Friday, April 10, 2009

Turmelle on the 09/10 Budget vote

The NHRs Luther Turmelle has this piece on the 09/10 budget vote:

Ruocco and Budget Committee Chairman Michael Ecke traded angry words in the time leading up to the votes on the two proposals.

Ecke accused Ruocco and the Republicans of “trying to punish the Board of Education” because the GOP proposal called for $484,532 in cuts from the school budget, while the proposal that the Democrats passed only cut $214,485 from education.

Democrat Matt Altieri likened the Republicans’ approach to the education budget to a “scorched-earth policy.”

Ruocco called Ecke’s comments “uncalled for, a total mischaracterization.”


Councilman Ecke also said something to the effect that the Republican minority "won't be happy until (Cheshire schools) are 168 out of 168." I figured Mike was just a little worked up during the vote. So I replied, assuming that he didn't really mean it.

But I found the "scorched-earth" comment to be so OTT that I was in disbelief and figured anyone who was watching the meeting would see it the same way - utter nonsense.

I thought the comments of Councilman Dill and Chairman Hall were respectful though. I thank them for that.

Tim White

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

When they become that arrogant it is time for them to go.
We must all remeber this in November!

Have any of the TC members said whether they are running again or not?

tim white said...

At this moment, my guess is:

Not running:

Matt Hall
Laura Decaprio

Running:

Mike Ecke (wants the title he didn't get four years ago)
Matt Altieri
Tom Ruocco
Tim Slocum
Jim Sima
me

?????:

Sheldon Dill

Anonymous said...

Altieri and Ecke simply must go. I'd vote for Pee Wee Herman before I'd vote for either one of them

Anonymous said...

Didn't the BOE want to cut $500,000 more? How come the D's always look like they are comming to the rescue of the school budget all the time? I thought that they D's were going to reduce it by $600,000? What happened? It was an April fools joke. It's not so funny the way that they spend my money. November can't come soon enough.

Anonymous said...

Pee Wee Herman says:
I can't run because I am pregnant

Anonymous said...

Altieri and Ecke are embarrassments to this town in SOOO many ways. It's time for them to GO (or at least be put in the minority so they can't do much more harm).

Anonymous said...

UNION SCORCHED EARTH POLICY?

The local Dems are not the sharpest tools in the shed by a long shot. They have the right concept, scorched earth. They just applied it in the wrong direction.

The Republicans approach to education is anything but scorched earth. The Republicans approach is the only reasonable approach one could have to afford and counter the SCORCHED EARTH policy of the local teachers union and their ME FIRST who gives a damn perspective. They have no empathy for those of us forced to bank roll this always increasing town budget.

The Democrats seem to be very prominent cheer leaders for the SCORCHED EARTH salary policy afforded the local union by this state's binding arbitration laws.

Anonymous said...

Ecke proves yet again what an obnoxious jerk he is.

Anonymous said...

Connecticut teachers are the highest paid in the country.

I would guess that Cheshire teachers average more than the $72 per hour that the Detroit union worker costs. If you consider, they average over $60,000 a year salary, add at least 18% more in benefits for working 170 days, 180 less sick days, and only 6 hrs a day, you find that Detroit could not afford them and certainly Cheshire can't.

Our only chance of running Cheshire at a reasonable cost is to outsource as much as we can.

We have already taken too much from the beleaguered tax payers. Most taxpayers can't give up that extra cup of cappuccinos, because they have already had to cut their expenses to the bone, and most have never had a cup of cappuccinos.

Anonymous said...

3:55
Although I agree with you that most can't give up the extra cappacino, I will have to defend the teachers a little bit.
There aren't any trachers I know who just work 6 hours a day. Most are in school at least 1/2 to 1 hour before school starts as well as after school ends. They also have to do their lesson plans, tests, corrections etc. at night. So lets be fair. I don't want think it is fair attack teachers for this debacle by the town council.The TC allowed the contract to be done, saying they didn't realize back in September that we would be in a recession now. Did they speak with any experts? Weren't banks and motgage companies going under back then?
Most teachers are very hard working individuals who probably could be earning fore in other areas, but chose to teach.
Many of them try to live in this town, but can't afford to on $60,000 a year (which is above the mid-range for Cheshire teachers.
The reason teachers in CT are the highest paid in the country is because the cost of living in CT is one of the highest in the country.
I am all for cut backs, cut back on the number of teachers, cut back on the pool, but lets not attack the teachers. There are many other areas of waste in this town, beginning with the number of town owned vehicles that are taken home.

Anonymous said...

6:42: I don't want to "attack teachers" either, but consider this

I am an unionized state employee and anticipate giving back thousands of dollars to help balance the state budget.

Why are the Cheshire teachers exempt from this?

