Monthly Archives: July 2015

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Whether Katahdin replaces one or neither of its two departing music teachers – whether it’s faculty is cut by 50% or 100%  – remains to be seen. 

What is clear is the adverse impact on children either way. 

Additional funds provided by the State recently – $68k to be exact, will be spent well outside classrooms of any kind – music or otherwise, and has been budgeted in its entirety for an Assistant Principal.

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“Lose your school. Lose your community. School administrative districts were no more than a scam and a few people have finally figured out that it would be nice to keep the control and the tax dollars in town.

  Oh, it would also be nice to keep the kids in town.  

But getting the control and the money back is the main thing. You will not get your schools back in town without a fight.  There’s too much money at stake.  And it’s fun to spend other people’s money.”

~Robert Karl Skoglund, “The Humble Farmer

Though taxpayers dislike the spending priorities outlined within, the budget passed last night without changing a dime.  The additional $68,000 appropriated by the state has been consumed in its entirety by an Assistant Principal position. 

When the Board was questioned about a letter Timbered Classrooms received about an offer on the table from a teacher to serve in dual capacity in the post for less money.  The questioner was unceremoniously accused of “gossip” in spite of having the highly credible letter in hand (the name of the writer was obscured to “protect the innocent” so to speak.)

Is this the way to treat the people whose money you are spending? …and whose permission you need at the ballot box to spend it in the manner you propose?

The Superintendent went on to say that the position “would be posted” and that they would not give the position away for less money when others may be more qualified.

Of course they are going to “post” the position! IT IS THE LAW.  Those close to the situation however firmly believe that the candidate has effectively been selected already and the cost would be the full budgeted amount.  The Board did not elaborate on the teacher’s qualifications versus those of their chosen candidate, but their concern in that area rings hollow as they have consistently opted for inexperienced faculty due to the cost of their more experienced counterparts.  The most accomplished teacher still commands a lower salary than an entry level administrator for some inexplicable reason given the disproportionate influence of faculty on Kids.  Remember them?

The Board forgets that those who pay the bills have the final say. Hopefully The communities will not.

The budget validation vote will be held Tuesday August 11 at  community’s polling places.

A Reader Speaks….

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The budget meeting and Vote will be held Thursday evening, 7pm, at Katahdin High School. 

Meanwhile, a reader called “deleted” encapsulates the sentiments of so many others.  The Board needs to read this:

We have all been saying there is too much money spent in administration in our district. However the board never seems to listen. And because we want less money spent, they seem to just have to take from the kids. What would be the incentive for a teacher to come to our district? Things are up in the air, the communication is poor, and too much bureaucracy. Teachers want to teach, not facilitate. By the time teachers are trained in some of the educational fads of the day, there will be a new fad. In the meantime kids lose. We could educate for much less, but there always seems to be an excuse, money. Well start cutting in the right areas, and I do not mean cutting anymore teachers. Hire a band and music teacher for Katahdin. That is a start.”

Budget Vote – Have Your Say

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The RSU Budget Meeting and Vote will be held THURSDAY JULY 30 KATAHDIN MIDDLE/HIGH SCHOOL @7PM

Here is a golden opportunity to take control of your money and put your Vote behind it.

Many thanks to our readers for their heightened interest in our website and for your comments – whatever your position on the pressing issues we face. 

Hope for Music….

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Many of us were understandably alarmed when Board members indicated they would not replace either of Katahdin’s two departing music teachers. 

A glimmer of hope comes from Serving Schools where a listing does now appear: 

View the listing b below, and lets hope for an answer soon!

http://www.servingschools.com/jobsearch.html?all=1&AppliTrackPostingSearch=title%3AMusic%20&AppliTrackSort=newest&AppliTrackLayoutMode=detail&AppliTrackJobId=10285_0.8351&AppliTrackViewPosting=1

Readers’ Discuss….

Discussion-GroupThe following is a reader’s response to a long overdue discussion in our comments section.  We welcome it and your input.  Read the full discussion here:

Comment forum 3 minutes for 3 meetings

“In response to the recent comments and also to hopefully clarify the thoughts and goals of some parents and taxpayers of RSU 50:

We do need the input of former teachers, people who do not have children attending schools in RSU 50, and in general people looking in from the “outside” as we move forward and decisions are made in how to best educate our children in the rsu. As parents and taxpayers, we do sometimes have difficulty not becoming too emotionally attached when making these decisions. However, being a parent of a child in the district certainly warrants reason for us to be very involved.

After several years of meeting and discussing, there is agreement across the district that changes need to be made. Students are ok with the consolidation of peers. There are many friendships across the district ­ this is not an issue. The distance is an issue, removing schools from a community is an issue, and money is an issue. The money is not there no matter which way we go. However, we as taxpayers, young and old, know that the education of our children is very important, comes first, and is our responsibility.

Many of us are not trained to solve these issues, try as we may. What we need is good LEADERSHIP, which has been lacking in the district for several years. We know that our taxpayers support local education. The reason towns are turning towards withdrawal is because there does not seem to be an answer within the RSU and people are frustrated. More money is being spent on administration and in other areas that do not seem to be benefiting the students.

