65 Million for public schools?

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Re: 65 Million for public schools?

Postby Jeannine Stergios » Wed Feb 09, 2011 6:04 pm

Missy B

I would vote for the chancellor as well.
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Re: 65 Million for public schools?

Postby chancellor » Wed Feb 09, 2011 6:16 pm

Debra Huffman wrote:A single means he was at least at bat. Can you say the same, Mr. Chancellor? Or do you just like to throw stones at those who try to accomplish anything, while pipe-dreaming that somehow you would change the world... if you only you had the time.


Deb, that is exactly the cynical, dusty, can't-see-the-forest-for-the-trees attitude that got us here. I am sad for you. Want to know why? Because lots of people (your neighbors, hairdresser, cashier, landscapers, gas station attendants, accountant, mail carrier) who live in this town do dream of making Merrimack a place of excellence. I don't think that's impossible or a pipe dream. Don't you want Merrimack to be amazing? Or would you rather settle for a future wrought with shortfall budgets and fatter tax bills? I vote for amazing.

As for my comments on Andy: I never fault someone for trying to make something happen. He didn't, plain and simple. He headed a committee that accomplished absolutely nothing Pointing that out makes me a bad guy? And because I have never headed a committee in this manner means my ideas and opinions I don't matter?

I suggest we pair up a few dreamers with some gutsy get-it-done task masters and do something about this mess. Sorry, no dusty thinkers allowed
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Re: 65 Million for public schools?

Postby Debra Huffman » Wed Feb 09, 2011 6:26 pm

chancellor wrote:dream of making Merrimack a place of excellence

Precisely my point. Want to make a difference? Stop dreaming and get in the game. I work my *ss of for the things I care about in this town. Sometimes I strike out, but I'm in the game, and I DO make a difference.

Bill Boyd and George Markwell are in the game on the BudCom. Funny, I didn't see you sitting with them. Maybe that's why they weren't able to get any of their amendments passed. Andy's in the game. He got the BudCom involved earier.

Oh wait, you were busy. No time to sit through hours of boring meetings. So much easier just to insult "engineer" Andy and insult "dusty" me.
Last edited by Debra Huffman on Wed Feb 09, 2011 6:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 65 Million for public schools?

Postby MissyB » Wed Feb 09, 2011 6:37 pm

Super, chancellor, let me know who your "dream team" is.
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Re: 65 Million for public schools?

Postby Wayne » Wed Feb 09, 2011 8:11 pm

chancellor wrote:What is wrong with shooting high? Let's identify the dunderheads and dimwits who feign intelligence and seek power and get them the hell out of the way. Let's set a new standard for what it means to be a great town. We might surprise ourselves... and more importantly our children. All we are proving is that Merrimack is an expensive place to live.

Chancellor, I too am waiting to see you step up and actively pursue making your dream happen. I just recommend that you improve your people skills if you wish to get any support. :shock:

You seem to forget that these "dunderheads" and "dimwits" are your friends and neighbors who selflessly donate their time and abilities. None of them are professional politicians, only volunteers. Like their decisions or don't like them, but respect their contributions. Andy and Tom (and now Debra? Geez, who saw that coming?), who have taken a lot of heat on this forum the last few days, I salute you for your contributions to the town. There are loads of us out here grateful for your service!
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Re: 65 Million for public schools?

Postby chancellor » Wed Feb 09, 2011 9:06 pm

Wayne wrote:
chancellor wrote:What is wrong with shooting high? Let's identify the dunderheads and dimwits who feign intelligence and seek power and get them the hell out of the way. Let's set a new standard for what it means to be a great town. We might surprise ourselves... and more importantly our children. All we are proving is that Merrimack is an expensive place to live.

Chancellor, I too am waiting to see you step up and actively pursue making your dream happen. I just recommend that you improve your people skills if you wish to get any support. :shock:

You seem to forget that these "dunderheads" and "dimwits" are your friends and neighbors who selflessly donate their time and abilities. None of them are professional politicians, only volunteers. Like their decisions or don't like them, but respect their contributions. Andy and Tom (and now Debra? Geez, who saw that coming?), who have taken a lot of heat on this forum the last few days, I salute you for your contributions to the town. There are loads of us out here grateful for your service!


I am grateful for volunteer service. I am not grateful for ineffective leadership. If nothing gets done except additional spending and bigger tax bills, I should be grateful? If a volunteer's contribution leads to a higher tax bill for me, I should respect that? Indeed, you are correct that some of the people I refer to as dunderheads are my friends (true!), perhaps my neighbors. But seriously, I tell my friends straight out if they are doing a lousy job. That's what honest people do; real friends expect and respect such criticism. When it comes to politics on any level (volunteer or professional), it's a rough game. If they are representing the tax base, as they were in this case, and don't act in my best interest or perform as expected, you are damn right that I will jump up and down and express my disapproval. It's my prerogative.

