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SCHOOL MINUTES OUT OF DATE … LITTLE WIN ON SCHOOL DEPARTMENT BUDGET SMALL CONSOLATION FOR BEDRAGGLED TAXPAYERS … EBERWEIN ADMITS TO USING FEDERAL FUNDS TO BALANCE SPENDING … MEANWHILE, TEACHERS UNION WILL SQUEEZE THE LITTLE GUY FOR $1.25 MILLION IN RAISES AND COST-OF-LIVING ALLOWANCES in FY13

By DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, TUESDAY, MAY 15, 2012) — Before we begin, THE PLANET let’s you know that the school committee meeting minutes have not been posted for April 11, 25, and May 9. Is it too much to ask from a department taking $90 million of a $130 million budget to post minutes in a timely manner. Would it, as Tevye asks, “spoil some vast, eternal plan?”

A Blade of Grass Grows, and Once in a while We Can Enjoy a Tiny Victory

Incremental progress can seem infuriating, maddened as we often find ourselves by the eternal hurry of life, a condition brought on by screened devices that divide time into nanoseconds. Nonetheless, when we take the position of a blade of grass, we can view progress differently. Slow growth indicates the progression of a process.

Jake Eberwein: Now that he soon will be out of the Pittsfield schools, he finally admits to budgetary truth.

Thus, THE PLANET read with satisfaction the admission of outgoing Pittsfield School Supt. Jake Eberwein of the true nature of the school budget. For years, the superintendent’s office has only mentioned the operating budget when discussing the budget. The Boring Broadsheet still refers to the operating budget as the school department’s cost to taxpayers, perpetuating the lie that had, prior to THE PLANET’s steady hammering, been accepted as truth. The school budget, of course, includes not just the operating costs ($54.3 million for FY12) but ancillary spending for employee health insurance benefits, maintenance, and transportation costs ($28.4 million). The school department budget, therefore, is $82.7 million, not $54.3 million).

Truth in Advertising, or, Taxpayers Get Kicked in the Ass

That’s the figure Eberwein used in presenting to the school committee at the April 25. He called the $28.4 million the “back side” costs of running the department. We use the same language, differently phrased: These costs assure taxpayers of getting kicked in the ass.

“We know the insurance costs and pension costs are real burdens,” Eberwein said to committee members. Indeed, the unfunded mandates due to such benefits amount to a staggering amount for city taxpayers (roughly $400 million). What Jake didn’t say, however, and perhaps what Dr. Reza Namin would have taken on (though we can only dream), is that both pension reform and insurance re-negotiations could trim millions from the budget, (a) leaving school department employees still with benefits that those in the Dreaded Private Sector and (b) giving bedraggled taxpayers critical relief.

It won’t happen now. Doctor Namin isn’t going to be walking through the door anytime soon, and the GOB who control the schools will make sure come budget time to bleat, whine, and tell us that their raises will be for “the children.”

Eberwein’s admission went without fanfare and little public notice, though it represented a small victory for We the People. Let’s keep our heads, though, and realize the only reason Jake came clean, finally, about the budget is that he’s on his way out, and this type of “honesty” will look good in his new position (rumored to be as director of education at Hillcrest School for wayward juveniles).

Framing School Department Money Matters Matters

Nearly 70% of the entire city budget goes to schools, yet City Hall (seen here) keeps awfully quiet on the lack of performance.

How we frame the money discussion is critical, as one of the posters on yesterday’s stories indicated between the lines. The commentator made the point that in any school issue, including the hiring of personnel (and especially the hiring of a superintendent) is about money, specifically, protecting the nearly $100 million jackpot. School committee, superintendent, senior administrative and union posts boil down to control of 2/3 to 70% of the entire city budget, depending on whose figures you use.  That type of power goes to the heads of far too many amateurs, who have, over the years, constructed an unassailable and unaccountable fiefdom.

