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Trumbull's Ed Board Will Ask for Funding for Cut Programs

The school board held a special meeting in which they again voted to seek a supplemental appropriation from the Board of Finance to restore freshman sports.

Trumbull's Board of Education held a special meeting on Monday evening, called at the behest of member Loretta Chory to reconsider a motion she had made at the June 22 meeting that was not acted upon.

At the first meeting, board member Tom Kelly made a motion encompassing four line items that sought approval to request a supplemental appropriation of $477,056 from the Board of Finance to restore freshman sports, sophomore football and girls' club ice hockey; rehire three teachers at ; rehire two elementary school secretaries and rehire one custodian.

Chory then followed up with a motion to divide the question, an allowable act under Robert's Rules of Order.  No second was offered and the chairman did not follow up, so her motion was not voted on and the board approved Kelly's motion 5-2.

Robert's Rules of Order state, "as a general rule, with the exceptions given below, every motion should be seconded."

Chairman Ted Lovely opened Monday's special meeting by acknowledging that Chory's motion went unseconded.

To revisit Chory's motion Monday, member Lisa Labella moved to rescind Kelly's motion.  After a delay, Kelly offered a second when no other member spoke up to move for a re-vote.

Only the five yes voters on the first meeting's motion were eligible to vote to rescind. They voted 3-2 in favor.

Kelly then remade his motion, and Labella seconded it - with no other member speaking up.

Chory opened the discussion on the motion, saying "the $95,000 cost of freshman football was not in the budget."

Labella responded that "sports are not funded by [grade] level ... [while] pay-to-participate funds for all sports are shown as a single line item."

Supt. Ralph Iassogna said, "THS Director of Athletics Mike Herbst was asked to reduce the high school's athletic budget by $113,000," the cost of the sports targeted for elimination.

He did, Labella added, and "the amount was deducted from the Transportation account because there are no line items for freshman sports."

Member Mike Ward, who was silent during the discussion, said, "Can we vote on this motion?" The supplemental appropriation was motion was then adopted, 6–1.

Ward then noted that "if we don't get the appropriation, we're back where we started."

Iassogna replied that if the approval is for a lesser amount "we will have to set priorities."  Kelly added that his motion was "based on parent feedback, that if we do have to prioritize, teaching positions take precedence over freshman sports."

He added that the Board of Finance will consider the request at its July 14 meeting.  The Town Council will take it up on Aug. 1, or, the first selectman told Iassogna, at an earlier special meeting in order to facilitate planning for the upcoming school year.