Why do the Free Spending Five place them above everyone else?

Worse still, there are brilliant first and second year teachers who are probably going to lose their jobs because the Town Council and the teacher's union are so incredibly dense. Who's gonna pay for this? The children.

Like they seem to matter.

Anonymous said...

7:21
That is exactly right and is what I meant when I said it is the TC's fault for putting us in this situation.
I just didn't want anyone questioning the work ethic of the teachers. Many of them are extremely hard working and if you have ever been in a classroom, you wouldn't envy their jobs.

Anonymous said...

"That is exactly right and is what I meant when I said it is the TC's fault for putting us in this situation"

It's the teachers that have put the taxpayers in this situation when there is 9% unemployment and 70% of the people are worried about losing their jobs, the teachers expect everyone else to suffer while they go merrily on their way.

They have certainly been over compensated and if they were in the private sector they would be making less, be worrying if they would lose their job and they could be damn sure that they would not be getting any raise for a long time.

tim white said...

6:42 I agree. Most teachers do try to do a good job and put in more than the 6 hr days.

I also think though that there is a relationship between teachers being more engaged and having taught fewer years.

I've spoken with teachers who have told me that some remain years after they burn out. This happens because the pension plan is flawed. It encourages teachers to remain even after they are no longer interested in teaching.

That's a minority of teachers. But I still think the state should revamp the pension plan by offering different tranches that no longer encourage those teachers to stay.

Anonymous said...

10:51
"They have certainly been over compensated and if they were in the private sector they would be making less"
I think you are way off base with this comment.
In order to be a certified teacher in the state of Connecticut, you need to have a master's degree. Many teachers continue on to get their 6th year degree as well.
If they concentrated on another field instead of teaching, they would be entering the job world at $60,000 per year, not maxing out.
I agree that these are difficult times, but when our TC passes the contract, then they are to blame.
again, lets not blame the teachers directly for this mess. There is plenty of blame to go around.
I honestly would not want a teacher making a lot less teaching my children. Quality teachers come at a price and there are many quality teachers in this town.
So, going back to your comment that "it's the teachers who put the taxpayers in this situation" is not accurate. The BOE is a big part of our budget, but there are other areas as well.We lost a good amount of state funding that we used to receive, we have a finance dept. at the town hall that can't seem to buy the right software the first time, we have excessive use of own owned vehicles, we have a huge dome over a money pit that eats up a good chunk of change....there are many areas you can blame. You can't pin it all on the teachers.
Just so you know, I am not a teacher nor do I have any friends or family members who teach in this town. It is just a common sense opinion.

Anonymous said...

"If they concentrated on another field instead of teaching, they would be entering the job world at $60,000 per year, not maxing out."

And facing the near certainty that at some point they would be laid off, relocated, or have their firm close. Job security in the private sector went the way of the rotary phone

Let's compare apples to apples. Public sector unions all over CT are making concessions to protect jobs and protect their service provided the public.

Please stop the nonsense about blaming the loss of state aid. Ray Charles could have seen what was going to happen to the economy--and consequently available state aid to municipalities---BEFORE the BOE and the TC approved this contract. The fact that AFTER Lehman Bros. and AIG failed it was still approved indicates a willful ignorance of economic reality.

I suspect when all is said and done at least 142 of 168 towns will get concessions from their employees. Does the Free Spending Five think we ought to be different?

Anonymous said...

The whining about the overburdened teachers never ceases. On a case by case basis going back decades the town has had some really great teachers although it is suspected none of its really great ones became the moving force behind the administration of the teachers union.

To be fair though the town has had more than its share of really bad teachers too going back for quite some time. And it is recalled that only about 5 or 6 years ago one renegade CHS teacher got into serious trouble with the law. Even school administrators have gotten into hot water with the law in the past in town. And it is suspected that the school administrations would act like most other bureaucracies and work OT to cover up anything it could possibly cover up concerning personnel/performance issues.

The TC can be blamed for approving the ridiculous union contract when it came up. Of course part of their approval was no doubt colored by the unbelievably unfair state binding arbitration rules that the teachers union just loves.

Even if tax payers admire the teachers in the end when there is just so much money available unlimited pay raises can no longer remain as the status quo.

Anonymous said...

"Even if tax payers admire the teachers in the end when there is just so much money available unlimited pay raises can no longer remain as the status quo."

Then why do we continue to give them raises?
Are they that good at manipulating people?
Again, we should not lump ALL the teachers into a group where we say they are all to blame for this mess...there is plenty of blame to go around..going back to the Clinton administration who wanted everyone to own a home.
I find it totally irresponsible for those who just want to blame the teachers. Lets not forget about the administrators, the other town employees, and the TC.

Anonymous said...

