budget will be tolerated and that neither the Council nor the mayor would reconsider it. That still leaves the BOE to confront a multimillion dollar increase in health premiums.

    Cutting seems to be the only option under discussion by anyone. As schools close, property values decrease and taxes continue to increase people will begin to move. A family would rather take a loss and sell their home rather than see their child(ren) bussed further and further from home. Remember, closing a school is a cut to the budget that may or may not equal the rise in the totally out of control health insurance premiums in the coming years.

    Usually, I get dinner and drinks when someone intends to do what Connecticare is doing to us.

  3. 3 pcsperling

    One of the most important things that Norm Aldrich seems to have missed is that there hasn’t been a school built in Stratford since 1970. We need to have younger families move to Stratford and make a home here and building a new school will certainly do that. Bridgeport has two (maybe more) brand spanking new schools – one on North Avenue (on the property of the old Chestnut Gardens); and the other on the East Side (on or near the old Father Panik Village property). State of the art buildings! With thorns like Norm Aldrich, we can expect nothing but continuing failure. With “good ole’ boys” like Norm Aldrich (who, incidentally, isn’t a property owner – it appears his WIFE owns the house he resides on, so….technically, he isn’t even a taxpayer).

    Wasn’t Norm Aldrich involved in the original failed SAEP deals? And what other failed “ideas” was he involved in? Need I say more? To put stock in anything he has to offer would be ill-advised. (George, if you plan on commenting, please, please, please – STAY ON POINT).

    I was very happy to hear that Irene Cornish supported continuing the magnet style of Stratford Academy; of course, until Norm Aldrich got his hooks into it. Unfortunately, he misunderstood (or chose not to understand) Irene Cornish’s comments that Honeyspot is inadquate. It has continued to house teachers and students, who have thrived, despite the fact that the school needs work. The necessity of portables would be moot if the 6th grade class continues at Stratford Academy. Nothing would change in their curriculum.

    Of course, Norm lives way up in the north end, deep into the Chapel School area and I doubt he would let anyone touch a school in his district. Just like the “new” Lordship people think that because they pay more in taxes than those in the middle (south end) they should have a say too.

    I understand there are problems too with Franklin. The consultant mentioned a few of them last night. Also, at one of the meetings, it was noted that some classrooms are so small that there are only 11 or 12 children. Unfortunately, that’s a problem. One valid point that was mentioned by the consultants is that the location of Franklin would make it a prime piece of property for something else. I’m thinking Lordship School could be a prime piece of property for some real estate developer. How many houses do you think they can build on that parcel? More “new” Lordshippers to add to our tax base.

    Honeyspot House has, for several years, been bypassed and put on hold for upgrades, renovations, etc. Now, there is a grant in place, and if Norm Aldrich has his way, we could end up losing out on some or all of that money! Stratford Academy is one of Stratford’s prized possessions – known in and out of Stratford. It started as a school that would try out programs and, if they worked, they would be implemented in other schools.

    It’s like the old saying – if you build it, they will come. Moving forward with the new Honeyspot House is the right thing to do. It WILL invite more families into Stratford because it will show that the people in power CARE about their future and their future is the children.

  4. 4 athena856

    @ Jezebel – families would be right not to want their children to be bused far from home. There is not much supervision on buses (drivers are there to ensure the children arrive at school, they cannot provide total discipline). Also, this reduces a neighborhood, community feeling. Franklin is the last neighborhood school, with a large percentage of children who walk to school.

    @ pcsperling – I agree that new parents may be attracted by shiny new schools, but existing ones are driven away by school closings. Not only current parents, but also prospective ones will not feel much connection to Stratford as a place to raise a family. Committed educators are the ones who educate students – although new buildings may look nice. I am totally in favor of making the schools as efficient as possible, which may reduce long-term costs of maintaining the facility. It seemed that there were numerous costs unaccounted for in the proposal to close schools. It also seemed that Stratford Academy received preferential treatment, because it is the magnet school. Of course, it looks good for the town to maintain a magnet school, but there are other aspects of a school that can also be attrative, including a family-oriented atmosphere where teachers know students, even students that are not theirs.

    Since it took until almost the end of the meeting to discuss what repercussions any of these actions would have on the students themselves, it seems that educating and planning for the future is not what the people in power care most about. Lordship School, although in an “isolated neighborhood” mostly has students bused into the district. It is a very small school with high operating costs, but when the discussion of closing a school comes up, it is the “South End” not including Lordship that is always looked at. The Committee and the Board should come up with new and more creative ways to save the money, and to invest what grants and funding exist into the children. It would not surprise me in the least if they are back at this discussion in another few years, because the long-term education of the children was not taken into consideration.

  5. 5 athena856

    A question on keeping the 6th graders at Stratford Academy – doesn’t that still pose a problem concerning the state mandates about them having Guidance Counselors and Psychologists? This solution again seems temporary at best.

  6. 6 1george1

    Athena and PCS are passionate and articulate related to
    schools closing and/or overdue modernization,
    children actually being educated,
    neighborhood schools,
    and the future of Stratford’s affordability.

    Had I been elected Mayor
    the Mil rate would be 27
    and next year 24,
    with priorities towards:
    children, families, individuals, businesses,
    seniors improved employee relations and
    improved education / town services.

    It is easy to post on a blog.

    However, Stratford residents lost the courage
    and civic duties to organize and route the SOP.

  7. 7 phineast

    Athena-great post. Why aren’t you on the BOE??? It is easy to only come out once in a while-if you are passionate about this, step up to the plate and volunteer to run for office. Though your north vs south attitude is a bias that is not going to work in your favor it will actually work against you. ( Franklin School is in the WEST side of town, not the south.) 😉
    PCS- It is easy to lay the blame on one person-but quite frankly your arrows are totally missing the target at the moment with regard to the BOE. PCS dig into TEAM Stratford history and records, if you can find them, some of what you are looking for is there follow the guaranteed salaries on the team and you will learn a lot; are there any guarantees in the current involvement? Gavin lives in the 3rd district so he is in the MIDDLE. He is not a stupid man and not easily manipulated-I am certain he is looking at the financial issues ahead with the building and the taxpayer ability to financially meet the building safety needs. He would have no problem telling Norm to pound sand if he disagrees. Though I do agree that Norm may be out of touch with the “people” of Stratford, that does not mean he is acting maliciously.
    I absolutely DO NOT agree with any elementary school closings in town. Though I have NO PROBLEM getting rid of all day kindergarten. It is a non mandated program-actually kindergarten is not mandated at all in Connecticut…But I do support the half day programs.
    If there is any consolidating to be done it should be done at the High School and Junior High levels. I have NO PROBLEM consolidating the 2 high schools into one-it gets rid of half the administration. Same with the middle schools-eventually. I have no problem getting rid of the ALPHA program. I would prefer to take the money from that program and invest it into the ALPS program. Personally I believe it is a better return on our tax dollar investment. If you study models of the most successful high schools in the country they are large regional schools that have stellar sports and music programs, they are fiercely “internally” competitive with scholar athletes and musicians and have highly evolved science, math and language programs. Go ahead and Google “top 10 high schools in the US” it is very interesting reading, then go to the region sites and read about the schools-programs, populations, costs etc…they have Blue Ribbon Schools and we have an administrative black eye and no true accountability from the students and their parents….the teachers for the most part are doing the best they can-but you don’t accomplish a hell of a lot when you have no parental support for the students.
    Elementary schools SHOULD be kept small and in local neighborhoods.
    Athena- Franklin was targeted because of it’s age and the logistics of the building not because of who lives where. Believe it or not Stratford follows the pathway plan MANDATED by the state for racial balance. The state forces taxpayers to pay to keep kids OUT of their neighborhood schools! I DON’T KNOW IF ANYONE HAS DRIVEN AROUND TOWN LATELY BUT WE ARE A VERY DIVERSE COMMUNITY. Of course there are pocket areas that are not AS diverse, but this is still America last time I checked and you have the right to WORK for the American dream-It doesn’t just get handed to you. So if you can afford it you can buy it. If you can’t, work harder or live within your means.
    I have been involved in one way or another for over 25 years in the schools as a parent and let me tell you this plan is the biggest disruption to children’s social development. It is cheaper and easier to move staff around than to pay millions to bus kids. The kids don’t have time to play with or even get to know kids in their own neighborhoods during the school year because they are on buses…One of THE MOST wasteful mandates to slap taxpayers and the free bus ride isn’t accessible to every student so it creates it’s own bias and inequity.
    Here is a long term consolidation plan that I have been trying to get people to listen to for well over 20 years-
    One High School- location Bunnell. Has the property to support the athletics, though the school would likely need a 3rd floor and half of the offices converted BACK to the classrooms they once were…BEFORE the renovation.
    One Middle School- Location where Stratford High is currently located.
    One ALPS Magnet School for grades 7-12 at Wooster.
    One Special needs regional magnet school located at Flood but supported by a region of school districts.
    Keep elementary schools in place as is, but change the free busing structure to not free. We just don’t have the money to give everyone a free ride -maybe someday we will but we don’t now. Neighborhood school status reinstated by getting rid of pathway plan.
    Athena and PCS- when you think back to the school closings that occurred in Stratford they were proportionately spread out over town. Center is not the only school to have been closed, there was Stonybrook, Garden, Great Neck and Birdseye. Birdseye had 2 elementary schools and a junior high on one road…the area couldn’t support it effectively or efficiently.
    A final thought- if you speak at the meeting or write your letters, back it up with facts and don’t imply the north vs south thing it is insulting to and will alienate anyone with an ounce of intelligence.

  8. 8 athena856

    @ Phineast – I’m beginning to consider running, I think that there should be more creative solutions. Where was Great Neck? I’ve been talking to people about this for a bit and haven’t even heard of it. It seems that the closings steer clear of the Huntington area – not that I am advocating any school closings, and I know that this is a newer area of the town, it seems as though there is preferential treatment given to certain areas. I suppose the reason that people feel targeted is the number of current Franklin students/parents who came from Center (and yes, I know they were redistricted to a lot of places, but it’s hard to go through two school closings).

    I think that one high school would be a great thing, and that getting rid of the competition between the two high schools would do a lot to
    1. Make both schools better academically through competition
    2. Improve sports teams at both schools
    3. Unify Stratford in a much-needed way.

    I have to disagree with the ALP magnet school, however, and from personal experience. Students in the ALP program tend to get the idea that they are…more special than everyone else, and I think that mixing into the mainstream in high school can help unify and give a better idea of what the world is like after high school.

    Is all of the busing that goes on in Stratford for the purpose of racial balancing? I agree that busing to the Academy should not be free – there is a certain amount of prestige that goes along with going there….taxpayers shouldn’t be paying for it. And neighborhood schools are great. They allow children to make friends with classmates in their neighborhood, and often both parents and families feel a greater connection to the school.

    Another thing that I wonder about…how much are we paying the consultants to tell us to close the schools?

  9. 9 1george1

    PHIN,
    Although I disagree with some of your post and agree with other parts,
    it was far and away your BEST POST.

    I raised the issue of ALL DAY KINDERGARTEN being made available to
    ALL Parents/Students.
    If they do not want to participate it is their choice.
    This is one area where Diane Buda and I disagreed.

    It is my believe that all day kindergarten helps the overall education of the
    child, in no small part by identifying learning disabilities and physical issues.
    > So it is better for the children, in my opinion.

    Many people consider kindergarten as FREE DAY CARE.
    My reply is SO WHAT?

    Many younger parents have to work longer, harder, for less pay, and have
    less resources than older parents.
    > So it is better for the parent(s), in my opinion.

    Getting 1 year head start on learning the basics and learning how to learn
    and how things are taught, might just accelorate the child’s learning and
    receptiveness to learning.
    Nutrician is a huge part of the ability to learn and to behave.
    As messed up as the government and education are, they are getting the
    nutrician right, or at least better!

    I was slightly husky when my mom died in 1961, when I was 9 years old.
    A single father, HS Graduate / WW II Vet and a grand father and great
    aunt in / near their 70s, did not have the nutricianal background there
    exists today.

    My weight came from soda and the wrong foods, and I weighed 200 as
    a HS Freshman.

    One of my jobs works with these aspects and the mentality of the
    Educational People for healthy foods and beverages are fanatical.
    It cost my employer and I revenue. It is the right thing to do.
    Same with YMCA/YWCA, BOYS/GIRLS CLUBS, Non profits, Hospitals,
    Nursing/Retirement, Platinum/White collar and even some blue
    collar and factories.
    SNICKERS may become the forbidden fruit?
    But it’s less expensive, and not as bad as cocaine.

    And I was the person who raised issues that it cost $ 60,000 annually
    to jail someone and had cost $ 11,000 annually to educate a child in
    Stratford.
    – I prefer the humanities / social argument.
    – However, even HARD ON CRIME Republicans are backing off the
    ROCKEFELLER DRUG LAWS …….. to SAVE MONEY ….

    However PHIN I agree with you about people like PCS + ATHENA needing
    to run for OFFICE and have FACTS for their arguments.

    Like PCS, I do NOT like NORM’S politics and influence on town finances,
    ALL of WHICH affect key needs ….like EDUCATION.

    PHIN – I expect ATHENA + PCS will blast your consolidation idea.
    1 = HS
    1 = jr HS
    X = Elementary schools

    2 – 4 years ago Irene had proposed moving Stratford HS to WOOSTER.
    1 – 2 years ago they were talking about a BONDING $ 35 – $ 40 MILLION
    mostly for Stratford HS 25 year modernization, with some for Bunnell
    – They claim a new HS would cost OVER $ 100 MILLION

    – Miron point out we were Shorted $ 83 MILLION ECS at time of DEBATES.
    – Branyan and Norko each told me unfunded Mandates exceeded
    $ 5,000,000 education (besides ECS)
    $ 5,000,000 town
    NO ONE ITEMIZED
    NO ITEMIZATION = CAN’T BILL

    Combined, lost $ 200,000,000 would have been enough to pay cash for
    a NEW $ 100,000,000 HS or pay off the Town Debt, which costs 3 – 4 Mils
    interest annually.
    Fortunately the State reimburses about 50% to 53% after full bond.

    Thanks to the 2002 Council – Norm / Crudo, their council ceased funding
    the pension portfolio, insuring not being fully funded and transeferred
    pension bond repayment to tax payers.
    By the END of 2011, between $ 9.1 annual pension repayment and the
    pension short fall deposit over $ 10 million, the town tax payers will have
    shelled out $ 200,000,000.

    How Stratford could / should have Mil Rate of 20, and better education:

    Estimates
    $ 200,000,000 for upto 600 PENSIONERS (obligation up 300 % since 1998)
    $ 200,000,000 for unfunded MANDATES since 1998
    $ 150,000,000 for extra cost for Health Care since 1998
    $ 120,000,000 repaying interest on Capital improvement since 1998

    $ 70,000,000 ARMY paid managment company to keep AVCO CLOSED
    1998 – 2010
    $ 72,000,000 AVCO property TAXES were likely to have been since 1998
    based on Barnhart writen statement about 2001.

    Sikorsky + AVCO led economic property tax exodus.

    Mobile Chemical and 400 jobs left stratford because factory of that type
    was paying the highest property tax of any factory in the WORLD!

    Dianon moved 400 jobs to shelton a couple years ago a western senator’s
    spouse bought hundreds of thousands of Dianon shares when a Congress
    Act dropped it 33 % (hypothetical price from $ 60 to $ 40)
    Congress Act reversal increased 50 % (hypothetical price from $ 40 to $ 60)

    Dictaphone chapt 11 – 1,100 jobs = property tax replaced by 400 sikorsky
    engineers

    Dresser peaked 1,100 job = property tax
    Feds squeezed Stratford
    State squeezed Stratford
    Local s****ed Stratford, where PHIN is getting closer to acknowledging.

    In order to have the schools the parents want …..

    Finances have to be Healthy.

    I disagree with PHIN about GAVIN who wants EMS building, like MATT
    wants SHAKESPEARE.

    PHIN appears to know something about TEAM STRATFORD and a certain
    financial whiz, that is different than what many people believe?

    JEZE + PHIN get access to some great facts, yet the view of certain
    peoples’ political positions …. I do not know.

    Last point about Stratford diversity. Maybe 8 years ago, I saw the legends
    of 13 Stratford geographic areas’ demographic.
    Over 85 % of minorities live in 3 of 13 geographic areas. (border Bpt)
    A couple areas in North Stratford and Lordship were under 3 % minority
    or about the same percentages of certain suburbs like Weston/Easton
    with Fairfield / Westport slightly higher.

    PHIN – Like it or not RACE is a EDUCATION ISSUE, similar to neighborhood
    schools. especially since they buried Schiff v O’Neill.

    I see more minorities one or two nights out than many North end / Lordship
    homeowners see in a month!

  10. 10 1george1

    Good post Athena,
    I was still composing.

    ATHENA: Another thing that I wonder about…how much are
    we paying the consultants to tell us to close the schools?

    GEO
    1) The consultants are given parameters by BoE, when BID / hired.
    2) You can call Mike Feeney at BoE and he will e-mail info, which
    is free under FOI, if
    A) It is already in electronic format
    B) It has been electronically stores

    ATHENA > @ Phineast – I’m beginning to consider running,
    I think that there should be more creative solutions.

    GEO:
    Whether you are elected to BoE or Town Council
    1) A single member can raise an issue and ask for a VOTE.
    2) There is NO VOTE, unless you get a SECOND.
    3) To PASS your ISSUE, you need a Majority or Super Majority.
    4) Board of Ed controls MOST JOBS in TOWN and BoE BUDGET
    5) Town Council controls Total BUDGET, impacting BoE BUDGET
    and CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT – Building needs.
    6) There are political decisions.
    7) Massive changes are coming.

    Sony Corporation played this video at their executive conference this year..
    Caution: It may leave you a little breathless —-.

  11. 11 1george1

    To see the Video
    GOOGLE: SONY EXECUTIVE CONFERENCE VIDEO = DID YOU KNOW?
    It is 5 minutes of unique facts to consider, like:

    > top 10 in demand jobs of 2010 …. did not exist in 2004
    We are educating people for jobs, that have not even been created!

    > 31 billion monthly GOOGLE SEARCHES in 2010

    > years it took to reach 50 million people
    Radio 38
    TV 13
    INTENET 4
    IPOD 3
    FACEBOOK 2

    INTERNET DEVICES
    1984 1,000
    1992 1,000,000,
    2008 1,000,000,000

    PORTIA – know what an exabyte is?

    By 2013, A SUPERCOMPUTER may exist to duplicate capabilites of BRAIN

    ALBANY — Declaring New York State “functionally bankrupt,” Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo proposed a $132.9 billion budget on Tuesday that would reduce year-to-year spending for the first time in more than a decade, slash projected spending on education and health care, and slice the budget for state agencies by more than half a billion dollars in the next fiscal year.

    —-

    Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has insisted for weeks that closing the state’s huge budget deficit will require both spending cuts and tax hikes. Tuesday he made it clear that the former should play the larger role.

    During an afternoon meeting with departmental commissioners, Malloy announced his budget proposal for the next two fiscal years would cut $2 billion from the projected annual cost of maintaining current services,

    Based upon the $3.67 billion shortfall projected for the 2011-12 fiscal year, by the legislature’s nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis, nearly 55 percent of the shortfall would be eliminated with spending cuts.

    And since Malloy also reaffirmed his position Tuesday that the deficit should not be closed with borrowing, that leaves nearly $1.7 billion to be raised in new revenue.

    Then there is NJ

  12. 12 jezebel282

    Phin,

    “It is easy to only come out once in a while-if you are passionate about this, step up to the plate and volunteer to run for office”

    As long as voters continue to vote for “R’s” and “D’s” without regard, Athena would have to go through the RTC/DTC gangs in order to win an election. It is sad but true.

  13. 13 phineast

    Jez, what better way to change a party than by infiltrating it…especially if you infiltrate in large numbers…
    George-thanks for the compliment, I think. 🙂
    George, 40 years ago race was an education issue. Since Scheff vs O’neill and all the forced unfunded mandates that are attached to it-I am going to disagree with you, at least in Stratford. Each child in town is offered the same educational opportunity. What they and their parents CHOOSE to do with it is up to them. An awesome coach I know once told us that “how you practice is how you play”. So if each individual doesn’t do their share of the work, they get nothing out of it. I don’t want to hear BS about the “poor” families-guess what-I’ve been working, yes actually working since I was 10 years old. I graduated with the golden cords and participated in extra curricular activities that I, yes I, had to pay for. I CHOSE to use the tools that were given to me-not cry boohoo and wait for a hand out. My parents didn’t participate in my education other than to make sure I attended and obeyed the rules at school, and if I didn’t I got my ass kicked when I got home. Waiting for that ax to fall was far worse than anything else and it kept me in line. I went to school after high school, but was denied a student loan because my father was self employed and not a minority! So I had to work full time and go to school full time and guess what-still graduated in the top 5%. I worked my ass off to do it and pay for it. I was not handed a thing.
    So when people like Athena or PCS, as well intended as they may be, carry on and moan about a re-organizational process we all know needs to take place before we are completely bankrupt, I get a bit frustrated. I volunteer my time for the good of this town-hundreds and hundreds of hours a year in the area that my skills are most beneficial to the community(not in the BOE-but I do pay close attention to what they do). Instead of complaining and saying the voices that “represent” them are not listening they need to go to every meeting those representatives go to and read every paper they have to read-to get a full understanding of the picture and then they have the right to spout and carry on. When people attend the meetings like that it drives the boards crazy because they know that real people are REALLY watching them. So GO to each meeting and then run for office. Don’t just THINK about it. Get off your duff and make a personal sacrifice and do SOMETHING!!! If you want to have a say in things you actually have be an active participant not just a Monday morning QB.
    So….INFILTRATE< INFILTRATE<INFILTRATE then take over…..if it can happen on Wall St it can happen in Stratford.

  14. 14 phineast

    Athena- Great Neck was in Lordship-a great book by Lou Knapp is called The History of Stratford…You should read it, you need to understand what has gone on in town historically so history is not repeated in a negative way…all the Great Military leaders are history experts for a reason…and it sounds like you and PCS are declaring War on the BOE. 🙂

  15. 15 phineast

    Athena- one last thought, Putney Chapel was closed back in the 1960’s-in the north end-it was the 1st closing to occur as part of the planning and implementation process of the new Chapel St school -it was a sad time, but to say the north end of town is excluded is a fallacy.

  16. 16 pcsperling

    I have wondered WHY there is a push for Pre-K. I recently heard that it’s mandated because we have a birth to 3 program and once the child is done with that program, the next step of their education process must be provided for. I paid for Pre-K for my daughter, as did a majority of parents I know. Part of the consideration of the LRFPC is to have a location (must be a single floor location) for Pre-K. Center School is out because it is not a certified school and it will take 2 years for re-certification.

    Phin ~ Part of me would like to agree about the 1 high school / 1 middle school scenario. I’m very, very concerned, however, that we could have the same problems as exist in the Shelton high and middle schools. Shelton, while not overly publicized has a HUGE drug problem, and I have heard from a variety of sources that it’s the heroin capital of Connecticut right now.

    I would love to be more tactful and diplomatic, and perhaps a tad more respectful but it’s just getting very, very exhausting AND sickening to to the good ole’ boys like Norm Aldrich on the RTC make puppets out of others like Joe Crudo, et al. I do hope you are right and Gavin can’t be manipulated. I reached out to Gavin about something else and still didn’t get a response. I am angry and I am passionate about what I believe in. As a parent of a school aged child and the wife of a BOE employee (custodian), there’s a great day to be angry about.

    Closing a school is never a good thing. Athena is right. Closing a school – any school is never a good thing. I live in the Academy district. If it were traditional, it would be my district school. Fortunately, I was able to deal with half day kindergarten and my daughter was accepted – since application is/was needed. If she hadn’t gone there, who knows where she would end up. It’s very sad for children these days – most don’t even know children in their neighborhood and in order to play with their school friends, “play dates” need to be arranged, a difficult task for working mothers/parents. Fortunately, for my daughter, she is active in dance classes, Girl Scouts and sports in the spring and fall.

    The LRFPC and the regular Board of the BOE are going to start losing families who start picking up and moving elsewhere.

    I still think that continuing on with a new Honeyspot House is the right thing to do. The money is there and it will show that the administration is looking ahead – better days are coming – and Stratford is choosing to move forward towards that. It will also offer the opportunity to be more innovative – more green, etc. Nothing about the BOE is “green” except the money that the administration lines their pockets with. Two of the last three years, non-union personnel was given raises approved by the Board of the BOE – even with the threat of school closings. No one can tell me that they didn’t see the problems ahead, they’re just jamming them down our throats now? Phin ~ every penny adds up and there are many, many things that can be cut in the BOE. They should be made to account for EVERY cent that they spend in that building, not just anything over a specific set amount. Consolidate departments and staff on both the Town and BOE sides. Start cutting the fat from the administration before you target the children.

    I think the Town, itself, needs better economic development. I like Bruce Alessie, but don’t thing he’s cutting it. We need new and younger ideas and approaches. Stratford has become an old sleepy Town. The gems – our waterfront, Shakespeare Theatre, and Stratford Academy.

    Irene has already pulled Stratford out of participation in RCA (the arts magnet high school) and I’m sure Six-To-Six could be the next thing that she pulls out of. Stratford Academy – the in-district magnet school – has great programs and has pioneered the programs that exist in other schools. It is important to our Town and our education system.

    And, unfortunately, for a long time – it’s about the north vs. south (exclusive of Lordship and the Historic District, of course). I live in the area that was formerly known as “Floral Park” – how pretty is that, but now, it’s just part of the “South End.” I am in the First District, but not in Lordship.

    I have a question – I have heard from a great many people that both Lordship and Franklin have a high population of students from Bridgeport. Curious….why? And, if this is true, are they paying for the attendance?

