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FIRE DEPARTMENT BUS TRIP FAIR GAME FOR SCRUTINY … TWO LETTERS FROM DEEP INSIDE PITTSFIELD PUBLIC SCHOOL REFLECT DISMAY AND DISCONTENT WITH RAY OF HOPE, MAYBE, VIA STATE D.O.E. …

By DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, WEDNESDAY, MAY 30, 2012) — To clarify our commentary on yesterday’s PLANET regarding the fire department’s bus trip to NYC, by no means do we indict anyone or cast aspersions on anyone in that heroic line of work. We add that the men in the department know each other better than anyone. Only they can judge their actions, whether honorable or dishonorable.

PITTSFIELD FIRE DEPARTMENT: Heat is on over NYC bus trip.

We have merely served as a conduit for a few good Jakes who, according to what they said, we embarrassed by a few of their colleagues on the “911″ bus trip to and from NYC. The official response, from the union head and a PFD lieutenant, made claims contrary to what these Jakes are saying. Using reason and logic, we can see no motive why members of the department would accuse their fellows of unruly behavior unless such behavior went over the line.

Men and boys engaging in hijinx and horseplay is nothing new and to be expected. Going over the line by getting out of line is unacceptable, especially if it occurs by uniformed personnel representing the city out of town at a solemn occasion.

The Boys on the Bus

Like all patriarchal heirarchies that employ a chain-of-command governance, the Pittsfield Fire Department — as do the Army, the Catholic priesthood, and a baseball team — employs a ranking based on many factors. Pecking order aside, though, it boils down to this: Who are the “go to” guys and who are the slackers? Who busts his rear for the organization and who goldbricks? Who do you want covering your backside and who don’t you want going into the burning building with you? Who represents the organization with class and who disrespects the uniform?

Twenty-five fire fighters went down on the bus to NYC, only a small and likely misrepresentative fraction of the force. Almost 70% of the force chose not to take the trip. Moreover, not all of those who went were pleased with the behavior on the bus.

What happened in NYC, in their time away from the 911 Memorial? What followed on the rowdy bus ride home?

THE PLANET doesn’t have the time, the resources, or the interest in probing this further. We don’t know definitively which version of that bus trip can be counted on as the most reliable. We wonder, though, that if there’s even a possibility  his men might have acted in a less than exemplary fashion while in their dress uniforms, no less, would Acting Fire Chief Bob Czerwinski want to find out the answer?

We can’t imagine a self-respecting department head who is in it for the right reasons not wanting to investigate. If the chief does not investigate the bus trip, a reasonable person can only assume that Czerwinski condones behavior that, if it occurred in front of civilian witnesses, would be grounds for dismissal.

Czerwinski: Shrinking Away from His Responsibility … Is This ‘Leadership?’

If that is the case, Czerwinski makes a good case for his own replacement, since he would not be fit to run the department. When THE PLANET had an inside source reporting on developments taking place during secret negotiations between the city of Pittsfield and the fire fighters union, we received an upbraiding letter from union head Tim Bartini and Czerwinski.

We found it odd that the union head and the chief would share signatory duties in a letter of umbrage, but both made the point that if we ever needed official comment, only get in touch. Bartini, we can say, has lived up to that. He has answered every call we’ve made and even volunteered information when not requested, as he has done in this case. We respect that. Czerwinski, on the other hand, made the bold claim about manning up in commentary, only to disregard our requests.

He’s the chief, but he doesn’t want the responsibility of leadership. He’s the spokesman, but he doesn’t want to be quoted. He’s the figurehead, but he doesn’t want to be seen. Czerwinski acts like a man who has risen to his level of incompetence, a classic Peter Principle “leader.”

THE PLANET shares this information because we love the fire department. We have a number of personnel there who have taken our courses at the college. We have found them to be solid people. We side with the majority of men who do not like being represented by those who only give less-than-stellar performance that may border on the reprehensible.

This is not 1958. You don’t harass women by yelling out explicit references to their frontal anatomy.

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TWO LETTERS TO THE EDITOR ADDRESS ‘STENCH’ IN PITTSFIELD PUBLIC SCHOOLS

PHS: What goes on under The Dome?