That’s what rattled five members of the school committee into looking further into the promising candidacy of Dr. Namin. As committeeman Terry Kinnas pointed out, the committee vote wasn’t to hire, but to explore further a man with a track record of achivement and cost consolidation, the Golden Combination. Mayor Dan Bianchi, who serves on the school committee, agreed with Kinnas, whose star continues to shine in his stellar performance in committee meetings.

Yet these qualities rattled chairman Alf Barbalunga, Kathy Yon, Jim Conant, Dan Elias, and Kathy Amuso, who conveyed in words, actions, and body language to Dr. Namin that he had been set up and didn’t stand a chance.

You Didn’t Have to Draw Dr. Namin a Map

Namin showed brilliance in picking up on the committee’s language first and withdrawing his candidacy before Barbalunga announced the vote. The BB misreported the story as the committee rejecting Namin. Nothing could be more non-factual. Namin read the tea leaves and said, “I’m outta here.” In THE PLANET’s book, that independence alone should have given him the job.

The question is why the committee invited Namin before them in the first place, if the majority knew he didn’t stand a chance. Speculations, Mr. Spock, and anyone else?

Using Unreliable Federal Funds to Plug Budget Gap Would Get a CEO Fired in Dreaded Private Sector … or … But this is the School Department!

Pittsfield school department balanced the FY12 budget only by using federal grant money, a highly questionable and downright stupid tactic.

To give you a glimpse into how irresponsible school budgeting has been, last year, they could only balance the budget by using $1.3 million of federal “EdJobs” dollars: “Federal money ha[s] been used to cover the [budget] gap.” How shaky is that, given that federal dollars cannot be relied upon year after year. Do that as a CEO in the Dreaded Private Sector, and you’re soon pushing up daisies in the unemployment line.

There are problems with using federal grant money for plug bad budgeting include:

* That money won’t be available this year.

* It wasn’t meant to be used for budget balancing.

* Therefore, it did the school system no good.

* It adds another million dollar+ to the $83.7 million department budget.

If you added other federal grants plus the millions Pittsfield schools will lose to school choice, the  de facto school department budget tops $90 million.

Teacher Pay Raises, Cost-of-Living Increases, will Soak Taxpayers $1.25 million for not One Drop of Added Benefit

United Educators of Pittsfield may bankrupt Pittsfield yet. On tap for 'FY13, $1.25 million in pay and cost-of-living raises. Suck it up, taxpayers.

Of course, this being Pittsfield, you know the teachers’ union squeezed out more dollars from Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski. The United Educators of Pittsfield, also known to taxpayers as Murder Inc., will receive $750,000 in step raises. Another $500,000 (approximately) will be tacked on for cost-of-living increases that the teachers have in their contract. Grand total to taxpayers: Cough up at least $1.25 million in extra money for not one bit of extra benefit.

School department business manger Kristen Behnke, who along with Eberwein fronts this budget disaster in the making, has to date shown no sign of wanting to institute reform. Rather, she has shown an only-too-eager willingness to take last year’s numbers, add a percentage increase, and call that a budget.

In Pittsfield, the average teacher salary for the latest year reported by the state, the 09-10 school year, is $53,707 + .30 added for benefits, or $16,112. This totals $69,819. Add three years of raises, including the FY13 year, and the average compensation is well over $70,000. That’s for a work day of 183 days and summers off. In the long-run, as the unfunded liabilities show, this spells financial ruin for the city if the trend is left unchecked.

Behind all this is the overall city budget, which Bianchi has not yet released.

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52 Responses to “SCHOOL MINUTES OUT OF DATE … LITTLE WIN ON SCHOOL DEPARTMENT BUDGET SMALL CONSOLATION FOR BEDRAGGLED TAXPAYERS … EBERWEIN ADMITS TO USING FEDERAL FUNDS TO BALANCE SPENDING … MEANWHILE, TEACHERS UNION WILL SQUEEZE THE LITTLE GUY FOR $1.25 MILLION IN RAISES AND COST-OF-LIVING ALLOWANCES in FY13”

  1. Just a Thought- A Mighty thought today!
    May 14, 2012 at 10:47 pm #

    Dan

    This truth you reveal about Jake is the signaling of a new day dawning in Pittsfield. The pesky WEE folk paparazzi, with the help of your voice have been making in roads on the GOB for several months now. Let the truth be heard by all now… A Pittsfield Spring against the multi- generational GOB’s cholk hold on this town has sprung.