  17. 17 phineast

    PCS- thanks for the thoughtful response. There are certain instances if I am not mistaken that out of town students are ALLOWED to be in Stratford Schools. one of those instances is an “exchange” for participation in out of district schools accommodating Stratford students. While there is a fee involved in many circumstances it is greatly reduced by this exchange. Check with Imbro to see if they still have it in place. If not, sounds like Mikey has a lot of work cut out for him.
    I verified that there is no mandate for pre-k or k in the state of ct. In order to qualify for certain types of “funding” you are mandated to offer it-ie: to retain the birth to 3 program etc-but those programs are also not mandated to have to begin with. Nice to have in good economic times but expendable or could be run by other agencies……..like dePaul…
    Again I will suggest that you go to ALL the BOE meetings to truly get a clear understanding and read every sheet of paper that is open to public view. Once you do that, RUN for BOE.
    Since the dawn of true civilization the have bee some form of “neighborhoods”-clusters of like minded individuals or family that have shared some type of commonality. It could be economic, familial, what ever…it is a comfort level of being around the familiar and historically looking out for one another(not financially). When people came to this country they settled in clusters-Italians, Portuguese, English, Irish, African American, PuertoRican etc. etc. etc. There is a comfort level in being around the familiar…..Any one can CHOOSE to move on or up or even down. Neighborhood schools we a safe and comfortable place for kids to integrate into the education system. Not so any more. It is really sad.
    Just curious, but can you tell me exactly what the MAGNET is at Stratford Academy these day??? Used to be technology…. Just wonder why there is a need for an application to a school that no longer fits the magnet criteria.

  18. 18 pcsperling

    Phin ~
    I have taken your advice to heart and do plan on attending as many TC and BOE meetings as I can – in between dance classes and other familial responsibilities. I have started, as I said, by going through some of the minutes from the various committees.

    We need younger, more innovative minds – fresh blood so to speak. We need an administration on both the BOE and Town sides with less “Yahoos” and more “Houyhnhnms.”

    I don’t always agree with Irene Cornish – but I was happy that she is supporting Stratford Academy. To answer your question, I believe it is still technology intensive, but the arts programs are more intensive too. We all have heard that there are published studies between music/arts education and academic achievement and improved reading scores from very early in a child’s elementary education. Of course, when things get cut – arts/music and programs such as those are usually first on the list (silly “Yahoos”).

    I mentioned to Stephanie Phillips the other evening that Stratford Academy does not need to be the only “magnet-styled” school in Stratford. Each elementary school could have some sort of “magnet” quality. New Haven has several elementary schools – each unique: arts and science; environmental; art of communication and media; classical studies; agriculture; and more. While Stratford Academy is not a State sanctioned magnet school, Stratford could get on the map and become unique in its education approach within its boundaries. Each of our elementary schools could have sort of “magnet” quality. It won’t happen overnight, but look what it could do for our Town! Each school with have that something extra to offer and parents can have some choices based on the needs or where they see their child excels (which can be determined early on and in pre-school). The “Yahoos” need to start thinking out of the box and being more innovative and sit down and really look at what can GROW our Town, not chase families away. One of the schools, remember we are Stratford – a sister city – can work Shakespeare back in. Who knows how that would spur some economic growth with the area and positive for the revival of the Theatre. All of this is very important, and we need to start somewhere and soon. The more people continue to sit on their hands the less will be accomplished and I don’t know about you, but I’m getting really, really tired of seeing such a lack of accomplishment in this Town.

    Another important positive to building a new school right now is cost. If we wait, construction costs, etc. will cost more down the line. Construction costs are down right now – deals can be made and now is the time.

  19. 19 athena856

    @ George – I think I actually saw that a few months ago – it’s brilliant.

    @ Phin – I’ll check out the book – The history on the BoE website is a little too concise.

    In regards to racial balancing, I believe that there is a certain range of acceptability, and that Franklin leans towards having a greater percentage of minorities, within the range. No one is saying anything about “those poor families” – I assume that the curricula are relatively the same across the district. I’m not saying that race is the only issue, but perhaps part of the issue is who pays the highest taxes? Maybe no one wants to annoy taxpayers paying high property taxes, for fear that they will leave? Based on the numbers proposed by the consultants and by the decision to move up the 6th grade, Franklin is not the school that it is most profitable to close. As the decisions stand, it would technically save the town more money to close Nichols. Now, I am not advocating for Nichols School to be closed either, but it is nearly the same age, also hasn’t been updated in over 20 years, and the boilers were said to be “at the end of their useful life.” Yet there seemed to be a focus on Franklin and Honeyspot.

    Of course, people can choose to move, but whether or not they will be encouraged to do so, is another matter. Various pressures can be put upon anyone to make them feel less than comfortable moving into a certain neighborhood.

    Is the Academy a magnet school? If not, then a few questions :
    1. Why not make it a state-recognized magnet school and get as much
    funding, etc. as possible?
    2. Why is it constantly pushed as being one, if it isn’t recognized as such? I have heard it called a magnet school for over 10 years, and am still not sure that this is entirely correct.

    @ PCS – Is it that the classrooms or the class-sizes are small at Franklin? I don’t believe that any of the rooms in particular have a 12-person capacity…

    I totally agree that we need growth in this town – there is little to keep people here, especially those who haven’t decided where to raise a family yet. And I think that growth through improved education is vital – parents and prospective parents want to move to places where the schools are performing well, and bringing out the best in the children.

  20. 20 pcsperling

    Athena ~

    Yes, Stratford Academy is and has been considered a magnet school for quite some time. It is an “interdistrict” magnet school. The following was pulled directly from the school description on the BOE website:

    “Stratford Academy is our magnet school, and is not a neighborhood school. It is open to all elementary students residing in the town of Stratford, and enrollment at Stratford Academy is controlled and available through the application process. Students are admitted to Stratford Academy only when an opening occurs in their grade. If there are no openings available in a grade, the student’s name is placed on a waiting list. Applications on file are then processed through enrollment priorities.”

    Nothing has changed. At each and every information meeting for parents with children approaching school age, it has always been made clear that SA is not a district school. It is the only school in Stratford that requires uniforms, something that I think should be townwide.

    There are specialized programs at SA, such as music, arts and some technology programs. New programs are tried out there before they are implemented in other schools. I hoped for either Six-to-Six (to which I applied when my daughter was in kindergarten) and could have applied to the arts magnet school in New Haven, but wanted to keep my daughter close and prayed she’d get into SA. She did. Now she is in first grade and thriving. She loves her environment and her friends. She has bonded with the girls in her Girl Scout troop, as well as her classmates. These bonds are important!

    I’m not sure what is involved for SA to become a “state sanctioned” magnet school and get the funding. Even if it doesn’t, I still think there is an opportunity for the other elementary schools to become “unique” as well. It certainly would make our Town more attractive. I can still apply to one of the New Haven magnet schools since we are participating Town for New Haven, but I didn’t want my daughter bussed that far. In fact, I prefer not to put her on a bus at all, but I need to do what is best for my daughter and if she is going to be separated from her friends at the end of this year that may be an option I choose.

    I’m just afraid that some people on the LRFPC are a little too narrow-minded and not looking towards bettering our education system. Each and every budget cycle, it’s about closing schools (and, I’ll tell you, if the personnel committee proposes raises in the spring/early summer this year, I’m going to be front and center, and screaming quite loud).

    I have to agree – I think back when Great Neck was closed, Lordship was still “the other side of the tracks” it wasn’t the exclusive little section of time it has grown into. What exists there now are “new” Lordshippers with high expectations because of the taxes they pay. My family grew up in Lordship, I spend most of my life there and my parents are still there, but even if I could, I wouldn’t move back. Of course, they feel there are entitled to keep their school because of the taxes they pay.

    However, if Nichols is chosen, there are still close choices – Second Hill and Eli Whitney. My daughter was just a baby when Center School was closed. I went to those meetings. Last year, another threat to close Lordship School, but they didn’t, and another year of raises to the administration (and probably bonuses too). I’m sorry, I’m just sick of the BS!

  21. 21 athena856

    PCS – I agree with making all of the schools special – improving education would be wonderful for both the town and the children. And it is ridiculous that this is the best option they can ever come with – let’s close a school and raise the salaries for the administration!

    One thing however, the Academy isn’t the only school with uniforms, just the first. Franklin has them now as well. I think it would be very unifying to make as many of these programs town-wide as possible. It seems to be a general trend, not only in Stratford, since more and more retailers cater to uniform-styled clothes for children.

  22. 22 pcsperling

    Look at the Personnel Committee minutes when someone moved for raises for non-union personnel, and then the BOE Board minutes when they were approved. They went into effect July 1, 2010. No raises were given for the effective date of July 1, 2009, and raises were given effective July 1, 2008 – when we were already in the financial spiral downwards! Phin is right – parents like you and me need to make lots of effort to get more people involved and to these meetings. We can work through intimidation….. ;>D

  23. 23 phineast

    PCS and Athena- great postings and questions…..
    In order for a school to be a “magnet” school, there has to be an identifiable “draw” or “magnet”. Stratford Academy began as a Technology Magnet School. They no longer have that “magnet” to qualify as a “magnet school” and have been flying under the radar since y2k with the lack there of.
    If there is no magnet, then the question arises is the board of education violating the rights of neighborhood students that want to attend with the application process??? Because it is a PUBLIC school funded by PUBLIC money they HAVE to have a MAGNET in order to “screen” or have students “apply”. If there is no clear and defined magnet and they have been accepting public funds as a defined magnet…..uhmmmmm “Houston we have a problem!” if you catch my drift. I want to know what the Academy Magnet is and I can get no clearly defined answer from anyone. Technology went viral years ago collecting all the Stop and Shop receipts to put computers in every classroom….noo one has EVER changed the status of the Academy magnet-as there is no clear and definable academic curriculum programming that is exclusively at the Academy. Maybe I have been asking the wrong people the question…but you would think that BOE members or Irene would be able to answer the question.

    If you look at the external “footprint” of Franklin School- there is absolutely no room for any type of growth and then look at the internal blueprint. Do some comparisons–you will see the space is very restrictive. Ask the BOE and committee members the specifics as to why Franklin was selected. Honeyspot- I have no idea what they are thinking…other than to avoid a costly renovation. The population trend number projections just don’t support the picture they are trying to paint.

    Athena-I am not sure if they are trying to keep the high falluting taxpayers happy or not…I was looking at things from a different perspective…I was looking at geography, and demographic projections from the state and national trends. The last time Stratford did a consolidation and school closure of magnitude they based the decisions on the number projections, failing to examine HISTORIC information that clearly demonstrates that the population pendulum swings from one extreme to the next and the plateau is only for a very short period of time….so the town closed 4 schools and within 10 years of the closings there was population shift that forced all the school ADDITIONS that cost hundreds of millions of dollars. If you follow the economic patterns during the same time period we were in the midst of an economic crisis…what do adults do when they have no money to go out??? They make babies. We are seeing a very very similar pattern now…you would think they would learn from their mistakes…….:/ (I am talking about the BOE giving away buildings)
    We ALL know something has to be done to halt the administrative extravagance in the BOE. NO ONE can afford it anymore-especially not the kids. Greater than 65% of the budget is spent on education and school building and property needs. 65% of the population does not attend the schools….so we have to find a way to create a balance so ALL the needs in town are met and ALL the buildings and grounds are properly cared for and protected because that is how you should properly serve and care for a community.
    If the system we currently have isn’t working with regard to the BOE do some legal leg work and figure out how you can affect a change in the actual structure of the BOE. Be thorough and be legal. You always have to remember the kids are learning from your actions. You can teach them about the power of democracy and redress if you so choose.

  24. 24 1george1

    Jez: Phin, “It is easy to only come out once in a while-if you are passionate
    about this, step up to the plate and volunteer to run for office”

    As long as voters continue to vote for “R’s” and “D’s” without
    regard, Athena would have to go through the RTC/DTC gangs in
    order to win an election. It is sad but true.

    Phin: Jez, what better way to change a party than by infiltrating it…
    especially if you infiltrate in large numbers…

    Geo: Phin – The Stratford Democratic party is easier to take over
    since the Republican Party is District by District and Democrat is
    by the whole town.

    Nationally the general public view the TWO PARTIES, Presidents,
    Senate, Congress, Big Oil, Wall Street, and War “almost” the way I do.
    > They are unlikely to agree with my theories, but they do NOT like
    what has happened, the same way TOWN / BoE RETIREES are TICKED
    about a host of local issues and certain personalities!
    > General Public does not realize Government employees are VERY,
    VERY PATRIOTIC, and none realize MINORITIES are among the MOST
    PATRIOTIC of all Americans

    George-thanks for the compliment, I think.

    Geo: Phin – you are welcomed for the compliments.

    It is immaterial to me if people agree or disagree with me.
    I desire honest debate towars meritocracy and public interest.
    I throw stuff against the wall and see what sticks?
    I want honest government for SELFISH and UNSELFISH REASONS.

    PCS was mad at me about some of my RR Station post/perception.
    It was OK! I respect her homework, efforts, and posting.

    I suspect PCS + ATHENA would have major differences with some
    of my druthers related to BoE / Town, and supportive of other
    ideas, whereas some of my outside the box ideas …..

  25. I will attempt to be at this meeting Monday. I have a 2 1/2 year old who will be entering the school system soon enough and this issue is of great concern to me.

    John Fahan

  26. 26 1george1

    Athena: When I googled the above UTUBE to the SONY exec conference,
    it showed me there are other versions with slightly different info.

    Phin: Please check the above noted UTUBE. I think you would agree with
    my opinion and Athena’s post.

    Further, I am the one posting about POOR people and others.

    Granted, you were able to work hard, figure the system, become an
    apparent success. Not everyone is able to open those doors or have
    parental, neighbor, or other support to figure the system.
    I have worked as union steward, manager in union/non union, worked
    for TEMP DAY LABOR and deal/dealt often with H. R.
    FACT > Companies would hire BLACK WOMEN over BLACK MEN and hire
    HISPANIC WOMEN of COLOR over MEN, to solve E.E.O.C. mandates.
    FACT > 40 % of BLACK MALES have CRIMINAL records, which impact
    their HIRING PROCESS – It doesn’t stop WALL STREET / BIG OIL / WAR
    PROFITEERS from raping the system.
    FACT > 80 % BLACK BABIES are born out of wedlock, with disproportiate
    numbers of poorer children raised by Grandparents or children parents.

    Phin: You appear to have done better than most people and appear to
    have done so with your own hard work, skills, talents, abilities, focus,
    and intellignce, including ability to identify opportunities.
    > You appear to be ignorant (not an insult and not stupid) as to the
    types of road blocks thrown in paths of others.

    > You would NOT agree, however I have experienced HOBBSON CHOICES
    related to employment opportunites and other situations. I was very, very,
    very discreetly told by a former boss, that I was put into a NO WAY OUT
    SITUATION, where every door was kept closed, except the one “they”
    (the boss would not or could not identify) wanted me to take.
    > I also spoke to a retired Fairfield University priest professor with whom
    I had the best exchange of probative inquiries and responses, until I asked
    the key questions, which the retired priest professor obviously had deep
    insight, but broke down crying that he “could NOT” answer.
    – The priest’s inference was fear of reprisal. SAD. Very SAD.
    > I will not relate an analogous experience in Stratford, for same reason
    many bloggers choose to be anonymous.

    Not everyone

  27. 27 1george1

    TO PHIN, found on YAHOO, showing UPSCALE JOB HUNTERS have problems too:

    I spent five years searching for a career job that would last until I retire.
    Like millions of other Americans in the bad economy from 2006-2010,
    finding a job was nearly impossible. Despite following all the advice of headhunters, human resource consultants, friends or family members,
    it was what I term “The AND Factor” job search strategy that finally
    landed me a job.
    I am over 50, had a failed business, and an MBA from 1981, when most of
    my interviewers were not even born!
    Most human resource professionals looked at me and said,
    “AND why should I hire you?” Or,
    “AND what makes you better than these 2,000 other young applicants?”

    Many older job seekers share similar backgrounds: we all have some
    level of college degree; we all have years of supervisory/management
    experience with a major Fortune 500 company;
    we have families to feed,
    we have not had to look for a job in 20 years;
    we are old-school thinkers when we prepare resumes,
    go on job interviews, and network.
    After watching a television show that profiled other older professionals
    trying to find a job,
    I realized that we all do a couple of things wrong in our job search.

    I decided to try some different strategies to see if I had better results.
    I call these new job search strategies
    “The AND Factor” job search strategies.

    My supervisor told me they received 105 resumes for the management job
    I applied for at the state agency.
    How is it they hired me for the job?
    It is critical to give the hiring manager your “AND factor”
    – they want to know why you are the best person for the job!
    “AND what makes you so special?”
    “AND why should I hire you?”
    Here are the “AND Factor” job search tips that helped me land a
    career job against all odds.

    Avoid Old Ways of Selling Yourself
    Niche Yourself
    Distinguish Yourself

    Mr. Fahan – Welcomed back.

  28. 28 phineast

    George- the video was well done.
    You missed my point about the haves vs the have nots. Every single person has the ability to choose success over failure. Times are tough out there, you betcha. What I was trying to point out was that I had literally no assistance(either personal or financial), and I chose not to let that hold me back. It means that you can rise above your circumstance-what ever that may be. It takes hard work and ingenuity and determination not to lose. My parents are good people, but they had to work. There was no time to do the kid stuff. My dad worked 90 hours a week in his own business and then lost everything during the 70’s oil crisis and had to start over-like you.
    Societal changes have reshaped the way people view their careers…I told my kids to choose a major that you can have at least 3 major career changes with. Society doesn’t want workers to have longevity and dedication in a profession unless you are in health care, a lawyer, and of course the career politicians…can’t forget them. The rest is disposable. Anything more is too expensive…like the BOE. 😉

  29. 29 jezebel282

    Phin,

    “Every single person has the ability to choose success over failure.”

    I’m a little confused. Can you explain the boundaries of that “ability” if you are 6 years old?

  30. 30 1george1

    Phin,

    People do NOT know, what they do NOT know!

    Champions are made, not born.

    You are correct about people having choices.

    I believe you simply can not relate to the fact that most people
    can not grasp the obvious, not can they overcome parent and
    peer pressures towards inadequacies, impacting their decisions!

    Every government department, especially Education, is about
    recruiting people to protect the system’s political players.
    > The parties whine about not enough people for Commissions.
    > The parties kept off people from Charter Revision and others.
    > The parties kept me off Commissions, except the FAC where they
    wanted to entrap me into agreeing with Jan 2008 police pensions.
    > The parties reward allies and punish critics.

    Private Industries create associations and allies to try to boost their
    sales, analogous to managers / workers networking.
    > Fraternities & sororities.
    > Churches / Temples
    > Social groups and organizations
    > Charities, (sterling house / library association)
    > Professional groups and associations
    > Political parties network and use many of these same people.

    True meritocracy, I mean true meritocracy figure the system and making
    it work, without support structure is comparatively rare.

    PORTIA appears to be an advocate of ECONOMIC DARWINISM for that 20%
    of the richer people.
    Likely 15% are beneficiaries of capitalistic cronyism high cost welfare,
    whereas chicken feed welfare to low income gets the HIT.
    BIG OIL / GAS / COAL + WAR dwarfs WALL STREET, which DWARFS the
    take over of MAFIA CASH COWS, which DWARFS government CASH COW
    running COCAINE + POT + HEROIN/METH etc and ATF + E.

    I think it was the TV show WISEGUY with Kevin Spacey/Ken Wahl
    “best place to hide illegal business is inside legal business.”
    – see cocaine inside imported oil in James Bond “license to kill.”
    – I know that show told about the colonial days TRIANGLE TRADE.
    prequil to TRILATERAL COMMISSION.

  31. 31 1george1

    PCS,
    Charm and honey can work better than intimidation and vinegar.
    I know you were kidding.
    However what would work is complete transparency and getting
    the general public to become involved.

    The political parties are hitting you and I in the wallet and then
    pushing pilferings to themselves and support system.

    Phin’s point about getting involved and taking over the parties is
    something I wrote about for past years in blogs and letters to the
    Editor (another in STAR today).

    I have practiced getting involved and started to create a political
    party and line, but backed off because of personal issues that I did
    not want anyone else involved in (reprisals)
    > That caused me to go back to Hartford, and start over collecting
    signatures for a THIRD TIME. I could have easily gotten 1000 signatures
    except for my groundhog day mistakes needing recollecting.
    MEA CULPA. I messed up.

    – I am aware this blog is read by many of the very people I and we attack.
    Further, some of the attackers were part of the OLD GUARD, which made
    contributions to Stratford’s problems.

    – My attacks do those readers favors of becoming aware of things around
    them, which they would not see because the socialize and work politically
    with peer groups.
    – My pointing out multilateral issues give all locals an unlocked back door,
    to use for exculpation and mitigation, IF they take personal responibility.
    – The causal agents to my problems and those of most people are NOT
    local but much higher. Unfortunately LOCALS + STATE are obstacles that
    are needed to be overcome. Once they become aware they too were
    betrayed, all of a sudden they may become aware I was their best friend.
    – I gave the unions an out. They keep pressing the same lines of lies. What
    can reasonable people do to make monkeys open their fist around the cookie
    in the cookie jar so the monkeys can escape the trap laid for them?

  32. 32 phineast

    Jez- do your homework, behave in school and at home, be kind to others…….for starters.

    George and PCS- just showing up and intelligently asking the right questions is enough sometimes…other times you need more-like sweeping policy changes. My suggestion stands to study the most successful school systems in the country and try to use their techniques..sometimes you don’t have to reinvent the wheel..just use another style. It is obvious those schools are getting far more out of their students than we are for their dollar investment…the key is to figure out why and correct it.

  33. 33 phineast

    George-“People do NOT know, what they do NOT know!” On one hand that is true-but on the other hand anyone that has had the opportunity to attend public school knows something….like right from wrong, good from bad, pillars of character…it is taught in kindergarten…….
    Motivation has to come from within…if kids see they live in a decent home they will probably still want to live in a better one or an equal at the very least. If a child lives in squalor there is still a very good chance they have watched television…and want what they see on tv. That is how holiday drive “wish lists” came about instead of the standard gift drives…the trick is to teach the kids at home and at school(which the schools do) to strive to do their best in an honest way, to want a better life for not just themselves but for society. This is not being done in the majority of homes-but anyone, and I mean anyone can persevere and succeed—I didn’t have the social programs that abound to hand out all the assistance-I had to figure it out on my own, because the alternative was unacceptable to me. With all the social programs handing things out somehow I feel it takes that drive away from people to want to be their personal best-I mean after all-why should they if they can get someone else to take responsibility for them-that is how we get the generational “assistance families”. Then of course you have the exceptions-those who really want to do more or those who just haven’t caught their “break” yet(whether they are 5 years old or 85 years old..)…on the flip side we need more mentors for those people, someone willing to extend a listening ear, and give the proverbial hand up in an educational way-not a hand out. I do that. Mentoring is a very rewarding venture, but not in a monetary way. There is nothing more valuable than knowing you have made a positive difference in someone’s life. Even people that have nothing can make a huge difference and some do. So for anyone to sit out there and type about “poor me” whah, whah…I have no patience for it unless they are actively taking responsibility for it and working toward a solution. If you aren’t part of the solution, you are part of the problem…..even when you are a kid.

  34. 34 1george1

    George and PCS- just showing up and
    intelligently
    asking the
    right questions
    is enough sometimes.

    PHIN: This exactly proves what I am trying to convey to you.
    Most people do NOT ATTEND, or are NOT INTERESTED in what
    OTHERS WANT to tell / teach them.

    The same kid who can not remember a twelve line poem can recite
    whole albums of songs.

    H L MENCKEN > “No one ever went broke underestimating the
    intelligence of the American people.”

    —-

    Rhetorrical question to PHIN

    If people do N O T know, what they do N O T know ……

    How would they know “the right questions?”

    —–

    Phin – that which is obvious to you …….

    never occurs to 98 % of the people …..

    Conversely that which is obvious to me, is NOT being accepted
    by your belief system of what you believe about others & kids?

    —–

    Every one of us is a unique entity.
    Every one of us has priorities.

    Your above post is mostly admirable.
    However, you have a SET perception or perceptions!
    (as do we all!)

  35. 35 genericscreename

    et al:

    What is most amazing to me are those who are commenting on other peoples reality with respect to the BOE.

    lets be realistic, Stratford is on the verge of bankruptcy due to mistakes of the past and those who were more concerned with re-election than the overall welfare of the TOS. Example being pension funds and approprations to the general fund instead of reinvesting back into pension. That being said, why would any responsible individual even consider an additional 10 million in construction costs when we can close two facilites down right now due to excess capacity?

    Those same people who were complaining about Miron and budgets are now complaining that we are not spending enough.

    Very hypocritical in my humble opinion

    after reading this post, I would offer that those who are so critical, stop writing opinion and finally take a position and RUN for OFFICE!, Time to put your money where your mouth is

  36. 36 genericscreename

    et al:

    What is most amazing to me are those who are commenting on other peoples reality with respect to the BOE.

    lets be realistic, Stratford is on the verge of bankruptcy due to mistakes of the past and those who were more concerned with re-election than the overall welfare of the TOS. Example being pension funds and appropriations to the general fund instead of reinvesting back into pension. That being said, why would any responsible individual even consider an additional 10 million in construction costs when we can close two facilities down right now due to excess capacity?

    Those same people who were complaining about Miron and budgets are now complaining that we are not spending enough.

    Very hypocritical in my humble opinion

    after reading this post, I would offer that those who are so critical, stop writing opinion and finally take a position and RUN for OFFICE!, Time to put your money where your mouth is

  37. 37 1george1

    Generic,
    Since I have done what you suggest and ran for office, will I be getting
    your vote and work for my future camPAINS? 😉

    Since I have POSTED and PLATFORMED for a 20 Mil Rate, will I be getting
    your vote and work for my future camPAINS? 😉

    If elected, the pensions will get no more money from the town and the
    unions will have total control.
    > However, I would advise on how to grow the funds, exponentially.
    > If there are sufficient funds for sources other than tax payers, then I
    do not care how much each pension is! Let the unions handle it!

  38. Hi everyone!

    My question is: How exactly does the heatlh premiums work in Stratford? I know when our families premiums went up the first of the year, we became responsible for the extra amount and all my husbands employees had an extra dollar amount taken out of their checks….there was never any talk of firing people or closing parts of his store. Im just wondering what the town employees are responsible for and how much the town absorbs.

  39. 39 jezebel282

    Ally,

    No such an easy question. It depends upon which of the various unions an employee belongs to. Each union negotiates it’s own contract (and coverage/contribution).

    The Stratford BOE was confronted with a nearly 60% overall increase in one year by Connecticare and there will be another double digit increase this year. Or in other words, if your husband’s company was paying $10,000 per employee, it would have had to come up with $16,000 per employee in order to continue the same coverage.

    What each BOE employee contributes depends on their position, i.e., teacher, administrator, clerk, kitchen, custodian etc.