THE PLANET received a couple Letters to the Editor regarding the Pittsfield School Department and School Committee. These letters were penned by two authors who are connected deep inside the PSD and who express dire concerns over department management. We have protected their identities to save their jobs. We commend our writers for their commitment to driving improvement in the public schools. Again, as always, letters published on THE PLANET do not necessarily reflect the editorial views of this website:

‘Why Was Christine Canning Wilson Not Given a Chance?’

Christine Canning Wilson would have been worth a close look for sure by the PPS. The school committee made it a priority to keep her application for the superintendent’s job a well-kept secret. They wanted to hide how qualified she was. Why? The party line when Ms. Wilson applied for the Superintendent’s job was that her FAX missed the deadline, yet they blatantly accepted a clearly late application from someone else, who turned out to be a GOB.  There was a Boring Broadsheet article around Dec. 9, 2009 reporting the Canning-McNally lawsuit. It has since been taken down. What a coincidence. Looking at her Christine’s resume, which was posted online, it blows my mind that she never even got a second look? The FIX/NIX is in.” — Must Run

Thank you, Must Run. Here’s another letter on the same topic:

Mucky-Mucks are ‘Getting Angry and Uncomfortable’

Why has the state Department of Education sent Peter(?) Bianchi and Kim Roberts-Morandi, to monitoring positions within the Pittsfield Public Schools? Why has their presence been kept so much a secret? What are Bianchi and Roberts-Morandi doing there? Kim has been in place since Sept. 20, 2010. Not sure of Bianchi’s starting date.

Their job? Ostensibly, it’s to “assist principals and teachers in schools” that have been and still are failing and not making the grade. Such appointments are not unusual in and of themselves. However, everyone in the PPS, from top to bottom, knows Kim and Mr. Bianchi both work for the DOE. They do not have to answer to the top mucky-mucks in the PPS, which has made the mucky mucks angry and uncomfortable. 

It is believed in the trenches that the two state employees are on hand to muck out “the Mercer Barn” [EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the writer's reference to the Pittsfield School Department HQ in the old Mercer School building on First and Orchard streets]. This Mr. Bianchi is married to the ex-principal of Williams Elementary School. She was fired last year, on what grounds we do not know, but she feels she was very much disrespected and humiliated by Jake [Supt. Howard "Jake" Eberwein III] in public and private on many levels. Something smells here. The dirty smear campaign conducted by the Administration against this woman is sickeningly compounded by the tragic death of her teenage son a little more than a year before.

You only get promoted in the Pittsfield schools of you are a GOB or a GOB puppet. Successful administrators in PPS are mediocre staff who don’t question anything and are “yes” people without a brain. They stay in mid-level positions a long, long time with a lot of slacking off.

Getting fired is a luxury saved for those who dare to start sniffing around to find the source of the stench that every good employee of the department knows is there but is afraid to speak out.

Many in the know believe Kim and Mr. B have been key to the state’s slowly untangling and narrowing in on the multiple stenches coming from the Pittsfield schools that have been, as far as the DOE is concerned, been going on for too long a time. As for the superintendent search, it is possible that the School Committee doesn’t see that it’s tying its own noose. I don’t know, but in my opinion, it is only a matter of time before the state DOE will discover a mass grave site in Mercer. — BWF

We thank our letter writers. In between the lines of both these letters is the sense that the Pittsfield School Department is rife with tension, division, and mismanagement. Our sense is that there are a lot of good, talented, caring staffers who resent the culture of silence that has descended over the department. We hear of threats against anyone found leaking information, and worse.

The impression one receives is this: Certain members of the School Department (this includes administrators, teachers, staffers, and school committee members) fear the wheels will come off the speeding bus prior to budget approval. We ask a question: Is the plan to get the budget funded at all costs before the situation blows sky-high and taxpayers force politicians to come to their fiscal senses?

THE PLANET invites letters on any topic.

