Holyoke Public Schools Put into Receivership

 

The statement below is from Barbara Madeloni, MTA President, on the BESE’s decision to place Holyoke into receivership.  It must be noted that Maryann Stewart, past School Committee member and now BESE Board member, voted against this takeover.  We thank her for her responsible leadership.  Phyllis

SUBJECT:         Statement on BESE vote to place Holyoke Public Schools into receivership

Greetings,

MTA President Barbara Madeloni issued the following statement on April 28 concerning the BESE vote to place the Holyoke Public Schools into state receivership.

I am appalled that the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has voted to support Commissioner Mitchell Chester’s recommendation to place the Holyoke Public Schools into receivership.

During the four-hour public hearing the board held in Holyoke on the evening before taking this drastic and undemocratic step, the overwhelming majority of people who testified spoke eloquently against the state takeover of their schools. A broad cross-section of Holyoke parents, educators, students and other residents offered their vision for the schools their city deserves —and they were firm about their desire for community-based partnerships and local control so they could make this vision a reality.

Chester and his chief supporters, BESE Chairman Paul Sagan and Education Secretary James Peyser, ignored what they heard. Instead, they put forth an inaccurate narrative centered on failing schools. Holyoke residents and educators are well aware of the challenges faced by their public schools, but they are also capable of addressing those issues if they are given the appropriate resources.

School committees, superintendents, educators, parents and students across the state should be highly concerned about what is happening in Holyoke. By voting in favor of receivership, the majority of BESE members have made it clear that public input matters little in their decisions. They have also made it evident that they are determined to undermine collective bargaining, thereby taking a step that does nothing to improve our schools.

It is worth noting that board members Ed Doherty, Donald Willyard and Mary Ann Stewart —who represent educators, students and parents, respectively — voted against the takeover. Willyard and Stewart based their firm opposition to the receivership motion not only on what they heard at the public hearing, but also on what they saw when they made personal visits to schools in Holyoke.

The MTA will work closely with Holyoke educators, parents and the community to make sure all students receive a quality education as receivership is put in place. We will do all we can to ensure that democratic rights are honored and we will continue to fight for the public schools that Holyoke students deserve.

Mileage Reimbursement

carFor those of you who drive your personal vehicle while on approved municipal business (travel between schools, errands for your supervisor and the like) will be reimbursed for that mileage at the current IRS rate.  There is a form to fill out entitled ‘Mileage Reimbursement’.  The link for the forms is: mileage reimbursement

LEA Upcoming Elections

keep-calm-and-run-for-office (1)Alexander Woollcott said, ” I’m tired of hearing it said that democracy doesn’t work.  Of course it doesn’t work.  We are supposed to work it.”  I couldn’t agree more.

For the first time in eight years, the LEA will elect a new president for the 2015-2017 school years, as well as members of the Executive Board, those who will attend MTA Annual Meeting, and the NEA Reperesentative Assembly.  I am  hoping that you will all consider the LEA positions for which you will vote, decide if you wish to step up to the plate to be part of the leadership team,  and making informed decisions based on what you learn about the candidates.  The democratic process is only as strong as your participation allows.

Harriet Wallen, LHS Librarian, has graciously consented to be the Chairperson of Elections once again.  You will be hearing from her soon.

Anyone who wishes to run for one of the positions below or for the MTA Annual Meeting or National Education Association Representative Assembly should send an email to Harriet Wallen by Thursday, February 12th at 4 pm.  Include your name and a paragraph about why you have chosen to run for that position.   Harriet will post the candidates on the LEA first class website during the day on Friday, February 13th.

The LEA election of officers and delegates will take place on Tuesday, March 17 and Wednesday, March 18, 2015  in your buildings.  Most Executive Board positions as well as delegates to the NEA and MTA Annual Meetings will be elected by the membership at that time.

The Lexington Education Association is a strong and vibrant organization that works diligently to provide the best learning experiences for students in our schools.  We also serve as a vital voice for educators in Lexington.  The Association respectfully seeks candidates for leadership, representative, and delegate positions in our organization.

Candidates for the following  LEA offices (2 year terms) and delegate positions (MTA Annual Mtg and NEA-RA) should submit their names and a statement in support of their candidacies to me (hwallen@sch.ci.lexington.ma.us) by 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 12, 2015.  For the duties and responsibilities of each position, please click here.

  • President (& MTA/NEA Annual Meeting Delegate); $8000/year stipend
    (open to all LEA members)
  • Vice-President; $2500/year stipend
    (open to all LEA members)
  • Secretary; $1500/year stipend
    (open to all LEA members)
  • Treasurer/Membership Chair; $2500/year stipend
    (open to all LEA members)
  • 2 Elementary Representatives to the Executive Board; $1500/year stipend each
    (open only to elementary Unit A members)
  • 1 Middle School Representative to the Executive Board; $1500/year stipend
    (open only to middle school Unit A members)
  • 2 High School Representatives to Executive Board; $1500/year stipend each
    (open only to LHS Unit A members)
  • Unit C Representative to the Executive Board; $1500/year stipend
    (open only to Unit C members)
  • Unit D Representative to the Executive Board; $1500/year stipend
    (open only to Unit D members)
  • Tech Unit Representative to the Executive Board; $1500/year stipend
    (open only to Tech Unit members)
  • 6 Delegates to the NEA Annual Meeting; stipend depends on # who attend
    The meeting will be held in Orlando.  The schedule is as follows: June 30 (travel day) – July 7 (travel day),  2015. The actual convention is from July 1 – July 6.
    (open to all LEA members)*
  • 19 Delegates to the MTA Annual Meeting; $75 stipend
    The meeting will be held at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, on Friday, May 8 and Saturday, May 9.  We ask you to strongly consider going both days.
    (open to all LEA members)*

* LEA members may submit their names for an office and also for one or both delegate positions.

THE CAMPAIGN WILL NOT BEGIN UNTIL MONDAY, FEBRUARY 23RD.

Phyllis Neufeld, President
Lexington Education Association
251 Waltham Street
Lexington, MA 02421
neufeld@sch.ci.lexington.ma.us
781-861-9090, Fax 781-861-6990
website: lexington.massteacher.org

Two more “Listening Tour” meeting dates left

Man uses an ear trumpetDr. Ash and Phyllis will be conducting two “Listening Tour” meetings at LHS on 1/28 and 1/29 between 3PM and 4:15PM. Here is a description of the agenda:

Dr. Ash and I will be coming to the schools below (several schools per listening tour) to carry through on the district goal:

  • what initiatives/assessments/time consuming projects we should continue, since they yield rich results for our students, and which ones we should eliminate since they do not.

  • Our goal is to engage in a collaborative process that will help the school system increase efficiency and effectiveness and eliminate low-leverage strategies.