    The royal GOB family beware, you have now been put on notice. With strength in numbers and armed with a voice of ‘ The Planet’ ,
    We ‘The Pesky WEE Folk’ are quietly storming your GOB castles. School Dept , Court System, Police Dept’ GOB’s back door deall makers take heed, we are watching and have every intention of informing on your dishonest crooked ways.

    The tide has turned, as armed with a simple cell phone, IPad, laptop, or computer , we the common decent folk of Pittsfield can now reach out via email and report your dirty GOB deeds to our ‘Planet Headquaters’.

    The WEE folk have cause to celebrate, to catch our breath, but this is only a momentary pause as we gather ourselves. We The Mighty Pesky WEE folk intend to slay this GOB thieving Grendal once and for all.

    Beowulf Dan …. lead us in our charge and battle cry.

  2. Just a Thought- A Mighty thought today!
    May 14, 2012 at 11:23 pm #

    Dear Mayor Bianchi and Mr. Kinnas

    On this day, May 15 th in the year two thousand and twelve we formally make you honorary members of ‘ The Mighty WEE Folk’ in Pittsfield.

    We realize you can never publicly accept this honor, but want you to know that we the common hard working and decent people of this town appreciate your work to date.

    • levitan
      May 15, 2012 at 7:53 am #

      I second that.

  3. Blue man
    May 15, 2012 at 1:29 am #

    Dan

    A few questions on the ‘ Jake Dough Shuffle’ outlined in your post

    Do we know yet what the orginal intended of purpose this grant money once was?

    Did the original and intended use for the awarded grant money ever get addressed?

    Was it The Race To The Top Money, that had been awarded?

    Any chance I could borrow that ‘ Jake Dough Shuffle ‘ ATM card?
    I need to make a quick cash transfer for my dwindling bank account. (Pinky swear… I promise I won’t tell any one and will give the card back right back)

    • bobbyd
      May 15, 2012 at 5:26 pm #

      It was an EdJobs grant. It either had to be used for acquiring or retaining education personnel or had to be returned. Under pressure from the UEP, the district used it for teacher raises. As you correctly point out, it raised the budgetary baseline for the next year.

      • danvalenti
        May 15, 2012 at 6:19 pm #

        BOBBY
        Yes, and our article identified it as EdJobs money. It would appear the superintendent violated terms of the grant when it was used for purposes other than specified. As the the budgetary baseline, it’s a little realized aspect of continual pay raises: Like interest in the bank, continual pay raises compound, leading to spiraling costs.

        • bobbyd
          May 16, 2012 at 7:34 am #

          Like interest in the bank, continual pay raises compound, leading to spiraling costs.

          And I know Mr. Elias raised this point exactly when the use of the funds as a carrot for the UEP to accept their contract by the deadline for disbursement grew closer. He warned that in the future it would likely result in reductions in force.

          That being said, in Massachusetts, implementing salary increases for the 2010-2011 school year WAS a permissible use of the funds. The DESE overview of the grant states: “Districts may use Ed Jobs funds to restore reductions in salaries and benefits and to implement salary increases for the 2010-2011 school year.”

          Of course, that is not a judgment of the wisdom of it.

          • danvalenti
            May 16, 2012 at 10:16 am #

            BOBBY
            Great comment. Thanks.

  4. Just a Thought !
    May 15, 2012 at 2:30 am #

    This thought just occurred to as I read the post,

    It was mentioned that this admission took place with little fanfare or much notice by the GOB bobble heads- I know it’s early and I am still waiting for that Java starter fuel to brew… However,

    1 – How does anyone mumble that out in conversation?