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PITTSFIELD SCHOOLS’ PERFORMANCE MEDIOCRE AT BEST. IS THAT WORTH $90 MILLION? THAT’S A GREAT QUESTION COME BUDGET TIME

According to the watchdog website www.schooldigger.com, overall the Pittsfield Public Schools rank 238 of 332 districts in the state, even though per capita spending for its 6,072 students ranks near the top. The ranking means that despite record spending ($14,822.13 per pupil in 2011-2011), Pittsfield schools trail 71% of all districts in the state.

At the high school level, it gets worse. Pittsfield High School ranks 295 out of 354 high schools in the state, which means that PHS trails 84% of Bay State high schools.

These  figures should come to mind  prior to the school department budget appearing before taxpayers via their Profiles in Courage on the City Council and the School Committee. Mayor Dan Bianchi needs to lead by example. Here’s a good place to start: Order a 10% cut across the board in the bottom line budget and make that work. It can, you know.

Leave it to the teachers’ union and the administration how to work with the new numbers: Either negotiate terms that are 10% more favorable to taxpayers or begin cutting jobs. In other words, treat it like any other $90 million business that’s losing almost $4 million a year to the competition (though school choice) and that’s producing an inferior product.

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THE FEATHERS OF THE WILLOW HAVE YET TO TURN YELLOW, WHILE ABOVE THE SWELLING STREAM, WE ARE LOVING OUR LIFE WITH THE DIVINE, AND OUR ‘DREAM WITHIN A DREAM’

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE”

LOVE TO ALL.

 

55 Responses to “FIRE DEPARTMENT BUS TRIP FAIR GAME FOR SCRUTINY … TWO LETTERS FROM DEEP INSIDE PITTSFIELD PUBLIC SCHOOL REFLECT DISMAY AND DISCONTENT WITH RAY OF HOPE, MAYBE, VIA STATE D.O.E. …”

  1. bobbyd
    May 30, 2012 at 7:07 am #

    It is appalling to us that your letter writer from deep inside PSD does not even know who John Bianchi and Kim Morandi are. They are personnel from the Berkshire District and School Assistance Center (DSAC). John is the math specialist, and Kim is the data specialist.

    There are 6 such centers in the state. Their specific mandate is to assist Level 3 and 4 schools/districts with developing and implementing improvement strategies. They provide resources and professional development at no additional cost to the school district.

    “Each District and School Assistance Center Team is led by a Regional Assistance Director, a part-time recently retired superintendent, who works with a small assistance team of a former principal, a data specialist, a mathematics specialist, and a literacy specialist. The DSAC teams collaborate with districts to assess their strengths and needs, facilitate access to resources and professional development, establish partnerships and networks, and deliver individualized assistance for the region’s districts.”

    DSAC personnel are not spies. They can’t hire and fire. They are state-level consultants whose function is to assist with school improvement. Instead of bitching that they are here, people should be happy that Pittsfield is availing themselves of this valuable resource at no additional cost to the school department.

    For more information, see the DSAC page on the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education website: http://www.doe.mass.edu/apa/sss/support/teams.htm.

    • Home Run
      May 30, 2012 at 10:05 am #

      bobbyd

      As you know so much about this. When you get off work at 4, can you come back here and explain to US ( the tax payer) What a level 3/4 school district is . We know your love for words and very long boring pointless arguments, therefore try to keep it brief.

      In fact let US help you out . …

      Answer the question below with a ‘yes or no ‘ answer.

      A level 3/4 school is a failing school.

      Correct answer for readers/ taxpayers ( YES)

      Note from teacher- bobbyd Your quiz will be corrected in two weeks.

      • bobbyd
        May 30, 2012 at 7:15 pm #

        My contract day ends at 2:35, but I seldom actually confine my work to contract time.

        Level 3 schools are the bottom 20% of schools in terms of performance. Level 4 schools are schools are a subset of Level 3 schools that have been identified as persistently underperforming schools and, by law, can comprise up to 4% of schools in the state. Districts are leveled based on their lowest performing schools.

        Just how things will shake out with the new accountability system remains to be seen.