Now, you say I should step forward and actively pursue my dream. First, why is this the first line of offense from those who can't handle criticism -- to call me out and challenge me to do a better job. It's nothing more than an attempt to belittle me because I am not currently volunteering or seeking election. That's akin to suggesting I shouldn't criticize any public official, lest I can do a better job. Illogical. Lots of people can affect change without being on the front lines.

Second, is the dream of a better town with lower tax rates, improved schools, balanced budgets and a little less political BS mine alone? Is that not a goal you would like to achieve, Wayne? Debra? Please, tell me I am not alone in wanting this for our town!

Lastly, I want to know what is wrong with giving heat to others on this forum...? In this thread in particular, we're talking about 65 million dollars. If I were making this fuss over a hundred bucks, I'd be way out of line. 65 million is a lot of money, and frankly I would be alarmed if it didn't ruffle some feathers and raise some eyebrows. Foolhardy spending elicits unwelcome criticism. Get used to it.
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Re: 65 Million for public schools?

Postby Wayne » Wed Feb 09, 2011 9:26 pm

And ruffling some feathers and raising some eyebrows is about all you will accomplish with this approach.
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Re: 65 Million for public schools?

Postby Jeannine Stergios » Wed Feb 09, 2011 9:32 pm

Wayne

That's where you are wrong. Kissing up and pretending all is well is how we got into this unsustainable mess. Just because you avidly avoid conflict doesn't mean we all should. If people run for office they should expect to receive criticism. The same thing happens when you are a business owner. You need to develop a thick skin or not bother to run for office.

If no one complains how does the problem get resolved? Look at Matt Publicover who believes I am in the minority in this town. Talk about only hanging around with like minded people.
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Re: 65 Million for public schools?

Postby Wayne » Wed Feb 09, 2011 9:50 pm

So...you believe that insulting the few volunteers that step forward is a better solution? Anonymous negative voices are very poor motivators. Granted, health issues can keep a few on the sidelines, but when zero citizens show up for a public hearing on the budget that so many are supposedly outraged about??? Nothing's going to change if so few take the time.
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Re: 65 Million for public schools?

Postby Jeannine Stergios » Wed Feb 09, 2011 10:03 pm

Wayne

How does the average person even have time to pay attention to what's happening let alone attend these meetings? Heck - I pay attention and can't keep up all the time.

Just because people don't show up doesn't mean they approve. Many feel they no longer have any control over the outcome.
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Re: 65 Million for public schools?

Postby RBarnes » Thu Feb 10, 2011 8:38 am

chancellor wrote:Could the schools provide an effective education for less than 65 million?


Chancellor, you would need to define what an "effective education" is.

Personally I think each and every person in town would view what it is differently. Some do not see sports, art or music as necessary while others do.

In the case of some special ed children an "effective education" is teaching them how to tie their own shoes and be able to dress themselves.

If a child is gifted and far above grade level what would be "effective" for them?

Without answering that question first it's impossible to answer how much it would be to provide such a thing.
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Re: 65 Million for public schools?

Postby RBarnes » Thu Feb 10, 2011 8:55 am

Jeannine Stergios wrote:How does the average person even have time to pay attention to what's happening let alone attend these meetings? Heck - I pay attention and can't keep up all the time.

Just because people don't show up doesn't mean they approve. Many feel they no longer have any control over the outcome.


Personally my theory is people don't show up because they don't know what's going on and I blame our press or lack there of.

When was the last time you saw a decent write up in either the Union Leader or Telegraph about anything going on in this town?

The only time I saw anyone from the press at a single budget committee meeting this year was Andy Silvia showed up (unofficially in that he wasn't assigned to the story) when Emily submitted her resignation to the committee. And neither paper even covered that story until well over a month after it actually happened.

If it wasn't for this forum I doubt anyone would really know what's going on in this town.
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Re: 65 Million for public schools?

Postby chancellor » Thu Feb 10, 2011 9:13 am

RBarnes wrote:
chancellor wrote:Could the schools provide an effective education for less than 65 million?


Chancellor, you would need to define what an "effective education" is.

Personally I think each and every person in town would view what it is differently. Some do not see sports, art or music as necessary while others do.

In the case of some special ed children an "effective education" is teaching them how to tie their own shoes and be able to dress themselves.

If a child is gifted and far above grade level what would be "effective" for them?