    Hey Honey, .’….. I borrowed the 1 plus million grant money we got the other day to pay some other stuff OK’

    2. Regardless of the time of night and sleepy state , how does anyone with a brain just let that pass without much and I mean much fanfare?

    If this wasn’t so serious it could like a SNL skit…

  5. Jim Gleason
    May 15, 2012 at 4:53 am #

    Dougie

  6. Jim Gleason
    May 15, 2012 at 5:00 am #

    Dougie Do Right, aka Douglas McNally, is on the propaganda hour as I write this trying to justify his lucrative position at MCLA to any dupe who will believe him. This guy is a clown and was very bad for Pittsfield when he was here. Can’t imagine he’s any better at MCLA than he was at Reid and Taconic.Krol is kissing up tellimg him he wants him to be the interim Superintendent for Pittsfield Schools. From bad to much; much worse.He’s the one calling the shots for Howard and to have him in charge would be disastrous.

    • taxmano
      May 15, 2012 at 6:01 am #

      Have you guys seen the allegations about Jake on topix? They are under “Pittsfield Schools.” If they are true, not sure anybody will want to associate themselves with Howie anymore.
      Also, not sure Doug could be super because rumors say he, too, was asked to resign as principal for legal reasons.

    • Blue man
      May 15, 2012 at 7:45 am #

      Too Funny, Jim

      We’ll a guess there is far too much ‘scuttle’ about Jake right now to air ‘The Superintenden’s Scuttle ‘ . It would be a tad bit Ironic against the present backdrop – don’t you think?

  7. Hilly Billy in Ward 4
    May 15, 2012 at 5:48 am #

    Jimmie, Can Krol come out and say that without it being a MAJOR conflict of interest? Dougie Fresh would be a nightmare as Super

    • Just a thought
      May 15, 2012 at 7:29 am #

      Hang tight, Hill Billy…. Fear Not , Dougie Fresh won’t be Intrem Supt ‘ . He is old news from Yester year… There is a new guard in town now.

  8. Knocking Dan
    May 15, 2012 at 6:36 am #

    Valenti not at Celtics game last night. Valenti watching Celtics game at Blantyre. We have our “spies” too! He’s there for hours, eating and drinking. At end of night, no tab! Just one of the “Little Guys.” Yeah right. And don’t for a minute believe anything he says about Dr. Eberwein. As Supt., Dr. Eberwein has brought the district back to respectability and has managed through tough financial times.

    • Blue an
      May 15, 2012 at 7:12 am #

      I am outraged, are you sure about this ‘ Knocking Dan’ ? You mean to say…….
      – This King of the Wee Folk, Mr Valenti was On TV on Sunday playing in NBA and now according to you a he is eating at Blyantyre for free.

      We hope your ground spies are right about this….What an out rage! Maybe your ground spies could find our if Jake and Dan are working together. Jake is responsible for moving some Million Plus around from the school budget…perhaps Dan is secretly trying to smuggle ‘ Da Loot’ out of Berkshire county in the form of Chicken nuggets.

      Have your spies work on that angle for a while and get back to us in a few days. In the meantime , we’re so busy here right now and have important work to do.

      … But Knocking Dan, before you go on this dearly mission warn your troops to be careful out there. Weve been told, Dan could be armed to the teeth with the truth, now that can really hurt!

      • danvalenti
        May 15, 2012 at 9:14 am #

        KNOCKING has spies the way the school department administration and teachers’ union has the taxpayer in mind when it comes to the wish-list budget.

    • Blue man
      May 15, 2012 at 10:46 am #

      Hey Knocking Dan

      Just thought, of something to report to the ‘Knock Dan ‘ spies if was seen playing in the NBA, for the Celtics on Sunday, and then spotted again in Berkshire County yesterday loading up the chicken nuggets, You are so right… Something here does not add up ‘cos last night the Celtiics had a game. I think your right ‘ Knocking’ Dan would only miss a game if he and Jake needed to off load those nuggets.