        Pittsfield currently has three Level 3 schools and is, therefore, a Level 3 district. There is a LOT of work to do here, but good things are happening. DSAC is an invaluable resource in making this happen. FINALLY the state realized that it’s not enough to let schools know they are failing, they are bringing resources to bear to help make necessary changes.

        • danvalenti
          May 30, 2012 at 9:49 pm #

          The public has been hearing some version of “Yes, we have some issues, but a lot of good things are happening” for a generation now in Pittsfield. Bromides and blanket generalities are the smoke screens with which the school apologists have been able to maintain a stranglehold on the budget without having to worry about performance. Now that the information is coming out, the public is beginning to catch on. To use your own words, bobby: “The internet has democratized communications, and that is exciting.” Now, if you will answer one question: Why do you not post under your real name? Why do you feel you have to have an assumed identity?

          • Home Run
            May 30, 2012 at 11:33 pm #

            Dan ,

            As the answer to your question is long over due. Please permitt us to help revel bobby’s idenity .

            He works at a middle school near BMC
            He is not a teacher
            He keeps his office in the basement of the school
            building to remain out of the fray.

            He is frequently known as the MCAS Data wizard as he can get data to tell any tale you wish.
            He’s prior job involved photographs
            Despite what he says… He does maintain several different relationship roles with people down in Mercer.

            Of course, we base all this on pure speculation and baseless rumors. In fact, to say otherwise could get us sued. Also we live by the school motto, ‘never ask and never ever tell’ without being told to so.

            Because we can’t ask nor tell….
            I guess Bobby’s idenity will have to remain a mystery to us.

          • bobbyd
            May 31, 2012 at 4:34 am #

            Homerun,

            A few of your “facts” are correct. I’ll let you check with your inerrant sources to determine which ones.

        • Just a Thought!
          May 30, 2012 at 11:00 pm #

          To summerize and rephrase

          1. Pittsfield school system has 3 schools in the district that fall in the bottom 20% of the state with regards to student performance through out the state. This is despite a very high expenditure level by the city tax payers.

          2. PPS has three schools that are level 3 schools therefore, by state standards Pittsfield School District is failing school system. ( this label is given by the state and is not a label given by some Planet Blogger)

          3. The solution.

          - Change the yard stick used to measure our schools by recreating accountability measures

          - and throw more money at the problem by bringing in more people to try solve the problem.

          Note: In fairness the points made in number three are government based solutions and not solutions provided by PPS. However, a critic can easily see the flaws in these solutions. The facts still remain, Pittsfield, despite a very supportive budget from the city is considered a failing district. Yet it continues to be difficult to get our school leaders to accecpt a level of accountability.

          Solution:, seek accountability , seek good value for our city’s financial Investment, and stop throwing even more money at the problem.

    • Home Run
      May 30, 2012 at 10:17 am #

      bobbyd

      Does professional development for Mercer staff include playing on the computer at work and selling the public the a false bill of goods.

      A false bill of goods that tries to hide the fact that Pittsfield Schools are in the bottom of the barrel compared to other state districts . Yet pay one of the highest state averages per student.

      I say we as tax payers should have PPS close the gravy train down and start again from scratch.

      Just think of all the free time you would then have to play on the computer bobbyd

      • bobbyd
        May 30, 2012 at 7:23 pm #

        I wouldn’t know what PD people from Mercer get.

        If you really want to know how Pittsfield stacks up, do your own analysis.

        http://profiles.doe.mass.edu/profiles/general.aspx?topNavId=1&orgcode=00000000&orgtypecode=0&

        http://profiles.doe.mass.edu/state_report/ppx.aspx

        Then, actually get involved to make things better!

        • Home Run
          May 30, 2012 at 9:23 pm #

          I am involved bobbyd. I help pay for your position in PPS. I also seek answers and look for accountability in the school system I help support. Despite your need to be only surrounded by ‘Yes’ men is of no consequence to me.

          The fact that you get so irritated when questions are asked is a symptom of the entitlement the school seems to feels over the citizens of this city.

          It is also a symptom of the begrudging manner with which you treat those in the public who wish to be involved by seeking accountability from the school system.

          It even seems that you get irritated and begrudge anyone in the public who my have an opinion that does not readily align with a full endorsement of the ‘bill of goods’ you try promote.