Josh L. July 11, 2011 at 12:09 AM
The "deflection"is that you are trying to make us think our FS's personality is one that is not too controlling or dominating when everyhting we have seen in the last year and half has been to the contrary. Moving forward, I would expect that there will be a well choreographed strategy to portray him as less aggressive and less like a dictator leading up to election day. Maybe a letter will soon appear claimed to be written by an "ordinary citizen."
Bill Holden July 11, 2011 at 12:44 AM
JoshL. I was accused of trying to deflect "from the latest Herbst fiasco", whatever that is supposed to mean. I assumed he was talking about a false statement claiming Mr. Herbst made revisions to the Charter. I am telling you that the CRC has exercised independent thinking, i.e. not rubber stamping items suggested for consideration by the first selectman. Since April 2010 there was much effort made to build concensus, as stated in the minority report. Some of that concensus was reached in party caucuses (I'm not naive enough to think that both parties didn't caucus) but most of it was reached in public session of the commission, including some ideas proposed by a member of the majority which were rejected. I believe there were compromises made by every member. Also, that all members respect, if not personally like, each member...just that we have different opinons regarding political party rights vs voter rights.
Afreedman2011 July 11, 2011 at 12:56 AM
The CRC has been under FS control since the first day when he stacked it in favor of his Republican cronies. The FS has tried to push through unprecedented and radical change to the charter through his handpicked cronies. Now the Town Council finally said ENOUGH! It courageously stood up to the FS overreaching and his attempt to push through the radical changes to the charter have failed the CRC has failed. This is why Mr. Holden has started the spin that the FS was not the architect of these radical changes. After two years of the continuous divisiveness from this FS, I think we all see his hands at the steering wheel of this failure.
Bill Holden July 11, 2011 at 01:08 AM
It is because of caustic remarks like the above that I stopped participating in TrumbullChat months ago. Nothing offered worthy of discussion...just personal attacks.
Josh L. July 11, 2011 at 01:10 AM
If what you say is true, then it is very contrary to the style and record of the FS. When these proposed changes could strengthen his power, it makes it even harder to believe that he didn't have a lot of input. Now you have the burden of trying to separate issues from an established personality...good luck. Now he and you and get out of his own way!
Kathleen McGannon July 11, 2011 at 01:11 AM
I think if you read Mr. Herbst's "Blueprint for Trumbull" regarding Charter Revision and compare it to the letter he sent the Commission when it formed, you will see that his campaign issues and what he asked the commission to do are not one and the same. Perhaps that is where the "disconnect" is occurring?
Josh L. July 11, 2011 at 01:11 AM
I wonder if they stood up after they got their hand slapped for the BOE health insurance debacle?
Josh L. July 11, 2011 at 01:14 AM
I agree internet blogs do not substitute for a worthy discussion. Time to get off the Patch too!
Tom Kelly July 11, 2011 at 01:25 AM
Bill, first of all, let me say that my absolute preference, if I could have my way, would be to GO BACK to a 6 member BOE with 3 R's and 3 D's. It was the Republicans that wanted to go to a 7 member Board for years. In the research I did going back to the 1993 Trumbull Times, the Republicans were calling for a 7 member BOE then. I would rather see NEITHER party have a majority (unless an unaffiliated or third party candidate was elected). The BOE, in my opinion, should be as bipartisan as possible. As for Mr. Herbst's recommendations, I am not trying to misstate anything, although I can see that my comments above are not clear. Mr. Herbst outlined a few things which he insisted he would recommend if the charter was reopened. Instead of a few things, he made 5 typewritten pages of recommendations, far exceeding what he and the Republicans campaigned on. That's what I am trying to say, and I regret if my statement was not clearly stated. Thanks.
Bill Holden July 11, 2011 at 02:12 AM
Tom, you will find that most of those "recommendations" in the 5 typewritten pages were not approved by the CRC (I'd say "almost all", but I don't have them available). So, enough of the "hand picked cronies" crapola that has been stated here and elsewhere. Your "1993" research is only as complete as the story you read. Did you know that the change made in 2003 was a compromise proposal first produced by the late Arthur Kaiser-D (former Council Leader & Council Chairman as well as more recently BoE member) and Dale Radcliffe-R (former Council Leader, Council Chairman, State Representative and now Superior Court Judge)? They too seemed to believe that the public should decide who is elected to the BOE, rather than the respective town committees of the two major parties. These two distinguished gentlemen knew more about the process than any recent group of Councilmembers, IMO. What they & I missed is that the 2 year seat would be deemed a "different seat" and would have to appear as a separate position on the ballot. It was an opinion of a town attorney that held that the 4 yr seats would still be guaranteed seats and the only seat subject to voter preference would be the 2 yr seat. You feel that a BOE should be totally bipartisan. I disagree and believe a BOE should reflect the will of the voters, whatever that may be, especially when the BoE consumes as much of the Town budget as it does without any kind of line item or general category accountability.