  40. 40 1george1

    ayllyit- I am confused if your husband works for Town / BoE
    or for private sector? Since you wrote his store=private sector.

    The most accurate information you can get is from Ron Ing, HR Town
    or call Mike Feeney or Irene Cornish at BoE.
    In each case their secretary can direct you.

    FOI rules:
    If documents exist in electronic format and already stored you do not
    have to pay anything for e-mail attachments. You can print yourself.

    If town prints copies = 50 cents per page.

    —–

    Some private sector employees pay 35%, 40%, 45% or entire premiums.
    From what I have been able to find out it appears most of the Town or
    BoE pay between 12% to 14% of premium.

    In private sector HSA, the deductible is normally paid by employees, but
    can deduct up to $ 5,000 Tax deductible, depending on the plan.
    BoE “family plan” under Tom Malloy/Ben Branyan paid $ 5000 deductible,
    with less for couples or individuals.
    BoE “family plan” under Gavin Forrester/Mike Feeney paid $ 3,000 deductible,
    with less for couples or individuals.

    My feedback from multiple companies is that insurance rates went up,
    but not nearly the percent of Town & BoE.

    It was my letter to editor in the star pointing out facts as I understand
    them and I find on this blog there are people who feel either way on
    issues related to pensions and health care and more.

    The top step teacher is paid $ 89 to $ 94,000.
    I understand 30 BoE Administrators / Principals / vice are paid $ 120,000
    to $ 200,000? I am unsure.

    Mayor is paid $ 90,000 + unvouchered $ 7,500 expenses + Mayor Budget
    + Car/Gas/Insurance/Repairs + Health care + Health + Life Insurance +
    58 days off minimum of 260 maximum weekly workdays of 7 1/2 hours.
    + bunch of stuff.

    According to Website the 100 – 110 Fire Dept personnel look to earn
    $ 2 million in O.T on top of Base pay and Police might earn $ 1.5 million
    in O.T. for their 110 people.

    About the only people not earning over $ 80,000 a year + about 100%
    in benefits including $ 60,000 annual pensions are Administrative staff,
    Custodians, and the Registrars who make $ 26,000 a year for 20 hour
    work week, with estimated $ 31,000 in Benefits for 20 hours worked ?

  41. Thanks…as Ive been sitting here reading everything there is to read about the chance of an elementary school closing (especially since my daughters school is one on the chopping block) I was wondering why no one has said anything about higher employee contributions…which Im all for but probably not in the cards. At the end of the day, I am not looking forward to a school closing, whether its our neighborhood school or any other school. I would not of even been aware of any of this ( Im a mom of 4, my time to read anything is usually limited to nap time) had I not been told that A) There was a chance my twins would not be going to their neighborhood school next year due to the fact it may be closing and B) That my 5 year old who will be entering kindergarten next year will probably not attend the same school where her sisters are (wherever that may be). In fact, as I continue to read about the nonsense that apparently goes on in our town and the BOE, Im getting to the point where attending my local PTA meetings are not enough, and I might just attend the town meeting on Monday to really get whatever facts they are going to share. I’ve been following your blog for awhile and its refreshing to see real facts and insights.

  42. 42 jezebel282

    Ally,

    “I’ve been following your blog for awhile and its refreshing to see real facts and insights.”

    We try.

    There are facts and there are “facts”. In this Town one is rarely related to the other.

  43. George …sorry, no my husband owns his own store, not even remotely connected to any kind of town management….the only thing I knew about increases in premiums is when he told me that our health insurance had increased by about $1500 for our family and he was having it deducted from his paycheck. Thats why I was so confused about the $12 million dollar extra a year for the BOE.

  44. 44 phineast

    allylt1020- welcome! Unfortunately for the taxpayers the BOE contracts are in place-The BOE might be able to force a reopening due to a financial emergency-like if half their budget gets cut by the town. Going to a town meeting(meaning non BOE) won’t help as they have no input as to how the tax dollars are spent once they are allocated. So if you want the employee(including management) contribution to go up you have to lobby the council to cut a certain dollar amount to the BOE-though there is no guarantee it will force a higher employee contribution.
    The BOE is facing some very serious cuts-it has hit ALL the other depts except the BOE and Fire Dept.-now is the BOE’s turn. Unfortunately it hurts the students somewhat-but this go’round is going to hurt admin much more I believe, as the public has made it abundantly clear they are fed up with the top heavy admin. Go to the BOE meetings, read every piece of documentation that is open to the public and get in the faces fo the BOE members. Write them, call them, meet with them. They are suppose to be representing YOU. Most importantly learn about what is mandated by the state…because many times that is a driving factor in the reorganization process. If you don’t agree with the mandates talk to your state reps and work toward getting rid of them if they are federal…you are S.O.L., most likely. 12 million dollars is a lot of pocket change-so something has to give.
    One thing you should be aware of-if your oldest child goes to a certain school it will most likely be that all your children will go to that school. You may have to put a request in writing each year at the administration center(keep a copy for yourself and write down who you give it to…), but they do their best to keep families together because parents that don’t get the FREE busing can’t be in two places at once to pick students up and drop them off. It is a safety issue for the kids. Mind you, that policy can change-but it is very difficult to deny a waiver request of that nature unless it skews the racial balance.

  45. Thanks for all your advice…And, yes, I am more concerned with the top heavy BOE (Mrs. Cornish has not earned my respect, mainly because of a letter she sent to the PTA presidents in town dictating what procedures and provisions are mandatory when she is expected at a school)…but I believed that she was on her way out anyway (though I think she may be pulling a Brett Farve) so I thought that would be one aspect solved. Are the members of the BOE overpaid? Probably. Are they doing a good job? Not really. I went to school in the O’Connell days, and everyone knew who he was, he was always at the schools, and he was always willing to talk. (If this is way off, I was in highschool, and he was always a presence at Stratford, maybe because his son was there?) The highschool kids that live next door to me have absolutley no clue who Cornish is. To me, thats not being superintendant. Unfortunately , unless she truly retires, and a replacement is found (unsure how this is done….is that office hired by the mayor or voted on?) Im pretty sure things will go on as they are. (though I hear her secretaries make a decent amount….anyone know if shes hiring??)

  46. I read that to consolidate and reduce local property taxes Pennsylvania was able to put most teachers under one state health plan. Stronger than armies is an idea whose time has come to CT. I would like to see one of our state legislators propose such a plan. This is much a statewide issue as a local one. Not an easy task to be sure but this is our children we are talking about.

    John Fahan

  47. 47 pcsperling

    Generic ~

    Oh, yes, I was one of the loud voices when Miron was in office. He did spend way too much of our hard-earned tax dollars and, as he went out the door, gave his cronies raises, bonuses and who knows what else. There was a great deal of wasteful spending.

    I am 100% for forging ahead with a new Honeyspot House. We have a grant to do this and yes, there must be some input from the Town; however, we are in a time that we also need to stimulate the economy with jobs and projects too. Construction companies are starving and when you’re that hungry, your costs go down. There could be more for less. It will also show that the education system of Stratford is an important part of the Town and can stimulate some economic growth.

    I am 100% against continuing the top heavy administration. Ally – yes, Mrs. Cornish’s “executive assistant” makes a very nice salary. Surprising this part of Fairfield County. She’s making what a Greenwich or NYC executive assistant would make! THIS IS STRATFORD, not NYC, not Greenwich. I don’t agree that the salaries paid to the top administration at the BOE is OK because it’s in line with what other municipalities are paying. I don’t agree that bonuses should be paid for “doing a good job” when that good job means cutting programs from our children, or laying off the people who keep our schools running (teachers, school secretaries, custodians, CIAs, etc.). So, essentially, the money that is saved could end up lining the pocket of one of the “biggies” on East Broadway.

    I have always – before my daughter was even in school – fought to keep the funds IN THE SCHOOLS, even when Miron was in office.

    Ally, I have heard great things about Ray O’Connell. The BOE was run quite differently – more respectfully. During one of the last snowstorms – the 16″ one two weeks ago, Mrs. Cornish refused to close the BOE building. This meant that unless the employee took a personal or vacation day, they were to show up for work. The school secretaries at the high schools, all school custodians, the BOE secretaries were required to work. BUT and there is a big BUT – not one parking lot was plowed. People couldn’t drive in to the lots. I heard one secretary’s car got stuck and she had to have it towed. Ray probably would’ve declared what many fondly remember as a “Ray Day.” He did seem to have more respect to all employees, not just the upper levels.

    I certainly hope the Board of the BOE is reading this blog and does hear loud and clear that parents are just sick and tired about the top heavy administration, sick of the cuts, etc. I also wish that it would be openly admitted that they were aware of what was going to happen with Connecticare – they knew, but most of their employees didn’t! It’s disgusting – they threw them all under a bus! Screwed without a kiss or KY! And, Connecticare is a for-profit insurance company owned by a NY corporation. Last year, they took in over $1 billion in revenue. Someone’s getting rich and it ain’t us!

  48. 48 1george1

    allyit
    There will be some good information in this blog and from the
    School System / Board of Ed and Town / Council.

    There will also be 2=2=pink.
    ie: self serving or non seqitors.

    It will be up to you to determine what you to believe to be true,
    not true, and the huge issues they want people to be distracted
    from looking at, never mind deconstructing.

    As Jez wrote – There are facts and there are “facts”.
    In this Town one is rarely related to the other.

    Rich Freddette should make Bartlette’s Book of Quotations, for:
    “This IS Stratford!”

    —–

    John – in my Stratford Star Letter to the Editor last week, I wrote
    about economy to scale. I also diffenciated in boosting private sector,
    business, and employee revenues, and public sector issues.

    Coincidental to you post, the new CT Comptroller suggested saving
    hundreds of millions by buying generic drugs for state workers or
    Board of Education, state wide.

    Unexpected problems aka “law of unintended consequences” can
    develope when solving problems;

    An example in the NEWS TONIGHT is WALMART is looking at going
    into NYC. Great idea to lower costs for customers …. RIGHT?
    Clothes
    Shoes
    Jewelry
    TV / Computers / Electronics
    Dry goods (can / boxed groceries
    Product
    Frozen Good
    Nursery

    PROBLEM is WALMART is know for PREDATORY PRACTICES of driving
    competing small business (locally owned) into failures.

    Back in the 1980’s I bought a few books from D.C. American Enterprize
    Institute. One of the titles for sale was about the affect of BIG BOX
    INTERNATIONALS on local business.

    Walmart is like the RAIL ROAD Company store and practices classic
    Rockefeller monopoly economics – destroy competition with low
    pricing + buy up fire sale Chapter 11 assets, like was done with K-mart.

    Once a monopoly is in place and competition has been sundered,
    like taking Saddam’s OIL off the SPOT market and forcing the VOLT
    from the market ….. what happens to CHOICES … and PRICES?

    John, your idea and the Comptroller’s idea and my idea are partial
    and short term solutions.

    The question allyit asked involve structural costs which were negotiated
    and given away on the political committees friends and family plan.

    Inside their castles, like midas hoarding gold, they steer as much as
    they can to each other from the unaffiliated and will CRY THAT’S NOT
    FAIR or WE HAVE CONTRACTS or I WAS LEGALLY CONTRACTED or HIRED
    despite the probability there was FRAUD and CONSPIRACY.

    MOOT ISSUE -> BIG OIL + BIG WAR + BIG DRUGS Insider Traders
    will eventually turn on those who THINK they are PROTECTED!

  49. 49 1george1

    PCS – posted “dog day afternoon” terms and situations while I was
    composing ….

    Interesting to get into/out the “east broadway” Administration building’s
    parking lot you have to use ‘sutton place.”

    Google willie sutton, who was a bank robber, who was asked why he
    robbed banks? He replied: “That’s where the money is.”

    —-

    While O’Connell was the Superintendent, I felt he was an over paid,
    empire building, blatherskite. Subsequently I saw contributions he
    made related to the Schools helping the WW II Memorial and he was
    helpful to the Butler and Mack charity basketball fund raisers and
    clinics for kids.
    I created the awards to O’Connell and teachers for Tony Mack and
    the Butlers on my computer, including the profuse praise verbage.

    When Irene came in, she did some things that really impressed me,
    * phasing out 3 assistent superintendents,
    * using those salaries toward kids issues.
    * implemented food and nutrician programs.
    * saved some attorney fees, since she is a member of the bar.

    Apparently School superintendents, like Town Managers / Mayors do
    what George Schultz claimed
    “they become captives of their bureaucracy”

    —-

    I suspect I can find good and bad with them and every past Manager,
    Mayor, Councilor, and even Town Committee member.

    Unfortunately, people in politics seem to be in it for the money.
    Directly
    or

  50. 50 pcsperling

    George ~

    Thank you for reminding me about the food and nutrition programs. It reminded me of what I have been told by a few employees in various elementary schools. Three are many, many who are getting free lunches that don’t qualify. Things just aren’t followed up on.

    I have also heard – from various – that there are out-of-town students attending our schools illegally. It’s a serious problem that I believe Mike Imbro is aware of, but he only works part time, and is overwhelmed! He can’t possibly follow up on all of these problems. Apparently, during the registration process, evidence is supposed to be provided; however, some slip through the cracks, and even though they are supposed to be followed up on, they aren’t. I recently found out that there were a few kids who lived in Bridgeport (the grandmother lives a few blocks from me) who were finally removed from the school they were attending. Not just one kid, but a few. It is happening in ALL of the schools – elementary, middle and high schools. I pull up to drop my daughter off and the first couple cars in front of me are NJ and FL license plates….. tax evasion? There is a great of lost revenue, fraud, etc.

    We, the honest, hard working, taxpaying residents, are the ones paying for it!

  51. 51 phineast

    George-
    People know if they are happy or not, they know if they are tired or if something feels good. They know if they are hungry. If you know these things, instinctively, and something is lacking, instinct takes over to get you through it….ie: you go look for food, if you are tired you sleep…etc. Man has survived and flourished and continues to grow by quenching the thirst…
    There are times when people need a helping hand…and I am one of the first to offer a hand…but there are also times when you have to let people do for themselves-so they can grow….and learn and find a way to be self sufficient. Seriously, how did mankind survive so long without all the handouts??????? Damned if I know.

  52. 52 phineast

    John—you are spot on!

  53. Thanks Phin. I am a novice on this subject but I figure I need to get up to speed and involved for my son’s sake.

  54. 54 athena856

    @ George – the bureacracy is out of control!

    @ PCS – thanks for explaining something I’ve been a little confused about for a while…where the money is going. Also, addressing what both you and Phin were saying about the new Honeyspot and the closing of Putney Chapel – closing a school to open a newer version of the school is one thing. Closing schools because certain people want to maintain a certain standard of living and are not willing to funnel the money back into education….is why we’re all so upset. It also drives people away, especially if they have the means/motivation/a young enough family and do not wish to deal with the constant upheaval due to repeated closings and numerous temporary solutions.

    @ Ally & John – it is important to get involved and go to the meetings – what people will say at other times and what you see happening at the meeting are two vastly different things. Be as involved as possible if you want any say in what happens with your children. Phin’s advice earlier about going to meetings and reading the minutes is crucial.

    @ Phin – I think that studying systems that work well and seeing what portions of them can be implemented in Stratford is a great idea. Innovation and new ideas are exactly what we need, not simply finding ways to cut corners.

  55. 55 athena856

    @ PCS – people like us who care about what happens to the school system in terms of the children should be the ones on the Board, right? I’m going to be reading, asking for, and attending as much as possible, because they do not seem to have our children’s best interest…even in mind. I am assuming you were at the last meeting – did you notice how long it took before the repercussions on education were even discussed? Shameful.

    As far as cost is concerned…why is it that we don’t want to invest in the future of the town? Both figuratively, as in the children, and literally, as in creating those things that will draw people and keep people here.

  56. 56 phineast

    athena-everyone in town cares about what happens in the schools. There is a direct impact on our property values and quality of life in addition to the impact on the kids. There is a psychology that the education administration uses year after year at budget time and the people fall for it hook, line and sinker every single time…”if you don’t give us the money we will close schools and cut staff, class size will make it impossible for your kids to learn”……we have given and given and given and there is nothing left to give in many homes. While the service the BOE provides is very important, it is NOT the ONLY service in town that is important. But the BOE admin wants you to believe it is. That is when you have a divided population on how much money is too much money in the BOE budget. You need to figure out why we spend over $10k per student for 180 days. Then look at the non public schools in the area and see what they charge-I can tell you that St. Mark’s is expensive but not that expensive-and IT is a BLUE RIBBON school which is why I checked the cost first. There are NO blue ribbon schools in town-none that are even close, we have a magnet school with no magnet for pete’s sake. Why is that? So if a Catholic school can provide a much higher quality education at a far lower price-maybe we should contract the diosese and have them run the schools…a form of privatization….
    I have children that went through the public schools in town, and frankly every budget season it was the same dance…there has not been one year in over 25 years that there has not been dramatic threats made. And frankly that is the ONLY time you see parents come out…..shameful. You always have the PTA parents and the representation there is about 1 parent volunteering for every 75 kids…ridiculous! But the same parents that want, want, want, do nothing to help be a part of the solution. The rest of the population can no long afford to carry such a heavy burden. So you have a committee looking at ways to reconstruct and reorganize the one part of the town budget that is sucking the life out of the community and people are ready to lynch them. Give them a chance to finish making their recommendation and voice your opinion at the public hearings. It has to go to public hearing before they can close a school.
    Listen to what they are saying, learn about the mandates-go give yourself a heart attack when you become educated on the mandated costs of special education. It is disgusting. Go do the math–find out how many special ed kids there are and divide the cost….have 911 on speed dial before you do it though. There is one student of special needs in town that costs more than a full year of Yale’s college tuition-and we have to pay that until the child is 21……year after year…and that child will never, ever be able to live on it’s own or hold a job…..do I feel bad for the child yes…but is that fair to all the other students???nope. It should be the same dollar allotment across the board for each child. You don’t see anyone spending crap loads of cash on the ALPS kids..and if anywhere there is going to be a return on the tax investment it would be there. Do I wish we had endless cash to do everything? yes. We don’t though.
    So what I am saying is the taxpayers HAVE invested in the future with regard to the BOE, it is the rest of the departments except the FD that have gone to hell and the quality of life right along with it. It is time to pay attention to the rest of the town because there are many thing that need to be maintained in addition to the school system. It is time we invest in that area too.
    If you and PCS can figure out how to substantially cut the BOE budget without school closings I applaud you. I don’t want any of the schools to close. I also want the money we spend to stay in the classroom…and that is definitely not where it is going….

  57. 57 phineast

    John-you may be a parenting novice-but you do have a wisdom about subjects that will greatly help you along the way. You are in a great position to really educate yourself about the BOE. I hope you do, you would be an asset there.

  58. 58 athena856

    Phin – In the last paragraph you are getting at what I meant. It’s not that I think that the BOE needs more money, but that tax dollars aren’t going…many useful places. I agree that it isn’t just the BOE that needs the money, but the money they are getting is clearly not going towards investments in our future.

    I’m not really going to comment on whose responsibility special ed children are – it’s a convoluted and tricky issue, and I’ll save it for a later time (after I have done some reading, of course 🙂

    The biggest part of the problem for me, is what you ended off with – the money is not staying in the classrooms. I keep looking, all over town, for some evidence that our tax dollars are being well spent…I am still looking. I now have some idea of who is spending it, but well-spent? Not exactly. Case in point – about 3-4 years ago, an emergency alert system was implemented in the middle schools. Although other towns had more expensive, seemingly better-functioning systems, the bare minimum (which, if I recall correctly, did not work as needed) was deemed suitable for us. Of course, this does not educate children, but…how is it that other (nearby) towns can spend the money on these things but we cannot? Why is it that we seem to get very few returns for our taxes?

  59. 59 phineast

    athena-well said.
    Why??is a very good question. Once you complete your “reading” overall you will understand why. Stratford has one of the largest admin’s in the state for the student population it serves. It is also one of the top paying when compared to the average per capita income within our borders. That being said, our teachers are also on the highest end of the pay curve (again doing the comparison to the average taxpayer income and other communities of our size and socio economics) with the the highest and best coverage of all the town employees they have the “bently” plan. They may not think so but, I promise you when you do the comparisons, they really do. We also have a contract system in place that has more steps than the walk to the Lincoln Memorial, coupled with a tenure plan and a state retirement that gives full retirement benefit after 35 years of service in teaching AND education reimbursement for the teachers and the admin as well . How many do you think will be staying at the bottom wrung of the salary scale??? Now you go beyond the salaries and frankly there is not much left other than the operational costs of the buildings and the busing and of course the special needs which translates into salaries….(obviously there is more-but I am referring to the big stuff). The Catholic schools seem to accomplish a stellar education with decent class size, decently maintained buildings, and moderate classroom supplies..such as books!!! for grades 1-6 instead of reams and reams of photocopies!!!!!! Amazing! How DO they DO it? Salaries are lower, benefits are less, education reimbursement is non existent and there is a small admin!!! AND MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL-they are pretty much exempt from all the state mandates and special ed costs!!!!!!! So it seems to me there are a couple of areas the public sector needs to fix-1) repeal many of the mandates, 2)streamline the admin, and 3)clearly minimize the teacher contracts due to the longevity factor. Communities and the state can no longer afford it, but still need to provide quality education…..seems to me there is a business opportunity out there for the Jesuits……..;)

  60. 60 1george1

    PHIN – It appears you are fawning all over Mr. Fahan.

    Are you aware a certain person was banded from either this blog
    or the playwrite blog for posting under multiple screen names?

    It won’t be the first time, political allies on this blog try to
    reinforce political allies and diminish others.

    Phin, you do have many good political insights and I believe
    are biased (like all of us) towards or against certain groups.
    Sometimes I thonk you are right / sometime wrong.
    Many would disagree / have, with my positions / perceptions

    This blog has a limited audience of mostly political insiders.
    Some are now on the outside.
    Most post their honest positions, from which I learn.

    PCS good post, except what do your recommend about others who
    are not doing the job hired to do, as you wrote about Imbro? 😉

    While, PCS + ATHENA + ALLYIT + PHIN + others blog about CHILDREN,
    waht about helping to Educate ADULT, such as it appears PHIN may
    have helped ADULTS.

  61. 61 1george1

    Would any blog readers want very affordable technical training
    to upgrade their skills towards higher paying careers?

    I keep forgetting about what I perceive as a lack of TRADE
    VOCATIONAL SKILLS, like Milford’s PLATT TECH and I forget
    the name of the Bridgeport school.
    > Not everyone is college material
    > Stratford has many talented construction contractors

    Stratford does have private school on burma road (Lordship blvd)
    Porter & Chester?

    Certain politically connected Day Care centers profitted from
    the loss of ALL DAY KINDERGARTEN, except to the politically
    connected, which I know for a FACT was RIGGED, by some of
    the BLOGGER’S HERO!
    Multiple political people told me about that, but would NOT
    go on the record or would DENY if asked. …

    “This IS Stratford!”

    Rhettorical question PHIN:

    If political connections OPENED some doors and resources for some,
    and CLOSED some doors and resources for others, can that affect
    the PMA Positive Mental attitude of people striving to improve them
    selves in a society which is RACIST, SEXIST, and EXCLUTIONARY or
    INCLUSIONARY if you are not obviously undesireable for peer groups?

    – Yes PHIN there are people who succeed against all ODDS.
    There are also people born with Trust Funds and parents paying for
    college, tutorials, and all the competative advantages.
    There are also people who band together keep some people down
    and also to steal disproportionate pieces of the pie.
    > Some of which YOU have described + criticized (correctly – I believe)

    – PHIN I think it was you who posted the brilliantly sarcastic post about
    only the DARWINIAN BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE, WHO ARE THE BEST/BRIGHTEST
    who are the ONLY ONES to DESERVE all of the ADVANTAGES …..
    – I believe you also made a personally modest comment indicating you
    (and I agree about myself) not fitting the profile.

  62. First let me say that Ive been following this blog ever since you wrote that wonderful send off for my fabulous aunt….Ive been trying to learn more about the politics and controversies in this town and thought you guys pretty much laid it out there for us. Yes, George, at this moment I am about the kids, I worry about their futures, I worry about the decision to even have bought a house in this town so my children could go to a quality school. At some point , as an adult, you either figure it out or you don’t. There are programs out there to educate adults. You just need to look for them. Its starts at home though. Cornishes comment in the paper about how the snowstorms have “wreaked havoc on CMT and CAPT preparations” had me off like a rocket when I read it. At this point , the kids are learning to the test. When kids dont know what a noun is, or they dont have “spelling” anymore because they have spellcheck, thats not a quality eduacation. Honestly , if I could afford it, I would pull them out of school and put them in Catholic school, except Im now paying more in taxes than I would a tuition.

    As to the “gifted” kids ….It outrages me that in FIRST GRADE they are already seperating the smart kids from the not as fast to learn kids…..I see this first hand every day with my girls. One twin is in “excel” which is the ALPS of elementary school, the other one is somewhere in the middle. Does it anger me to know they are teaching Twin A how to use a computer on a daily basis, while Twin B gets to use it maybe once a week when they have library? Yes. Do I like having Twin A bring home a 200 page chapter book in FIRST GRADE and Twin B is relegated to picture books because thats what the librarian tells her she can read? ( I did go down to the school and have a LONG talk with both the teachers and librarian) Like I said, watching this firsthand makes me realize that the teachers are trained to weed out the quicker kids and work with them and alot of the kids are getting left behind. Not all parents are going to be like me and my husband who work with our kids on a daily basis or read to them just about every night.

    At this point, Im trying to figure out how to get involved and protect my kids, my investments in this town, and everyone elses kids whose parent have no clue where the next school year is headed. (Though, according to Stratford Patch, they have already voted on moving 6th grade to Wooster, Flood, and Stratford Academy? Does anyone know if that means the rest of the schools are safe or if doing that has determined that one of the elementary schools are out?)

  63. 63 athena856

    Ally – it seemed to me that the two things went together. Move up the 6th graders to free up space in the elementary schools, then close one “consolidate the schools” to save money. It seemed that the next step is simply deciding which elementary school to close.