          So bobbyd, I am very much involved and despite your irritation with me I am very much involved in helping to provide part of the solution of improving our city’s schools.

          The fact that you don’t recognize me as already being actively Involved because I dare to ask questions is part of the problem with PPS.

          The general view by those in a leadership role in PPS of those of us who dare to ask questions and who fail to follow blindly is one of complete distain.

          In reality, it has been this lack of accountability and a culture of PPS expecting to be provided a blank check by the city which has lead to far too much complacency and sense if entitlement within our schools.

          I would even go as far as saying bobbyd that is you and your sense of entitlement that continues to play a very large role in the failure of our schools. You are actually a huge part of the problem and not part of the solution.

          For this reason I will continue to be involved by asking questions and seeking accountability and thus making things better.

    • Pittsfield Pete
      May 30, 2012 at 11:04 am #

      In your own words bobbyd

      They are here To ‘assist with school improvement’ . I guess you guys down at Merecer had to call in the big guns to ‘improve ‘our schools as they sure are failing. You are so right, I am glad they are here, I am not complaining at all.

      Just think of the worse shape we would be in if these two were not here! I say we call that agency they come from and we get a boat load more of these guys from DESE. We could get them right after we give all you guys a one way boat ride out of town.

    • danvalenti
      May 30, 2012 at 5:28 pm #

      bobbyd
      Thanks for supplying Mr. Bianchi’s first name. That’s why we included a [?] after the name as originally written.

  2. Teecha Teecha
    May 30, 2012 at 7:18 am #

    As a former PPS employee (and adams too) it’s wonderful to read what is on these blogs and be able to breathe with a sigh of relief… I got out while I had the chance. It’s absurd how much money goes into salaries and such. A perfect example is Barabara Galanak in East Longmeadow who is now labeled “the bully teacher”. She’s been doing it for years with a blind eye turned, They posted her current salary as, wait for it, $75K +

    Go unions!

    • Pittsfield Pete
      May 30, 2012 at 10:46 am #

      A bully teacher? They now have laws against student bullies.

      We the public should have laws against union bullies. The UEP does indeed , bully the public in the form of constant pay increases. From what I hear from some teachers in the schools, some UEP high level reps are Bullies to students and other teachers too.

      Let’s pass a law against The UEP union bullies in Pittsfield.

      What did some prior poster call some of them? Oh yeah! ‘Goons’ was the word used. They are ‘UEP Bully Goons’

      • bobbyd
        May 30, 2012 at 7:25 pm #

        And we’re paying now for last year’s raise with staffing cuts. Dan Elias warned it would happen.

        • danvalenti
          May 30, 2012 at 9:44 pm #

          That’s a choice the schools have to make: Pay raises versus employment. With the public catching on with what’s happening in public education, this will continue to be a more urgent choice. The schools brought this upon themselves.

        • Home Run
          May 30, 2012 at 10:02 pm #

          OMG ! Bobbyd So True! For the first time we agree!

          The burden of this falls squarely on the school comm’s shoulders. With the exception of Dan in this case, it is the fault of the school comm’ failing to seek accountability and by providing the blank check without thinking of the long term consequences.

          It has been this pervasive culture of constant short sightedness and complacency by The school comm’ and PPS leaders that has created our failing schools.

          The solution to building the great school system WE All wish to have actually lies in the school comm’ asking the difficult and unpopular questions, and daring to hold people accountable.

          This equally requires a willingness by those in school leadership positions to have an openness and a desire to answer the difficult questions. As opposed to most now who seem to get angry and resentful when asked such questions. This resentment seems to stem from a sense of mistrust, entitlement, and begrugging attitude towards those who wish to seek accountability.

          If the school comm continues to be agreeable and complacent and our school leaders contiue to resist and resent accountability , well then our school system will only continue to crumble.

          • Chet Murphy
            May 31, 2012 at 4:21 am #

            Home Run You make fun of Bobbyd for not useing his real name yet you don’t use your name. Who is the bigger phoney?

