Monday, March 22, 2010

Cheshire Teachers' Union President on renegotiating the contract

I attended tonight's Teachers' Union / PTA meeting. The Cheshire Teachers' Union President, Beverly Jurkiewicz, explains the union's perspective on the problems with changing the union contract:



The union lawyer also spoke. IMHO, it was a bunch of bunk and legal-ease. If they're opposed to a reduction in the increase in their wages, just say it. All this talk about "risk" in opening a contract was nonsense. Besides, as I understand it the contract does not need to be reopened. A memorandum of understanding is supposed to be a sufficient way of addressing the budget gap.

I also found one particular comment to be honest, yet disingenuous. At one point it was mentioned that 4.4% raise isn't for all teachers. In fact, one teacher is only getting a 1.8% raise. And while I'm sure that's factually true, it also means that someone is getting a 7.0% raise... resulting in the average 4.4% raise.

How many people are getting 7.0% raises this year?

Tim White

91 comments:

Anonymous said...

Did anyone else notice that the attendees were mostly teachers, principals and PTA leaders? Where were all of the concerned parents tonight?

Andy: You should consider being on "Dancing With The Stars".

Tim White said...

I couldn't stop laughing when someone said "and YOU... WHITE... why is everyone on your blog named 'anonymous'?!?!"

I couldn't stop myself from laughing. I was like... ummm... how do I respond to that? I mean, at first I thought most people would have no idea what he was talking about. Then I asked a few moms / teachers if they had ever heard of my blog... and apparently a lot of people know about TWL... which surprised me.

I even told one teacher / mom that I started this blog a few years ago partly because I figured no one wanted to hear what I had to say... newspapers certainly never quoted me.. and I was fine with that. But I still wanted to voice my opinion... and now this blog is apparently in quite a few "favorites" of computers around town... or at least more than I ever imagined.

And getting back to answering the question... I spoke with the gentleman as he was leaving the meeting.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the folks in the room oughta remember that as long as America still has a secret ballot our votes are also anomymous.

On that note, was it lost on then that in November the supporters of their lucrative contract were run out of office despite their slick, high priced re-election campaign?

Anonymous said...

Just wondering what the town's teachers are waiting for on this issue? Possibly they are still attempting to figure out just what is going on with the local and national economy.

Parents need to ask themselves the same question, what is going on with the economy?

Once parents satisfactorily answer that question their next one to ask is, how come the teachers just don't get it?

After that ask yourself if you want these teachers influencing your children in the first place?

Reality said...

Did anyone from the EAC talk about how to solve the 2011-2012 budget? Dr. Florio laid out a $3M gap for 2011-2012 and a $6M gap for 2012-2013.

Additionally, yesterday's CT Supreme Court ruling (http://www.newhavenregister.com/articles/2010/03/23/news/a1_--_educationsuit_0323.txt) will continue to eat away at education funding by shifting more of the money away from well-to-do school districts like Cheshire and towards urban school districts such as Bridgeport, New Haven, New Britain, etc.

What then? If a few folks in town are falling apart over a minor cut in education what's going to happen to these folks next year, and the year after? Will they spontaneously combust?

Rather than play on emotion and politics how about all parties come together to address the problem at hand? The answer can't simply be tax increases. Tax increases are not going to solve what we're facing over the next 3 years.

Anonymous said...

How many teachers get how much in raises? Is the problem and the solution to cut teacher's salaries? What is fair? Binding arbitration was created because the first thing communities look to cut in a recession is teachers' salaries. But how high can our taxes get? Let's stop calling each other names and problem solve instead.

Brian said...

What happened at last night's P&Z meeting about the possibility of lowering acreage requirements from 3 acres to 2 acres for chicken owners. I want my chickens, I have 2.3 acres. I am egging you on. It was so windy last week, I saw a chicken lay the same egg twice.
I shall not stop the farm jokes until I get my hens. And what if I buy chicks and one turns out to be a rooster, which isn't allowed under the bill. the regulation. the law. Shall I name him 'Little Jerry Seinfeld' and give him to Kramer?
In a blatant self promotion scheme, here is the best musician in Cheshire: me.
www.myspace.com/brianofthelastpear

Anonymous said...

RE: yesterday's CT Supreme Court ruling will ... shift more money away from well-to-do school districts like Cheshire and towards urban school districts ...

Maybe we'll have to bus Cheshire kids to Waterbury & New Haven whose schools will get more money than Cheshire schools.

