Crowley, You Charmer

Patrick lays on the charm in the public-media negotiation process with the Tiverton school committee:

Union spokesman Patrick Crowley replied, “It’s unfortunate that the School Committee has not taken the time to do the math accurately, and in addition to our mediation request we’re going to suggest that they get math remediation as well.”

Yup, that’s the voice of an organization that just wants to reach a fair compromise with the district so that its teachers can continue improving childrens’ lives. I’m not ready to come down on Patrick too hard, though; for all I know, it’s his job to play the bully role so Bob Walsh has room to play the reasonable guy.i

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SusanD
SusanD
14 years ago

Oo, oo! I can do the math for South Kingstown.
Over ten years, out school budget has doubled while our student population has dropped.
All that without a calculator!

Steve Gregson
Steve Gregson
14 years ago

Guess I use the KISS principle too much.
If these School Committees were smart

Will
14 years ago

I’ve never understood why we have school committees, other than to add another layer of unnecessary bureaucracy. City councils could probably pick up the slack. They always seem to cave into the unions demands — it’s only a matter of how long they take to do it.
As for Patrick (maybe we should call him “Patches II”), his problem is a combination of being in the catbird seat in a state full of ready to eat birds, in combination with the charm of Rosie O’Donnell.
I have to concur with Justin. Bob probably keeps Pat around so that Bob looks better by comparison. Classic good cop / bad cop. It’s doesn’t speak well on the NEA as an organization of “professionals” though, does it?

Frank
Frank
14 years ago

We have school committees so that when an angry taxpayer who’s totally fed up with skyrocketing school costs that have caused huge property tax increases, goes in to yell and scream at his/her Mayor or town manager or councilman, that official can, without hesitation, announce “it’s not my fault, the school committee signed the contract, and I have no oversight over the school committee”. I’m convinced that school committees serve no actual purpose than to be an object for town officials to deflect (usually well deserved) criticism at. We would be much better off without school committees, instead leaving all contract negotiating to the officials that the electorate THINKS they elected to manage their town’s finances. Instead of a school committee, we could have a school board, a body that serves as a board of directors, with the Superintendent as CEO. And since the school board members, like the school committee members we have now, are not necessarily experts in education or anything else, they should not be allowed to decide anything of importance on their own.

Pat Crowley
14 years ago

Thanks Jus…..

SusanD
SusanD
14 years ago

“… school committees serve no actual purpose than to be an object for town officials to deflect (usually well deserved) criticism at.”
It’s a beautiful system, Frank. As you said, the town councils can point to the school committees as negotiating these indefensible contracts and school committees can say, hey, the town council does the funding; if they didn’t like it, they wouldn’t fund it. And accountability is diffused.
This raises a good point, however. Getting fiscally reasonable people on the town/city council is more important than getting them on the school committee. The school committee can negotiate what it likes but a responsible town/city council has the ultimate power to say no, that’s bad for the students, it’s bad for the town; it’s not going to be funded.

Tom W
Tom W
14 years ago

>>This raises a good point, however. Getting fiscally reasonable people on the town/city council is more important than getting them on the school committee. The school committee can negotiate what it likes but a responsible town/city council has the ultimate power to say no, that’s bad for the students, it’s bad for the town; it’s not going to be funded.
Just the opposite SusanD. So long as the current Democrat (read union) General Assembly designed system is in place, the real key is for people to elect fiscally responsible individuals to school committees.
Under the current system town / city councils don’t have authority to say no – just the responsibility to raise whatever taxes are necessary to fund whatever giveaway teachers contract the school committee has signed on to, no matter how outrageous.
Common sense tells us that those elected officials responsible for incurring the liabilities should be the same ones responsible for raising the revenue – and thus be accountable to the electorate should they engage in excess spending proclivities.
The current system insulates school committees from having to raise the revenue (and thus be held accountable for) the money they commit to spend behind the closed doors of teacher contract “negotiations.”

SusanD
SusanD
14 years ago

“Common sense tells us that those elected officials responsible for incurring the liabilities should be the same ones responsible for raising the revenue”
Yes, no question, this is how it ought to work.
Don’t get me wrong; I want – I am entitled to – fiscally responsible elected officials on all governing bodies. But under our present system, it’s the city/town council which can put the brakes on spending.
So if they refuse to raise taxes, if they level fund from the previous year, wouldn’t that at least cut the funding for any raises negotiated by the school committee? I had never heard that “Under the current system town / city councils don’t have authority to say no”. Where is the obligation that the council raise taxes every year?

Tim
Tim
14 years ago

When did Don Knotts start working for the RINEA? Pat Crowley’s recent media exposure certainly explains his rather weird fancy for duck suits and masks. lol

Tom W
Tom W
14 years ago

>>Don’t get me wrong; I want – I am entitled to – fiscally responsible elected officials on all governing bodies. But under our present system, it’s the city/town council which can put the brakes on spending. So if they refuse to raise taxes, if they level fund from the previous year, wouldn’t that at least cut the funding for any raises negotiated by the school committee? I had never heard that “Under the current system town / city councils don’t have authority to say no”. Where is the obligation that the council raise taxes every year? Because the General Assembly enacted the “Caruolo Act.” Under Caruolo a school committee can sue the town / city for however much money it “requires” in order to fund: 1) the “basic education plan” (largely an amorphous thing that constitutes whatever RIDOE / the local school committee labels “basic”; 2) state / federal mandates; and 3) contractual obligations. As to the latter, i.e., teacher contracts, a judge has NO discretion to alter or amend the terms of the contract – its monetary contractual terms are considered sacrosanct – thus under the statute a judge must order a defendant city / town to cough up whatever money is necessary to pay for those “contractual obligations” (as “negotiated” by a school committee – usually behind closed doors – and usually by a school committee packed with NEA members or persons with direct ties to NEA members or to the education establishment). So in the end, a city / town council cannot say “no” to fully-funding a teachers contract “negotiated” by a school committee, no matter how outrageous it may be. That is why if we really want to get a handle on spending (and quality education), who we elect to school committees is more important than… Read more »

Bob
Bob
14 years ago

If I looked like that, I’d be wearing a George Bush mask or duck suit, too.

SusanD
SusanD
14 years ago

‘Kay, school committees matter. I stand corrected.

Tom W
Tom W
14 years ago

>>’Kay, school committees matter. I stand corrected.
No problem. It’s a common misperception in RI – I suspect that the system is intentionally designed that way. The more I’ve learned about public education and finances in RI, the clearer it becomes that the system is structured so that no individual or entity is responsible for any one thing, for that would provide a leverage point for reform. Instead, nobody is responsible for anything, so real reform (quality and financing) can only be achieved with a wholesale restructuring of the system. The power to do that is vested in the Democrat General Assembly, which we all know is bought and paid for by the unions and, judging by their actions and not their words, puts the interests of children and taxpayers behind those of the union bosses.

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