  64. 64 phineast

    George- did Einstein have a “college” degree?
    You are right not every one fits into a single mold. BUT you need to have some level of internal intelligence to survive. hmmm is that Darwinian?
    “Fawning”?-are you serious?????? I don’t fawn, and I was not aware anyone was “kicked off” for what you alluded to-though I know Jimmy boy was given a warning. Was this a recent event? and what names were being used? It would be nice to have a heads up as to not get caught up in a Miron like drama-he is the only one that I knew of that posted under multiple names.
    Exactly how have I helped adults? I mentor kids-actually teens not adults. I do volunteer work in town but that is for the entire population. I am not a political insider, never have been. I can’t believe I am gonna ask you this but..can you explain what and who you are talking about in your Porter Chester and DayCare references? We still have all day Kindergarten in town, so I am not sure what you are talking about, same with the Porter Chester reference-and who is the Hero? I am out of the loop on this one have not a clue as to what you are talking about. :/
    I don’t believe it was me that posted the brilliant Darwinian reference-I’d love to take credit for brilliance-but only if in fact it was mine, maybe it was me, but honestly I don’t recall.
    George-PMA has to start from within. The real world doesn’t give a rats rear about PMA or self esteem- just ask Bill Gates….and you are right there are have’s and the have nots, and people that are just awful-the bullies-whether it is in politics or the real world-they are out there and there are no schools to teach you how to deal with those people effectively. It is trial and error. Learn from the mistakes. Society has broad stroke knee jerk reactions to situations that in many cases are isolated. Instead of dealing directly with the problem and those that are causing it there is a rush to broad stroke a rule or mandate on everyone else that was never part of the original problem and it usually ends up 1) costing a friggin’ fortune and 2) creates a host of unintended consequences. The resources that are available for the haves are many, the resources available for the have nots are also many-those that have “some or a little bit” are the ones that are left out in the cold. That is the category that I fell in to and have spent my entire life trying to get to a slightly higher level..and every time I think I am gonna be there-we get slapped with another tax increase either in town, in the state or the federal rules change again…it keeps pulling me back to the lower end…but I keep at it and working harder-but you know what??? I am TIRED. So I think I may participate in OBAMANOMICS and let everyone else carry the burden and pay my way, bail me out, give me free health care…Am I lazy? no–but I sure am tired. and the saddest thing is? no one cares as long as they get their money.

  65. 65 phineast

    ally-great post. I am not sure who your aunt is/was but if it is who I am thinking-you were indeed blessed.
    BINGO!!! You really get it, as does PCS and athena. IT STARTS AT HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!
    You could triple tha amount spent in the BOE and have 5 additional school and it still will NOT do anything if the parents don’t follow through at home.
    Maybe you gals can start a school marketing campaign, using that very slogan. That is indeed when the pressure needs to be applied-in additiion to the BOE reps and Admin.
    I am completely against CMT testing. I believe that each grade should have an exit exam-even in first grade. If you haven’t mastered the curriculum you shouldn’t hold back those that have by having incessant reviews. Back in the day, you may actually remember-there were reading “groups” in each class. It was divided into a 1 hour block with 20 minutes for Group 1, 20 minutes for group 2 and 20 minutes for group 3. The groups were created to teach to high, mid level and low level readers. Someone in this midst of a knee jerk self esteem crisis did away with the groups using the premise that the higher level readers would bring up the lower level reader’s skill by being exposed. I was a “group 3” reader until 3rd grade. It didn’t matter who helped or how much I read-I needed the developmental time to progress. I did have parents that made sure I did my homework-though they never helped. They said helping would defeat the purpose…plus they were too damn busy to help. They were right. I struggled for quite awhile and then finally one day I got it. Some kids do that.
    With regard to your twins….just because the are twins does NOT mean they will progress the same. Celebrate their individuality and strengths, try not to hold one back because of the other can’t keep up…I guarantee one day the twin that is behind will surpass in an altogether different area. The trick for you as a parent is finding the area and helping to foster it’s growth. I would have praised the teacher and the librarian for finding way to challenge the excel child while nurturing and encouraging the other child. That is what you want a teacher to do-teach each child at the child’s own rate. Now if the teacher is comparing the two that is something different….that is unacceptable. Usually the “quicker” kids get very little attention in the classroom because there are soooooo many “needy” kids whose parents are just as needy as the kids…so those kids don’t get challenged and get bored which brings about a whole set of its’ own problems….
    I hope you find a way to get involved-PTA is an ok resource-but your best resource is actually volunteering in the school if you can-in the classrooms, the library, the lunch room-just not in your own kids classes-it distracts the kids most of the time-just a suggestion. My kids went to different elementary schools at the same time which presented it’s own set of challenges but I volunteered in those(Wilcoxson, Whitney and Chapel) schools and was able to see the differences in what was being done. THAT was very very helpful. And let me tell you something..during that particular time Chapel was the school that lagged behind the other two. The leadership in a school has a lot to do with classroom motivation and performance as well as parental involvement. The leadership that was present at Chapel during that time frame has thankfully retired which has helped the school’s performance tremendously.
    Your children are lucky that you are willing to advocate for them and protect them. Just remember-sometimes one of the skills that needs to be learned is how not to fall and to duck!
    Good luck with your quest-hope to see great things from your involvement!

  66. 66 phineast

    ally-one last thought-volunteering in the PE classes was the most fun…and I learned a great deal about the students beyond their ability to read…nothing like a good game of kick ball!

  67. @Phineast …They still have the reading groups, higher tiered kids together, lower level reading groups are together, they rotate through 4 diffrent classes every 15 minutes in trhe morning for one hour….the problem I have with it is the high tiered group is concentrated on more, while the lower readers are left to read on their own….and honestly, it wouldnt have bothered me in the least except one of the teachers DID compare the two (which is unacceptable to me). I fully embrace that one of my children is “gifted” and I can’t expect that both would be on the same level, but for them to be taught so differently bothers me. Like I said, my one daughter told me she doesnt need to learn to spell because they will always have spell check, while the other is given lists of words to memorize. Thats what I find fault with.

    Volunteering would be great, but unless your kids are in kindergarten , the school really doesnt want our help. Trying to organize room parents for this year became more of the parents begging to help, and being told that we were’nt needed. ( I did volunteer to help the kindergartens again, because those teachers really appreciate the help)

    BTW I am truly blessed to have my Aunt, but she might have to find a hobby….now that her kids have flown the coop, Im afraid she might go stir crazy …

  68. 68 1george1

    Phin,
    When O’C was superintendent, there was limited all day indergarten
    and a lottery for some slots.
    Hearsay – first hand to me – some politically connected parent excluded
    children could “somehow” circumvent the lottery.
    – I am NOT NAMING NAMES.
    – I am NOT making ANY SPECIFIC inferences.
    – MULTIPLE credible people told me independent facts and circumstances
    which gave me cause to believe them.

    Please Google Porter and Chester. I believe they are on Lordship Blvd.
    They have ADULT EDUCATION PROGRAMS.
    – I do not know if they have construction or vehicle mechanical
    – I am sure they have all kinds of electrical, computer, and programming.

    I thought Jeze had kicked off a couple bloggers for disobeying the rules?
    Maybe it was the playwrite’s blog?
    It is up to Jeze to confirm or deny this blog and can choose to confirm
    or rebut my memory related to Playwrites blog.

    Personally I like having Jim and his followers blog their positions.
    However, many of the post which appeared to be a MiroNut, kinda spammed
    a series of short posts, which effectually moved damning posts off the lists.
    Ron only strings 3 or 4 short posts at the most, so his don’t move many posts
    off the visible string, which allows people to see that other posts had hit.

    EINSTEIN DEGREE?
    – I read Einstein failed math.

    – I read he discovered the theory of general relativity.
    No relation to Stratford’s patronage to relatives?

    Wikipedia – honorary degrees!
    Einstein published more than 300 scientific papers along with over
    150 non-scientific works, and
    received honorary doctorate degrees
    in science, medicine and philosophy
    from many European and American universities
    Einstein escaped from Nazi Germany in 1933, where he had been a
    professor at the Berlin Academy of Sciences,
    and settled in the U.S., becoming a citizen in 1940.

    Wikipedia:
    At age 17, Einstein graduated, and, with his father’s approval,
    renounced his citizenship in the German Kingdom of Württemberg
    to avoid military service, and in 1896 he enrolled in the four year
    mathematics and physics teaching diploma program at the
    Polytechnic in Zurich.
    In 1900 Einstein was awarded the Zurich Polytechnic teaching diploma.

    PHIN – Isn’t that a DEGREE?
    I enjoyed looking it up.

    PHIN you blogged about community service and that your involvement
    in BoE, was mostly relative to parenting.
    Have you helped ADULTS or STUDENTS?
    Either “or Both” is both praise worthy.

    I suspect everyone of us who blogs have helped ADULTS + STUDENTS?

    Bill Gates – Father is a VERY VERY POWERFUL LAWYER.

    Microsoft has some very questionable practices and allies, where MAC
    has minimal patch needs and is easily NETWORKED.

    A former head of a PC USERS group which I was a member of, showed
    how many PORTS in a LAND LINE computer can be externally accessed.
    > Wireless is completely unsecure.
    > Credentials of people criticizing Gates?
    He ran the WTC 9/11 Communications and “W” knew him by first name.

    Lifetime friend of family is a bodyguard for one of Bush’s ranking people.

    I have met: William Shea, William Casey, George McGovern, Lieberman,
    Dodd, Shays, Morrison, DeLauro, Art Leavitt, Sikorsky(s), Ford, Paysons,
    Whitneys, DuPonts, Rothchilds, Marshall Fields widow, Nelson MACY,
    Jason Robards, Newman, Gorshin, Jake, Keir, B Peters, Bonney Bedelia,
    K. Basinger, Jay Leno, Y Smirnoff, Fritz Haber, Reasoner, and many other
    powerful or famous people, and many of the families of local shakers
    / movers. It was almost as if I were on a chess board.
    Beardsley, Bodine, Bryant, Bullard,

  69. 69 jezebel282

    George,

    “I thought Jeze had kicked off a couple bloggers for disobeying the rules?”

    Moi? Jamais!

  70. 70 phineast

    ally- your children are very lucky to have you as a mom.
    How can ANYONE retain anything in a 15 minute cycle? I thought the 20 minutes was a short time! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the staff could not show favoritism? I realize they are human……but to compare? Not cool. Too many qualified people looking for teaching jobs to allow that to happen in a class.
    The kindergarten classes were lucky to have you there…the library is an excellent place to get into…especially if you are a guy…the kids crave male attention. The lunch room usually looks for helpers too. The older the kids get the less time you get to volunteer in the classroom-but to keep your finger on the pulse of things usually the library is desperate for help even in JR High. Parent volunteers were replaced by TA”s once it was hard to get the volunteers in the classroom…the standards are different as well-but I would go in and work one on one with some of the more challenged kids or help to focus the kids with the behavior issues so the rest of the class could actually learn, much of that
    occurred grade 3 and below.

    George-I used to do a lot of work in the elementary schools, one day a week you could find me in at least 3 different schools sometimes more. All volunteer.
    Right now I am mentoring young adults/teens(2) that actually are not in Stratford, they were given to me as we have a common interest that I hope to guide them into a career path with. There are many programs out there that welcome the help providing you pass the background check. These kids are amazing people that are making lemonade out of lemons-I am just assisting them and giving them some much needed attention to take off the roughness around the edges. I encourage anyone interested in mentoring in out town to contact the mayor’s office as his wife is working on a mentoring program which she should be applauded for.

    The Bill Gates reference was about a quote he made regarding self esteem.
    Polytechnically speaking yes I know Einstein had a teaching certificate-the math reference was actually what I was driving at….I should have worded it better. :/

    Boy you really rub elbows with the hobnobbers…why are you still in Stratford?

  71. 71 pcsperling

    George ~

    Before I catch up on today’s postings, I wanted to respond to a portion of yours. I meant no disrespect to Mike Imbro. He’s got his hands full, and while I believe Erica is assisting him, there’s more than they can handle. Perhaps there should be requirements to ensure residency of the students. Something like a flyer going home requesting evidence – especially from those that didn’t follow-up and provide it.

    The whole thing with the free lunch is hysterical too. There are parents, driving up to drop their kids off in a Mercedes, talking about their recent Disney vacation, and their kids are getting free lunch.

    There is no protocol for dealing with these issues.

  72. 72 phineast

    PCS-the lunches are state funded-last I checked. And you are correct about the abuses. As far as I am concerned there should be drug, etoh and nicotine testing on every single applicant-if they have the cash to burn on those things they have the money for school lunches. The system definitely needs to be tightened up or phased out…I don’t want to see anyone go hungry but by the same token, why should you and I be paying for free lunch an in some cases breakfast if a parent has the cash to light up, or tip an elbow???????? sheesh…and don’t even get me started about the cars….would love to be an investigator to find the fraud on this stuff….the parents don’t care if the kids suffer as long as they satisfy themselves…disgusting.

  73. Lets put it this way…we have 4 children total….when the oldest started school, they sent home the forms to fill out the free/reduced lunch forms. I didnt even bother filling it out because I knew we wouldnt qualify. Then, someone told me that the principals are the ones that approve/deny the forms, and you could pretty much put down whatever you wanted and you would get approved. At the end of the day, if you can’t afford the $10 for lunch a week (quite a deal if you ask me, I probably spend 4 times that during the summer when the kids are home) then you cant afford the luxuries. I still refuse to falsify our take home income to save the $20 a week. I do feel bad for not having all the luxuries alot of their friends have, like the big flat screens, the Mercedes and Lexus (I have a Kia)..the video games and DS things. I guess Im kind of old school where Id rather have quality of life, and have my kids play in the yard or ride their bikes, then become zombies in front of a TV. Growing up, we didnt have all that stuff and I think we turned out fine. I dont want my kids to think its ok to not have to work for what they have or need (I feel no shame with all these recent snow days having sent my 7 year olds to their fathers store to stock shelves) At some point in their lives, they will realize they are better off and have a bright future in front of them.

    On the volunteering thing, since I have limited time ( I still have two kids at home) and the librarian wont even acknowledge me anymore its kind of hard. Ive found that the kindergartens and the 6th grade teachers are the best bet if you want to get involved….the lunch rooms are all Sodexo employees so you cant really volunteer. I have tried harder this year to get more involved in the shcool workings, because even if they arent my children, they are going to be growing up with my children.

  74. 74 phineast

    You are a good parent.
    There is only one school admin in town at the moment that I believe would allow such obnoxious behavior from a staff member-you need to make the admin in the school aware-not as a complaint but an “fyi” and then if it continues, go down to East Broadway. I am telling you there are FAR too many qualified people looking for work to tolerate obnoxious mediocrity for the amount of money the taxpayers shell out from anyone within the BOE. End of story.
    (If your lawyer or doctor, financial adviser, butcher or any other professional treated you that way I’d bet you’d relieve them of your business-time to be doing that in the schools as well-maybe then we will FINALLY get a blue ribbon school.)

  75. 75 genericscreename

    Georeg,PCS, et al:

    Thank you for your responses. It appears much to my surprise that the majority of readers appear to want to spend money we do not have on another school. What most people are failing to realize, is that even if the TOS, State of CT and any other related approving agency were to be involved, it would be at least three years before we would see another school, should new construction prevail. Now has anyone asked the question, as to where will the school systems be in three years?, how will the demographics and total population have changed, by then?

    Think about the excessive waste and alleged fraud which occurred when the Birdseye street complex was initially proposed. The BOE prepared and submitted false documents to the state to demonstrate the number of additional classrooms and teachers necessary for the “special educational systems” which required the additions etc . In the end it was proven and determined that the state funded 9 additional classrooms at Birdseye street for “all the children who have been expelled/suspended who are required to be educated even though they cant go to school”. and in fact for the last six years, the maximum amount of students who actually were required to utilize the facility was on average 6 students per year.

    Do the math people, calculate the actual cost to maintain the entire wing with heat and electricity and divide that by the number of students and you will have a six figure number. Very wastefull dont yah think?

    Also read the BOE budget and look at all the duplications in line items for those which fall under the TOS as expenses Vs the BOE, and when you ask why there is a duplication you will not get an answer. check into graffitti removal, alarm system monitoring, snow removal, portable classroom rentals, repairs and maintenance.

    People come awake, read between the lines, the residents of the TOS are being screwed by the BOE and NO ONE, Mayor, or council has the testicular fortitude to speak up, go public and expose this.

    George, do your homework, present the data and see how much support you get. You will find that it is all about getting re-elected and nothing more.

  76. 76 phineast

    Generic- EVERY YEAR it is brought to the attention of the people that are SUPPOSED to represent us. EVERY YEAR!!!! It is how when we calculate how much of the total town cash goes to BOE it is actually OVER 65%. OVER 65%!!!!!!!!!! Approx. 1/3 of the PW budget is for the BOE. The argument we get every single year is that the grounds and buildings are used for more than just the students……That is how they justify the duplication. This is the year I believe that there just might be a bit of testosterone flowing on the town side of the budget process and just MAYBE they will eradicate the duplications.
    Putting George on it was a will def. give it some more illumination.

  77. 77 1george1

    PHIN: “Boy you really rub elbows with the hobnobbers…
    why are you still in Stratford?

    GEO: “It was almost as if I were on a chess board.”

    GEO to PHIN: If you know how to play chess, being ON the chess
    board indicates other people are moving the pieces ….

    There are cryptographic, literary, historical, and other reasons
    for Stratford and CONNECT – 1 – cut.

    What is the first municipality, Alphabetically, in CONNECT – 1 – CUT?

    ======

    FROM PCS: George ~ ….. “I meant no disrespect to Mike Imbro.
    He’s got his hands full, ….”

    GEORGE: I have “less respect” for Mike than many bloggers do, yet
    more than for some other people.

    =======

    GENERIC: “George, do your homework, present the data and see
    how much support you get. You will find that it is all about getting
    re-elected and nothing more.

    GEORGE: I was told the BOE is about:
    “JOBS, PAY, BENEFITS, RETIREMENTS, and INFLUENCE for the PARTY.”
    I was told the TOWN is about:
    “JOBS, PAY, BENEFITS, RETIREMENTS, and INFLUENCE for the PARTY.”

    “To Protect and Serve ….” (whom?)
    (Selves and Patrons)

    =========

    PHIN: “Putting George on it was a will def. give it some more illumination.”

    GEORGE’S REACTION:

    Thank you for the compliment.

    However, my reactions is about the same as if I wrote to dictate to you:
    “Putting PHIN on the BoE issues, will definitely give it some more illumination.”

    Further, while I am against many of the same people the bloggers appear to
    be against, does not mean I am part of this general positions of this group of
    political partisan. (see Graucho about not joining clubs which would have him)

    I have a very definite agenda and reason I got involved in stratford politics,
    whereas exposing wrongs and trying to have honest government, is very
    compatable with my need to get PAST
    LOCAL KNUCKLE HEADS and KNUCKLE DRAGGING KLEPTOCRATS …
    STATE ” ”
    FEDERAL ” ”

    The political justice puppets are simply in my way.
    I am surrounded.
    I want those pulling the strings to lose control and implode their control,
    so relatively decent and innocent people can have better lives as I … try
    to end the encirclement … and closed maze …..

    Towards those ends, I have been identifying the true enemy …..

    I do not have to hate the sin and love the sinner …..
    I do not have to pretend to be a golum or “Job” ..

    I made a promise to my deceased father and my god, to uphold my
    belief structure in Country, Humanity, and American Pluralism of a
    Regulated Capitalistic Constitutionalistic Democratic Representative
    Republic, which can work for liberty and justice for …… A L L.

    Equal protection of the law …. means equal protection & opportunity.

    LATIN: “A posse ad esse.” From possibility to actuality.

    “Abusus non tollit usum” – Wrong use does not preclude proper use

  78. 78 athena856

    Phin – I know for a fact that the other places that use the schools have to pay a rental fee, which is figured into the costs of the programs. So why do we the taxpayers also have to pay for them to use the buildings? There were at least 2 unnecessary snow days so far, because the parking lots weren’t all cleared…if we are paying that much to the BOE in public works, why aren’t these things taken care of?

    In regards to the magnet school – why is there an application on the Stratford BOE website to a magnet school in Bridgeport? This makes me wonder if the Academy is truly as much of a magnet school as it should be. I know there are extra arts and music programs there, but something seems to be lacking. Couldn’t there be more programs so that the school could get state funding and be opened up to students from other districts? That would be a real draw. Right now it seems to exist in an odd magnet-like state.

    I’ve been doing a little research – Honeyspot is the most recently built elementary school, yet it is the one that needs not renovations, but an entire new building?? I’m not questioning whether the building should be used for future classes – certainly children should not be in a building that is not safe, but how is it that it ran down so quickly? Was it poorly maintained? Why wasn’t something done before it was almost falling apart?

  79. 79 1george1

    PHIN: Putting George on it will definitely. give it some more illumination.

    It is how when we calculate how much of the total town cash
    goes to BOE it is actually OVER 65%. OVER 65%!!!!!!!!!!
    Approx. 1/3 of the PW budget is for the BOE.

    ———

    I know there are/were 879/880 people in BoE insured from email
    from Mike Feenay 2 months ago.

    Town likely to have about 440 employees.

    880 : 440 :: 2 : 1

    2 : 1 :: 66% : 33%

    Recent Town Council meeting about Energy Audit
    Stratford has total of 90 meetings.

    Recent news report indicated BoE has 15 Buildings.

    Besides about 880 employees,
    I think there are a little under 8,000 students

    This post is neither for nor against the BOE or TOWN.

  80. 80 1george1

    The Long Range Planning Committee is having their final meeting
    on February 7th, concerned parents and residents should show up
    and voice their opinions.

    TIME?
    PLACE?
    SIGN UP to SPEAK?
    HAND OUTS ACCEPTED?
    ANYTHING HAPPENING ELSEWHERE in TOWN?

  81. 81 jezebel282

    Long Range Facilities Planning Committee

    The Long Range Facilities Planning Committee is chaired by Board Member, Joseph Crudo, and consists of approximately twenty five members from the Board of Education, Administration, and Community. All meetings are held in the Board Room at the Administration Center, 1000 East Broadway, Stratford, CT 06615. Meeting start time is 6:00 p.m.

    Committee Members

    Norm Aldrich, CPA
    Bob Baird, Athletic Director, Stratford High School
    Shawnell Budnick, Parent
    Robert Cody (Curriculum Committee & Finance Committee member)
    Helen Craye (PTA Council President)
    Joseph Crudo (Committee Chair & BOE member)
    Janice Daponte, Board member
    Mary Dean (Chamber of Commerce)
    Jack Dellapiano, Principal, Flood Middle School
    Maureen DiDomenico, SAA President
    Joseph Dimenno (School Plant/Planning Committee)
    Gavin Forrester, Chairman, Board of Education
    Paul Hoydick, Stratford Town Council
    David Kennedy, Board member
    Dave Killeen, Town Planner, Town of Stratford
    Susan Lance, SEA President
    Margaret Lasek, Principal, Stratford High School
    Eric Lazaro (School Plant/Planning Committee)
    Charles Lindberg, Board member
    Robert Marinaccio, Greater Bridgeport Board of Realtors
    Liz McGoey, Principal, Nichols Elementary School
    Kimberly Meuse, Stratford Town Council
    Michael Feeney, Chief Operating Officer
    Elaine Watson, Assistant Superintendent
    Irene Cornish, Superintendent

    Really? Norm Aldrich? Again? Must be because of all his experience with Team Stratford and the SAEP….

    Attendees should also review: http://www.stratfordk12.org/images/customer-files//Presentation1.31.2011.pdf

    All of this is posted on the BOE website.

  82. 82 phineast

    athena-the answer to you question is not straight forward EXCEPT w/regard to the clearing of the lots-I am guessing that because PW was hit with layoffs for the lasts servery years consistently-there just aren’t enough guys with the proper level of driver’s license authorization to do all the clearing. To pay a private company is not only STUPID but allows for lack of control over costs and planning. Costs ALWAYS Triple during emergent times–but for a municipality it is equal to looting of the treasury.
    Smart planning would have built into the contracts shift rotations during emergency weather to help minimize OT AND the proper staffing levels. You have more managers than you do workers. What good is that if they cannot perform the work of the workers? Why don’t they have the proper certs to do the work???? Managers are SUPPOSED to be able to perform the work of the workers, plus have higher levels of “skill” for the actual management end…not here.

    The BPT magnet school if I am not mistaken is part of a program swap to offer opportunities to the students. Used to offer 6-6 magnet, aquaculture, agriculture, and trade schools..don’t know what the current list is. Bottom line is Stratford has a magnet school with no magnet. At least the other schools are falsely advertising. 😉
    The answer to you last question? hmmmmmmmmm follow the money and the names attached to it. Legalized looting.

  83. 83 pcsperling

    Phin ~

    I have to disagree. Stratford Academy does have some magnet qualities. They do have a more intenstive arts program than the other schools which is precisely the reason I PRAYED that my daughter would get in there. This school suits her personality perfectly. Even at 6 years old, she has come home asking questions about why her school may be closing and is planning on pushing for her classmates to write letters to the Board! I told her she should go for a “sit in.” LOL

    Athena ~ Honeyspot House isn’t falling apart – the reason it is inadequate is because of its size. More room is needed, bottom line. Honestly, the families there love that school so much, I’m sure they could make do until the economy is better.

    Unfortunately I have heard that there are serious programs at Franklin. The floors are buckling, it needs a new roof, windows and other things.

    I’m not trying to pit one school against the other, but we have the youngest which needs a new building because it has just OUTGROWN the other, and the oldest which is in need of some serious repair. Now, with all of the snow we’ve had the newest part of Chapel School has foundation cracks, and other schools have problems becuase of the weight of the ice/snow.

    George – last I heard, there is no public forum tonight. The public form is on 2/15.

  84. 84 pcsperling

    Oh, and I heard that Susan Barksdale was bending Norm Aldrich’s ear at the last meeting (she was overheard by some Honeyspot parents) to target Honeyspot and leave Lordship alone. And then, Norm was loud and clear. She was sitting just in front of me and was grinning from ear to ear when Norm went off on his tangent about Honeyspot House! More playing politics!

  85. 85 pcsperling

    Jez ~

    TEAM Stratford, LLC had a name change – it’s now Greenbelt LLC…. Hmm, “green” belt? Any relation to all the money he makes screwing the taxpayers of Stratford?

  86. 86 jezebel282

    PCS,

    “it’s now Greenbelt LLC”

    Do they have a phone # and adress this time?

  87. 87 pcsperling

    You think things would change – Greenbelt Partners, LLC, c/o who else, Chuck Willinger!