This is what happens when liberal busybodies are appointed as judges: they become (unelected) activist legislators who impose their political views on us through 'creative' interpretations of the Constitution.

Anonymous said...

What's the beef? Darcey School closed as an elementary school in the early '80's and no kids went nuts that I can recall...

ANYONE realize that teachers in Orange Cty (Orlando) FL are required BY CONTRACT to empty their own wastebaskets AND sweep their classroom floors DAILY!!

Shape of things to come.

Anonymous said...

ummm yeah, so are the teachers in cheshire.

Brian said...
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Anonymous said...

Brian, I've subbed and taught in urban schools. Yes, you can wow the kids with unusual presentations at first. But after a few days the novelty wears off, and they revert to their usual home-taught behavior, especially when they have to learn "boring" things like math, reading, and higher level skills, which cannot all be made "fun".

No amount of spending can buy, and not even the most gifted teacher can teach what only high parental expectations and involvement can instill: the child's motivations to focus, work, and accomplish.

Brian said...
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Anonymous said...

Brian go back to school. Your retort was rambling and unconnected. When you can get it correct - thank a teacher.

Tim - It's "My neice and I" for your caption under the picture. You need to remember to proofread anything you make public. If you're not sure ask someone who knows, look it up, or go back to school. Maybe when you can demonstrate to the public that you can write and speak using correct grammar the newspapers will print your opinion. You also can thank a teacher.

Brian said...
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Brian said...
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Anonymous said...

Tim, it's "My neice and I" for your caption under the picture.

5:28, I hope you’re not a teacher. You should take your own advice and proofread. It’s niece not neice!

And it should be "my niece and me", not “my niece and I”. Here the pronoun is not the subject, but the object, as in "This is my niece and me."

"My niece and I" is only correct in archaic British usage. However, Tim should invert the order.

Brian said...
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Anonymous said...

What the teacher's union lawyer failed to say is that when the New Haven teachers opened their contract they got raked over the coals. No union has successfully had a memo of undestanding hold up on a salary issue. Most of Dr. Florio's budget increase is due to transportation costs not teacher salaries. There are 17 less teachers so salary costs are only 0.4% higher. Check your facts.

concerned parent said...

Dr. Florio's budget increase is mostly transportation costs, not teacher salaries. Salaries are only 0.4% higher because there are 17 fewer teachers. Check your facts. The union does not want to open the contract because they don't want to get raked over the coals like the New Haven teachers did. Our schools are good and we want to keep them that way.

Brian said...
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Anonymous said...

RE: Most of Dr. Florio's budget increase is due to transportation costs not teacher salaries.

BUT if the teachers had not been given such obscene raises, there would be more money to cover increased transportation and other costs. So if the teachers won't give any concessions, then other cuts must be made in order to keep overall education costs near level. Sorry, we the Taxpayers have been bled enough.

concerned parent said...
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concerned parent said...

The most bunk I heard last night came from Mr. Falvey when he explained why he thought we shouldn't use some of the rainy day fund. Using 300,000 from the fund would restore some of the education budget, prevent additional property taxes, and maintain our property values. That is a real option that needs to be on the table.

Floyd said...

"Using 300,000 from the fund would restore some of the education budget, prevent additional property taxes, and maintain our property values. That is a real option that needs to be on the table."

No means NO...get used to it. At least we have elected officials that are finally acting responsible. Enough with the "borrow today worry about it tomorrow" mantra...that's what got us into this mess.

concerned parent said...

Mr. White: What percentage of Cheshire's property taxes are paid by families with school age children? I suspect a fairly high percentage. I would also suspect that a primary reason that many families choose Cheshire to call home is the fine school system, not the bedding plants, the pool, or the skate park.

Eric C said...

"Dr. Florio's budget increase is mostly transportation costs, not teacher salaries."

Are you serious? I guess I can't fault you if you're a product of the math curriculum but you may want to take a closer look at Florio's budget proposal...go ahead, take your time.

Anonymous said...

What I heard last night was a large number of the parents do not listen. A large number in the audience did not know what the budgetary process is nor do they understand the roles and responsibilities of the Town Council and the BOE. As for teacher salaries are only .4% increase is incorrect. That number came from the slide presentation by Trifone and the logic was based on subtracting out salaries of teacher positions not filled from last year. The contractual salary increase this year is 1.2 million dollars, that is more than .4%.

If more of these crying parents would should up and participate at BOE & Town Council meetings other than budget cut time of year they would understand how the process works. Shedding tears and getting emotional is not the way to help solve the problem and it is not a good behavior lesson for the children.