          • bobbyd
            May 31, 2012 at 4:36 am #

            Chet:

            And the funny part is, it’s my real name.

    • Just a Thought!
      May 30, 2012 at 3:54 pm #

      Why go do far away as Longmeadow? We have our own school administrators who are inflated salary ‘ city taxpayer guzzlers’…I can think of at least 5 in mercer who earn 90 ,000 plus abd for what?

      Compared to Pittsfield the 75,000 bully in Longmeadow is a bargain .

      • danvalenti
        May 30, 2012 at 9:50 pm #

        People are beginning to see the light!

      • teecha teecha
        May 31, 2012 at 4:58 am #

        One of my points being it’s absurd how much money teachers make in the public sector and what they are allowed to get away with due to unions.

        A great film to watch is “waiting for Superman” about the D.C. education crisis. Learn about the ‘rubber room’

        we pay $70k or more for teachers full salaries to sit in rooms and read magazines cause legally the union can’t fire them for what seemed to be serious infractions from harassment to inappropriateness with a student.

        Get rid of the unions and pay based on performance!

        • levitan
          May 31, 2012 at 6:19 am #

          If you missed my post a few days ago, this edition of the New Yorker is a in depth article about what an administrator faces when trying to work with the Union.
          http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/08/31/090831fa_fact_brill

          The union of today is a perversion of the original concept which was a means of providing leverage to a workforce that would otherwise be exploited beyond reason. Today, it would appear the Union is exploiting it’s power to the detriment of the educational institution.

          • K-Man
            May 31, 2012 at 7:22 am #

            What an enlightening article. I recommend the New Yorker peice to everyone who has an interest in public education. Thank you for sharing this Levitan.

        • levitan
          June 1, 2012 at 7:49 am #

          You’re welcome K-Man.

          I re-read it and found interesting Obama’s administration’s challenge to the Teacher’s Union. Arne Duncan apparently has a strong record on challenging their policy on tenure and teacher evaulation, and I would be interested to know how Race to the Top is influencing the state’s negotiating power with the Union.

          For educational reform, Obama seems to be on the right path in continuing GWB’s policies that began with student testing.

  3. K-Man
    May 30, 2012 at 8:03 am #

    Great job DV. Bobbyd, you contradict yourself. You call Bianchi and Morandi city employees and then later you admit Valenti got it right by his sources, they are “state level consultants.” Admit it, your real problem is that you guys can’t control are the garbage going on inside the PSD. Anyone with email is now a correspondent.

    • bobbyd
      May 30, 2012 at 8:06 am #

      They are not city employees. (Where did you get that from what I wrote?) They are part of the Berkshire DSAC. Read it again and then consult the link at the end of the post to see what DSAC is.

      • Home Run
        May 30, 2012 at 10:08 am #

        bobbyd

        Stop playing on the computer down in Merecer and stop blogging while at work….

        Get busy bobbyd.. Do something for your inflated salary

      • Just a Thought!
        May 30, 2012 at 3:26 pm #

        bobbyd

        Data shows

        …..even though per capita spending for its 6,072 students ranks near the top. The ranking means that despite record spending ($14,822.13 per pupil in 2011-2011), Pittsfield schools trail 71% of all districts in the state……

        Q. Can you give us one of you long boring answers that can account for the data quoted above?

        It could be that Pittsfield Tax payers are being charged way too much for a top heavy system of GOB’s who get angry at the mention of accountability.

        Or.. It could be a system where The UEP takes care of themselves and care little about education and the public tax payer.

        Or.. It could be the school comm is so filled with GOB’s who have the IQ of a 60 watt light bulb that the Sch’ dept has remained unaccountable for years.

        Or .. It could be all if the above and then some.

        Either way… The quality of education in Pittsfield Schools as shown by poor student performance really stinks and yet we as tax payers pay top dollar.

        Sounds like a rip off to me!
        What’s your reasoning for this data bobbyd?

        • bobbyd
          May 30, 2012 at 7:34 pm #

          I’m not sure where that number is coming from. It is not on any data table I have access to. The official tables show Pittsfield to be the 30th largest district, having the 27th largest total expenditures.