Cindy Katske July 11, 2011 at 03:05 AM
Bill, as one who proudly wears a green button, I did not consider it draconian when the BOE was increased from 6 to 7 seats. Actually, I was on the fence about the change, and I think I voted for it without realizing the effect it would have. I was decidedly unhappy when I saw that one of the results of the change was that the BOE became very partisan where it had not been so with 6 members. That disappointment has led me to vociferously oppose a 9-member BOE, particularly with a potential 6-3 split. To me, if a 4-3 majority is as partisan as it has turned out to be, then a 6-3 split would be disastrous and not in the best interests of the students. As an aside, the CT PTSA advocates for nonpartisan boards of education, which is an idea that I would like to find out more about. This is about the students, after all.
Bill Holden July 11, 2011 at 03:32 AM
Cindy, I don't understand how the current structure is so partisan. I don't attend BoE meetings (or most any governmental meetings anymore) but I have seen that many votes have been decided by a 5 to 2 margin with at least two people from the majority party joining with the members of the minority party to decide the outcome. How is that partisan? (Maybe there is a swing vote and the real alignment is 4 minority party and 3 majority party?) Bottom line is that each BoE member votes what they feel should be done. If the voters don't like how they vote, the voers shoud be able to vote them out. But, even if there were a partisan diide that reflected the will of the people, what is wrong with that? I don't want a few annointed people deciding how much my taxes will increase. The PTSA position, as I understand your comment, calls for the voters to have no voice in who will serve on a BoE.
Cindy Katske July 11, 2011 at 03:54 AM
Bill, maybe you are forgetting that there currently is no majority party on the BOE, nor has there been for some time, and that is completely as a result of partisan politics. As to the PTSA support for nonpartisan boards of education, I believe that the complete opposite of what you state is true. That is, the candidates would NOT be selected by the parties to run, and the candidates would run independently of party labels and party support, resulting in the voters having the entire say in who will serve on a BOE. Please also understand that this is being urged by the state PTSA, not any of our Trumbull PTAs or PTSAs at this time. And, as I stated above, this is something that I would like to look into to find out more information.
Bill Holden July 11, 2011 at 04:20 AM
Cindy, what you are neglecting to mention is that the present BOE was elected as 4 R's and 3 D's. These people do not vote "according to party line." Yes, Mr Kelly changed to unafiliated last fall after distancing himself from the R Party just after being elected. He then re-enrolled in April, after my initial objection, because I do not believe he wants to support R candidates or the party. On the same day, after consultation with the SOTS office he was re-enrolled as I did not want to incur personal expense in defending a potential legal challenge. It wasn't worth it and I can't afford it. I don't know Mr. Lovely's motivation for becoming unaffiliated but I respect it. He has not made a continual habit of attacking the Party which placed him on the ballot. (Remember that the Republican Party has nominated two unafiliated voters since 1999 to be on the ballot.) RE your PTSA proposal, any person or minority party can presently place on the ballot candidates to run for the BoE, resulting in the the voters have the entire say in who will serve on the BoE.
Tom Kelly July 11, 2011 at 11:18 AM
Bill, you are making my point as to exactly HOW partisan the Board of Education is. It's a matter of opinion as to what caused my differences of opinion with the local Republican Party. One of the things that really upset me was within 10 days of the election, before we had even been sworn in. I was told at a meeting of many prominent Republicans that the Herbst administration had not made up their minds yet about class sizes. It was the first time I had ever heard about the possibility of class sizes increasing. When I said it wasn't my initial thinking to raise class sizes, I had a finger pointed right at me and I was told "You'll vote the way we tell you." I will never forget that night. I guess it was an introduction to how politics really works. Or at least how some people think it should work. It's my personal opinion that I was treated incredibly poorly and disrespectfully by people who I worked hard with and with whom I supported. Not everyone in the Republican Party, but several. A large part of the reason for that is because I didn't "tow the line" and do what was expected of me regarding education, or because I advocated for greater funding that our First Selectman recommended. And there were several other people who were treated in similar fashion when they dared to challenge the party insiders. That's my experience, and you made hold a different opinion, which is your right to do.
Thomas Tesoro July 11, 2011 at 04:10 PM
Mr. Holden, if I understand his point, is saying that "the types of people who wore "green buttons" just a couple of months ago are now defending the 7 man BOE, a position they opposed in the past as draconian. If I have that right, Mr. Holden is wrong in his assumptions. I proudly wear one of those "green buttons" (it says "Education is the Foundation") and I do think the increase in the BOE from 6 to 7 was a mistake. It made the Board more political than when a 3 to 3 split was the norm and compromise was essential for the BOE to function. However, I and the other "green button types" do oppose adding more politicians to the BOE. It is not defending the 7member Board just opposing making it 9. Just because a mistake was made in the past does not mean we should extend that mistake further. I would have been very supportive if the Charter Revision Commission either reduced the number back to 6 or raised it to 8 with neither party having more than 4 (3 if you went to 6). The BOE need to get back to being the Board of EDUCATION rather than the Board of Budget, a situation forced on them by the current configuration and the current political climate. Tom