Prior to the RSU configuration, I don’t believe consolidation with SACS was considered a whole lot. So we keep coming back to the issue of things going down hill at Katahdin as a result of basically being forced into an RSU. If taxpayers choose to withdraw and educate their kids another way, that is their choice and they will take the responsibility for that. We do not know if it is possible to house K­12 at Katahdin Middle High School because it has not been researched even though people have asked for this scenario to be looked into. Money was spent on a study that produced the scenarios. What good did that do? We already knew what scenarios were out there. We keep hearing that we cannot consolidate K­12, but no numbers, no dollar amounts, and no information has been given as to why this is not a scenario being researched. Several classrooms were not in use last school year, the bus garage is in the old shop/welding area – there is space available. It should be researched and the information made available to the public. There has to be effective leadership from professionals who are trained. It is not the first time districts have had to face this.

Professionals who put the education of students first and are willing to work with towns and communities could help us reach a viable solution other than busing kids such a great distance and closing schools. We are stubborn, passionate people in this area. That is why we are willing to look at alternatives and not agreeing with decisions being made by the RSU 50 Board and Superintendent. “

3 Minutes for 3 Meetings

philIncluded here are the minutes from the Budget meeting of June 2nd, regular meeting of June 8th and a Special Board meeting on June 22nd.

Though budget information is included, please note the date.  Since that particular budget was rejected by voters (with good reason!) the Board has subtracted $60k curriculum coordinator’s position, BUT added a $70k Assistant Principal.  The one remaining music faculty position has been vacated and the Board does not intend to fill it.  Not only will children be left with no music teacher whatsoever, the Board is mum on what they plan to do with the money budgeted for it.  If past truly is prologue, brace yourself for the addition of yet more unnecessary bureaucrats diverting funds away from children.

Our children, our money, our schools…. Only you can take control….

Meeting Minutes June 2, 8 and 22

“The Savage Breast”

violin puppies..as in “Music hath charm to soothe the savage breast to soften rock, or bend a knotted oak.” William Congreve Last night’s school board meeting could have done with the addition of music to soothe the “..savage breast..” of the RSU #50 Board.

An attendee reports the resignation of Katahdin’s music teacher.. ..that the Board does not intend to replace. They opted not to fill the position of the retired music teacher either leaving Katahdin’s children without and taxpayer dollars flowing into such asinine things as an expensive assistant principal.

I hope we are mistaken and the full complement of music faculty will be restored after all – it can be done with a fraction of the money these people are spending on a.. What? Yes, an Assistant Principal. Parents and communities are the ultimate authority here, if they choose to exercise it.

Budget Meeting Update

Thank you, readers, for sharing what happened at the meeting with us.

Faculty lost through attrition will not be replaced – effectively a cut to children.

The Curriculum Coordinator position was cut from the budget but an Assistant Principal has been added.

It’s now in the voters’ hands….

Curtains!

votingboothcurtain..as in voting booth.  Our readers are well aware of the reason for those, as well as other protections voters enjoy from undue influence.

Timbered Classrooms would like to thank those who gave us the following letter from Superintendent Malone.

“Dear RSU #50 Staff:

As you are aware, the recently proposed budget for the 2015-16 school year was defeated at the June 16, 2015 referendum vote.  I am writing to inform you that as a result of this action, the school board may need to consider the elimination of positions if the next proposed budget contains reductions. The Board will deliberate the development of new budget at a special meeting on July 9th, 2015 at the Island Falls Municipal Building at 6:30 p.m.

While the extent of these reductions is uncertain, there is a possibility that your position could be affected.  Please be advised that you are welcome to attend the July 9th Board meeting.

I have enclosed the timeline presented to the Board which outlines the upcoming budgetary meetings.

Sincerely,

Larry Malone

Superintendent RSU 50”letter

You are welcome to attend the July 9th Board meeting”  ???  Faculty and staff do not need the Superintendent’s “permission” to attend any more than anyone else.

If the inartful suggestion that every defeat of the budget threatens one’s job all the more doesn’t bother you; if it sounds normal, reasonable or appropriate to you…. I respectfully ask that you re-examine your perspective on the role of the citizen.

There  is no higher office.

It would be impractical to surround either the Board table or the voters’ seats tonight with the festive striped curtains so familiar to all of us.  The people can, however, take a cue from last year and move for a private ballot tonight.

The meeting will be held tonight, July 9th at 6:30pm at the Island Falls Municipal building.

Timbered Classrooms wishes the people well in crafting a child-centered frugal budget.

ROUND #2! RSU #50 Budget Meeting July 9th, Island Falls Municipal Building

deer_appletree“We are a small school!  Why do we need so much bureaucracy?”

“Why are we paying administration so far above the State average while teachers earn well below?”

“We do not need a curriculum coordinator!  …and for so much money!  Those responsibilities rightly belong to teachers!”

“The RSU has done nothing but cost. We haven’t saved a dime!”

Comments often heard out and about point to reasons, perhaps, that people voted the budget down the first time.  Had the Board listened to them before the vote; REALLY listened, and crafted a child-centered budget leveraging the advantages of their small schools rather than squandering them… … there may be no need for a meeting on Thursday evening.

But they didn’t, and there is.  The Board will take yet another bite at the apple on:

Thursday Evening, July 9th at 6:30pm

@the Island Falls Municipal Building.

YOUR vote will determine the budget that goes to the voters subsequently.    The above comments reflect very real problems in terms of priorities and even mindset in the leadership.  Change is not forthcoming from this Board without you.

Every voice, and every vote matters.

Timbered Classrooms thanks you for your interest.