A New Dawn for Tiverton Education… or Is It Dusk?

A larger-than-usual crowd is in t Tiverton High School library for the first school committee after the financial town meeting cut the district’s budget by $627,247. A healthy TCC showing; the rest, I assume, are teachers and sympathizers.
School Committee Chairman: “Our only priority in dealing with this cut is to protect our students, and to make sure that our students are impacted as little as possible… everything else is secondary.”
7:17 p.m.
They’re going to speak vaguely for public consumption and reserve specific strategies for executive session because, as Bergandy put it: “We have to explore possible legal consequences.”
Carroll Hermann started by thanking those who showed up at the FTM and voted against the cut. “With $600,000, everyone will get hurt. No one will walk away whole.”
7:21 p.m.
Sally Black is taking a general tack, currently suggesting that, at a certain point, “tinkering” with the “delicate balance” has to stop.
She’s emphasizing the “fair funding formula” from the state, pointing to a clause in proposed legislation reading “regardless of annual availability of state revenues.”
Mild dig at Budget Committee members who didn’t vote with the budget they proposed.
7:27 p.m.
Bergandy suggested that, when the state is done cutting, the shortfall may reach a million dollars.
TCC member Joe Souza is speaking, saying that the cut wasn’t to “hurt the kids.” Scoffs from the teachers in the room: “Yes it was.”
7:29 p.m.
“We need to stand up in this town and make some noise… together.” Too much in-fighting.
“It’s not the Tiverton taxpayers against this school committee.”
Guidance Counselor Lynn Nicholas — who is heavily involved in the union — thinks that lawsuits against the town “need seriously to be considered.”
Now she wants to know what advocacy the school committee will pursue to get parents to the town meeting.
7:35 p.m.
One teacher wants to form an organization to battle TCC. My impression was that the union and the town Democrats were organized for such purposes.
How absurd that a small group fighting back can make these people feel that the process was somehow unfairly tilted.
7:37 p.m.
Bill Rearick just read the new charter amendment that prevents town funds from advocating for causes.
Sally Black described an undue concern about what it allowed her to do.
7:41 p.m.
A reader just emailed to remind me of Lynn Nicholas’s comment during contract disputes: if the committee does not pass the contract, there will be “a lot of harm done — some financial, some not.”
The audio is here. Full quote:

Before I ask Doug a question, I just need to make it clear that, if the award is not agreed upon tonight, there will be a lot of harm done. Some of it will be financial; a lot of it will not be, and I’m not going to go into detail.

When you make a statement like that when you’re looking for money for yourself, you don’t have a whole lot of credibility to villainize taxpayers as hurting children.
7:51 p.m.
And business moves on to sex offender notification and heating oil bids.
7:54 p.m.
At last night’s town council, apparently at the beginning (why I missed it), Council Vice President Joanne Arruda made a point during the consent agenda segment of expressing opposition to a petition to end the Caruolo act and another to allow town councils power over teacher contracts.
7:58 p.m.
It just occurred to me that one of the speakers during the financial town meeting segment of this meeting pointed out that services to students have been declining for years. She was making the point that parents will leave town if the new cut exacerbates the problem; I’d note that TCC is less than a year old.
The NEA-RI has been around for quite a while, though…
8:02 p.m.
And out into the night…

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Monique
Editor
12 years ago

“Council Vice President Joanne Arruda made a point during the consent agenda segment of expressing opposition to a petition to end the Caruolo act”
Why in the world would a Councilperson wish to give away power that is legally vested in herself and other members of the council upon which she serves?

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