Without answering that question first it's impossible to answer how much it would be to provide such a thing.


True, and I would suggest it has to be defined on a per-student or per-student-group basis... but it absolutely must be goal oriented with measurable results. I'm speaking academically, of course. Now I am a huge sports fan and art collector, but believe that school should be primarily focused on academics, and rounded out by extra curricular activities. I put forth that we have lost focus in many ways. I do not suggest righting the ship will be an easy thing to do, but if we don't, down it goes ---- with our children inside.
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Re: 65 Million for public schools?

Postby Brian McCarthy » Thu Feb 10, 2011 9:35 am

Getting the word out has ALWAYS been a tough thing. I do not put any of it on the local papers because they have always been reactionary and never pro-active. They came out to the discussion of police/fire because someone, I suspect, from the the people who were going to loose jobs, gave them a call and its 'good news' to report on the bad Town Council which is going to cut good people.

If the topic the other night was cutting 5 positions, the union would have everyone there, including the papers and WMUR. Status quo does not sell papers so it is not reported.

The Town needs to find a better way to push info out without saturating residents. notices.merrimacknh.org is one way that people can sign up for topics of interest without giving up their email.

I send out a notice to the residents who are on the friends list for merrimackvotes.org (even though the info is not out there yet).
The days of hanging out and hearing about things while tossing your trash over the edge are long gone. Everyone is too busy to even pull over and text someone :-)

Its always been a tough thing to do because I do believe that if the communications were done in the right way, more people would be getting out and attending these things.

RBarnes wrote:
Jeannine Stergios wrote:How does the average person even have time to pay attention to what's happening let alone attend these meetings? Heck - I pay attention and can't keep up all the time.

Just because people don't show up doesn't mean they approve. Many feel they no longer have any control over the outcome.


Personally my theory is people don't show up because they don't know what's going on and I blame our press or lack there of.

When was the last time you saw a decent write up in either the Union Leader or Telegraph about anything going on in this town?

The only time I saw anyone from the press at a single budget committee meeting this year was Andy Silvia showed up (unofficially in that he wasn't assigned to the story) when Emily submitted her resignation to the committee. And neither paper even covered that story until well over a month after it actually happened.

If it wasn't for this forum I doubt anyone would really know what's going on in this town.
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Re: 65 Million for public schools?

Postby RD » Thu Feb 10, 2011 10:35 am

MattPublicover wrote:
Jeannine Stergios wrote:Why is it we manage to get these pro-spenders or relatives of teachers as Chairmen of the Budget Committee over and over again? WE need a change.


First of all, I do not believe that the people who are incensed about taxes and eager to slash the school budget represent the majority view of this town. I believe you are a minority.

Second, DO NOT blame the people on the Budget Committee if they do not represent your views. I have been elected twice, and each time I had NO OPPOSITION. Four people running for four seats. Last year there were two more candidates than seats to be filled, the previous year I think one. If those of the anti-tax viewpoint feel they are not represented on the budget committee, it is because they have made insufficient effort to participate in the real government process (which is not the Forum).

It is not our fault that we had little to no opposition -- it is the fault of anyone who does not agree with our viewpoints. It is not my job to serve on this committee any more than it is the job of every other resident in town. Town government is everyone's responsibility. The few who have been elected to this committee are the ones who stepped forward, not the ones who did nothing. You don't like us? Run against us! See if the majority agrees with you.

For a representative democracy to work, voters need to be able to choose from among a variety of candidates representing a variety of viewpoints. If you have 4 candidates for 4 seats, you have no choice. If you have 10 candidates but your viewpoint is not represented, shame on the people who are in your camp for not stepping forward to participate.

At last night's public hearing, we had NO public comment. From anyone, pro or con. I don't want to hear that "it wouldn't have made any difference." If a person believes he can't make a difference ... then he won't.

On the committee, there are at present two members who showed themselves willing to try to reduce the budgets.I disagreed with them, I voted against their proposals, but I respect their right to make the attempt. At least they, like me, believe this committee really should have some authority, and should use it.

The other night, we had 11 members present. Six votes would have been a majority. If the tax hawks had managed to come up with 4 other members over the past 3 years ... the budget would have been reduced last week.

You sit on the sidelines, you can't call the plays. Six positions on the budget committee will be up for grabs this year, at least half without an incumbent. If you want to win, get in the game, folks!


** Round of applause ** Bravo! It's about time someone said this, and it was very well said indeed. Some people love to complain, yet they rarely bother to step up to the plate to try and do something about it. Kudos to those who do step up, regardless of their position on the issues.
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