Meg July 12, 2011 at 03:31 PM
Oh thank goodness they want to have THREE secretaries in each elementary school again and another custodian and leave millions of dollars of computer equipment sitting idle in the year 2011. Who impacts students more - secretaries or a computer aide? Please realign your priorities.
Cindy Katske July 12, 2011 at 04:00 PM
SbA, you apparently have incorrect information. The request is to obtain funding to reinstate 2 total secretaries, NOT 2 secretaries per elementary school. There is no intent, nor would there be enough secretaries, to have 3 per elementary school. These secretaries might (and this is just conjecture on my part) become "floaters" who could cover the regular school secretaries' lunch shifts so the front offices wouldn't be empty during that time. We will have to see how the BOE and administration choose to use the 2 secretaries if funding is approved. As for the computer paras, yes, those are also very important positions, but the classroom teachers and the school librarian would be able to bring classes into the computer lab for lessons, so the equipment should not be sitting idle. Of course, that is not an optimal use of the computer equipment, nor is it a preferred method of teaching computer use to the students, but it is better than nothing and we will have to see how it works out.
Meg July 12, 2011 at 05:28 PM
With all due respect staff that educates students should be reinstated first. When the 2 secretaries are reinstated there will once again be THREE in the office of each school. That is ridiculous. Makes Mr. Herbst's 2 secretaries look fair, doesn't it? If you think librarians and teachers bringing classes into the computer lab will work, you really should set foot in a school and see what goes on. I for one will speak against any appropriations for additional technology for schools. That should save some $ in the budget. It seems to me that teaching students computer use is optimal use of staffing, not another body in the office to greet parents. If that's what they're going to use the $ for then I say don't give it back.
Cindy Katske July 12, 2011 at 06:16 PM
Your opinion is certainly a valid one, but there are many people out there who believe very strongly that sports or secretaries should be reinstated first. In my opinion there really is no right or wrong answer, just a difficult balancing act.
Cindy Katske July 12, 2011 at 08:14 PM
SbA, if you look at the BOE budget document at http://www.trumbullps.org/budgets/2011-2012_third.pdf , you will see beginning on p. 5 that each elementary school had one 12-month secretary and one 10-month secretary. As a result of budget reductions, the BOE eliminated the 10-month secretaries, and two of those are on the list of positions to be reinstated if the supplemental appropriation is approved. The elementary schools did not have 3 secretaries before the reductions, and they will not have them if the supplemental is approved. I'm not sure where you are getting your information, but the BOE budget document does not back you up.
Thomas Tesoro July 12, 2011 at 08:37 PM
Unfortunately, there is a great deal of mis-information regarding the term "secretary". I believe some think that these people sit around all day filing their nails. In fact, these paeople work very hard and are essential to their schools. Ms. Janis, Principle at Tashua Elementary has an excelelnt summary of their job duties. Once you read it you will see what I mean. I wonder of anyone can get it and post it here? One other point, I was among the few Democrats who would have let Mr. Herbst have the second secretary. He needs it just as Mr. Baldwin needed it. Mr. Herbst admitted he was in error when he cut it to part time. I believe when a person admits error he should be allowed to correct it. Tom Tesoro
CTPati July 12, 2011 at 09:16 PM
See this for how much better things are when the power of UNIONS is decreased: ..."Now the collective-bargaining agreement is gone, and the school district is free to shop around for coverage. And all of a sudden, WEA Trust has changed its position. 'With these changes, the schools could go out for bids, and, lo and behold, WEA Trust said, 'We can match the lowest bid,"' says Republican state Rep. Jim Steineke, who represents the area and supports the Walker changes. At least for the moment, Kaukauna is staying with WEA Trust but saving substantial amounts of money. "Then there are work rules. 'In the collective-bargaining agreement, high-school teachers had to teach only five periods a day out of seven,' says Arnoldussen. 'Now they're going to teach six.' In addition, the collective-bargaining agreement specified that teachers had to be in the school 37-1/2 hours a week. Now it will be 40 hours. "The changes mean Kaukauna can reduce the size of its classes -- from 31 students to 26 students in high school and from 26 students to 23 students in elementary school. In addition, there will be more teacher time for one-on-one sessions with troubled students. Those changes would not have been possible without the much-maligned changes in collective bargaining."... "In the Kaukauna schools, the world is definitely not falling apart -- it's getting better." http://townhall.com/columnists/byronyork/2011/07/12/wisconsins_controversial_budget_law_begins_to_pay_off