Tim White said...

Brian said:

What happened at last night's P&Z meeting about the possibility of lowering acreage requirements from 3 acres to 2 acres for chicken owners. I want my chickens, I have 2.3 acres. I am egging you on.

Brian... I'm not sure what happened at the P&Z meeting, but don't count your chickens before they're hatched! Furthermore, this is intended as a forum for serious discussion. So please stop clucking around!

Tim White said...

Regarding "me," thank you. I'm imperfect, but my father is a teacher of english (not an English teacher).

In America, I use the word "toward," not "towards."

I use the word "regardless," not "irregardless."

I know when to use "fewer" and when to use "less."

Again, I'm imperfect. But I am comfortable with my writing skillz. ;)

Anonymous said...

I am disappointed in the entire budget system. When you ask the chairman of the board where the $950,000 cut the BOE made comes from he says, "I don't know." Something here is just not right.

Brian said...
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Brian said...

We can all interpret you Tim. The only politician who ever knocked on my door while my fish were frying. And was actually interesting to talk with.
I want my chickens.
But you are the only Republican I ever liked, and I voted all Republican last Fall. You'll be the last guy left when they turn out the lights. There is something to be said for devotion, loyalty.
I think they messed up big time the other night. I think it will reflect locally and beyond in November, but by then 1000 things can happen to further anger what remains of my dignity. I will need another "Tim White for office" notepad, though.

concerned parent said...

What is more fiscally responsible arguing over $50 more in property taxes and use of a rainy day fund, OR letting our property values drop by $50,OOO or more because we let our schools get shortchanged. Talk about penny wise and pound foolish!

Brian said...
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Anonymous said...

"What is more fiscally responsible arguing over $50 more in property taxes and use of a rainy day fund, OR letting our property values drop by $50,OOO or more because we let our schools get shortchanged. Talk about penny wise and pound foolish!"

I don't understand the property value concern. I must be missing something. Can you elaborate why you are so concerned about property values? I don't understand your argument...

concerned parent said...
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concerned parent said...

You obviously don't get why our property values are higher than the surrounding towns. SUPERIOR schools. If property values drop it erodes our tax base, then we are really up the creek without a paddle.

Anonymous said...

I saw no principals at the meeting. There were teachers -- why not, they called the meeting. There were PTA leaders and parents -- why not, their children could be effected. "Dancing with the Starts" for Mr. Falvey?? How about just sticking with one answer. Quite honestly I don't know if it is possible to open just the salary portion of the contract or not, but if my legal counsel tells me not to do it, I don't think I would. Could it be that there is such lack of trust that the teachers choose not to do risk opening the contract? When a BOE cuts $950,000 without an idea of where that money is coming from, everyone should question trust. I do hope the TC heard the mandate to add the money back.

Eric C said...

"You obviously don't get why our property values are higher than the surrounding towns. SUPERIOR schools. It doesn't take a genius to figure that one out."

It's arguable whether or not the Cheshire school system is superior, it's adequate but certainly not superior. But if property values are important to you than you need to fight for that. Although, it seems insane to raise taxes in order to invest in something that consists of 80% expense with questionable returns...that will supposedly help with property values.

But if this is where parents' heads are at these days its no wonder we have the issues we do with our education system.

Anonymous said...

"I do hope the TC heard the mandate to add the money back."

...and if the money is not added back but further cuts are made to the budget...then what?

What about next year? How's the $3M education shortfall going to be resolved?

What about the following year? How's the $6M education shortfall going to be resolved?

Besides education...don't we have a $33M sewer treatment plant upgrade looming?

Was any of this addressed last night?

Anonymous said...

Superior school system? You're only as good as you think you are. Image is everything. If you keep hearing this same message time and time again, many people will actually think it's true.
They need to really look at and follow the budget process and know that we have all the same issues as other schools (drugs, personnel issues that you never hear about, etc.) Wake up, take a look around, we're no different than any other town - there's huge budget issues all over - what makes you think it's different here?

concerned parent said...

What school system surrounding Cheshire is even close in quality, especially for the cost? Meriden,Southington,Hamden,North Haven, Wallingford? We spend 143 out of 165 towns for a top 15% results (better than ALL the previously mentioned towns by far). How can you call that questionable returns?

Anonymous said...

Can these parents that keep saying they only moved here for the school system please honestly answer one question?
When your kids have graduated our high school and the budget has grown to 70 or 80 million or more, are you going to stay here in town or are you going to bail out and leave the rest of us holding the bag?

