Sunday, November 25, 2012

You again.....

Hope your Thanksgiving was filled with family, good times and lots to eat. Now it's back to your blog time. Choose your topic.......

Monday, November 19, 2012

Chairperson of the Board

The last thread started the conversation on the chairperson for the Board of Education. Let's continue the discussion here....

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Teachers' Union Contract

NORWALK -- Board of Education members are spiking the football on what's being called a favorable arbitrated teachers' union contract. While the arbitration panel sided with the Norwalk Federation of Teachers (NFT) on keeping class size regulations in place and a three-year contract duration, the board finally got its hard freeze, which will save the board more than $3 million. The board also won some work rules rollbacks, such as giving the superintendent more leeway in transferring teachers, which the NFT also agreed to. There will also be changes to the insurance plan, though the panel chose to pick and choose between portions of the teachers' last best offer and the board's. NFT President Bruce Mellion's salary will also come off the books. The board was previously paying 40 percent of Mellion's salary. "You're never going to get 100 percent of arbitration, particularly when you have a large number of issues like this. On the big items, the ones we really considered critically important, I'd say we got 80 percent of them," said Mike Lyons, who sits on the board's Negotiations and Personnel Committee. Board Chairman Jack Chiaramonte, who was a major proponent of a hard freeze during the summer's budget crisis, called the freeze a "win for everybody" as Norwalk teachers, on average, are still some of the best paid in the state. "Had the union taken the hard freeze as we asked them to, librarians and teachers and other employees would still be working today," said Chiaramonte. "We asked them nicely. Saying no during negotiations wasn't wise, as it turns out. We told them every other union has taken a freeze, not only in the city, in every city in every state in the country." The hard freeze comes into effect for the 2013-14 school year, with salary and step increases returning for 2014-15. In 2015-16, salary and step increases will be reopened for negotiation..................................... source:This is a quote from The Hour.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Irene Sikorski's Letter in The Hour I have taken the liberty of cutting and pasting the letter from The Hour. What you are missing are the comments, especially from Mike Barbis. You can find the comments online in The Hour, Letters to the Editor.....Here is the letter....... After reading the headlines and letters to the editor, I feel compelled to speak out. I am angry and frustrated at the antics of Sue Haynie in her efforts to undermine any and all endeavors of the members of the Norwalk Board of Education. She is an obstructionist whose mission is always to cause upset. She is at the center of creating the "so-called dysfunctionality" of the board. On a daily basis, she is on a rant about every aspect of the board's work. This would be commendable if she was engaging the members of the board in productive debate; however, her venue is the press or behind closed doors. She has taken issue with the reading and math programs, the superintendent search, special education, the budget, the retreat, and especially anything having to do with Tony Daddona. In her smear campaigns, she uses half truths and innuendos. She claims that recent contracts that were negotiated for Mr. Daddona were done without transparency; however, the details of such negotiations are in the board packet. Furthermore, it is interesting to note, that Mr. Daddona's salary is NOT more than Susan Marks'. She was paid $200,000.00 plus an annuity of $30,000.00. What was not made public, however, is that Marks walked away with a severance of $90,000.00 after only a two-year term. Why didn't Haynie take issue with this outrageous sum of money? Why shouldn't Mr. Daddona receive the same salary as Mrs. Marks? Isn't he the interim superintendent? The previous interim superintendents received comparable salaries for whom they were replacing. Wouldn't it be much more productive if Mrs.Haynie worked with her fellow board members and Central Office personnel, instead of always being the naysayer and instigator of derision? These destructive witch hunts must stop. I think she has forgotten why she was elected. Remember her election slogan: Parents Not Politicians. What are her credentials to make informed decisions about the district's curriculum? For the record, she should be serving the Norwalk Family, not her own personal agenda or that of the Red Apples of which she is a founding member. Contrary to what Mrs. Haynie purports, Mr. Daddona's leadership style embraces an atmosphere of focused, calm determination, which has established accountability, transparency, and collegiality, which has not been the case in the prior administrations of Rosenstein, Herbert, Corda, or Marks. It has been a long time since Dr. Sloan's administration when just about everything was right. I move that we unite our efforts to defeat the negativity and move forward to enrich the greatness of the Norwalk Public Schools. The students, parents, teachers, administrators, support staff, and community deserve nothing less. Irene Sikorski