When the first and second year teachers get fired because their union won't offer concessions, can we blame the teacher's union , then?

Robert DeVylder Jr. said...

A perfect example of why unions are bad in this day and age. They do not care about the people, rather they care about the dues that the workers that are facing a layoff pay. I am curious where it says that municipal employees must be unionized. The unions are really the reason that people are facing layoffs. They will not help or give an inch and their members loose their jobs. If we did away with the unions, the teachers and all unionized workers can recieve an instant raise by not paying union dues. The teachers can keep their current pay, and return the dues to the town and probably save enough money to keep all the jobs that are going to be laid off.

Anonymous said...

1:22
I guarantee you that no 1st or 2nd year teachers will be fired.
Florion threatened that 5 years ago when we had the 0% budget. He said it will cost good teachers their jobs, but guess what? 5 years later we have more teachers.
They dind away to manipulate the numbers any way they can.

The union also knows that. That's why they won't give concessions.

Anonymous said...

Now I read that over 50% of the teachers in CT are over the age of 50, so over the next decade we will see many retirements. Do we know what percentage of Cheshire's teachers are over 50?
Thats one wsy of lowering salaries.
This is a good article to read
Tsunami of Retirements

Anonymous said...

"I think you are way off base with this comment.
In order to be a certified teacher in the state of Connecticut, you need to have a master's degree."

Having to be certified is just a bunch of crap. Needing master's degrees is a bunch of crap also. These rules are made to keep highly qualified people from teaching.

Also, in the private sector it is your decision whather to get a master's or a doctor's degree and if you get it, you don't automatically get a raise. You get a raise in the private sector if you produce and if you don't produce they you get canned. In the private sector there is no free lunch. Let's level the playing field for teachers.

Anonymous said...

11:32
Again, generalizing all the teachers the same and attacking them that way is not fair.

Have you ever been in a classroom with 20 kids?
It is not an easy thing to do and it takes a special talent to do it right.
There are many teachers in this town who do it the right way.
You are obviously someone who just wants to bash all of them. These are the people we entrust to teach our children, so they better be qualified.
Have you put the time and money into getting your masters degree? If you have, you know it's no picnic.
I will bet you that there aren't a lot of CEO's of major companies who can walk into a classroom 180 days and take control of 20 kids.
I am all for cut backs wherever we can, but I don't think bashing all teachers and their qualifications is fair.
Would you like it if we all started picking apart your profession? What if I told you we can bring in new, younger workers who can do your job for a lot less?
Nobody would like to hear that.
Teaching is not an easy profession, I know I can't do it.

Anonymous said...

Now Florio has CYB sending out this notice. Are they planning another rallY?

Parents – Steve Trifone, our Athletic Director, has asked that all parents of athletes are aware of an informal meeting being held next Tuesday, April 21st with Dr. Florio. Details below.

*****************************************************************************************

Coaches:

Please share with your parent groups:

Our Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Florio, will be holding an informal question/ answer meeting discussing the future of Cheshire public schools athletic programs. Parents and coaches are invited to attend this meeting as the Superintendent is seeking input from parents as to possible solutions and/or suggestions to meet the needs of athletics in a tight budget climate.

Cheshire school district – athletics in 2009/10

Tuesday, April 21

7:30 pm

Cheshire High School Commons

Steve Trifone

Cheshire High School

Director of Athletics

203-250-2552

This message has just been posted to the Cheshire Youth Lacrosse website found at http://cheshirelacrosse.com

Anonymous said...

"I am all for cut backs wherever we can, but I don't think bashing all teachers and their qualifications is fair."

I'm sorry if you consider a different view as bashing. I don't think is basing to state some of the reasons that our educational system is similar to protectionist dictatorship that doesn't permit real positive change for ridding the system of things that negatively impede the quality of education.

The educational system is currently run primarily for the benefit of the staff, and it should be for the children.

Anonymous said...

"our educational system is similar to protectionist dictatorship that doesn't permit real positive change for ridding the system of things that negatively impede the quality of education.WOW, YOU ARE COMPARING THE EDUCATION SYSTEM TO A DICTATORSHIP?
Do you have any kids in the Cheshire school system right now?
If so, why?
If not, you are WAY out of line with your theories. I agree that there are some teachers who shouldn't be teaching, but there are also many who do care about our children.
Just like any profession, you will find some bad apples in the bunch.
And yes, bashing is what you are doing when you say: "Having to be certified is just a bunch of crap. Needing master's degrees is a bunch of crap also. These rules are made to keep highly qualified people from teaching."You are implying that the teachers we have are not highly qualified.
I know of one teacher after working in another career, they became a teacher, the administration realized this teacher was not qualified and they were not offered a contract the folowing year.
So don't think that there are a lot of people working in the private sector are capable of teaching, they aren't.