Anonymous said...

At what point will people not move to Cheshire because the property taxes are to high? There are more families that live in town with no children in the school system. If we use the rainy fund this year what the heck will we have for the next few years which are going to be really bad? Let's work together on this and find a solution. Thanks.

Nancy said...

As a parent who was at the meeting, you are mistaken to think that the room was mostly teachers, principals and PTA leaders!! Did you not listen to all of the parents that stood up and spoke their mind about this serious issue!!!
Everyone seems to always take the easy way out and blame the teachers for all the problems with the budget. Maybe some of you that have never spent time in a classroom, doing a hell of a lot more than just teaching the youth, should step up and give it a try!!! Then, maybe just then, there would be more respect for teachers!! The teacher need our support! Listen to the
children you will know just how important our teachers are!!!
Pass the damn budget fairly and stop short-cutting education!! No wonder other countries think of Americans as ignorant! We put so many other things above the importance of good education!!!

concerned parent said...

Read the Cheshire Herald and take note of the highly competitive universities that our children get accepted to, the awards they win for athletics, music, art, dance, forensics, robotics, etc. Look at the volunteer work they do for the community. Questionable return? Get a clue!

Anonymous said...

8:06 Concerned Parent

First of all get over yourself. We're all concerned. We're just not as concerned as you are about a salary diffential for the teachers that is breaking the system's back.

Cheshire has 4395 students projected in the system for 2011. The population for 2008 was 29601. This figure includes the inmate population of about 1,800. Net population equals 27801. (9432 households)

This amounts to 15.8% of the local population enrolled in our schools. Assuming a household unit consists of 2 kids and 2 parents(being generous there) that concentrates them into approximately 30% of the households in town. This town consists of thousands of households without children that pay taxes that directly support the schools. It is obvious that on a per capita basis these households out spend in tax dollars the households with school age children by a wide margin.

They don't moan about it most of the time but do the math concerned parent, your outlay doesn't even come close to covering the cost of your household population cost...and that is fine because its not expected to...so please revise your perception to reflect reality. We're all in this together and moderation of expectations must come from all quarters.

concerned parent said...

The truth is that if some of the parents who moved here because of the good schools live here only until all of their kids graduate, they will be replaced by more parents who want the same good education for their kids. They will live here for 10-20 years, pay a large portion of the town's property taxes and add to the quality of life here.

concerned parent said...

If the schools deteriorate EVERYONE'S property values will suffer and that impacts the whole town and it's tax base. Not just the people who have kids in school.

Anonymous said...

I feel that Brittingham's comments were purposely said to excite the parents of Chapman and to show the TC that they need to pass the budget.
Hopefully, the TC will see through that.
Too many of those parents who got up to speak and/or cry don't have a clue as to how the budget process works. They just showed up because they were told that their school may close. If a $1 million difference will cause a school to close, then we are in worse shape then we think.
The teachers used the meeting to show that they aren't the bad guys, it is the TC. Give me a break.
As a parent of 2 childern who spent several years at Chapman before pulling them for private school, I will tell you that the education system in this town is adequate, but I wouldn't call it superior. We found that some teachers could not control the grammar school kids that they had, so they became babysitters rather than teachers. My kids spent the first 3 months at their new schools catching up from what they didn't learn in the public schools.
I am not saying that all teachers are like this. They did have some good teachers, but their overall experience was not great.
The BOE needs to make sure that teacher evaluations are done and those who just show up to get paid need to move on. I don't mind paying for good teachers, but lets make sure they are.

I would be more upset to see that Chapman school's CMT's were so much lower than all the other elementary schools in Cheshire. It makes you wonder why?
Cheshire Schools CMT Comparisons
Maybe it won't be so bad to close the school.....

Anonymous said...

"If the schools deteriorate EVERYONE'S property values will suffer and that impacts the whole town and it's tax base. Not just the people who have kids in school."

That's fine by me especially if it means people like you will pack up and move out. Maybe then will Cheshire be more pleasant to live in not to mention more affordable via lower property taxes. You seem to not want to listen to the thousands of voters that said "NO" in the last election.

No means NO. Even the Cheshire school system can teach this concept but apparently applying it needs more work.

Anonymous said...

The school population is slowly decreasing, taxes are just continuously escalating, the grand list is headed down, businesses are folding their tents, and the teachers use the one-sided ridiculous binding arbitration law to shake down local tax payers with and without children every year.