      Knocking, I wish Jake was not such a bad infulance on Dan, if Dan had stayed in Boston and played last night we would have won the game. His shots are always on the money.

  9. Berkshire Ex-pat
    May 15, 2012 at 7:15 am #

    This may be a political third rail, but…
    TEACHERS ARE OVERPAID!!!!!!

    70k/year for nine months of work? When can I start?

    • levitan
      May 15, 2012 at 7:57 am #

      My thoughts too. Who gets $80K with benefits for part time labor? Also, how can Government employees be unionized? Karl Marx is likely rolling in his grave.

      “Damn, I put my last breath and dollar in “Capital” and missed the Government class.”

    • AMBROSE
      May 15, 2012 at 10:31 am #

      when you get an education

  10. Just a thought
    May 15, 2012 at 7:24 am #

    Knocking Dan .. Of course we won’t believe what he say’s about Dr. Eberwien, we fools have been better trained by the GOB than that. Come on , Knocking Dan we all know we can’t say, think, or do anything until Mr. Alfie tells us we can do so.

    Relax ‘Knocking Dan’ we know how to behave here, we won’t do anything or believe anything till Alfie gives us the ‘OK.

  11. Joe blow
    May 15, 2012 at 7:43 am #

    Are the city and county employees caught in the drug stings still getting paid?

  12. echo
    May 15, 2012 at 8:17 am #

    Question?
    “The school department budget, therefore, is $82.7 million, not $54.3 million).”
    What is the unions’ take to they receive?

    • echo
      May 15, 2012 at 8:20 am #

      key board problem..what is their share of the above number?

  13. rick
    May 15, 2012 at 8:43 am #

    no one can borrow 1 plus mil. without the powers to be to o.k.it. who okayed the loan ? and who is responsible for it ? . things like this just dont happen…. there is procedures to go thru…. it must have been in the minutes somewhere. how did it get by kinnas? did the school board vote to borrow that money? dan its kind of funny that you can stir up the bees nest in this city. no wonder the minutes arent on the web site…reminds me of the nixon tapes during watergate…. everything that happens in this city should have a “gate” on the end of it… somebodys got some splaining to do. keep up the stirring.

  14. Home Run
    May 15, 2012 at 9:02 am #

    Good points on the School Comm’ Min’s Rick. On anothern
    I believe the million plus was a grant of some kind, not a loan. Probably a grant from the MA Dept of Ed.

    Hey Dan

    Where to we write/ call to ask about having the mins be kept up to date? I ‘d like to give them a buzz or drop them an email.

    Let us Know
    Thanks

    • danvalenti
      May 15, 2012 at 9:12 am #

      The million dollars was federal grant money, every dime of it as much The People’s money as direct city taxes that go to support an utterly dysfunctional and unaccountable school system.

  15. Home Run
    May 15, 2012 at 9:11 am #

    Rick

    Too funny, The first time I read your post I didn’t read the sentence about it having a Little bit of a water gate feel to it. I agree, it’s amazing the swarm Dan has caused by shaking a few bushes. Like you said Rick, we should add ‘Gate ‘ on the end of stuff Dan reveals from now on.

    For this one, I cast my vote for ‘Jake Gate’ , but a shout out to all other posters on the site- Any other ideas?

  16. MAGIC
    May 15, 2012 at 9:28 am #

    Amazing Dan, you certainly do get around don’t you

  17. rick
    May 15, 2012 at 10:18 am #

    it still amazes me that school board after school board that they cant get their financial act together.. everyone wants more money, but as educators one would think they would make educated demands.. we are broke.. state goverments are chopping school budgets across the u.s… yet they keep wanting more.. i feel the pay they get is good enough for a half year of work and that out of that money they should take care of their own healthcare and retirement…..