    Manager is a NY LLC: TEAM STRATFORD MANAGEMENT, LLC, 9 GERHARD ROAD, SUITE LL, PLAINVIEW, NEW YORK, 11803. Oh, and guess what, that address is a Marriott Residence Inn! LOL

  88. 88 1george1

    Phin,
    About 2,000, I made a suggestion to put Snow plows on
    Police, Fire. and PW vehicles.

    It was a NO GO for Public Safety vehicles.
    That seems counter intuitive for not having at least 1 or 2
    Fire Trucks / Police vehicles not having plows to be able to
    get to a Fire or Emergency? (I do not make the rules)

    I think it was Hudzak who was PW Director.
    He set it up to put plows on some Dump Trucks and other vehicles.
    Plows are relatively cheap compared to buying whole trucks.

    How difficult is it to send workers to classes for certification to be
    able to drive snow plows?

    If anyone in Town Hall actually cared, how inexpensive would it be to
    BUY 20 TRUCKS + 15 PAY LOADERS that are 10 years old, each with
    interchangeable parts for scavengering serviceability?

    Why not dump snow off Birdseye and other ramps?

    —–

    GEO: My understanding, NONE of the BIDDERS for AVCO SAEP put up
    $ 2 million and ARMY has to REBID.

    PCS: Manager is a NY LLC: TEAM STRATFORD MANAGEMENT, LLC,
    9 GERHARD ROAD, SUITE LL, PLAINVIEW, NEW YORK, 11803.
    Oh, and guess what, that address is a Marriott Residence Inn
    Greenbelt Partners, LLC, c/o who else, Chuck Willinger!

    GEO: PCS – Where is there documentation linking a couple of your
    favorite people to the various AVCO SAEP BIDS?
    1 – Team Stratford
    2 – Monty Posillico
    3 – Area 51 – Natera
    4 – Greenbelt

    You know, something verifiable, even the CT POST could not mess up
    and would print from you and responsible citizens.

    BoE and AVCO SAEP and RAYMARK deserve their own attention.
    I am preoccupied with “trying to focus” on certain PUBLIC SAFETY ISSUES
    and limited BUDGET ISSUES.

    ——

    JEZE: Attendees should also review: http://www.stratfordk12.org/images/customer-files//Presentation1.31.2011.pdf

    All of this is posted on the BOE website.

    GEO: All in knowing where to LOOK and having it as a priority, while tryin
    to work, live, and enjoy ……

    ——-

    PCS: George – last I heard, there is no public forum tonight.
    The public form is on 2/15.

    GEO: There are many issues worthy of PUBLIC FORUM
    and PUBLIC HEARINGS.

    GEO: Past experience is when there are ISSUES the PARTIES want covered
    up, they STIR the POT to get people to talk about PASSIONATE ISSUES.
    > EDUCATION for CHILDREN
    > PYE / AIRPORT
    > SHAKESPEARE
    > VETERAN + SENIOR TAX RELIEF.
    > RAYMARK with NO settlement.
    > LBW
    > “FAUX Emergeny” Fire Trucks = 11 YEAR saga
    > VOTES no confidence

    Amazingly it works time after time after time.

    Personally, I hate being outsmarted by idiots who can rally other vested
    interest people to show up and create illusions, due to virtually none of
    the general population bothering to get involved. SHAME

  89. 89 athena856

    A few things:

    The meeting is 6pm @ Stratford High. I don’t think they want the public to talk (rant on that later)

    PCS- I don’t know about the roof in Franklin, but to my knowledge there isn’t anything seriously wrong with the structure. I know that the funding was approved for the windows (energy efficiency perhaps?) and it’s being help up until the decision is made. Everyone loves their school and they should find a better solution. This is devastating to all of the children. Lordship school…has a very very high percentage of bused children and high transportation costs.

    Phin – too many managers who can’t/don’t do anything is the crux of the problem all right.

  90. 90 1george1

    Athena:

    You post supports PCS post the meeting was changed to Stratford
    HS, while JEZE posted what was on the BoE Website = East Main St.

    It was a question I cam back to ask. Thank each of you for FYI.

    I like seeing lists of participants.

    Quick survey?
    Who would like more money for Children, but less money for
    Administrators
    Attorneys Fees
    Gross Cost of Health Care (- If Gross cost was $ 6000 annually, 40 %
    employee share is the same $ 2,400 as present 13 % @ $ 18,000)
    Pensions inconsistent with Defined Dontribution
    (estimated TAX PAYER COST $ 200 million 2002 – 2011)
    (estimated TAX PAYER Obligation $ 1 Trillion 2011 – 2055)
    (> I know how to get UNIONS off TAX PAYER OBLIGATION and keep very
    high pensions (but not extreme pensions)
    Bids Awarded + Change Orders
    Lost money per AVCO ($ 70 Million to keeper 1998-2009)
    Lost money per ECS ( minimum $ 83 milllion to 2009)
    Lost money to Town + Boe UNFUNDED MANDATES
    (estimated $ 200 million 1995 – 2010)
    ECONOMIC EXODUS – anti development

  91. 91 1george1

    I had things to do last night.
    I suspected the usual dog and pony show.
    I had seen and heard the basics in December meeting.
    What happened? What are your perspectives?

  92. I attended the meeting last night. Closing a school is completely unacceptable. I sat in disbelief as I listened to a discussion that was about nickel and diming our children.
    Our officials should hunker down in a room, put the coffee pot on, and not come out until they reach a consensus and plan that prevents the closing of any school.

    If parents and taxpayers demand a solution one will be found. Stratford would shine for doing the right thing and surrounding towns would hear about it.

  93. 93 phineast

    Jf-It is about cutting 3 million dollars out of the BOE budgetin addition to the zero. The only way they can do that is through building closures and major staff reductions. The unfortunate part is the highest paid dept heads may lose their title but they won’t lose their salary..unless of course they leave. There is one option that the BOE has not yet considered……using an approach that would reduce the number of full time employees…and make them part time thus eliminating the benes. After all it is the bene’s that are creating the deficit……..It is a plan that would keep the schools open at least for the short term. Something has to give and I am thinking that if backs are to the wall and it is jobs vs. unemployment this is a way to keep people working and the kids learning. Programs could be cut..Alpha isn’t mandated, preschool isn’t mandated..and for that matter neither is K. So where to cut???? How do you cut and do the least damage to the students??? It certainly is a quandary.

  94. 94 phineast

    Jf-my take on the meeting is we aren’t losing just A school it is going to be most probably 2 of them.

  95. Yes Phin you have some good ideas. I mean where will we be in another couple of years? Yet another school closing?

    There is a structural deficit here that needs to be addressed. I understand we cannot waive a magic wand but we need to do what we can to support our youth and keep the taxpayers heads above water. It is one thing to trim the school budget in general and a whole other thing to close a school(s) in order to trim the budget.

    I will say again that our state delegation has much to do on this front going forward.

  96. Phin. To elaborate what I mean for the state delegation: They should understand that CT has been dead last in the nation for its support of public education. CT depends primarily on local property taxes to support education. Many other states have sharing of sales, income and utility taxes to support local education but of course this is not the case in CT.

    The local education system here is so reliant on property taxes so it is no mystery why our property taxes keep going up. The whole tax structure in regards to financing public education has to be restructured. In addition, all CT teachers should be under one state health plan.

  97. 97 1george1

    If Stratford BoE Health Care costs were at the national average of
    $ 12,000, instead of $ 21,284 / $ 15,683 / $ 7,468, members could pay the same $ 2,450
    they are paying now or 20 % of GROSS COST, instead of 12% to 14 %.

    879 Active workers Insured in BOE Health care
    FAMILY = 325 with $ 3,000 deductable paid by town, formerly $ 5,000
    2 PERSON = 176 with $ 3,000 deductable paid by town,
    SINGLE = 378 with $ 1,500 (?) deductable paid by town,

    family: $ 1,773.72 /month = $ 21,284.64
    2 person: $ 1,306.96 / month = $ 15,683/53
    1 person: $ 622.36 / month = $ 7,468.32

    $ 21,284.64 x 325 = $ 6,917,508.00 – 13 % + deductable
    $ 15,683/53 x 176 = $ 2,769,391.28 – 13 % + deductable
    $ 7,468.32 x 378 = $ 2,823,024.96 – 13 % + deductable

    TOTAL $ 12,509,914.24 – $ 1,626,288.85 (13%) = $ 10,883,626.39
    for 87% of NET PREMIUM, after 13% deductable.

    325 x $ 3,000 = $ 975,000
    176 x 3,000 = $ 528,000
    378 x $ 1,500 = $ 567,000

    TOTAL Deductable paid $ 2,070,000

    — Since Deductable is TAX DEDUCTIABLE for HSA, this $ 2 million this year
    and $ 2,700,000 last year were back door pay raises and maybe tax free,
    worth even more.

    Unlike certain bloggers and politicians, these are NOT posturing,
    nor are they non specific platitudes.

    I estimate that Health Care fees are at least $ 3.8 million too high
    and another $ 2 million wastefully paid for deductables.

    The members would PAY ZERO % increase relative to NET PREMIUM
    if the were “no kick back appearing” rates, but would lose deductibles
    they NEVER deserved, as a scam grand theft.

    Reminder: $ 4.5 million is one Mil.

    Biggest probable losers ? Likely people who refer Health Care Bidder
    and Pension manipulators, likely to draw a smile from PCS ….

  98. 98 1george1

    Gavin and Malloy unquestionably know these facts and figures
    better than I do, and correct errors, if any.

    Same with Branyan and Feeney – sources of the above information.

    What I over looked is the # of retirees and their respective costs.

    Teachers Pensions are paid by State Taxpayers .
    Town & certain BoE Pensions are paid by local Tax Payers.
    > These include certain Golden Parachute 3 year add ons, while
    NORM + O’Connell were on Council and Education.

    OLDER PENSIONER of all of the ABOVE are excluded!

    Phin was correct in suggesting some were not rocket scientists
    and never figured where things would shoot up to.

    That does not explain not excuse actions the last 7 years where
    Gavin’s Councils had pension obligation almost 1/2 as present.

    No matter how much people want to blame Mirons ….
    They are only part of the problem.

  99. 99 phineast

    JF- here is another plan for you…speaking of structural deficits. We have Honeyspot House which is beyond the need of repair…but right up the street you have…….Birdseye Complex…that used to be…you guessed it!!! The elementary school to the area until Honeyspot came along as a newer and better model. Now we have a completely refurbished Birdseye that still can be utilized as a school-and guess what the building is completely sound!! You may have to re-arrange the locations of what is currently housed in the building but moving offices is FAR LESS EXPENSIVE than renovating or rebuilding, as there is no guarantee that the state promised money will still be forth coming-and very likely will not be coming. Seems we should be be really looking at the buildings the town already has and examining the usage-everything in Birdseye complex could very easily be relocated with very little cost.
    After we do this monumental task then it is time for changes in the educational contracts. If you base a teacher’s pay on an hourly rate instead of a salary…it changes the entire game.
    Right now, here are some estimates, just estimate comparisons BOE vs Private Sector.
    Teacher work year = 27 weeks. Private sector averages =48 weeks
    Teacher work day= 9-10 hour work days Private sector= 8-10 hour work days
    Please understand, I am NOT bashing anyone. What I AM saying is there is a grossly unbalanced form of compensation. Personally, I think paying anyone $50k and up per year for 27 weeks worth of work is insane and it is unfair to every single taxpayer that has to pay the bill. I have too many friends and family that work in education(not Stratford) that have on a regular basis boast about how good they have it because no politician will ever have the balls to cut education budgets. They have prep time that they do well over 50% of their grading and do the rest after school and are out by 4:15 most days, never have to work a holiday or a weekend and have the entire summer off and get paid for it! Yeah, they have the occasional conference and after school meeting. They can further their education if they choose to and have about half of it paid back to them, and they don’t even have to guarantee they will stay in the community that gave them reimbursement. It is friggin’ amazing! There used to be a time when teachers were so underpaid they left the field, now they are so over paid they will never leave. After all, why would you???? Teaching isn’t easy. But you know what? There are tons of professions that aren’t easy-they have to work holidays, weekends, and only get a short vaca, and little benes if any-and these are also educated people that perform important work.
    Something has to give, JF. Supposedly next week will be the big reveal. I just wish Irene would have had the courage to answer Norm’s question. I don’t agree with him much but he was on target in this case-she is absolutely the most qualified to answer the question.

  100. Phin I know. I took a pay cut and my health insurance goes up every year. You know what…? I deal with it. I must say I deal with it quite well. That is because I manage my personal finances well on a very limited income. If the public speaks out against school closings it will force concessions elsewhere. I cannot afford to pay for my health care and that of others anymore.

  101. 101 phineast

    exactly.

  102. 102 athena856

    JF – I have to agree. Closing a school:
    1. Is a bad solution for making the budget work – will they keep going until there is just one left in town?

    2. Is going to drive people away/not invite new people to settle here. They said a lot about being competitive with other cities, but somehow closing a school does not seem to be the best way to go about this.

    There have to be other concessions that can be made.

  103. I also got the feeling they are now looking at closing 2 schools…Honeyspot being one of them.

    And the taking over of Birdseye as a “new” school is a great idea, not exactly sure how much of Birdseyes used now, but couldnt they switch buildings with Honeyspot or even move into where Center is? (not sure what Center is currently used for either, will have to read up some more)

  104. 104 mikereynolds

    Since the cost of healthcare is playing a predominant role in the budget problem for the BOE I’m surprised there is not more of a public outcry against the insurance company, the name escapes me right now.

    A negative public relations campaign by the town and/or the BOE calling out the insurance company for a 56% increase in premiums resulting in having to close one or two schools would sure get people’s attention.

    Perhaps publicly shaming them (I know, a long shot, insurance companies have no shame) would do something to reduce the insurance hit.

  105. 105 pcsperling

    The healthcare company is: Connecticare. Information from it’s website:

    “ConnectiCare was incorporated in 1981 as a non-profit, Connecticut-licensed health maintenance organization and has remained in Farmington, Connecticut throughout its history.

    “The company reorganized in July 1999 to become a for-profit stock corporation. It recapitalized in 2001 and was investor-owned from 2001 to 2005. ConnectiCare’s conversion process resulted in the creation and funding of the largest independent health foundation in the Northeast, The Connecticut Health Foundation.

    “On March 10, 2005, ConnectiCare was acquired by the Health Insurance Plan of Greater New York (HIP). As part of the HIP family, ConnectiCare continues to conduct business autonomously under its well-respected name brand and its locally-based management team in Farmington. HIP Health Plan of New York is the largest HMO in New York City based on commercial membership. HIP is a large provider of health insurance coverage for New York State, federal employees, and labor unions.”

    From my research, it had $1 billion in revenue last year! OMG, someone’s making money and it’s not us!

    I’ve got to agree with something Irene Cornish said – we need to remain competitive. Stratford is behind the 8-ball when it comes to competitiveness in our education system. Just to be safe, I submitted an application for my daughter to the new Bridgeport Discovery Magnet School. I would prefer a magnet with a more intensive fine arts program (like Stratford Academy), but if that’s not possible, I love what the Discovery Magnet will offer! I’m looking out for her – I want her to have the best education possible and I can’t see that happening with what the “suits” are doing in Stratford. I would’ve submitted to New Haven, but I don’t want my daughter on a bus – especially that far.

    Ideally, I’d love to see Bridgeport utilize its elementary schools in the same fashion as Bridgeport. Discovery is Bridgeport’s first interdistrict magnet school. Six-to-Six is a state school and is not part of Bridgeport’s BOE. Bridgeport also has several magnet-style schools for Bridgeport-only students. The old Maplewood School is the Classical Studies Academy (probably much like our Stratford Academy). They also have Park City Magnet, Multicultural Magnet School, High Horizons Magnet – all for Bridgeport-only children. Stratford SHOULD be looking at doing the same thing – each of their elementary schools should have some sort of “magnet-style” – science, technology, agriculture, aquaculture, etc. We need to be innovative and offer our children more than just the traditional! Traditional isn’t working when it comes to making sure our children have everything they need to succeed.

    I’ve got to tell you, I never have and never will trust an overeducated “suit.” Honestly, that’s what most of the politicians and administration in Stratford is. Overeducated, overpaid, buffoons! I want to see where EVERY PENNY of our tax dollars are spent. You can’t tell me that there isn’t frivolous and wasteful spending. Got a lunch meeting? Brown bag it! Got a breakfast meeting – bring your own cup o’ joe and donut! We shouldn’t be paying for catered lunches, breakfasts, etc. for BOE meetings. BYOBB – bring your own brown bag!

    We need to get a handle on the students that don’t belong here either – there’s a bunch of them and I feel for Mike Imbro. He’s got his hands full and has no help! The free/reduced lunch program is completely abused. There are definitely people who don’t qualify and a handle needs to be gotten on that abuse too.

    Trust me – there are people who, if they can figure out how to abuse the system, will. I know a family in Shelton – the husband and wife got divorced. They live in an $800K plus house. They are still married in every sense of the word, and I don’t think anyone knows that they are divorced. I happened upon that information. Why did they divorce? So she could get financial aid for school, food stamps, health insurance for the kids and whatever else the honest taxpayers are paying for! Fraud? Hell yes! They should be in jail! And people like us live honestly, why people like that live like the frauds that they are!

  106. 106 pcsperling

    Athena ~

    Birdseye cannot be taking over as a new school. The question was relocating some of the programs there. It’s no longer a school, like Center, and would require recertification for that to be done.

    Lordship would be the ideal choice. The parcel could be sold to a redeveloper and Lordship would be able to suck in more yuppies to increase it’s property tax base.

    As I said above – Stratford is behind the 8-ball.

    Honeyspot House is not in disrepair, certainly not as much as Franklin. It does have leaks – like Wilcoxin, Nichols, Center, and every other school building. When Irene Cornish spoke at the meeting on the 31st, she said it was inadequate – not because of disrepair – but because of size. They have half day kindergarten because there’s not enough room for full day. But, I’m sure the parents of Honeyspot could deal with continuing the half-day program. As I told you – Franklin needs a new roof, new windows and, as Irene Cornish mentioned, it is one of the most energy inefficient schools. I’ve heard there are severe parking issues, and, being on a main road (Route 1) is very dangerous to walking school children. I’d like to know, for certain, that there is not as much of a Bridgeport population as I have heard also.

    I guess we’ll all just have to wait and see.

  107. 107 1george1

    PHIN: Right now, here are some estimates, just estimate
    comparisons BOE vs Private Sector.

    GEO: Now PHIN, why not compare the BOE to Stratford’s
    PIRATE Sector?

    PHIN: Teacher work year = 27 weeks.
    Private sector averages =48 weeks
    Teacher work day= 9-10 hour work days (HUH??- STUDY HALLS)
    Private sector= 8-10 hour work days

    GEO: Cornish reported the teachers agreed to increase class room
    time and the numbers I heard her say involved about 5 HOURS a DAY.

    PHIN: Please understand, I am NOT bashing anyone. (AGREED)

    What I AM saying is there is a grossly unbalanced form of compensation. Personally, I think paying anyone $50k and up per year for 27 weeks
    worth of work is insane and it is unfair to every single taxpayer that
    has to pay the bill.

    GEO: Phin, please take a look at the pay scales of actual salaries in
    the Board of Education Budget book. I know you research FACTS!!

    You will find the 60 % – ish (range)of Teachers are at top pay scale
    between $ 89,000 and $ 94,000 (Harkins pay is $ 90,000)
    > PCS can list the Administrators Salaries IF she chooses?

    Branyan was asked how many Teachers / Board of Ed and Town workers
    live in Stratford (which he would know as C.O.O. + ex Town Manager)
    About 70 % of BoE live outside Stratford = NO PROPERTY TAX
    Somethin over 50 % TOWN workers live outside Stratford = (SAME/INSANE)

    Stratford Housing is more affordable than the rest of the Gold Coast,
    but the Taxes are almost TWICE what they should be.
    Friends have bought in shelton and elsewhere, more house + land,
    less cost and 50 % of TAXES.

    PHIN: “there just aren’t enough guys with the proper level of
    driver’s license authorization to do all the clearing.

    (HOW difficult is it to arrange for proper licenses?)

    To pay a private company is not only STUPID but allows for
    lack of control over costs and planning.
    Costs ALWAYS Triple during emergent times–but for a
    municipality it is equal to looting of the treasury.

    (Stratford motto: “I got MINE!”)

    Smart planning would have built into the contracts shift
    rotations during emergency weather to help minimize
    OT AND the proper staffing levels.

    (Planning with INTEGRITY or PUBLIC INTEREST compared
    to smart/wily planning to maximize PAY > O.T. PENSIONS?)

  108. 108 1george1

    Mike: When I was on the Town Council’s FINANCIAL ADVISORY COMMISSION,
    which was Tom Moore’s baby …. Tom had the INSURANCE COMPANY which
    WON the BOARD of EDUCATION HEALTH SAVINGS ACCOUNT … BID.

    The very first thing the 2 men presenting to the COMMISSION said was
    “We are here as a REFERAL from NORM ALDRICH.”

    > So if for any reason NORM is not getting a finder’s fee, IF they get the
    TOWN’S HEALTH INSURANCE CONTRACT, NORM can use me as absolute proof
    the INSURANCE PEOPLE referenced NORM, specifically.

    PHIN – Interesting and excellent point about BIRDSEYE SCHOOL / CENTER.

    JOHN – Sorry about PAY CUT / INSURANCE upkeep.
    I disagree with your politics, and those of others.
    However I want everyone to be able to have / afford a good life.

    I have to get back later to PCS + ALLY + ATHENA, who have very
    interesting and detailed positions as MOTHERS, who multitask
    and communicate better than MEN.
    My favorite Town Councilors were EMMA (last) and KIM (this).
    They seemed to have the MOST COMPASSION and INTEGRITY.

    Passing thoughts?

    What IF …
    1) They closed all of the SCHOOL BUILDINGS,
    except
    THE ADMINISTRATION BUILDING?

    2) If they were going to close 1, 2, or 3 Schools ….
    Those Principals / Vice Principals / Administrators would be OUT of JOBS,
    unless they went back to TEACHING?
    > Am I correct?
    > Why not move 1/2 of them back to teaching to replace new retirees &
    people who cease working as Teachers?

    3) What IF
    TOP Administrator pay was $ 99,000 to $ 85,000
    TOP Teacher pay was $ 80,000 to $ 65,000, raising entry level

    4) What IF, for Town + BoE
    BENEFITS, including RETIREMENT was capped at 60 % of Base Pay
    – John / Phin / PCS / Athena / Ally / Mayor2013 / Jeze / Mike
    / Gavin / Portia / Phyllis / Star / Kane / Cyclops / others =
    1 – Do you know what your BENEFIT PACKAGE is worth?
    2 – Do you know what the VALUE of your BENEFIT PACKAGE is to your BASE PAY?

  109. 109 1george1

    PCS – Many good points.

    Recertification of Birdseye is likely far less expensive and faster
    than building a new School. Building appears in great shape and
    I am unsure the existing utilization is highest and best use?

    I do not know if Lordship school should or should not be closed
    and used for Development. Interesting idea?
    1 – You and others post about neighborhood schools
    2 – You and others post about wasteful transportation cost.

    Maybe it should be just for Lordship residents with lower # of
    teachers, students, and no on site Administrators, closing parts
    of the School to cut heat / utility / etc.
    Or maybe lease part of the school for other purposes to business
    or place some town departments?
    I dunno.

    Suggest you read Joe Lieberman’s book about John Moran Bailey
    who was head of CT DSC for decades and NDC from 1961-1968.
    > The INSURANCE INDUSTRY appeared to be BAILEY’S private piggy
    bank / ATM.
    > The Democratic and Republican parties care about themselves
    and alies above Americans and America, in my opinion.

    Ally + Athena post – were self explanitory.

  110. At this point, maybe they can take over the old army engine site, refurbish it, and make one huge campus. All Stratford students could be bussed, only one school to plow, ( get rid of those pesky cant-go-to-school because the lots arent plowed days) ,wouldnt have to worry about diversity and racial balancing ( all the kids would be together anyway). You could even move the BOE offices there. You could cut down on some of the administration, cut down on heat/electric. Could still have your ALPS and ALPHA, tutors and Guidance counselor. All in one space. Think of how much money could be saved! What are there, 15 buildings housing children/BOE right now? (Ok, 13 after they vote?) Close them all. Maybe we could even rename the campus after Cornish?

  111. 111 1george1

    ALLY – My screen is wet from the sarcasm.
    I love the concept.
    Housatonic CC was originally at BUNNELL.

    Many things against the idea, as I am sure you know.

    1 – level of contamination / cost to remediate to residential or school
    level, compared to industrial / retail / commercial

    2 – potential danger from VOC + COAST LINE Water POISONS.

    3 – Loss of neighborhood schools + transportation costs.

    However other points you posted HAVE DEFINITE MERIT, including the
    likely hood of eliminating heating / utility cost and Principals / V. P.
    and many management and staff.

    Eliminate segregation (some think as a minus) and preferential treatment.

    I would also like to turn the AIRPORT RUNWAY into the SCHOOL’S
    PLAYING FIELDS and Staff Parking, with Wind + Solar collectors, while
    turning the Buildings into Business for profit.

    Fabrizi and friends “might need another another source” for nose candy
    if the Airport were closed and utilized?

  112. No, I would leave the airport…that could be our new magnet, Aviation. What kids doesnt want to learn how to fly a plane? Im sure there are liability issues in there somewhere, but they can get ironed out. Im sure all the contaminates can jsut be capped (though according to the Army Engine website, that was all cleaned up by 2006, and is safe for humans). And hey, the beach is right there, along with Avco field….just take it all for the schools…(though using the runway for parking is a good idea, we then wouldnt have to worry about BPT taking half of Main st, )

    Sorry for the sarcasm, I recieved my kindergarten registration pack today, and It asks what schools we want ….I kind of want to write “does it really matter?”

  113. 113 athena856

    A few things to address:

    -PCS – We as honest taxpayers should NOT be paying for lunches and breakfasts when they aren’t educating our children properly. Closing ANY school is going to be bad for the entire town. And as to paying for all of those people who are fleecing the system – it’s an outrage. I totally agree that Stratford is behind in progress and improving the school system, but somehow that doesn’t seem to be something that can be accomplished by closing a school.
    Thanks for explaining about Honeyspot – the building being too small makes sense.