Enough! It's going to be several or more bad budget years for most if not all towns in CT. Binding arbitration is a failure. It leaves local towns with one option, in tough times firing teachers needs to be an obvious part of the budget process. It is the only tool left to towns by our state legislators who worked quite hard to deliver a binding arbitration system which always forces salaries UP. So far the legislature has not made it illegal to terminate school staff as part of the local budget process - - -

Anonymous said...

RE: Concerned Parent It's people liek you who ruin the town..come here for a few years, vote to approve all referendum items in the name of property values and schools & leave. There is no place like Cheshire school systems IF you are in the top 2% OR bottom 2% in intelligence. For the other 96%, it's "good enough"

Anonymous said...

We are 144 out of 169 towns in spending per pupil but we 20th in the State for scores in all of the tests the education system uses to measure success. So what is our goal, to go from 20th to #1, what would be the purpose. You can't it both ways.

Property values help to keep out unwanted minorities in town. That is the hidden message behind the property value and "I moved here for the education" statements. We are not special in Cheshire, we just like to think we are. When Chapman sells his farm to a low income developer and 300 kids with minority descent move into our precious school system, then we will see how much the supporters of education want to stay here.

Anonymous said...

Looking at the link & data provided for Cheshire School CT Comparisons one could make the case that Chapman should be closed for non-performance.Chapman has the smallest class sizes of the elementary schools yet rank the lowest in Cheshire. Maybe smaller class sizes are detrimental to the learning experience.

Anonymous said...

RE: "We are 144 out of 169 towns in spending per pupil, but we are 20th in the State for scores in all the tests ... used to measure (educational) success."

Which just goes to prove, again, that the main factor in student success is not spending; it's high parental expectations and involvement with their kids.

concerned parent said...

RE: "Concerned Parent It's people liek you who ruin the town..come here for a few years, vote to approve all referendum items in the name of property values and schools & leave. There is no place like Cheshire school systems IF you are in the top 2% OR bottom 2% in intelligence. For the other 96%, it's "good enough" "

Well, people "liek" you (drop outs) don't understand the value of education. If a family moves here when their kids are in preschool and stay here until ALL their kids graduate then they are obviously here for more than a few years (K-12, do the math), and pay property taxes. Maybe you haven't seen the long list of excellent universities that Cheshire graduates are accepted to. It's not just the top 2%.

concerned parent said...

Re: "That's fine by me especially if it means people like you will pack up and move out. Maybe then will Cheshire be more pleasant to live in not to mention more affordable via lower property taxes. You seem to not want to listen to the thousands of voters that said "NO" in the last election."

If you want lower property taxes, hop on I-84 and go west 10 minutes and buy a house there. Be prepared for HIGH crime rates, corrupt town officials, poor schools, and poor services. Stop whining about high property taxes and teacher salaries and get a grip on reality. A good quality of life costs money. If you can't afford it move.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the concerned parent. You should want the students of this town to have the best education possible whether your a parent or not. If that means everyone paying slightly more in taxes so be it. If it means taking a bit of money out the rainy day fund so what it won't kill us. If you can't afford that extra tax money move and find yourself some where cheaper to live.

Just because you don't care about schools doesn't mean it shouldn't be a priority for the town. The accusations of racism in the above posts is also troubling.

I'm sick of hearing that nobody goes to the meetings so that means they don't care about the process. Thats bullshit. How many people stay informed through public access? I know I've watched the meeting on TV when I couldn't go. More importantly there is an equal perception amongst many people I know in town and you can even hear it amongst the audience in the meetings that there is no point in going to many of these meetings because the council or board does whatever it wants to anyway.

That same lack of trust that many members of the public have for these officials is probably also why the teacher's unions are unwilling to trust town officials with opening any part of the contract to make concessions. The fear is that other areas will be attacked too. Also, just because you don't agree with a lawyers interpretation of an issue/rule doesn't mean its not a valid arguement/legal opinion. When there is case precedent decided then you can call the lawyer a liar.

I think the TC should seriously consider revising the charter's budget process. The way we do it clearly isn't working. There has to be a better, more logical, and reasoned way to approach this.

Anonymous said...

Funny thing about trust is that somehow the administrators, custodial and instructional assistant unions all seem to trust Cheshire...(they're VOLUNTEERING true concessions).