  18. dusty
    May 15, 2012 at 12:48 pm #

    Mr Bianchi campaigned largely on accountability. I assume he meant for all that work for him. I believe he should get some asses in front of the city council and have them answer questions from the people. Alf would be one. And I would like to know from him his opinion on having an independent audit of the school dept as well as the city itself. Not spin..just yes or no and why. I know it would cost money but we toss away so much anyway that what is another 25,000 bucks?

    • Blue man
      May 15, 2012 at 4:13 pm #

      Yeah !
      Hey Mayor Bianchi

      When and where can we speak/ have our communities concerns heard on these key developing and serious issues.
      Help us Mayor, we need your leadership and we need to know how best to move forward together?

      Maybe Dan if we asked him could help in crating a plan and forum if others were willing. I know this town can do it … Look what they did for Peter Moore and the little dog Tobie.

  19. Jonathan Melle
    May 15, 2012 at 1:33 pm #

    How come Dan Valenti rails against teachers for their pay and benefits, but he supports Andrea Nuciforo for U.S. Congress who makes over $90-thousand per year plus benefits as Pittsfield Registry of Deeds? If Nuciforo was a real reformer of government, then he would resign his position at the Pittsfield Registry of Deeds and run as a private citizen. Dan Valenti criticizes teachers, but praises Nuciforo. That is hypocrisy!

    • Blue man
      May 15, 2012 at 3:24 pm #

      Jon M’

      I feel your rage Jon, but consider this, please just hear me out….

      I think you may be lashing out at the wrong folk here.Whether or not you agree with Dan is up to you. That is your right, thanks to freedoms in this country. Likewise Dan can agree or disagee with you.

      Dan , like you are presenting facts. What’s really wrong in this mess is the under- handed abuse of power, disregard for public trust and in many instances violations of the law.

      These folks, affectionly known by some as the GOB network in this city need to be held accountable. These JERK S have so much to answer for.

      They have put many, many regular folk in this city who work hard and with a sense of honesty in a crappy situation. Whether, the public agree or disagree with the teacher’s union in my mind is a free debate that both sides should look at without making arch enimies of eachother. It can and should be kept civil for the common good. Otherwise, the GOB ‘s have divided and conquered all and leave laughing up their sleeves. This is a long standing tactic conolists in Europe used or years.

      Divide the natives just before you have exhausted the country of it’s natural resources, gold, spices, diamonds, heck even tea… Well you get my point. They would steal and plunder till there was nothing left, they would incite the the natives against each other before they slink out of town unnoticed with any scraps left under their arms.

      I believe this is happening right here in Pittsfield , right now.

      The school comm’ bobble heads and greedy GOB’ s chiefs in Mercer are the ones we should be enraged at. Wheather or not one believes teachers are paid too much or not , I believe has to briefly put on the back burner (just for now) . In the meantime we , LITTLE Folk have to stick together. Weather we like eachother or not.

      All common LITTLE guys in Pittsfield are paying the price and will continue to do so for some time for this mess.

      No teacher, in the trenches right now ( like them or not) signed up to dispised by many of the follks in the community they work in.

      Likewise, no parent who is working hard to provide fir their kids signed up for their kids to be going to a school system that is major uproar right now.

      As a community we are all standing to loose a lot and as a general rule we did not create this immediate mess.

      As was said before, let’s get Grendal out of this town first. A task which will not be easy, then after drinks all round, a huge sigh of relief , and much need rest we can start cleaning up the mess and making sure checks and balances are in place so such creepy monsters from the marsh can never move in again and we have our town back.

      Back to the common folk who just want work, have enough dough to provide for a family and a bit extrat to have the odd summer BBQ with a few brewskis shared between neighbors ( even if one is or isnt an employee of our school) family , and friends.

      That’s my soap box speech , sorry if I bore you… but let’ s not let these guys slink away under our noises while we argue.

      • bobbyd
        May 15, 2012 at 5:41 pm #

        There is an old Romanian proverb that translates something to the effect of: “One may become the devil’s brother in order to cross the bridge.”

        No thanks! We should demand integrity from our press as well as our government.

