June 2, 2014
The SURVEY MONKEY evaluation appears to not be in compliance the DESE guideline and policy. The performance evaluation/survey is fraught with bias, excludes an evaluation of professional ethics, moral responsibility, and contains no performance goals of value. The goals have no metrics to quantifiable or verifiable performance. There are few to no completions dates, percentages; or meaningful ability to measure performance. Those “goals” that are included appear to have been put in place and appear to be different that those voted only to provide the appearance of progress when none exists:
MANAGEMENT AND SAFETY
1. Over 10.6% of all Minuteman students have been cited for disciplinary problems an incident rate nearly double that of similarly sized vocational schools. This does not create the sense of security for any student and specifically not for female students.
2. The annual Minuteman student attrition rate is 6.2%, a rate that automatically neutralizes any reported increase in member enrollment, and is nearly double the attrition rate for similar vocational schools. http://profiles.doe.mass.edu/profiles/general.aspx?topNavId=1&orgcode=08300000&orgtypecode=5&
3. The administration has fostered a 14% annual turnover in teachers and staff without any reduction in costs.
A. The goal to increase member town enrollment by 5% per year has never been fulfilled in the last 7 years and has been left out of this evaluation’s set of goals.
B. In the last 7 years, member pupil enrollment has decreased by 35 students.
C. Instead of reducing Non-Member tuition enrollment which would reduce non-member town subsidies, out-of-district tuition enrollment has increased by 110 students over the last 5 years through an “open door policy” to accept any qualified or unqualified non-member applicant. This has been a financial shot in the arm of $2.5 million in subsidies for non-member towns including Boston, Medford, Watertown and 31 other cities and towns.
D. For the last two (2) years the school committee has been bullied with scare tactics into voting for an 800 student school. They have been told in open and recorded public meetings over and over again that any push back on an 800 student school will cause the MSBA to withdraw its 40% grant. This is after the superintendent tried to bully an MSBA official via email into approving a 1,100 student school. The school committee has been told that a smaller school (yet to be specified) will result in lost programs which is fallacious. There are larger vocational schools with fewer programs. There are smaller vocational schools providing the same core-value vocational programs of importance to their member towns including Theater Arts while excluding Criminal Justice, Horticulture, and Telecommunications, in place to attract even more non-member which increases subsidies paid by member towns.
E. After 7 years, including this year of either ignoring or recklessly being unaware, the superintendent has revealed unvetted “facts” that will suddenly increase member enrollment by 250 students while there has been a net loss of 35 member students during the same period. These unvetted facts have not been reviewed or approved by the Mass School Building Authority which is the only entity to perform a rigorously scientific analysis of future member town student enrollment (435 maximum member student enrollment in future decades). To present enrollment statics that have already been included in the MSBA enrollment study as “new” is misleading.
F. Teachers that speak out or criticize the administration are threatened and retaliated against.
G. Teachers are not being treated with the respect they deserve. There is no new teacher contract in place and it appears none is likely until the superintendent is assured of a new contract which will then likely lead to arbitration.
H. Strong self-confident women and female students continue to be treated with disrespect and retaliated against for speaking out. They have lost administration role models that include the previous female Business Manager that was an accomplished CPA that resigned because of questionable financial practices on the part of the superintendent.
I. We are no closer to being awarded an MSBA building grant this year than we were 7 years ago because of the unnecessarily high tuition enrollment and the administration biases and delays. No member town was ever going vote for an 800 student school let alone the 1,100 student school promoted by the superinteidnt and school committee officers less than 2 years ago. The administration cannot justify subsidies to few privileged member towns like Arlington and Lexington that must be paid for by less privileged member towns.
I. The superintendent has been shielded from accountability and responsibility for his actions by current and past school committee officers. The school committee officers shopped for legal opinions to support their staying in office beyond the limits set by written school committee policy. After dong so, they shopped again for a legal opinion changing the vote required for a new superintendent’s contract be reduced to a simple majority when the vote should be 2/3 of the school committee.
II. Legal opinions that have kept the superintendent and school committee officers past and present in control of the school have been provided by the school attorneys who by doing so have created the appearance of an ethical conflict of interest as well as those requesting and benefiting from those opinions.
III. Over the last 7 years including this past year, this superintendent has presented incomplete and misleading data based on his personal facts to my town officials and those of other towns. Any requests for clarifying information has either not been provided or the answers have been incomplete and misleading. These events have been video recorded.
IV. The superintendent has applied for at least one other superintendent’s position without informing the entire school committee of his plans to leave. It would appear that another job was not tendered.
FISCAL AND POLICY ADMINISTRATION
a). After spending $50,000 to devise changes to the current regional agreement, the only tangible result has been a resolve among half the mere towns to questions the efficacy of the changes. The proposed changes have only created more concerns among member towns as to the administration’s and the school committee officers past and present intentions to implement an 800 student school. This is while non-member towns that include Boston, Medford and Waltham have taken the position to never join the district even in light of the potential for even larger and longer-term monetary subsidies than those provided in the current regional agreement. There have been no Letters of Intent from any non-member school wishing to join the district without increased subsidies. All this has raised the financially critical question of what towns will be district members in the next 12 months?
b). Eight (8) of the district’s sixteen (16) member towns have rejected, tabled, or only voted for the agreement changes believing that doing so will make it easier to not be affected by the changes. That’s half of the district's entire membership that does not support the changes as so many questions remain unanswered.
c). Minuteman’s FY2013 $26,245 Per Pupil Expenditure is the highest in the Commonwealth. Minuteman loses $2.5 million on its non-member tuition enrollment. Nearby vocational schools break-even or have surplus funds based on their tuition enrollment policies and because their PPE is significantly lower than Minuteman’s by thousands of dollars. As such, their tuition student expenditures are equal to all per non-member student funds collected. http://www.doe.mass.edu/finance/statistics/ppx13.html
d). Given that the FY2014 budget increased by $1,295,385, the FY2014 PPE will increase to over $28,000 (When debt service and the costs for a money-losing community education program are included, the Minuteman PPE cost is actual $30,000).
e). Minuteman revenue collected per tuition student will be $20,600, creating an administration budgeted revenue gap of $7,400 of each Non-Member student. With 360 Non-Member students, member towns are subsidizing non-member towns by as much as $2.5 million each school year and have paid this hidden assessment for the last 5 fiscal years.
In conclusion, it would appear this superintendent has a personal agenda and career ambitions that do not include member towns or the well being and educational futures of Minuteman students. It would appear that a sustainable financial plan for the school is secondary to this superintendent’s personal plans. It would appear this superintendent is a divider not a uniter. It would appear we are where we were 7 years ago and we may have fallen even further behind.
Minuteman can do much better by hiring a new superintendent that is committed to Minuteman; fiscally responsible; respects teachers, students, parents, and treats all member towns in an even handed and equitable manor; and a superintendent that will be held accountable and responsible for his or her actions. There is a desperate need for transparency and it would appear that the school committee officers past and present and this superintendent will never permit transparency or be held responsible for their actions. Without desperately needed changes in school leadership, all we can do is await the imminent financial train wreck.
Sudbury Appointee to the Minuteman school committee since 2008