    I think that you have received some misinformation as regards the state of Franklin. It was known that the energy costs were high, and there is money set aside (separate from the BOE budget) to fix the windows – which will in turn drastically reduce the energy costs – in time for the coming school year. This should not even be factored into the cost to run the school next year. The parking lot is larger than Nichols by a long shot, and consequently there isn’t as much traffic tied up.

    About the Health Care: I firmly believe that it is better for people to be insured than for us to have to foot the bill when they have a serious problem and end up in the hospital, unable to pay.

    That said, why is it that we are boosting the profits for the insurance company instead of educating our children? How is it that in a budget this size the only thing left to be cut is what appears to be *several* schools? PCS- let’s hope that they can be shamed! It is disgraceful that they are increasing the premiums to this extent and destroying the education given to our children. And we have to consider, that no matter what school(s) are closed, all of the class sizes will increase, all students will receive less individualized attention, and instead of all of the schools in town meeting benchmarks, none will. Eventually, there will be a stigma on the town – that no one here gets a good education.

  114. 114 1george1

    ALLYIT: Sorry for the sarcasm, I recieved my kindergarten registration
    pack today, and It asks what schools we want ….
    I kind of want to write “does it really matter?”

    GEO: “LOL”
    I had gotten to that point years ago with Miron / Henrick – Feehan

    ALLYIT: No, I would leave the airport…
    that could be our new magnet, Aviation.

    GEO: My turn to be both sarcastic and outside the BOX.
    I understand Council Chairman Tom Malloy and Governor
    Dannel Malloy are 1st cousins, as told by multiple people,
    including Tom himself, in front of Kevin Kelly.

    I posted for years and platformed, E V E R Y T H I N G is on a
    T I M E T A B L E.

    It is my understanding part of the reason to drive Stratford residents
    and businesses into over taxation is to FORCE the ACCEPTANCE of the
    AIRPORT EXPANSION, which which DESTROY PROPERTY VALUES of the
    ENTIRE TOWN, and southern Bridgeport and Milford.

    USPS, UPS, DHL, and PROPERTY OWNERS on the AIRPORT and COCAINE
    IMPORTERS will love the expansion, as well as certain FAA + ARMY, who
    along with FBI, POLICE, ATTORNEYS, and JUDGES profit from crime…

    Yet, what if the airport was closed and the couple hundred acres
    combined with 78 acres of AVCO was truly developed intelligently,
    and not for the benefit of the
    lawyers
    real estate APPRAISERS and agents
    constuction

    well basically everyone involved in politics.

    As far as educating children,
    upholding the constitution and law with equal protection
    and
    public safety
    and general services with financial security

    Stratford’s new mottos are
    “SO WHAT?”
    or
    “I GOT MINE!”

  115. 115 1george1

    ATHENA: “We as honest taxpayers should NOT be paying for
    lunches and breakfasts”

    GEO: I disagree, respectfully!!!
    There are studies linking nutrician with:
    > Good Health
    > Good Behavior
    > Increasing receptiveness to learn
    > Improved academic

    ATHNEA: “when they aren’t educating our children properly.”

    GEO: AGREED!!

    ATHENA: “Closing ANY school is going to be bad for the entire town.”

    GEO: Truthfully I am not sure that “ALL” existing schools are in the BEST
    short and term interest of the children, families, town, and BoE?

    The internet has changed my life dramatically for the better in many ways
    I choose not to divulge.

    Reading, Writing, Math, and ability to communicate abstract concepts have
    caused huge benefits and curses on humanity.
    The Gutenberg press, increased ability to create books and print media to
    broaden knowledge of first the wealthy, and later most of the world.
    Somewhere I read:
    “In these words, I shall conquor.”
    I am unsure it was spelled Gospel or GO SPELL?

    Telegraph, Radio, TV, and now the internet has accelorated Knowledge.
    I believe Athena acknowledged viewing: “utube to SONY exec conference”
    which explains changes better than I can?

    My point?

    Education shall change.
    I expect every person will have wireless learning computers with access
    to printing and also to interactive learning.

    For years I could talk to my computer and see my compositions on the
    screen, yet I had not taken advantage of the program.

    1963 – 1965 Saint Thomas school, fairfield had no spanish teachers.
    They wheeled in TV sets, with a 1/2 hour class to teach Spanish.
    That was 46-48 years ago.
    There have been tremendous advances in education.
    Personally I learn better where i have a chance to ask questions
    interactively, like when I took computer classes, with access to
    computers, where I was able to learn by rote.

    Children are fearless with computers with faster fingers and different
    brain synapsis for learning NEW things, far faster than adults.

    Studies indicate that a child under 6 months, is capable of learning ANY
    LANGUAGE or LANGUAGES – “B A B Y L O N” syndrome.

    PBS program (Charlie Rose?) had different name but can be found by
    GOOGLING.

    Point?

    I am unsure the Schools where they are and how they work or don’t
    won’t be the same thing in 5 years?

    WIKIPEDIA: Heuristic or heuristics refers to experience-based
    techniques for problem solving, learning, and discovery.
    Heuristic methods are used to speed up the process of finding a
    good enough solution, where an exhaustive search is impractical.
    Examples of this method include using a “rule of thumb”, an
    educated guess, an intuitive judgment, or common sense.

    In more precise terms, heuristics are strategies using readily
    accessible, though loosely applicable, information to control
    problem solving in human beings and machines.

    DEFINE: Empiric:
    1. One who is guided by practical experience rather than precepts
    or theory.
    2. An unqualified or dishonest practitioner; a charlatan.
    (This 2nd definition surprised me)

    DEFINE: Elementary education:
    An elementary school is an institution where children receive the
    first stage of compulsory education known as elementary or
    primary education.

    DEFINE: Academic:
    1. marked by a narrow focus on or display of learning especially its
    trivial aspects.
    2. Basic, general areas of study such as English, mathematics, science,
    social studies, foreign language, etc., as opposed to strictly technical
    or vocational courses. High school success in these core subjects is
    used as a predictor of success in college.
    3. hypothetical or theoretical and not expected to produce an
    immediate or practical result; “an academic discussion”;
    “an academic question”

    academism – scholasticism: orthodoxy of a scholastic variety

    Academia, Acadème, or the Academy are collective terms for the
    community of students and scholars engaged in higher education
    and research.

    ATHENA: “And as to paying for all of those people who are fleecing
    the system – it’s an outrage.”

    GEO: I project 880 – 980 defined benefit pensions, retiring age 45 / 50
    at $ 40,000 to over $ 100,000 will cost Stratford Tax payers $ 1.2 Trillion
    over a 60 year window.
    suggest you READ last week’s Stratford Star very carefully.
    Especially quotes by McNeil!

    ATHENA: “why is it that we are boosting the profits for the insurance
    company (AND finder’s fees?) instead of educating our children?”

    GEO: Good question

    Many good points within ATHENA’S post.

    A CON MAN uses diversions.
    What better diversion to pass the PENSION than to threaten to close
    schools. Some people have known all along. Others have caught on.
    Many people are learning.
    Between the price of fuel and heat and taxes, the teapot steam has
    increased, and if the opening was blocked …..

  116. 116 jezebel282

    George,

    “I posted for years and platformed, E V E R Y T H I N G is on a
    T I M E T A B L E.”

    Everything in history can be placed on a timetable. While interesting, not much can be done about it. It already happened. If you have such a timetable for the future, on the other hand, we would all appreciate it very much if you would post it.

  117. 117 phineast

    If George isn’t going to lay out the time table detailed and clearly maybe it is all part of dark side 2?

  118. 118 pcsperling

    George ~

    A quick response re lunch/breakfast. I get the monthly “hot lunch” menu. The only day I allow Sage to get lunch is Friday – pizza day. I would not consider most of what is on that the daily menu to be “nutritional” by any means. I’m also sure that the breakfasts aren’t any better! I get up earlier and prepare Sage’s breakfast which always includes protein and a fruit. The same goes for her lunch and snack too.

    Based on what is on the menu, even if I were in the position to be able to get free or reduced lunch for my daughter wouldn’t. It’s no better than going to McDonald’s or some other fast food joint every day!

  119. PCS-
    I agree about the lunch menu….I too get up at 6 AM every morning and make my girls breakfast (dont get me wrong, there are the days I hand them the box of Cheerios and gallon of milk)….Im not giving them money to eat a egg mcmuffin every morning. Thankfully , my girls take advantage of the other offers (sandwich, bagel/yogurt or salad of the week) so I dont feel too bad spending the money on lunch . Im sure there are days they do get whatever the meal of the day is. But you are right, from what I see, there isnt too much on the menu that I would feed my kids on a regular basis. Just because they put something on a whole wheat roll, or serving celery sticks with dip, does not make it nutritious.

  120. 120 1george1

    Phin + Jeze – you have not been paying attention to the timetable

    I already posted related to ADVCO / AIRPORT / SHAKESPEARE / EXIT 33
    / RAYMARK etc as they related to having to wait until

    Bridgeport I – 95 was done + Sikosky Bridge done + Water Treatment plant
    done + Airport FAA/ARMY done + Shakespeare started + John Burturla
    in place + deniability among Mayors / Rank Police / Attorneys, all after
    TOWN CHARTERS (plural + ethics in place)

    Gov Malloy elected after local Harkins + Malloy + Hoydic + Kelly
    + pre 1996 police contract include OT – soon to be done
    + Blue menthol > next generation for Dodd + Lieberman

    / INFRASTRUCTURE is needed to be in place, before …. anything

    Exact Dates?

    I knew it was after Miron was gone and Harkins elected.
    I suspected it would start after his first year (to make it look better)
    I was surprized by year 1 tax increase. I should not have been.

    The other elections / actions make sense in retrospection.

    PCS – Monday night i had thomas english muffin mock pizza dinner w
    potato chips, bringing me back to school days.

    Truthfully I had not checked the menu.
    based on professional conversations with school systems, YM/YWCA,
    BOYS/GIRLS clubs, I am stunned by what you wrote about Stratford
    School menu!!

    What I have heard:
    > soda out – flavored / vitamin water + healthy bev are in.
    > healthy snacks, now include all organic

  121. 121 phineast

    George- we have read over and over about your time table-it has no actual time line, and no real substance as to who clearly is in charge of this time line and it’s execution..We all know the events that the town is dealing with. SAEP, LBW, exit 33, Superfund contamination sites -etc….if it hasn’t been resolved, it will be in the future..that is a time table…you make direct references to a clear and definitive time line, so be specific and spell it out, name names and use the words alleged, supposed and opinion to cover you azz. But stop with the innuendos and ambiguous phish food-cause if you don’t serv up the full course-no one is biting on the “line”.

  122. 122 phineast

    Ally and PCS-
    The food programs in the school are clearly NOT very nutritious. They are filled with “fillers” to fill’em up. Unfortunately it is a sad state of affairs when a parent won’t even feed their child breakfast. The sad truth is if the program goes away it is the children that suffer. I know of a family that the only time the kids have meals are when they are in school-needless to say we make sure that we feed the kids when ever we can on non school days and yes DCF is involved but to no avail-but we don’t feed the parents-because there is nothing wrong with them other than laziness and ignorance. That is not the case with all the kids that use the program….but in reality-the kids really need that opportunity-even if it is mediocre to low end nutrition it is better than none at all.
    I do miss the old days with the lunch ladies that used to actually make the food in the school kitchens, instead of serving up trucked in marriott du jour . Even though it was cooked in quantity-it was good home cooked food back then-not processed junk.

  123. 123 1george1

    PHIN: I can not place definite time for the timetable which is
    obvious exists.

    You keep wanting me to stake postions yet you do not recipricate.
    You claim to have been at a town council meeting when the town
    attorney fee was increased, yet you did not know it was done in a
    special meeting, and do not give bono fides ….

    For all I know you are some ambulance chasing attorney?

    You warned Jeze to be careful…..!!!
    Conversely you appear to want me to be reckless?

    There is documented proof this blog is monitored, isn’t there?

    This blog was silent, while I was having new computer problems,
    months ago, after the O’Meara computer seizure.

    Once I solved problems I posted.
    It encouraged others to post.

    Ironic the egyptian people didn’t trust police political justice?
    Maybe they will get a true representative democratic republic
    before Stratford?
    More likely ….
    The quote about the 1960s PEACE MOVEMENT, was the first one
    to volunteer to get instruments for violence, was normally the
    FBI Plant … 😉

  124. Phin-
    You are right about the fact that there are some kids that the only time they are fed a decent meal is at school. A point I probably would of made ( I also have neighbor kids who have to take advantage of the free breakfast/lunch and come to my house during the summer for lunch) had I had my first cup of coffee. Yes its better for kids to have something (whether it be over processed or organic vevggies from the farmstand) then to go to classes hungry. My only real problem with the food program is the amount of families taking advantage that probably arent really qualified, but do because its “free”. Though from what I understand, its not a town funded program, but a state funded, so does it even impact the BOE budget?

  125. 125 pcsperling

    Ally & Phin ~

    Yes, there are definite people in need. There are people who are abusing the system (e.g., the family I know in Shelton, 800K home, divorced solely for the purpose of a “free” ride). There should be some policing and follow-up, not just rubber-stamped approvals!

    Unfortunately it’s the same with the number of out-of-town students in our school system. If they don’t produce the PROPER documentation, their child should not be allowed in the school until it’s produced. Just wait and see how many kids end up out of our schools and in schools in the towns they actually live.

    Again, this morning, the two cars I was behind – a plate from Florida and a plate from New Jersey. I’m sorry – tax evading? We are losing revenue allowing this to continue. There was a article last year about how many in our area are registering their vehicles in Pennsylvania.

    Our system – not just in Stratford – is broken. One of the major problems I have is that when times are tough, there are major “concessions” expected; however, when times are great, there is never any “give-back.” We should be looking at pay cuts taken by the department heads and administration – times are tough – they should be making concessions. There should be furlough days too. Temporary concessions while this economic crisis continues. Once the economy starts getting better – revisit the concessions and see what can be put back in place.

  126. 126 1george1

    Ally – A couple years ago, after seeing a story about malnourishment
    and american school children and relationships to health, learning,
    academics and behavior I called Irene Cornish.

    She already had a program IN PLACE paid by FEDERAL GRANT for the
    Food Service Provider to provide food they felt as needed.

    I do NOT know specifics.

    I thought it was a great idea and fully approve.

    Do I care if there is some abuse? No.

    Often food will spoil if not eaten within time frames.

    It is likely that food abuse pales to the abuse done with the big money
    shell games by socalled respectables.

    Should innocent children become hostage to failures of parents and/or
    society?

    Sometime the socalled qualifications to receive food, medicine, heat,
    and other needs are so difficult to meet and so far below realistic
    levels of subsistanence, it is a shame.

    People equate welfare fraud with being horrendous by poor people
    because they can relate to small numbers.

    It is beyond the ordinate person’s comprehension about
    $ 750 Billion to Wall Street
    $ 750 Billion to stimulus auto / states / municipals
    $ 31 TRILLION to BIG OIL + ALLIES in GROSS OIL SALES in 12 years.

  127. 127 jezebel282

    George,

    “There is documented proof this blog is monitored, isn’t there?”

    GOSH!

    I hope so!

  128. 128 1george1

    The O’Meara situation seemed to scare some people.

  129. George-
    I agree to a point. There are people who need assistance at times and the programs that were put in place were for those who fell on hard times. You are also right about how no child should ever go hungry and if the only place they are going to get a meal is at school, I have no problem feeding them. My example of abuse is this…..As Ive stated, I pay the $10 a week for each of my children for lunch. Last year, when I went into early labor with my 4th, and was in the hospital for more than a week, my kids didnt have lunch money in their accounts ( Daddy got thrown into a situation that he was not prepared for, had no clue he had to send money in for school, Im lucky the girls had their hair brushed for that week.) After the 3rd day of having no cash, the girls were served cheese sandwiches. On the 5th day is when he got the note from the school stating that not only were the girls accounts empty, that they were now negative and he had to pay up ( this of course being on a Friday, nothing he could do about it until Monday) My problem is that why are the children who PAY penalized ( this was a mistake, Im sure if I had had my bearings I would of taken care of it) and the ones who are on free/reduced given a hot lunch EVERYDAY , no questions asked. I am probably over sensitive because unfortunately I see the abuse of the system everyday in my neighborhood, where they ARE taking advantage of the system and the programs, while my husband gets up and goes to work everyday to make sure there is money for food, clothes and utilities. I have no problem with the people who are legit and need the help. PCS is right, there are people living in overpriced homes and driving flashy cars, but wont get married or have divorced because its so easy to get in on these programs. One of my neighbors was in shock that we were “for real” married, and told me if we split, all the free things we could apply for. I told them that I prefer to set an example and do things the old fashioned way….work for them.

  130. 130 1george1

    Ally – there is nothing in your post I can disagree with.

    Quick – someone help Jeze and Phin get off the floor!!!

    I created a few different sets of collectables that I wanted to
    give to the Library or Board of Ed for permanent exhibition.

    The Library has a territorial older woman who doesn’t get it.

    If I gave it to the BoE, the collection would likely “disappear”
    from what I have seen and heard….?

    Best thing Stratford did in last 30 years was WW II Memorial.
    The “RATS” still had to tarnish it, in a few ways.

    Zero offense to Dan or Tony, who built it.
    I do not care it was Mason-esque.
    Each group thinks their group is responsible for this or that,
    when in fact so much is RE-VISION

  131. So, as a side note, Im reading the paper today with its PROS/CONS list and have to wonder where they got their info……I happened to attend Nichlols School when they were under renovation, I was part of the last 6th grade class to walk out what used to be the front doors (right under the “Nichols School” sign on the front of building)….the paper states that the last time that school was renovated was 27 years ago…..I may be a smart cookie, but there is no way I was 4 years old in 6th grade….I remember having to share the gym with the other 6th grade class, and we had a flimsy wall divider between each half of the gym. ……So where is this Milone& MacBroom getting their info? I mean , if the age of the school is a factor, shouldnt it be accurate? Im proof that its been upgraded since then ( now off to find that picture of our 6th grade class that was taken 20 years ago before that door got sealed off)

  132. 132 phineast

    George-RATFLAMO. …BTW if you don’t care about the Mason-esque nes why the heck even reference it–serves no purpose.
    Ally-you and I are on the same page. You get what is going on as does PCS.
    The bednobs and broomsticks firm has a habit of using less than reliable information and out dated documentation, they have a strangle hold on many many many state and municipal contracts. Having had to have dealt with their finished products-personally I am not impressed and feel that is a low tier firm on the level of Bercham and Moses with regard to stuffing their profit margins with taxpayer cash in the form of change orders. You need to be on top of every nuance with them if you want a passable product. Just my opinion, but it is based on my experience.
    Ally and PCS if you want better policing of the “hand out” programs you are going to have to work with the state reps to tighten and eliminate the loopholes. Would save taxpayers tons of cash state wide…..and since the educational sacred cow is state protected in the budget it would behoove us to use those dollars very wisely and not on fraud.

  133. 133 athena856

    George – a quick clarification, then I’ll respond to everything else. I meant lunches and breakfasts in meetings for the BOE, as PCS seemed to reference. Lunches for the children…well not if they don’t deserve it financially, of course.

  134. 134 athena856

    Ally – I noticed that too! I was pretty sure that the information the consultants referenced said that Nichols, Wilcoxson and Franklin were renovated in the early 1990s – that was not 27 years ago.

    I agree with what’s been said so far about lunches – it’s sad that this is the only way some kids get food, and also sad that it is…let’s say less than nutritionally sound.

    George – “Ironic the egyptian people didn’t trust police political justice?
    Maybe they will get a true representative democratic republic
    before Stratford?”
    LOL. Seems like it.

    PCS – the administration and department heads taking pay cuts is what should be happening. Everyone should be making some concessions, not closing schools to maintain their own salaries.

    George – about the schools as they stand – maybe we should try to find out what exactly the programs are within the schools first? Overall, as regards overcrowding and individual attention, I can’t see that closing a school will lead to an improvement. It might lead to some short-term savings (although I am still not convinced about this), but in the long-term, there most likely will not be enough classrooms, unless we are building new schools.

  135. 135 1george1

    PHIN: George-RATFLAMO. …

    Glad I could amuse you,

    PHIN: BTW if you don’t care about the Mason-esque nes why the
    heck even reference it–serves no purpose.

    Moved to: https://stratfordcharter.wordpress.com/2011/02/05/the-dark-side-ii/#comment-15738

  136. 136 pcsperling

    Athena ~

    I 100% agree – administration and department head pay cuts. Making permanent decisions in what will be a temporary situation (albeit lasting a bit longer than any of us hope) is not the way to go.

    Temporary action that can be taken – pay cuts (7 to 10%) for department heads and administration; furlough days; and other things. One thing I was amazed at is that the BOE can spend I think up to $7,500 without approval of the Board of the BOE. Sorry, I think that amount should be significantly cut too! Way down! There’s lots of frivolous spending below that $7,500 threshhold!

    Revisit the salaries and furlough days when the economy starts picking up. I had to make cuts in my household when my salary went down. I lost my job in 2009, but fortunately found another after only four months, but the salary cut was TREMENDOUS! I gained time – working lots closer to home, but I lost a quite a few hundred each week in my pay check. It’s more than unemployment, less than I was making, but I’m employed, and I have more quality time with my daughter.

    These department heads and administrators need to realize that there are MANY people in the unemployment line who would be happy to fill their shoes. If they don’t like furlough days, pay cuts, etc…. Well, there’s the door!

  137. 137 1george1

    The trade off of some money to spend more time with one’s
    child is priceless.
    Depending on ariables, two income families have some advantages
    over and obvious disadvantages compared to most
    – single income
    – unemployed
    – fixed income

    Many retired have no mortgage.
    However, the Rockefeller types look at the untapped wealth of
    homes without mortgages and loved inflating value for people to
    liquidify.
    Government people also love the idea of forcing people to reverse
    mortgage or tax inflated home / business values.
    Now the Ponzi Scheme came home to roost.

    PCS and likely every blog reader except those looking to ROB their
    Property Tax Paying brothers and sisters are getting squeezed.

    Creatures like Harkins, Burturlas, and others simply do not care about
    the people they are squeezing.

    That is a dangerous game. One of the reasons the scum from the last
    Town Council did their damage to benefit themselves and then didn’t
    run again.

    Stratford is a small town of 50,000.
    Almost everyone knows alot of people.
    Far more people know most of what is going on than the inner parties
    think they do!
    Those inner parties hate me because they rightly believe I exposed them
    to more people knowing what they have done.
    The ones they have to worry about are the enemies they displaced who,
    unlike myself, are practiced in the arts of violence.

    I have peaceful solutions and protections for people inside our area, from
    the real problem causers, outside the area.
    NO PHIN – I will not quantify, nor qualify. It is still premature, but nearing.

  138. 138 phineast

    PCS–I like your idea of the salary cuts administratively…though I would cut between 10-13% and have them make greater bene contributions or eliminate the benes. If they are salary I would NOT be giving any furlough days…there is already an abundance of time off if anything I would get more productivity out of them. I would start by throwing out the coffee machine.

  139. 139 phineast

    George- without out the quantifying and qualifying, I just can’t take you seriously.

  140. As Im looking over all the data and comparisions that the “experts” have drawn up, Im starting to realize that some of the numbers are confusing. A) With the bus info they have, they list the amount of busses each school has …..what I dont see is the amount of students each bus picks up. I know my girls get on the bus as the 2nd to last stop, and the bus has maybe 18 kids on it. TWO other busses from the school also come down my street, both in the morning and in the afternoon, and I have noticed that they arent even close to be full. So why is there a need for so many busses when they arent even full? Why so many busses for the same area that overlap? ( Not that I want the overcrowded bus problem that Shelton had, but still) and B) Can anyone tell me why the entire side of Broadbridge (Stoneybrook and Cannaan Road side) is bussed to Nichols? I know we dont live more than a mile from the school, in fact I was surprised when they told me that our girls would get bussed. The answer I got from whoever I talked to at the BOE at the time told me that its considered a “treacherous” walk and not safe for the kids (again, Im not complaining), but shouldnt this be a factor ? Is there a real reason? Some kind of liabilty issue? How can the bus situation be thrown in as a con for ANY school if there are rules or laws that state these kids HAVE to be bussed? (BTW We have bus pickups on the corner of our street for Franklin, Second Hill, Nichols, Stratford Academy, Chapel ( I think just 2 kids) Wooster, Flood, Stratford High, and Bunnell, nevermind the tech schools and Catholic pickups)

  141. Russ Hayden’s letter to the editor in the Star about health insurance driving school closures was right on point. I could not have said it better myself.

    I never served with him on the Financial Advisory Committee but I can tell you he and all the members that I served with were some of the most dedicated public servants
    I ever met. Politics never once played a part in our public or private discussions. The best deal for the taxpayer was our primary objective.

  142. 142 ronmoreau

    phineast on February 11, 2011 said:
    George- without out the quantifying and qualifying, I just can’t take you seriously.

    Phin,

    George is just phishing. You’ve got to give him some credit. Everything he says has his name on it.

  143. 143 phineast

    Ron- I give him credit for the things that he is direct and straightforward about. Even fiction books have an author… 😉 so until he is willing to back it up I will deem it fiction.
    Ally- the “facts” that Bednobs and Broomsticks provided for THOUSANDS of dollars in their study are not accurate and so simplistic they have little value. You or I could have provided such a simplistic study for FREE. I know I would have willingly given my time to save the cash for the town.
    Regarding the busing issue…historically the BOE has a policy that directs how far a student must live from a school before being eligible for free busing. The BOE absolutely has the right(and has done so over the years) to adjust the current policy and charge families for some of the busing. If the student is being bused for special education, racial balance or can prove it is indigent they are entitled to busing at the taxpayer expense. Here is the rub-the BOE has to guarantee the bus company they will be using a specific amount of buses DAILY to guarantee a price for those buses which is how initially many kids ended up riding for free-the BOE filled the buses that had only a handful of students on them with students that weren’t entitiled to free busing, a generous offer indeed since they were already paying for buses that could have been almost empty to get the so called entitled students to school. Those families that were given a courtesy came to expect the entitlement of free buses and so the wheel spins….on and on….
    I am guessing that there is going to be some MAJOR redistricting of the schools to adjust the student populations most likely even before next year-Ally you should volunteer to help with that project as the only way it will be done is with volunteers. Personally I am hoping that when this occurs it will keep more students in their home district and off the buses-our community has become very diverse and quite frankly the kids HATE wasting 30-40 minutes of play time after school being cooped up on a bus because some idiot in Hartford says they have to. To be HEALTHY kids need more time for physical activity-which could include walking to and from school…….