        • danvalenti
          May 15, 2012 at 6:19 pm #

          Agreed. That demand is reasonable.

        • dusty
          May 16, 2012 at 1:59 am #

          well good luck getting that from the Berkshire Eagle. Andy Mick seems to refuse to step out of the shadows and manage a decent respectable newspaper which does not violate its own customers by being a pawn in the system which seems to work against them

  20. rick
    May 15, 2012 at 2:18 pm #

    i thought he did resign, i thought there was a rule you couldnt hold a post while running fo another.

  21. joetaxpayer
    May 15, 2012 at 4:08 pm #

    Not sure why the School committe does not privatize as much as possible.Even if getting out of the bus business is little or no savings as they contend,the real savings is not having to pay pension and insurance to employees down the road.Same for custodians and any other employees in there empire that could be privatized.

    • danvalenti
      May 15, 2012 at 7:00 pm #

      JOE
      Correct. Schools shouldn’t be in the transportation business. They don’t know that business. It would be cheaper both tactically and strategically (reduced headcounts and therefore lower pension and benefit obligations to taxpayers, as you mention).

    • dusty
      May 16, 2012 at 2:07 am #

      The Pittsfield school system has become an empire in itself.

      The school system has evolved to control almost all aspects of its very existence while voraciously feeding on the people it is supposed to be serving. And the education of children, which is supposed to be its main purpose, is barely on the radar, being well down the list of priorities. The main goal seems to be to funnel as much money as possible in various self serving directions and I believe an independent audit would probably blow peoples minds.. And I predict that Alf would fight this tooth and nail which would be one indicator that I am correct in this assumption.

      • danvalenti
        May 16, 2012 at 6:47 am #

        DUSTY
        A most perceptive comment that gets to the heart of the problem: the public schools have been overrun by politics. The school department is another Empire Unto Itself, as you correctly state. How much longer will The People put up with this crud?

  22. Luxor Rex
    May 15, 2012 at 5:17 pm #

    One thing I love about this discussion is that finally FINALLY the sfhool department and school committee are being scrutinized and examined.
    For years they slip through invisibly and the results are what we see, a poisoned culture run on corruption greed and keeping fat. At least at last the schools get some attention. Thank you DV and all the folks who have contributed

  23. taxmano
    May 16, 2012 at 3:00 am #

    Dan,

    I wonder if any of those misappropriated federal dollars went to support the JRC when it lost its funding. That would appear to be a huge conflict of interest because the JRC is run by jake’s dad.

    Just sayin’

    • danvalenti
      May 16, 2012 at 6:46 am #

      THE JRC, run by Jake’s dad, gets funding from the Pittsfield School Department, run by Jake. The size of the conflict there would feed a novel the size of War and Peace.

  24. Teecha teecha
    May 16, 2012 at 5:42 am #

    Not all teachers make 80k a year. Those of us in the private sector agree the unions are out of control. They give yearly pay steps AND raises when the teachers whine. It’s atrocious and most are under performing because they slack off when they get tenure.

    • danvalenti
      May 16, 2012 at 6:45 am #

      TEECHA
      Yes, the tenure comment is right on the money. Tenure needs to be abolished.

  25. PPS Teacher
    May 16, 2012 at 1:27 pm #

    Please understand that like any career, you may find some employees that slack. However, most teachers are very dedicated and work far beyond the required hours. For those that feel we work part-time for full-time pay, you too can obtain a Master’s degree and become a teacher. Most young people fresh out of college with Master’s degrees are seeking jobs with larger salaries though. Contrary to what many of the posts believe, most teachers are not in for the money.

    • danvalenti
      May 16, 2012 at 1:32 pm #

      TEACHER
      I agree with everything in this post. Well done.

    • levitan
      May 17, 2012 at 7:08 am #

      Yet, the average wage is btw $70 – $80K, part time, full benefits, and in Mass we don’t even have ‘rubber rooms’ to deal with underperformance.

      Your “go get a degree and teach” statement is hollow.