Interesting how the EAC saw no risks, or legal precedent, stopping them from coming to the table with a no interest loan to the town. Where was the lawyer advising them NOT to do so for fear of 'risk'? Where was the lawyer advising them not to promote the HSA? Where was the lawyer advising them not to promote early retirement incentives? Where was their lawyer advising them not to ask for job guarantees?

Any one of the 'concessions' offered by the EAC required a section of the contract to be modified thus opening it up.

Funny how nobody, be it union leaders or union lawyers, cried wolf over it. But once Cheshire asked for a true concessions suddenly there's 'risk'.

Nice try.

If the union does not want to help, they should just state as such. Not hide behind lawyers. It's embarrassing.

A concerned citizen said...

"Property values help to keep out unwanted minorities in town. That is the hidden message behind the property value and "I moved here for the education" statements. We are not special in Cheshire, we just like to think we are. When Chapman sells his farm to a low income developer and 300 kids with minority descent move into our precious school system, then we will see how much the supporters of education want to stay here.

March 24, 2010 12:18 PM"


I have often found that those who bring up race are usually the biggest racists around. You have made some gross assumptions. First, that only minorities are low income families. Secondly, I haven't had any children in the system for 9 years and I'm not leaving. Someone helped to pay for my child's education, and now I will help to pay for others. I don't know about you, but when I am ready to sell my house, I don't want to be forced to sell it for less than I paid. Then my home has not been a good investment. Maybe you don't own a home and this doesn't matter to you.
If you are so concerned about a slight tax increase, MOVE! NO ONE IS FORCING YOU TO STAY. YOU MUST FIND SOMETHING OF VALUE IN THIS COMMUNITY OR ELSE YOU WOULD MOVE.For many of us ,we see our
children succeeding in school. I demand the council accept Dr. Florio's budget as it was presented to the board. He's the expert. That is what we pay him to do.

"Looking at the link & data povided for Cheshire School CT Comparisons one could make the case that Chapman should be closed for non-performance.Chapman has the smallest class sizes of the elementary schools yet rank the lowest in Cheshire. Maybe smaller class sizes are detrimental to the learning experience."

Since when has Chapman been declared a failing school? I haven't ever read that in the score results. Even if it is the lowest performing school in the district, it still out performs other towns. Also educational research shows there is a direct correlation between low class size and student achievement.Look it up! We have been lucky to see that this is actually true since class sizes have been acceptable for over 20 years. I certainly don't want to see what will occur if this is no longer true. Moving the lowest performing students to overcrowded class where they will receive less attention makes no sense.

Anonymous said...

"For many of us ,we see our
children succeeding in school."

As far as households with children in our public schools, you are the minority compared to those households without children in public schools. I think it's far to say that the latter have helped foot the school bill for some time and are entitled to a break every now and then. If you don't like it then you should move.

"I demand the council accept Dr. Florio's budget as it was presented to the board. "

I demand that the town council further reduces the education budget in addition to the overall town budget.

If the BOE had a backbone, they would've presented no increases. Instead, they presented a $1.3M increase which the town cannot afford.

Hopefully, the town council will listen to the voters that elected them last November and put a stop to the excess.

Anonymous said...

what the town can not afford is dropping 6 million into the money pit of a pool. there are no cuts to be made in the education system, it's "bare bones" as it is.

Anonymous said...

hopefully we can run all these old people out of town who are tight-wad, fixed income leeches and don't want to invest in the future of our world.

a concerned citizen said...

"As far as households with children in our public schools, you are the minority compared to those households without children in public schools. I think it's far to say that the latter have helped foot the school bill for some time and are entitled to a break every now and then. If you don't like it then you should move."

This statement makes no sense. Are you the product of an overcrowded and under funded classroom?

Also, perhaps people's opinions have changed since November. Not everyone is close minded. Some people listen to facts, statistics, and see a bigger picture than their own wallet. Many members of the public clearly spoke again Monday night. The November election is not a the be all and end all of public opinion today.

Anonymous said...

I agree, forget the money pit that is the pool. Use that proposed $5-6M enclosure toward the turf field. If the TC wasn't so short-sighted, they'd realize that by building a world-class turf field it will bring in sponsorship money that could be used to offset increases in salaries. It's free money...use it don't bury it in the pool debacle.

One thing I'm encouraged to hear is that none of the sports and/or after school activities have been cut from Florio's budget proposal. We need sports, music, band, etc. These programs have been mutually beneficial to the educational development of our students over the years. Can't have one without the other.

Anonymous said...

" demand the council accept Dr. Florio's budget as it was presented to the board. He's the expert."