  144. 144 1george1

    JF > Russ Hayden’s letter to the editor in the Star about health
    insurance driving school closures was right on point.

    GEO > John, Russ Hayden did 95-98% of the work on the HSA.
    I did about 2 %. Others may or may not have contributed.

    JF > I could not have said it better myself.

    GEO > Please see above – I avoid temptation! 🙂

    —–

    phineast on February 11, 2011 said:
    George- without out the quantifying and qualifying,
    I just can’t take you seriously.

    RON > Phin, George is just phishing.
    You’ve got to give him some credit.
    Everything he says has his name on it.

    GEO > Thank you RON.
    If PHIN and others GOOGLE – WIKIPEDIA (the ancient) CASSANDRA
    gifted and cursed by APOLLO, I have a similar situation.
    Although I am far from always correct, blog critics come & go.
    I am still here.
    > Mr. Hayden’s post very diplomatically reinforced my letters to the
    editor and blog posts about Board of Education + Town Health Care
    cost.
    I was NOT happy to see him write about the POLICE UNION Contract
    SOLVING the DEFINED BENEFIT PENSION problem, which only Thomas
    Angelo, C. P. A. on the FAC came close to QUANTIFYING.

    If PHIN wants QUALIFYING and QUANTIFYING – do your OWN homework,
    since you can NOT TAKE me seriously anyway!!
    1 – How many people total on the DEFINED BENEFIT PROGRAM?
    2 – What is the ACTUARIAL projection of the TOTAL COST?

    Note:
    1) 42 – 50 year old retirees likely life span to collect DBP.
    2) Actual annual pensions about 620 already pensioned- multiply:
    A) the projected years to collect DBP
    B) by the actual annual pensions
    C) Factor the likely future DBP retirees and projected retirements.

    CHALLENGE # 1
    GEO to PHIN: – If the likely 60 year projection is under $ 1.2 Trillion
    as I post, I will buy you a coffee, tea, or soda.
    If it is over $ 1.2 Trillion, you will buy me a soda – it can be anonymous
    and a gift certificate. 🙂

    CHALLENGE # 2
    GEO to PHIN: – I further dare you to another challenge.
    Compare NATIONAL A V E R A G E Health Care Cost to Stratford BoE
    + Town Health Care Costs, since 1998.

    If the likely projection is under 35 % higher LOCALLY than NATIONALLY
    as I post, I will buy you a coffee, tea, or soda.
    If it is over 35 %, you will buy me a soda – it can be anonymous
    and a gift certificate. 🙂

    CHALLENGE # 3
    Multiply the Interest paid by TAX PAYERS to repay the $ 95 million
    PENSION BOND 2001 to 2012
    ADD all of the PENSION SHORT FALL DEPOSITS from 1998 to 2012

    If the actual total TAX PAYER COST is under $ 200 MILLION as I post,
    I will buy you a coffee, tea, or soda.
    If it is over $ 200 MILLION as I post, you will buy me a soda – it can
    be anonymous and a gift certificate. 🙂

    CHALLENGE # 4
    The the percentage difference of NATIONAL to LOCAL Health Care
    Insurance cost and translate them into DOLLARS and Stratford MILS.

    I have posted there is at least a 2 MIL extra cost paying for KITED
    Health Care cost, which is now $ 4.5 million per Mil, but in 2,000
    was $ 3.3 million per Mil.

    I gustimate, Stratford Tax Payers have paid in excess of $ 80 Million
    1998 to 2011 in excess Health Care cost.
    Same offer.

    CHALLENGE # 5
    In 2009 Mayor Debates, Jim Miron claimed $ 83 million ECS lost.

    Branyan and Norko told me at least $ 5 million annually in UNFUNDED
    MANDATES was LOST to BOE + TOWN or minimum $ 10 million year for
    likely 15 years.
    NO ONE EVER MADE a QUANTIFIED / QUALIFIED LIST.
    NO ONE ever BILLED State or Feds.

    You can GOOGLE Education Secreatry Arne Duncan testifying to
    Senate Jan / Feb 2009 – c-span
    – Duncan and Senate noted unfunded Federal Mandates NATIONALLY
    to all SCHOOLS, not just stratford related to Special Education.
    > FEDERAL LAW mandates payment of 40 %
    > mandates’ actual payment is/was 14 %
    > difference is 26 % of annual SPECIAL ED BUDGETS

    That is just one of the UNFUNDED MANDATE, where PHIN can start.

    PHIN / JF / Jeze / anyone want to take my challenge on ANY ONE
    of the above or more than one or ALL?

    Until then – how can A N Y O N E on this blog (except ron, phyllis, star)
    be taken seriously? 😉 🙂 8) 🙂

    Ron

    You are going to love or gag / laugh at the Rockefeller post
    on DARK SIDE II

  145. One more question, since I cant find the answer…Besides the obvious, like the 9 elementary schools, the middle schools, the high schools, and the BOE (the old Center School building), what other buildings are funded by the BOE budget? I mean, if Center and Birdseye are still be used, but not as schools, does the budget still include them? And does the entire building get used?

  146. I ask the Board of Education to reject any plan by the Long Range Planning Committee which proposes the closing of any schools.

    The focus to date has been completely wrong. As Russ Hayden suggested we should have a committee whose sole focus is mitigating the dramatic increases in the Board of Education health insurance premiums.

    Furthermore, I ask the Town Council to reject any Board of Education budget that does not adequately address these concerns.

    John Fahan
    Stratford Taxpayer
    Financial Advisory Committee 2010
    Charter Revision Commission 2008

  147. 147 1george1

    JOHN – any others
    JEZE + GAVIN have my e-mail address.

    Post # 97 was taken directly from a series of emails between
    myself and Mike Feehan, which I have in attachment form and
    I can forward to anyone who wants a copy.

    However, to understand the information in the email, one has
    to start at the bottom of the series of emails, which was the
    first one I sent to Mike Feeney, who properly replied.

    I would later forward them. Mike would reply.

    I would later forward them. Mike would reply.

    Mike and others in town normally act properly and within the
    law finding information already existing in attachment form and
    stored as such – providing it appropriate to FOI.

    Believe it or NOT post # 97, gives you better and specific info,
    than those e-mails, which I estimate something over 80 people
    have copies of. Actually the number is likely several hundred.

    ======

    John – the next post I suggest you take a quick look at is # 40.

    Then posts 9 – 12. I suspect you will L O V E the utube video
    shown at SONY executive sonferrence.

  148. 148 1george1

    JF – Others –
    How would you like to “find” just over $ 2 million
    in the BoE Budget, just in one spot?

    How would you like to “find” just over $ 6 million
    in the BoE Budget, just in one other spot?

    How would you like to “find” just over $ 19 million
    in the Town Budget, just in one other spot?

    How would you like to “find” almost $ 2 million
    in the Town Budget, just in one spot?
    – In 2 different places

    How would you like to “find” almost $ 10 million
    in the Town Budget, just in one spot?
    – In 2 different places

    IF that is about $ 51 million at $ 4.5 million a MIL,
    I suspect that is about 11.3 Mils of a 33.3 Mil Rate.

    That is only a partial list of what I believe is waste.

  149. 149 1george1

    PHIN,
    When you get a chance …
    Please reply to my above post # 144.

    Actually, if anyone would like to take up any of the 5 challenges ….

    Food for thought ….
    If you do the work and prove me to be wrong …
    YOU GET BRAGGING RIGHTS on the BLOG and at Town Committee
    Meetings and Town Hall ….. 😉

    My math sometimes has had honest errors.
    I make best effforts to be correct.
    No one is infalliable.

  150. Going over the proposed budget for the next year…Does the BOE really pay out $222,000 a year to company for an “energy conservation program”? (account 1060)….Nxegen and DBS Energy…Does the BOE go through them for energy or is it just a consulting firm ( I looked them up, they could be either) And if they are a provider, then why are we paying for utilities in a diffrent account and then paying these guys?

  151. Sorry, its only budgeted for the High schools, so thats $110 per school?

  152. 152 phineast

    ally-$110 or $110k? My guess is it is the K.

    George- if you put it up back it up with more than innuendos. That is all. You put the stuff up not me. If I put it up I do my best to back it up. And if it is my opinion..I tell you it is my opinion…
    I’ll pass of the coffee etc. but thanks…I’ll stick to H2O…for now.

  153. 153 1george1

    PHIN: What you call innuendos, others might call hints?

    (In fact, I am unsure of that which you refer? 8) )

    Sometimes no matter how many facts are posted, there
    becomes arbitrary denials where there are ZERO possibility
    of being accepted. Kafka-esque? Sysphus?

    EXAMPLE:

    Having a simple, clear, evident, documentation and testimony
    evidence that Dick Miron did something that JEZE would agree
    was good….. 😉

    I know of some good things and far worse people.
    I sincerely doubt if JEZE would give Dick credit for any thing?

  154. 154 jezebel282

    George,

    “I sincerely doubt if JEZE would give Dick credit for any thing?”

    Me? After his conviction for 1st degree larceny and pleading guilty to stealing from bereaved families, I doubt he could get credit anywhere. In fact, the only ones that seem to still listen to him are members of the DTC. But they are crazy anyway.

  155. 155 phineast

    George- Dick Miron did something good? If you talk about the WW2 memorial or anything else made of stone the only thing he did was help himself to public cash. That is good for him only…..if he really wanted to do good he would have waved all his broker fees and kept his hands out of the widows wallets….he didn’t start out as a scum bag but he sure turned into one.

  156. 156 1george1

    Jeze + Phin,
    I do not disagree with your overall opinion.

    Nor your specific examples.
    Nor the hauling of Senior Citizens to court
    over absentee ballots (by Jim + Dick?)

    I think you would agree your posts validates the point
    I was making about NEVER having acceptable evidence ….

  157. 157 jezebel282

    Ally,

    “Does the BOE go through them for energy or is it just a consulting firm ( I looked them up, they could be either) And if they are a provider, then why are we paying for utilities in a diffrent account and then paying these guys?”

    I’ve checked with my (barely) confidential source. They are a consulting firm that monitors energy consumption at every school, not just the high schools, and recommends adjustments in the purchasing source and volume. Looking over some of the data, we have saved a significant bundle in energy costs. That they showed up in the high school budgets only is a mistake.

  158. Thanks Jezebel

    The only thing I could find was on the BOE site where it described a 5 phase program to upgrade and retrofit all the lighting fixtures and some of the building management systems that began in August of 2004 and would end in 2015….they have a payment plan in place that apparently as of this year, they would be making a $171,597 payment . If this is the same program, (its listed under the District info as the ‘Energy Conservation Program”) I still wonder why an extra $48,000 is added in. ( I know its knitpicking, but at this point, every penny matters )

  159. 159 jezebel282

    Ally,

    “I still wonder why an extra $48,000 is added in.”

    This is the part where I tell you that you should go to the BOE meetings and do the unthinkable…..ask.

    Or you could email a board member. That’s why they got elected, you know.
    http://stratfordk12.org/Content/Members_1.asp

  160. 160 phineast

    That entire committee was a joke. The taxpayers PAID for them to have their meetings to render a recommendation-and there recommendation is status quo????!!!!!
    I have no sympathy for the BOE-I hope the town council has the BALLS to cut the necessary funding to a negative hard zero. How much did the meetings cost us anyway???
    Here is what I have come away with from this political farce-
    1.) The deck was administratively stacked. For every administrator or retired teacher on that committee there should have been one parent and 2 senior citizens.
    2.) There were certain members of the board that are only interested in protecting their own special areas that do absolutely nothing to enhance academic accreditation. A kid might be able to catch a foot ball but can he READ??? Extracurricular is exactly that-extra-and those extra costs should be the sole responsibility of the users. It is that way in other districts and in these economic times it should be that way here.
    3.) The members of the elected BOE had better listen very carefully to the economic concerns of this community. There will be NO BOE if the town goes bankrupt. All those padded admin salaries will no longer exist.
    4.) Could not one member address the insurance costs???? If that is the line that is the problem then address the line-petition to re-open-or close 2 schools….hmmm….for sure I’d be addressing the line item.
    5.) I will stand behind the council to make the same cuts the mayor has required from all departments to apply tho the BOE. Cut it and force them to take responsibility for their spineless inaction.

    There were only 3 members on this committee that had the nerve to ask the hard questions. I may not agree with everything these people do, but at least they tried to get the answers.

    Can you tell I’m disappointed…nahhhhh…down right ashamed of this committee????
    Committees like this ARE the problem….not the solution-or even and inkling of a solution..

  161. 161 1george1

    Phin,
    Wow!

    Point by point, you were right on.

    Your close catches the core of politics. Why put anyone on one of
    your politically selected committees, likely to ROCK the BOAT?
    > I was chosen to be on the FAC, because my LETTER to the CT POST
    EDITOR tore apart the Town Council Charter Revision Commission
    selection process.
    > I believe was selected to the FAC precisely to be entrapped by a
    MAJORITY VOTE, to give a FREE PASS to Jan 2008 police retirees.
    > Otherwise, I have NEVER been selected to a Town Council or
    Mayor Commission, execept ex-officio, publicity for WW II Memorial.
    As noted, that was usurped by (I call them) abberants.

    They do NOT want the TRUTH!
    They can NOT stand the TRUTH!
    They want to control the RESULTS.

    I thought CORNISH hit her TAKING POINTS of accomplishments very
    well and of things I wrote/blogged I favored and she listed MORE
    with proper stress on scholastic achievments.

    I believe I have gotten into the heads of present and past Town
    Councilors, Attorney, Rank personnel.

    I fear an imminent (collateral) murder, and have obliquely documented
    the same. The (pathological) SNIPERS control the timing and authorities.
    I do NOT know what else to do?
    Can’t cry wolf?
    Can’t prove a crime, yet to be committed?
    Can’t use experience and intuition as evidence.
    If a crime is committed with NON DISCERNIBLE BIO TOXINS or by FLAWED
    PROCESS, or by ACCIDENT, with no clear, plain and evident facts, is a
    crime proveable to open a case? Feb 16, 2011 @ 1:04 am

    Phin – back to your post.

    Why not copy and paste your comments to emails to the editors of
    the CT POST, STRATFORD STAR, NEW HAVEN REGISTER, & STRATFORD
    PATCH?

    Send them independently as they each prefer exclusivity.

    I already made comments to the CT POST online story.
    So far, I choose to be mild, as I was posting less mild to Fabrizi story.

  162. 162 jezebel282

    Update:

    Stratford Star
    Schools safe for now; Supt. wants parents to fight for budget

    TUESDAY, 9:55 P.M.: All Stratford schools are safe from closing – at least for now.

    The Long-Range Facilities Planning Committee unanimously voted Tuesday to recommend that no elementary schools be closed, and that sixth graders remain in elementary schools for the 2011-12 school year.
    The committee, in a split vote, rejected a motion to delay construction at Honeyspot School and will instead urge the Town Council to proceed with the project.
    Dr. Robert Cody, former chairman of the Board of Education, proposed that no schools be closed because the committee did not have enough data.
    Rather than “re-engineer” the system, as committee members had said, Schools Supt. Irene Cornish urged parents who flocked to meetings to show support for schools to throw that effort behind getting the full school budget request passed.
    Cody made his motion after consultants from Milone & MacBroom presented a new set of data requested by the committee, detailing savings associated with closing each of the five elementary schools targeted. Those were Lordship, Franklin, Nichols, Wilcoxson and Honeyspot schools.
    Tuesday, the consultants told the committee that closing Honeyspot would cost the system more than a half million dollars.
    “I do not understand how you can close a school and it costs you,” Cody said.
    Saying that numbers were changing, Cody said, “I don’t feel at this time we have the data available to us to make a decision which school to close and whether we should close a school.”
    Any changes, including moving sixth graders to middle school and closing any school, would be delayed until Sept. 2012 under Cody’s motion.
    The Long-Range Committee will continue to meet and to review data in an effort to find ways to reduce school costs.
    Committee member Eric Lazzaro agreed with Cody’s plan, saying he had pored over numbers and could not justify closing a school now.
    He asked the audience not to clap – a request many ignored.
    “It’s not about clapping,” Lazzaro said. “It’s about understanding the need to educate all of our children.”
    Lazzaro pointed out that four of the schools in town are nearing 100 years old, and many need work.
    “It’s not Washington, D.C., where they have monuments. These are buildings,” Lazzaro said. “Our elected officials need to understand we value education. All of us understand the economy. We’re all strapped. But we understand the need to reinvest.”
    “I cannot, in good conscience, recommend the closing of any school,” Schools Supt. Irene Cornish, answering a question first asked last week by committee member Norm Aldrich: Which school would she close.
    Listing accomplishments in and out of the classroom, Cornish said shutting a school would be “the beginning of the end” of the progress made by the district.
    The committee began to explore shuttering at least one school to close an anticipated $2.6 million budget gap.
    Cornish said Mayor John A. Harkins and the Town Council had told school leaders that a 0% increase was needed, but that the administration’s proposal was at a 2.6% rise.
    “I’ve never been a quitter,” she said, after thinking about Aldrich’s question for a week.

  163. 163 jezebel282

    Phin,

    1. 1 parent and 2 senior citizens? What is the make up of those involved in the administration of the Baldwin Center? 2 parents and 1 senior citizen?

    2. “There were certain members of the board that are only interested in protecting their own special areas” Really? In Stratford? You don’t say. I’m still trying to figure out how Norm Aldrich got there.

    3. “The members of the elected BOE had better listen very carefully to the economic concerns of this community.” A lesson to be learned by the Town Attorney too. $1.5 Million?

    4. “Could not one member address the insurance costs????” AGREED.

    5. “I will stand behind the council to make the same cuts the mayor has required from all departments to apply tho the BOE” I would agree if there were actual cuts in OT and legal fees on the Town side.

  164. 164 phineast

    Irene sends out her call to arms and the parents in their total ignorance of being continually manipulated fall for it EVERY single time. It is the PARENTS that need to step up to the plate and say we want a quality education BUT are not going to allow the admin to manipulate and rape us ever again. If the parents don’t have the courage to help correct the disaster at the BOE then the town will be bankrupt. The kids may have a year or 2 of adjustment if some consolidation is done but overall they will be fine. If the so called leaders don’t take immediate action there WILL be a tax revolt–it will make what happen in Egypt look small scale! Taxpayers have had it!!!
    Address the damn insurance line, get the admin numbers down, have a pay to play for extra curricular activities(like they do at the rec dept), and eliminate all non-mandated busing. Start there. Anywhere in that list is there a school closing???????? NOPE. SEE? I was able to come up with a list and it didn’t cost the taxpayers a penny or even a an hour of meeting time!!!!! It was all the classic BOE administrative bullsh!t…meetings indeed……………….

  165. 165 1george1

    The COST of HEALTH CARE DEDUCTIONS PAID by the TOWN 2009-2010
    is $ 2.7 Million.

    BoE projected BUDGET SHORTFALL is $ 2.6 Million.

    =====

    Health Care Cost went up from $ 18,600 + to over $ 21,000,
    but the $ 5000 paid deductable for the family plan for 341
    went down to $ 3,000.
    The 178 people as couples stayed at $ 3,000.
    The singles stayed at whatever.

    I estimate the COST of HEALTH CARE DEDUCTIONS PAID by the
    TOWN 2009-2010 is $ 2.4 Million.

    BoE projected BUDGET SHORTFALL is $ 2.6 Million.

    ======

    I will forward the ATTACHMENT “Bored of Education” to JEZE.

    It has repeated series of emails from me to Mike Feeney and his
    replies about the new rates, numbers of participants broken
    down, which I further explained in # 90.

    ONLY THING – You have to START at the BOTTOM and work your
    way up, because the bottom is the FIRST email in the SERIES and
    it ONLY makes sense reading in Q & A sequence.

    ======

    I suspect JEZE can get copies of the PLAN break downs last year +
    this and confirm accuracy.

    I spoke to PCS last night and asked her to ask JEZE for my e-addess.
    I give my permission to Jeze to give it to those people JEZE believes
    are responsible adults.

    If Jeze has attorneys 1099s for 2010, I would appreciate copies.
    I will also send JEZE some info on 2007 – 2010, with the last year
    not complete.

    =======

    In September 1987, when I gave the SENATE / CONGRESS all of those
    affadavits and other information including PETRO PRICING problems,
    I included a POISON PILL. It involved IMPLOSION.

    I was cut off and completely surrounded with NO WAY OUT.
    I also knew my enemies / oppressors / tormentors were neither
    omnipotent, nor fully knowledgeable.
    They feared elections.
    They feared the people imploding on them.

    What is happening in Egypt, Libyia, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, China,
    India and around the world is like what I proposed in my OPEN
    LETTER to OBAMA and the POLITICAL PARTIES ….

    * Bring the third world to first world technologies and opportunities.

    * The Third world has superior wireless infrastructure than the US,
    because they skipped hard wire needs and costs

    * The Third world is the NEW COUNTRY and BLANK SLATE of Adam
    Smith Wealth of Nations. I pray his MORAL SENTIMENTS are instilled.

    ORTEGA Y GASSET:
    The world is not rule by bullets, nor bayonettes …
    The world is run by public opinion ….

    GEO: A well placed whisper for true inspiration to better the world,
    based on enlightened self interest, can be more effective than a
    proPAGANda or marketing camPAIgN by shills, hucksters, conmen,
    and PONZI SCHEMERS …. which I think Jeze, Phin, PCS, and others
    might be able to identify.

  166. 166 jezebel282

    George,

    “I suspect JEZE can get copies of the PLAN break downs last year +
    this and confirm accuracy.”

    Homework? You’re giving me homework?

    Before we all get happy (or mad) we have to remember what Yogi said: “It ain’t over till it’s over”. It is now up to the Town Council whether or not a school closes.

    Et tu, Council members?

  167. 167 phineast

    Jez- it’s over and the taxpayers are f’d. Show me one person on the current council who has the balls to do what really needs to be done with the BOE.
    I am sticking with John on this one–a hard zero across the board.
    OR we could get Gov. Christy to swing through CT and fire them all and re-hire them at at least 1/3 less than what we are paying now,then make everyone “part” time and get rid of the bene line altogether….
    NOW THAT would be a SWEEPING CHANGE. Maybe we need something that dramatic to make a statement.

  168. 168 1george1

    No schools will close.
    Taxes will go up.

    Phin – none of the councilors ever saw the inside of the
    Town Council chambers before they were 1st elected.

    They or somebody in their family works for a government or
    contractor or quasi government where political influence …

    What happened to the RTC changing the bylaws and consolidating
    power into fewer hands, will be the future hidden agenda.

    Changing of the guard.

    Sorry Jeze, I did not mean to “assign you homework.”

  169. 169 pcsperling

    Unfortunately, I doubt very much that it’s over. This is just what the LRFPC will recommend to the Board of the BOE and the Board of the BOE will make it (semi) official. Unfortunately, based on what Irene Cornish has said, she’s a “fighter” and will continue to try and get the money. And…..if they don’t get their money….well, we know what will happen!

  170. 170 phineast

    PCS as I said before-she plays all you parents well….and you all fall for it every time!! She wants council to shoulder the blame for the closings-that way when she hands out those bonuses to the admin in the name of keeping the town competitive what she is really doing is keeping the town non competitive-as we will never be able to address the tax base and improve upon it with the boe vs municipal spending ratio so far out of whack.
    John is on target with his demand of a zero-I don’t care how much their insurance costs have risen—suck it up and deal with it-within the administration.
    If the council folds the town really is f’d. plain and simple.

  171. 171 pcsperling

    Phin ~

    I wanted to believe that she would do the right thing – work on curbing spending rather than school closings. I was working on very little sleep and when I heard the motion made to recommend no school closings I got very excited. After the meeting, reality set in. One of the other mothers brought me back down to earth.

    Something also happened yesterday – personally – which has now given me the view that Irene Cornish is nothing more than Jim Miron in a woman’s body!

  172. 172 phineast

    and what happened?

  173. 173 pcsperling

    Jim Miron took a great deal out on the “innocents” in Stratford Town Hall. It was brought to my attention yesterday, that Irene appears to be doing the same – targeting my husband because of what I choose to do or say. So help me God, if I find out that that is what she is doing, I’ve got a good lawyer in mind!

    During one of the snowstorms, he was out in the parking lot shovelling – probably around her car! He had his BOE (uniform) shirt on, a fleece, and his down vest. She apparently couldn’t see the shirt so got them reprimanded because she said they were “out of uniform.” His supervisor told him he should put the uniform shirt on top of everything else…. WTF, are you kidding me?

    My husband does not control what I do or say. He is also not the only person in the BOE or Town that I know. I am fighting to make sure the money stays where it belongs, with education. I am fighing to make sure that those at the top stop taking advantage of those at the bottom. In reading the minutes and other things, I came across an interesting fact ~ anything under $7,500 can be spent without the approval of the Board of the BOE. There is a great deal of money that can be spent, over and over, without approval. In other firms and companies, the amount that can be spent without approval is significantly less. I’d love to see that amount decreased to $200!

    Irene needs to go, and so do her cronies!

  174. 174 phineast

    PCS-Document every single thing to build your harassment case, which will ultimately turn into a Constitutional issue–In Miron’s world the only person that had the right to free speech was he, himself-no one else. If he ever says otherwise he can be proved a liar by his own actions. Irene is far more dangerous….she actually THINKS before she acts…so be careful-she beat Miron in every argument and discussion.
    As far as the expenditure of $7500-is that in total as in a one time thing or for multiple times…..my guess is the latter. That is a lot of petty cash in any case.
    BOE policy needs to be tightened in many many many aspects. Gavin is actually trying to do just that, but it appears that the fellow members aren’t interested in what is best for the kids…just for the staff.

  175. 175 pcsperling

    Phin ~

    You are right about Irene. She ‘s a queen when it comes to political doubletalk. Look how she answered Norm Aldrich’s question about which school she would close. She tap-danced perfectly around it entirely and an answer was never given. I honestly don’t trust any of them, now one damned politician in this Town.

    My husband shows up every day and does his job. He rarely takes a day off as a matter of fact, he leaves money on the table – he’s maxed out for the number of sick days he can accumulate and leaves most of the sick days he’s allowed every year untouched. He’s courteous, well-mannered, honest and wouldn’t hurt a fly. I thank God every day that I found a man like him, because they’re aren’t too many. If she wants someone to target, I’ll gladly stop by the shooting range and get a paper bullseye to wear to the next meeting! She can target me, not my family. You know what happens when you mess with anything that belongs to Mama Bear?