          The official tables for 2010-2011 show a per student expenditure of $12,694 which is 167th out of 329. Even if we compared apples to oranges and accepted $14,822.13 as gospel, that would reflect 87th place.

          Pittsfield Public Schools is not perfect by any means. A LOT of work needs to be done. But creating more heat than light is NOT productive.

          • danvalenti
            May 30, 2012 at 9:43 pm #

            The information comes from the website cited in the article, information from the state DOE, and enrollment figures from the Pittsfield public Schools.

          • bobbyd
            May 31, 2012 at 4:38 am #

            Dan:

            Is it info for 2010-2011 or 2011-2012. I haven’t looked at this year’s figured yet.I would like to, though.

  4. tito
    May 30, 2012 at 9:52 am #

    What is the big deal with the PPFD. So what there was a little beer involved. It would be anti American not to salute and have a couple of beers for fallen heroes. This wasn’t a hookie hauler for krist sakes!

    • Pittsfield Pete
      May 30, 2012 at 10:27 am #

      Tito

      When is it ever appropriate to act like a drunken cave man let lose on NYC. Especially when representing a city’s Fire Dept. The fact that it was ment to be a tribuite to Fallen Heros is even worse.

      I would think such an event would be a somber and sobering one. Instead these guys made fools of a Fiire Dept, themselves and our city in general.

      If you wish to act like a drunken caveman let lose in the big smoke For a day, do it on your own reputation and don’t drag Fallen Heros Our city and our city’s fire Dept into it.

      These guys should be so ashamed for riding on the backs of these 9/11 fallen Heros.

    • levitan
      May 30, 2012 at 12:43 pm #

      Agreed. Wanted to celebrate the Day with a WWII vet and was frustrated that the liquor stores were closed. How silly is that?

    • Scott
      May 31, 2012 at 4:34 am #

      I don’t get it either.

  5. Home Run
    May 30, 2012 at 9:56 am #

    bobbyd

    You seem to know So, so much information about the personnel at Mercer. You also state… ‘It is appalling to US that your letter writer does not know…’

    I and perhaps others, but I just can’t put words in their mouth, would like to know who the ‘US you refer to are?

    From here it sounds like you along with others ( hence the usiform US) are sitting around in Mercer reading The Planet and then complaining. WE as tax payers find this appalling as it seems you even speak for a collaborative …I dare say ‘WE’ as tax payers sincerley hope you are not on our dime sitting around in Mercer discussing how unfair The Planet has been.

    By the looks of those failing figures outlined by Dan above… You. and by that I mean the collective YOU have much work to do.

    Now please don’t respond until at t least after 4 pm. As ‘WE’ the tax payers know you are on the clock right now.

    After 4 there will be enough time for your belly aching and exhaustive boring arguments.

    PS- if any one should be complaining it should be US … The tax payer.

    Also, at least try to look busy bobbyd, try to pretend to do some work.

    • bobbyd
      May 30, 2012 at 8:58 pm #

      We refer only to ourself when using the word “us.”

      We don’t know if anyone at Mercer pays attention to TP. We haven’t asked and haven’t been told.

      • Just a Thought!
        May 30, 2012 at 10:21 pm #

        Sounds to me bobbyd that you are the perfect little worker in The Pittsfield Public Schools.

        What ever you do ‘ don’t ever ask and always wait to be told’ from those down in Mercer. With this motto you will continue to rise to the top.

        By the way Bobbyd…. You blew your cover!!! On another planet your real idenity goes by the initials of … . M.W or the data wizard of Reid who keeps his office in the basement to avoid interacting with teachers and students.

        M.W sure is a good minion who indeed would ‘never dare ask and would always wait to be told’ by the chiefs in Mercer.

  6. Pittsfield Pete
    May 30, 2012 at 10:36 am #

    GM

    In my opinion Paraxis 33 …as vile a sniveling little creature as he is …well he is not costing the city any money.

    I would argue, that it is time to expose those masquerading as educators / administrators in our school dept.

    They care little for our city tax payers or our kid’s education. Yet like Paraxis 33 they too pollute our news sites / media with dribble.