Your 'expert' stated to the TC finance committee that he could 'live with' the budget proposal presented to the TC and will 'make it work'. Just stating the facts...you can verify this via the meeting minutes and audio recording of the meeting.

Anonymous said...

"One thing I'm encouraged to hear is that none of the sports and/or after school activities have been cut from Florio's budget proposal."

They weren't cut from Florio's budget, but the BOE already implied that they will be first on the chopping block when they cut his budget. If the TC cuts any more, you can bet on it.

Anonymous said...

Here's how the budget process works in our town: 1) Dr. Forio spends months pouring over figures and coming up with a detailed budget 2) the BOE ignores Dr. Florio and comes up with their own budget 3) the TC ignores the BOE and forces their budget down their throats. Why doesn't the TC save the town a lot of time and effort and just skip steps 1 and 2 since they feel better qualified to do somebody else's job.

Brian said...

I must say, for my 7 grand per year in house taxes, it is worth it merely to watch all the anonymous people fight. That last anonymous guy seemed to know his stuff. I'd be proud to have him to dinner.
Coming soon...Tim White Blog presents an anonymous dinner at Brian's house.

Small masks are allowed.

Anonymous said...

"Why doesn't the TC save the town a lot of time and effort and just skip steps 1 and 2 since they feel better qualified to do somebody else's job".

Actually this "anonymous" was being sarcastic. The TC has no clue what they are doing. Look at the whole pool debacle. Enough said.

Anonymous said...

"We are 144 out of 169 towns in spending per pupil"

So what?

It means nothing because every school system in the state is run by the same union that has bloated the education system with grossly overpaid teachers and administrator.

We need to get rid of the teacher's union and reclaim our education system. Connecticut teachers are the highest paid in the country and it proves that money is not the answer to a 21th century education. It is recognized that our education is inadequate to meet the challenges of the global economy and more and more people are demanding a change.

$90,000 a year kindergarten teachers are not meeting the needs of our country.

Anonymous said...

Explain to me why a town with a median income of $100,603.00(including prison residents) can't afford $150 more a year? $12 a month more? I just don't get what all the fighting is about?

Anonymous said...

It doesn't benefit the town when someone stays in town only long enough to put their children through the education system and then they leave. At the current cost over $10,000 per student if you have two children your cost to the town is $20,000. Lets say your taxes are $7,000 per year, the town is giving you $13,000 per year not counting the other services. So to say that parents pay their fair share of taxes is incorrect. As far as getting rid of the old people in town because their tightwads. Those tightwads pay taxes and get very little in services. So if they move out and more children move in the town would eventually go bankrupt and lets see what happens to your education system and property values then.

Anonymous said...

YES, raise the damn taxes already. that's what is going to happen anyway - enough talk about it.

Anonymous said...

"Why can't we afford $150 a year more?"
It's always "ONLY" another $150 dollars. When you do that year after year it eventually equates to thousands. Many residents cannot afford the additional increases.

Anonymous said...

March 24 5:02 said "Someone helped to pay for my child's education, and now I will help to pay for others. I don't know about you, but when I am ready to sell my house, I don't want to be forced to sell it for less than I paid. Then my home has not been a good investment. Maybe you don't own a home and this doesn't matter to you."

How long have you lived in town? House prices were skyrocketing out of control and it was inevitable that they'd level out at some point. Maybe you bought your house when prices were way higher than they should have been. That's your problem not our problem. You'd have to live in town a long time to pay for your kids' education and then someone else's kids' education. I've been paying taxes for 35 years here in town. How about you? I'm not worried about property values too much because I KNOW I'd be able to sell my house for probably 6 - 7 times the amount I paid for it and that's figuring in the housing slump.


"I demand the council accept Dr. Florio's budget as it was presented to the board. He's the expert. That is what we pay him to do."

You are a superintendent's dream.

Brian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

A few points I am not sure I understand...
It seems that there is a lot of argument about people coming to town, putting thier kids through school on the backs of taxpayers and then leaving. But we do have a elderly population. I remember them at the meetings to extend the senior tax credit (they are homeowners, not residents of elderly housing). Didn't their children attend Cheshire schools, or did they just move here? Isn't it possible that people who have children in school now may choose to stay? My parents moved to town for the school system, and they still live here and pay taxes. Look at the TC, there are quite a few members that are in the same situation as me... Tim being one of them.