Meg July 12, 2011 at 09:59 PM
Each elementary school has a 12 month secretary, 10 month secretary and full time office aide. That's a lot of paper pushing! There is only one computer aide that teaches every student in the school in addition to a multitude of other duties. I don't need a budget document, I volunteer in the schools on a regular basis and see what's important and what isn't. I say stop reading documents, job descriptions and budget document and set foot in a school and witness what people actually do and get your information first hand. For my $ I want someone that teaches my children, not another body in the office to help parents, PTA, Fathers Club, etc. When in doubt on how to spend $ tie goes to an educator.
Cindy Katske July 12, 2011 at 10:15 PM
I think that each elementary school has one para that the school can use how the principal sees fit. I believe all but one of the elementary schools uses this para in the front office. But the fact remains that if this appropriation is approved, there will not be 3 secretaries in each elementary school. I do volunteer in the schools, but not in the elementary schools for several years now. And I wouldn't call what the office staff does "paper pushing." I'm sure you'll disagree with me on that, but that's fine. And, as I stated before, your opinion as to priorities in spending is certainly a valid one.
Meg July 12, 2011 at 10:36 PM
Cindy, the 'floating' para was cut 2 budgets ago. the aides keep getting cut, cut, cut hurting too many students and those that don't work with students remain. There are 3, yes 3, full time women (call them what you want) in the office all day, every day, that do not work with students. And we wonder why CAPT scores are dropping? Maybe Herbst was right to cut BOE budget if this is the way they spend $. just my opinion
Cindy Katske July 12, 2011 at 11:58 PM
I was not talking about the second para that was cut a couple of years ago. And I'm not going to continue to go back and forth on this with you. It's just that when you wrote 3 secretaries, I assumed you meant 3 secretaries, so the conversation got off on the wrong foot. And once again, your opinion is valid, but there are many differing opinions and I don't think anyone can say which is the "right" one.
Momof3 July 14, 2011 at 02:54 PM
SbA- I find your comments regarding the school secretaries as offensive- I too am often in the elementary schools volunteering time and have yet to see any of them "pencil pushing." When you refer to "greeting parents" I view that as keeping our hallways and our schools safe and secure. I for one, would like to know that someone is always aware of who is walking into the school and into our classrooms.This cost money. I also view these "pencil pushers" as the structure that allows our teachers and staff to not have to do so much of exactly that- would you rather our classroom teachers be pushing those pencils and xerox buttons or focusing on the educational needs of the students inside the classroom? It would be a more ineffective use of school funding to be paying our teachers to push those pencils, would it not? Furthermore, I would think it would disturb you to walk into a student bathroom and smell urine, or into a cafeteria and see and smell stale food, or through the classrooms and see pencil shavings and paper debris throughout the classrooms from a previous day. A clean, safe environment for my kids to learn in, is just as, if not more so important than any other. So do not discount the need for custodians. Anyone who is so bold to speak in such a way should consider walking in the shoes of anyone of these employees for a day before commenting from behind a budget allocating funds, where people become $$$ instead of the hard working people that they are.
Chris July 14, 2011 at 03:41 PM
Momof3 - For the amount of money teachers bring home they should definitely make their own copies and push their own pencils. Their day should not be finished at 3:30 yet the parking lots are empty at that time. If I am busy at work I go in early and stay late and so should they. if parents brought up their kids to pick up after themselves we wouldn't need a bounty of janitors to pick up after them. Why should there be food, pencil shavings and paper all over the floor. My kids were taught to pick up what they dropped. They were also taught to aim in the bathroom. And who uses pencils anymore? Trumbull students because computers aren't important secretaries and janitors are.
Thomas Tesoro July 14, 2011 at 04:12 PM
Chris, I think you are badly misinformed. If you think a teachers day ends at 3:30pm, please think again. I have several teachers in my family and they all take home work, such as papers or tests to be corrected, they plan the next day's lessons etc. Every evening, after taking care of their families, they do this work and they do it virtually every day. Teachers earn every dollar they make and why shouldn't they be paid? They are professionals, many with advanced degrees and their job is to prepare the next generation to be productive and contributing citizens to our Nation. I happen to place a high value on that. I wonder when teachers became the enemy, probably when some venial politician found he could agitate the uninformed for his/her personal benefit. I can't speak for everyone but, other than my family, my teachers have had the greatest influence on my life. I thank them for it and I respect them for what they do. As for why some children do not pick up after themselves, that is not the fault of the teachers but it is a situation they have to deal with. Tom Tesoro

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