    Let’s spend our time exposing these individuals instead of some very mentally ill person who is off their meds.

  7. John Amuso
    May 30, 2012 at 12:07 pm #

    Dan I know I was on the bus but please tell the PFD Im not a rat !

    • danvalenti
      May 30, 2012 at 9:51 pm #

      I can vouch: John Amuso, PFD, is not a source for THE PLANET.

  8. Just a Thought!
    May 30, 2012 at 3:41 pm #

    You two fools need to get a life! You both make about as much sense as a Pittsfield school comm meeting. However, I will admit the school comm meetings are highly amusing. Especailly love when Jake keeps his head down in his laptop while typing , only to come up now and again to make some stupid announcement.

    It is amusing , until you realize it is not some pretend soap opera, but rather a bunch of real baffons spending close to 90 million of the tax payers dollars for a failing school system.

    The kicker is when they get angry at anyone who dares to question them and their spending habits.

    When you remember this is not make believe, Well that’s when you just want to cry !

    • dusty
      May 31, 2012 at 1:59 am #

      and it puts salt in the wound if you are a senior citizen who has paid these ridiculous taxes and never had or will have a child in the system

      good money after bad…..if this were the private sector the Pittsfield school system would have gone out of business a long time ago

      Do these school committee people realize they are on tv and that they are embarrassing themselves and their families by their idiotic self serving behavior?

  9. Joe Blow
    May 30, 2012 at 6:57 pm #

    I think Heller & Stevens sound like a couple 2 year olds.

    • danvalenti
      May 30, 2012 at 9:50 pm #

      That fued has been taken down as something to be settled between the two of them.

      • Scott
        May 31, 2012 at 4:37 am #

        Thank you.

  10. bobbyd
    May 30, 2012 at 7:40 pm #

    The internet has democratized communications, which is exciting. It’s sad to see a site with such potential reduce itself to the lowest common denominator and squander its opportunity to make a real difference. :/

    • danvalenti
      May 30, 2012 at 9:42 pm #

      Au contraire, Bobby. If this site did as you portray, you wouldn’t bother trying to hard to counter the information we have been sharing. This site has elevated public awareness by appealing to the highest unique factor, which is the truth. We are capitalizing on the opportunity to have real impact, as our growing readerships attests.

      • bobbyd
        May 31, 2012 at 4:43 am #

        I’m not much into countering anything, but just correcting the incorrect facts, which, by definition, are not the truth. The “facts” you portray are usually rumor and innuendo, and I have yet to see a correction when your “facts” are wrong.

        I have a great deal of respect for investigative journalism. What I generally see on here is neither “investigative” nor “journalism.” It’s rumormongering pure and simple. And you wonder why the people in power ignore you.

        Check your “facts” and stick to the truth. It would be truly powerful.

        • Chet Murphy
          May 31, 2012 at 6:00 am #

          Bobbyd I could not say it any better! You hit it 100% This site is 100% rumormongering and when Dan is wrong he never admits it.

  11. tito
    May 31, 2012 at 3:17 am #

    North St. Is blocked off today, many pavement loaders ready to do the roads with rocks all over the road from the trucks pinging the cars, best to do business elsewhere.

  12. tito
    May 31, 2012 at 3:34 am #

    PittsfieldPete
    have it on great authority the firefighters acted responsibly……

  13. taxmano
    May 31, 2012 at 5:32 am #

    Did anyone see Jake III’s spin on his proposed school budget, calling it “very responsible.”
    Then, Alfie said PPS’s frugal spending should be commended, an assertion Jake quickly agreed with, of course.
    My favorite part, though, was when Jake mentioned Capeless with a straight face.

  14. Joe T
    June 6, 2012 at 9:47 am #

    Dan,

    So the state reports average spending per pupil for Pittsfield below the median in the state @ $12,474 with the state median @ $13,055.

    You report the average Pittsfield spending per student as well over $14k. I think because there is another ~$30M in school maintenance spending that is not included in the Pittsfield budget, correct?

    Do you know if other school districts include building maintenance in their budgets or structure the budget line items similar to Pittsfield?

    thanks,