Also, we can discuss the merits of the teachers contract, but it seems that this has been blown way out of proportion. TIm, can you advise what the situation would be if their raise this year was cut in...lets say half. Would the town be economicly sound then? Would there be no budget cuts? Would there be the additional money needed for all expanding cost (electric, bus, etc). Somehow, I dont think so.

Lastly, all this talk about needing to keep money in the rainy day fund. I could be wrong, and am sure that Tim will correct me, but when the TC was under democratic control, didn't the republicans want all that money sent back to taxpayers in a refund check? Now, they say we can not spend it because we need to keep money in there so we can prepare for the future. Why the change? I am not sure I understand what their stand is on this issue.

Anonymous said...

The economy has changed and that might be a good reason to save some because next year and the year after look bad.

Anonymous said...

8:50 p.m. - -"Explain to me why a town with a median income of $100,603.00(including prison residents) can't afford $150 more a year? $12 a month more? I just don't get what all the fighting is about?"

That median income number you are throwing around is after or before taxes? You need to get your facts straight on that.

That $100k you speak of goes pretty quick. Federal income tax, Social Security tax, Medicare tax, state income tax, sales tax, various taxes on utility bills, other taxes, property tax, mortgage payment, heating costs, cooling costs, car loan, gasoline for the car, home maintenance expenses, health care expenses, property insurance, liability insurance, etc.

Go figure it out. There is not much left from your big number, $100k income when you do the math. So, understanding just how expensive it is to make it through the typical day why would anyone want ANY increase in local property taxes in such a down economic time?

The local teachers union and their avid supporters, the BOE and the BOE front office staff are out to grab way more from tax payers then the tax payer can or should pay. It's a known fact that student performance does not increase with increasing teacher pay. I'd bet that if teacher pay remained constant instead of increasing 4.4% per year we'd see no change in student performance either.

Our elected officials need to keep property taxes constant in this time of poor economic performance.

Anonymous said...

"8:50 p.m. - -"Explain to me why a town with a median income of $100,603.00(including prison residents) can't afford $150 more a year? $12 a month more? I just don't get what all the fighting is about?"

Explain to us why these union people should get any more money from us. They are already grossly overpaid. If they want more money, then they can work at Stop & Shop if they can get a job there.

Anonymous said...

Where are all these fictional people who move here stay a "few" years then leave when their kids graduate? So they move here when their kids are 15? Sure that happens a lot. We have lived here 20 years and plan to stay. We have 2 kids in college and another entering college. All 3 have received a quality education here. My neighbors' kids deserve the same quality education, so I will pay my property taxes and not whine about it or the teacher salaries. If you want lower taxes and crummy schools, MOVE!

Anonymous said...

Seniors on fixed incomes get a break on their property taxes as they should. I know seniors who have grandchildren in the schools, so they don't want the education budget cut. If they used 5% of the rainy day fund for education, it would make a tax increase smaller. If the TC won't consider it they are cheating us all.

Anonymous said...

The bottom line is that if the teachers won't consider concessions and they should. The town is asking for shared sacrifice from all and that includes the teachers. Why is it always assumed that the taxpayers should be the ones to make sacrifices. As far as seniors getting tax relief that's true but you have to be at the poverty level.

Anonymous said...

Could someone explains why the Cheshire teachers shouldn't give back the same amount of salary and benefits as the SEBAC gave back the state.

I will be making less $$$ in 2010 than in 2009 due to my union concesssion. So, is it fair to ask me to pay $150/year more when I made less, so that the teachers can keep their full raise?

Anonymous said...

March 25 8:14. No thanks I will not move. I don't think it's right to tell someone what to do. I have faith that the new TC and BOE will do what is fair. This is a great Town. I have paid my taxes for close to 40 years and feel that I get my monies woth.

Anonymous said...

Just a comment about the CMT scores at Chapman. Remember that a few years ago, all elementary kids at Humiston were moved to Chapman and that Chapman was the only school accepting Project Choice (please, not a racial issue, a lower performing district issue)kids and it is very difficult to exclude any children from testing anymore.

Brian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

It was a great meeting for the teachers and their supporters. Scaring the parents is a favorite tactic and calling the taxpayers cheap is another good one.

One person, Donato D' Albis verbally attacked two town councilors and said that "Nobody in this town pays enough taxes for the quality of education their children get". It seems that Mr. Albis runs special writing workshops. Could this be the motivation for his statement?

I guess you have to kmow why people say what they do. It would be nice if people stated if they have any monitary dbenefit from the school system.

As for me, I don't get anything from the education system other than the constant tax increases, and I think we are paying way too much for what is being delivered.