    As far as the expenditures, if it’s like every other company, if there were an expenditure of $7,499, they could spend that without approval, just as easily as they could spend $5.00 on a box of munchkins…… I think my point with this is that EVERY $5.00 or $7,499 adds up. There needs to be more oversight in the spending. If a BOE employee would rather have Puff tissues rather than Kleenex or store brand, they can bring their own. Wasteful spending needs to stop! A few years ago, the State of Delaware went back to printing in black and white. It’s a helluva lot cheaper than colored ink. My point to that is that we can find a great many creative ways to cut corners and curb spending, they’re just too f’d up to do it.

  176. 176 1george1

    PHIN > PCS as I said before-she plays all you parents well….
    and you all fall for it every time!!

    GEO > PCS is one of the mothers best and worst positioned
    to expose the manipulating tactics of political committees’
    SUPERINTEDENT + MAYOR + BOE + COUNCIL.

    Most parents have a trust with Teachers, Principles, + BoE.
    > BoE PENSIONS are a STATE ISSUE = NOT a TOWN ISSUE
    > LONGER RETIRED TEACHERS do NOT have SAME PENSIONS.
    > LONGER RETIRED Town workers do NOT have SAME DB PENSIONS.

    Most parents have NO IDEA HEALTH INSURANCE COST are INFLATED
    with a VERY STRONG POSSIBILITY of KICK BACKS

    Most parents have NO IDEA HEALTH INSURANCE deductable COST are
    INFLATED with a VERY STRONG POSSIBILITY of KICK BACKS.

    Most parents have NO IDEA they are being manipulated by cover
    stories that the MIRON / BURTURLA / KELLY or whomever have
    used.

    PCS + Husband are vulnerable to a wide range of reprisals, either
    at work, or some sort of “accident” or apparently “unconnected”
    collateral damage to extended family.

    PCS does have advantages other people have not had.
    1 – She and others have had me writing and appearing at Public Forums
    warning about the existance of reprisals.
    2 – There are lists of reprisals and more details with increased circles.
    3 – I have made it clear to local people to EXPECT being DOUBLE CROSSED
    and that there are OUTSIDE FACTORS and PEOPLE putting increasing
    pressure on their cash cows, because of the reckless avarice!
    4 – PCS has assets I did not have, and I will not list on this website which
    is read by people from different perspectives.

  177. Many questions….
    1-Now that the Long Range committee has decided not to close a school this month, where does that leave us? Still with a $2.6 million deficit in the budget, and unless they get the mayor to increase the BOEs slice of the taxpayer pie, then we start the whole closing of a school process over again?
    2- Definition of Mayor :The head of government of a city, town, borough, or municipal corporation…..Where has Harkins been through all this? Shouldnt he be a part of this? Isnt this his job, to oversee the town employees? Isnt Cornish and her posse town employees? I was looking through everything written on the closings, and Im not sure I could find one quote from him.
    3-I know Cornish said she was retiring a while back….in fact , one of the papers continually refers to her as the “acting superintendant”….so whose job is it to hire a new one? Maybe whoevers job it is should get on it and hire a replacement (preferably one who makes less money) .
    4-Really I agree with all of you, the Long range comittee told us what we wanted to hear, got the public outcry down, and made sure that if the Council votes to deny the motion to not close a school, its not the BOEs fault. Pretty slick, if you ask me. But YAY! Still building that brand new school ( I have nothing against Honeyspot/SA, but if your going to build a new school, take care of one of the older ones ( Franklin,Wilcoxson,Nichols) before REBUILDING a school that only houses K-2) Way to take everyones minds off of what was really on table…. I have no doubt in my mind they knew exactly what was going to be said at that meeting, like my earlier statement, wont be their fault if the Council denies the budget increase.
    5-PCS…I know quite a few BOE employees…there is no respect level with Cornish to the BOE employees. She IS the queen, and they are her minions….Ive said earlier that I had no problem with her until this year, she sent out a letter to the schools (ok, really it was probably one of her secretaries) with her list of demands and procedures when she is expected at a school. (Like making sure there is a reserved parking spot that is clearly marked with her name as close to the entrance as possible) I think someone forgot to tell her that she is the “acting superintendant”, not the President. (at least he would bring his own Secret Service guys)

  178. 178 1george1

    1 – It is likely the RTC + DTC have a plan in place related to the schools.
    Remarkable coincidence the supposed $ 2.6 million is about the money
    paid to the health care deductables.
    There is a perverse pleasue in manipulating parents and children to do
    your bidding to get what amounts to a tax free pay raise.

    2 – Harkins and Cornish talk in person, on the phone, and by internet.
    BoE + Mayor + Town Council have liaisons.
    BoE Chair Gavin was 6 year Councilor
    BoE Norm + Crudo, were Councilors (2002?)
    BoE Collier is sister to Finance Director Sue
    Council Chair Malloy was BoE Chair and buddy to Harkins / Norm and North
    End Country club who give away Stratford assets to allies in government and
    Bridgeport, Shelton, & Milford.
    If I was FBI / JUSTICE, IRS would be looking carefully at client lists,

    3 – Cornish phased out O’Connell’s people. Then gradually phased in her team,
    which I am sure included people from the people who replaced Ray and Rudy,
    The threat to close schools is a sign some of her upper staff will have to move
    on, after they got their time in for vesting for State Pensions.

    4 – The playbook is classic Stratford cover stories seen during O’Connell,
    Miron, Branyan, Feeney, Barnhart days.
    It is up to the mothers, fathers, and grandparents to explain how the game
    has been played and what the real agendas are.

    I am for unionism.

    Political greed has caused the DRUGS, BIG OIL, + WAR groups to control the
    biggest cash cows.

    They want to destroy unions and ability of workers to organize for decent /
    good pay, benefits, and pensions,

    Police & Fire Captains & Lieutentants are politically connected managment
    / not union.

    What is happening in WI on grievance arbitration and repudiation of PENSIONS
    I tried to warn people about, but they really do not care about anything or
    anyone except themselves,

  179. 179 phineast

    ally-
    answers to your questions to the best of my limited ability:
    1) you will go through this entire process again more than likely with less time to make the necessary changes which will throw the system into chaos. This was done because the members of the committee for the most part were not there to really DO anything..just pretend to do something. It gets Remanded back to the BOE chair if I am not mistaken and I would be willing to bet that committee will no longer be used. The council may choose to make the NECESSARY cuts and hand the amount to the BOE to divie up. The question is will the Council have the balls to do what needs to be done???? The BOE has KNOWN since the last budget season that this needed to be studied and taken care of and properly planned for-they deliberately waited, which was clearly stupid. The parents may be temporarily placated..until they get their new tax bill-then they will be screaming! Don’t be stupid…and DON’T let the BOE manipulate you anymore.
    2) by law the mayor is doing exactly what he is charged to do. He is to make budget recommendations to be approved by council and set to ordinance. By law he is NOT allowed to intervene in the BOE management…it is a government within a government. If a mayor were allowed to intervene Miron would have fired Irene along with the volumes of others that he sacked during his term. Harkins knows he can’t do anything and has chosen to make the BOE hold to the same standard as EVERY other dept in town. He wants what is best for the kids, BUT he is not willing to displace seniors out of their homes to pay for unreasonable perk increases. Do I consider the heath premium increase part of a perk? yes I do. I had to suck it up and pay for the huge increase I was whacked with…BOE members should have to do the same. Private sector is hit hard too but we have to deal with it, as should they.
    3) you are only partially correct…she has a 3 year option at a consultant salary, plus her state pension which puts her in the range of about $200k per year total including the perks. She is going to make the pension regardless-to replace her at this moment will put the BOE another $150k in the hole. So you decide…
    4) It absolutely IS the BOE’s fault. WHO do you think appointed the members of the committee? Did you see any citizens at large there representing seniors? Did you see any you adults w/o children there being represented? Did you see anyone at all on that committee that didn’t have a finger in one of the town pies????? NO. Every single person there was either employed by the town, currently on the BOE, formerly employed by the town, or formerly on the BOE and a couple of councilmen/women and a politico “bigwhig”. It was a skewed representation. The politico was the only one who had the balls to ask Irene really hard questions…and being an attorney 1st she took the 5th.
    Personally I feel it is the height of stupidity to commit to building a new school when state funding for the project may be canceled. You have Birdeye up the street that can be recertified as a school and used as the Academy- and use the academy as Honeyspot….But before ANY of that is done we need to IDENTIFY the magnet of the magnet school. Saying it is an artsy school does not clarify. Lots of schools in town put on plays….it doesn’t make them a magnet school.
    5) There is no question that there are some very very skewed priorities in the main office at the moment. The BOE can reign her in if they so choose. I’m betting they won’t.

  180. 180 pcsperling

    Phin ~
    I’d like to clarify one portion of your post. No disrespect, but you seem hell-bent on making people believe that there is not “magnet” to Stratford Academy. Seriously, it is not just about putting on the play that Mr. Hirsch donates his time for every year, although that play is a good opportunity for these children to showcase some of what they are being taught at the Academy. From the beginning, kindergarten, the children have extra music classes. Ken Trapp is one of the BEST music teachers around. He is unbelievably amazing with the K-2 children. The vocal portion, beginning to learn rhythm, how to harmonize, and the like starts in Kindergarten. Once the children move over to Johnson House, they now have the opportunity to learn other things, string instruments (like violin). Stratford Academy is more “arts intensive” than any of our other elementary schools. I believe Stratford Academy is the only school with a string orchestra. The arts program there was one of the reasons that I prayed my daughter would get in there. The other was that I would not have to put her on a bus (which I probably wouldn’t do no matter where she went). I had no problem accepting the half-day kindergarten in order for that to happen.
    There has been proven research that fine arts programs such as the program that exists at Stratford Academy greatly improves learning on the academic side, with improved reading and math scores all around – for the underprivileged as well as the privileged.

    I do like your idea about recertifying Birdseye and utilizing that as Honeyspot House. Recertification would take two years. Also, is that building still “owned” by the BOE? There are a great many Town departments in it so I’m wondering if it is technically “owned” by the Town and utilized as some sort of Town Hall “annex.”

    Ally ~
    Phin is 100% right. The parents were pacified. Let’s now see how many show up at the meeting on the 28th. Doubt it will be the 300 or so that attended the meeting Tuesday. A tough question was asked and she tap danced around it like a pro. Each and ever person on that committee is some sort of bureaucrat. They know the system, they play the system; they play the taxpayers – parents and seniors! The buck has been passed to the Board of the BOE, which will then be passed to the Town Council. The threat of school closings still exists only they think they can do it without such an audience! Trust none of them!

  181. 181 pcsperling

    Ally ~

    You are 100% right about the lack of respect that Irene has for the people who work under her, although she does have her favorites! She and her “executive assistant” have people very fearful on East Broadway. I have heard (AND TO BE CLEAR, IT WAS NOT FROM MY HUSBAND) that her “executive assistant” has almost as much power as she does and Department Heads and other secretaries are afraid of her! The subtle bullseye she has put on my husband to try and stifle me has infuriated me. If she doesn’t like what I say or if she thinks I am wrong, I am more than happy and willing to hear from her PERSONALLY! I’m sure she can get my contact information from my husband’s personnel file!

  182. 182 phineast

    PCS- there IS no clear declared and promoted magnet. The 2 individuals you mentioned are incredible people that add a great deal to the Academy but if either one of them were to fall off the planet tomorrow, the so called “magnet” would disappear. That is the plain and simple truth of it. There is no clearly defined curriculum that is developed around the magnet the way the original program was set up all around technology. I am intimately acquainted with the original program and am very familiar with the current one- and if you believe the Academy is a real magnet school you AND your child are being short changed and I mean big time.

    The town owns Birdseye and share with the BOE for the Alpha program-and it could very easily be fully re-certified(I believe that because of the Alpha program some of it is in place) for the older students in the academy with minimal adjustments. The Honeyspot kids could move into Johnson and Honeyspot could be shuttered. Minimal disruption to the kids at a minimal cost to the taxpayers-definitely no where near the cost of building a school that we really and truly DON’T need. It is being used as an annex and community building that could VERY EASILY be shuffled around and reorganized into other town owned buildings. I have worked with some people and actually have most of it mapped out as to what could be moved to where. It is actually the most cost effective move we could make.

    Irene will never ask to talk to you directly…..never. It could be construed as a violation of your 1st amendment rights and a form of coercion. Again I will advise you be be careful but not stifled.

  183. 183 1george1

    Irene has taken my calls and met with me personally.

    Irene also made inteligent suggestions about rearranging the HS
    JR HS a couple years ago.

    I can not write about personnel issue and treatment of same.

    I am disappointed, like O’C, Irene built a pyramid of Administrators
    and that the HEALTH CARE situation is disgraceful. But the BoE
    and Teachers hold back the whole truth, as do POLICE / FIRE /
    other unions / Lawyers / Councils / Management / etc.

  184. 184 portia1776

    Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey addressed the issue of education in his recent AEI speech. I offer a transcription of his contemporaneous remarks (via the Washington Examiner) on the issue of education reform, as they may inform our debate on the BOE budget. My only complaint is that he did not discuss administrative excess, something he has dealt with forthrightly in practice by, for example, capping superintendent salaries and firing administrators, tying raises to performance, and going after those who disgustingly put their excessive salaries and benefit packages ahead of the children they are supposed to serve and the taxpayers they are supposed to work for.

    “…my state, where we spend $17,620 per pupil per year – the highest in America, $24,000 dollars per pupil in city of Newark, $28,000 dollars in Asbury Park – and we have 104,000 students trapped in two hundred failing schools across New Jersey. And the education establishment says , don’t worry help is on the way. And the help that’s on the way is more money, more money. Well more money is not going to solve this problem until we take on the issues that are really causing the problem. And until we as Americans are willing to do that final tough thing, which is to look the teachers’ union across America in the eye and say to them, you do not represent the best the teachers have to offer, you often represent the worst. And it’s time for us to honestly say that we can separate the teachers from the union.

    We have great teachers in New Jersey, working hard and making a huge difference in the lives of many children, but we don’t have enough of them. And one of the reason why we don’t have enough of them is because the bad teachers who remain with lifetime tenure are crowding out opportunity for the good ones, and then when you have reductions, the last ones in are the first ones out because all that matters is seniority and not talent. And so we send a new generation of teachers, good enthusiastic teachers, away because we have built a system – as Michelle Rhee put [it] better than I could – that cares more about the feelings of adults than it cares about the future of our children.

    I will not take responsibility for that approach. I will not take responsibility for leaving a generation of children behind in America. I won’t do it. And we need to speak out and say it’s time to fix that system. Tell me where else in America – well really there’s two places – left in America where there’s a profession where there is no reward for excellence and no consequence for failure. 

    Of course we all know the first one is weathermen.  It doesn’t matter, it’s going to snow six inches, it snows eighteen. Well I said it was going to snow, what’s the difference? And they’re right back on TV the next night. Unfortunately, the second one is teaching. Because the great teacher, the only reward they get is the psychic reward of knowing that they’ve done a great job for the children in their classroom. And the teacher next door, who’s a lousy teacher who doesn’t care, gets paid the same as the teacher who stays late and comes early, the same as the teacher who communicates with parents, the same as the teacher who feels it’s his or her personal responsibility to lift each child up to the next grade.

    That’s not what America is. America is built on rewarding excellence and having consequence for failure.”

    Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/beltway-confidential/2011/02/full-transcript-chris-christies-aei-speech#ixzz1EWiMrGFd

  185. 185 phineast

    portia-as I said in post 167-Maybe Gov. Christie should come to CT-(or Stratford at the very least…)

  186. 186 jezebel282

    Portia,

    “Tell me where else in America – well really there’s two places –left in America where there’s a profession where there is no reward for excellence and no consequence for failure.”

    Politics and banking?

  187. 187 1george1

    I BELIEVE the PUBLIC SECTOR problems were SCRIPTED – CREATED
    intentionally.

    People look at the ZERO SUM = TAKE AWAY from PUBLIC SECTOR
    WORKERS, who are in fact HOGGING ASSETS, given by political
    parties elected.

    They are NOT looking at RAISING the STANDARDS of LIVING and the
    LABOR RIGHTS of the MASSES, including Workers and Businesses!

    Jeze, do I have your support on raising the TIDE for ALL BOATS?
    Portia, do I have your support on raising the TIDE for ALL BOATS?
    Phin, do I have your support on raising the TIDE for ALL BOATS?
    Mayor 2013, do I have your support on raising the TIDE for ALL BOATS?
    John Fahan, do I have your support on raising the TIDE for ALL BOATS?
    PCS, do I have your support on raising the TIDE for ALL BOATS?
    ALLYIT, do I have your support on raising the TIDE for ALL BOATS?
    ATHENA, do I have your support on raising the TIDE for ALL BOATS?
    MIKE R, do I have your support on raising the TIDE for ALL BOATS?

    Would you rather have to take away from someone, or be able to earn
    more for yourselves?

    The last round of huge OIL prices in the early 1970s caused inflation
    and increases in WAGES and VALUES.

    HOUSES now underwater, can DOUBLE or TRIPLE in PRICE/VALUE –
    They could be sold, with people downsizing, with 6 figure added
    funds for retirements.

    MILTON FRIEDMAN favored INCREASING HOME OWNERSHIPS, which
    Rockefeller-BUSH and BOTH POLITICAL parties destroyed in the 2000s.

    MILTON FRIEDMAN favored a PERMANENT Disposable INCOME, which
    Rockefeller-BUSH and BOTH POLITICAL parties destroyed in the 2000s.

    There is absolutely NO WAY the Military Intelligence community WAR
    GAME SUPER COMPUTERS were NOT involved in the WHOLE MESS.

    Counter Logic
    Counter Inutitive
    Counter Intelligence
    Reactionaries
    Proactive practices by former Reactionary
    Hegelian dialectics were featured by Marx, but don’t support his solutions.

    Chris Chisty coming to Stratford?
    His roundness resembles mine.

    His political positions, show me to be kind.

    I met Nader in Waterbury in 2009 & invited him to stratford.

  188. 188 jezebel282

    George,

    “Jeze, do I have your support on raising the TIDE for ALL BOATS?”
    Sure. It beats the hell out of waiting for the trickle down to my little dingy.

    The problem is that the tide you speak of has gone out and we have no indication that it will ever come back.

    Americans have lost faith in what they held to be true. Hard work and dedication doesn’t seem to matter anymore, anyone can be laid off by the end of the week. Years of saving can be wiped out in days. Investing in your home is a waste of time after it loses 30-40% of its value and can’t be sold. Educating your children is getting more and more unaffordable ($80,000 for BA/BS at UCONN) and even then there are no jobs for the graduates.

    Our business leaders care only about this quarter’s results, our politicians care only about their re-election (hey, it’s steady work) and our religious leaders are becoming more and more irrelevant.

    What we need the most are leaders who care and have vision. Know any?

  189. 189 phineast

    Jez- well said.
    George- you missed the boat.

    Jez- I am liking NJ’s Gov. Christie, more and more. He has vision, seems honest and has balls enough to be honest about things not working as they are currently laid out. We NEED someone like him here in CT. Hell, we NEED a president of the country to be like that.

  190. 190 pcsperling

    Jeze ~

    You’re post #188 – very, very well said! You left out two things in the last sentence “honesty and integrity” too!

    Heard that Norm Aldrich is still pushing the Board of the BOE to close Honeyspot House. I guess Susan Barksdale really got a hold of his ear at making sure it’s not the school in the mini-Town of Lordship. Yesterday’s editorial letter made Lordship sound like it’s own town within a town.

    Unfortunately, as long as there are bad seeds like Norm Aldrich, Stratford will never accomplish anything good. What has he ever done for Stratford that has not failed?

  191. 191 jezebel282

    PCS,

    “as long as there are bad seeds like Norm Aldrich, Stratford will never accomplish anything good.”

    Norm Aldrich is but a single symptom. The underlying disease is the way this Town is manipulated by the Republican Town Committee and Democratic Town Committee. The cure would be banning all current members for life and starting over.

    Since that won’t happen ( it may be unconstitutional. Details…), the next best thing would be finally voting for some independents. An Independent who is immune to the threats and coercions of the RTC & DTC might actually do something for the benefit of citizens. One who can focus on the relevant issues (sorry, George).

  192. 192 pcsperling

    Jeze ~

    I agree, Norm is just one symptom, but he’s been a major, long time symptom of Stratford’s inability to have any sort of economic development which our Town desperately needs! Nothing that I know of that he has been involved in has been beneficial to Stratford. In my opinion, he has been a major reason for it’s stagnation. It’s the “gold ole’ boys” on both the RTC and DTC that stifle Stratford and I agree – they all need to go. Clean house and start over.

    Stratford needs to go non-political! It has, for far too long, been political games and we need to end it soon or we’re all going to suffer!

  193. 193 jezebel282

    PCS,

    “Stratford needs to go non-political! It has, for far too long, been political games and we need to end it soon or we’re all going to suffer!”

    That is why it would be very interesting if Gavin Forrester were to run as an independent. He’s burned whatever bridges existed between him and both the RTC & DTC. He knows where all the bodies are too. He is possibly the only independent with a realistic chance.

    We shall see how well he does during his term as BOE Chairman.

  194. 194 pcsperling

    If we continue to allow the same players to continue making the wrong decisions, time and time again, for the Town and Board of Ed, Stratford will never move forward!

    I have always thought of Gavin as one of the few with honesty and integrity. Unfortunately, I’m getting very cynical about all politicians……

  195. 195 jezebel282

    PCS,

    “Unfortunately, I’m getting very cynical about all politicians……”

    I would also vote for you for whatever position you chose. Provided, of course, you don’t punish everyone in Lordship.

  196. 196 1george1

    JEZE: What we need the most are leaders who care and have vision.
    Know any?
    GEORGE: I see him in my extra wide MIRROR.
    I care.
    I have stated vision.
    I am unelectable.

    PHIN: George – you missed the boat.
    GEO: Phin – you consistently miss certain salient points.

    PHIN: Jez- I am liking NJ’s Gov. Christie, more and more.
    He has vision, seems honest and has balls enough to be
    honest about things not working as they are currently
    laid out.
    We NEED someone like him here in CT.
    Hell, we NEED a president of the country to be like that.

    GEO: Christy is a party hack, positioned to speak about abuses
    caused by the political infrastructure, when the timetable …..

    For 7 years, I have writen and spoken about the exact same issues,
    of KITED PENSIONS/HEALTHCARE/POLITCAL BUDGETS and the affects
    of BIG OIL, DRUGS, WAR, CRIME etc.

    ONLY if someone is a REPUBLICAN, do you endorse his positions?
    Or at least most of the time, you and PORTIA endorse the (R) Mantra
    and Jeze / Chris, mostly support the (D) Dogma, respective talking
    heads and pro-pagan-da media.

    Each of you are extremely intelligent, like PCS and others.

    However, you are bedazzled by exceptionally intelligent people like Gavin
    and Malloy, who know how to politically posture, while their votes and
    lack of effectually supporting unaffiliated’s best interest with implements!

    I think MALLOY is even smarter than GAVIN.
    My impression is MALLOY has less EMPATHY than GAVIN
    and GAVIN’S political decisions are very questionable and …. ??!

  197. 197 jezebel282

    George,

    “I am unelectable.”

    Given your manner and style of writing (particularly here and the Star) you are absolutely correct. Hint: sometimes less really is more.

    “you are bedazzled by exceptionally intelligent people like Gavin
    and Malloy”

    Bedazzled? By Gavin “Mr. Sunshine” Forrester?
    I am willing to bet ( a lot) no one has ever accused Forrester of being “bedazzling” before.

  198. 198 1george1

    JEZE: George, “I am unelectable.”
    Given your manner and style of writing (particularly here and the Star)
    you are absolutely correct. Hint: sometimes less really is more.

    GEORGE: IF getting elected were my OBJECTIVE, my manner, writing
    style (if I had style) and wardrobe would be different.
    I prefer being honest, and letting events prove me correct.

    JEZE: “you are bedazzled by exceptionally intelligent people
    like Gavin and Malloy” Bedazzled? By Gavin “Mr. Sunshine” Forrester?
    I am willing to bet ( a lot) no one has ever accused Forrester of being
    “bedazzling” before.

    GEORGE: I choose “bedazzling” rather than an appropriate synonym to
    “BOVINE SCATOLOGY.”

  199. 199 1george1

    Cuomo Seeks to Cap Pay for School Superintendents
    By THOMAS KAPLAN
    Published: February 28, 2011

    ALBANY — Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey saluted a number of other governors, including Andrew M. Cuomo of New York, last week for making tough decisions in tough economic times.

    Mr. Cuomo, in his boldest attack yet on what he calls wasteful spending by school districts, introduced legislation to limit superintendents’ pay that would virtually replicate a measure that Mr. Christie imposed in New Jersey.

    Mr. Cuomo’s proposal would tie superintendents’ maximum pay to the size of their school districts, with the leaders of New York’s largest districts limited to a salary of $175,000 and those in the smallest limited to $125,000. It would not affect the New York City school system, where the chancellor, Cathleen P. Black, earns $250,000 a year.

    The bill was introduced after a month’s worth of sharp words from Mr. Cuomo aimed at school superintendents and their pay. He singled out administrative compensation as one area where districts could find savings as they worked to absorb his proposed $1.5 billion reduction in state school aid, which has drawn criticism from teachers’ unions and education groups.

    About one-third of the state’s more than 650 superintendents earn more than $175,000, and Mr. Cuomo said his pay cap would save $15 million.

    Mr. Christie’s measure, which he introduced last year, imposes a pay ceiling of $175,000, with case-by-case exceptions permitted only for the largest districts.

    more

    I suspect neither Mrs. Cornish, nor Mr. O’Connell would support this ACT.
    I suspect PCS would break into a jig ….

  200. 200 jezebel282

    Phin,

    I think it was you (could have been someone else though) who asked about the energy consultants for the BOE. Either way, the results can been seen here:

    http://stratfordk12.org/News/customer-files/BOEEnergySavingsMeasuresFinancialImpact22811.pdf

  201. 201 1george1

    Branyan was a couple years ahead of his time on energy savings.
    Now, virtually everyone has caght on to the deal by utility company,
    created by state government. One of the last things Rell did was to
    raid money collected for UI, and steal it for the state, which was the
    reason it ran out 3 months early.
    Rell was a liar and thief like the rest of them.


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