Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Don't bother the Juggernaut!

Trailer for sale or rent. Mark's Meadow abandoned classrooms.

So as I've mentioned many times before, Umass generates over 50 school-age children from their tax-exempt housing (including Chancellor Holub's ornate house) impacting the Amherst Public School System at a per head cost of over $16,000 with zero remuneration.

Yet, according to the 5-year Town/Gown "strategic agreement" signed four years ago:

“If, in the future, the Town builds a new elementary school and vacates the Mark’s Meadow facility, the Town, AES, ARPS and the University will negotiate a new agreement in which the University may reimburse the Town for a portion of the net costs of educating students living in University tax-exempt housing. "

Well, last I looked not only has Mark's Meadow been vacated and returned to Umass, but we also left behind never-really-been-used modular classrooms that cost Amherst taxpayers $215,000 only a few years ago.

Furthermore, last week our School Superintendent informed (after the fact) the School Committee that she had authorized donating $96,000 to Umass for a "training partnership." I'm still trying to find out what we are actually getting for our money?
amherstac@aol.com> 11/19/2010 1:44 PM >>>
Hey Rob,
Could I please get the document showing how/where Umass spent the $96,000 for a training partnership using ARRA funds given to them by Amherst schools?

Larry Kelley

From: Rob Detweiler
To: amherstac@aol.com
Cc: Maria Geryk
Sent: Mon, Nov 22, 2010 7:54 am

Hello Larry,I have forwarded your request to the attention of the Superintendent. Hope you enjoy your day.

Rob Detweiler,
Director of Finance and Operations

Thanks Kathy, correction made. Now not to be a complete pain in the butt on a Friday afternoon, but could I also get the number of teachers in the Amherst School System who took advantage of the "free" education courses at Umass School of Education last Fiscal Year? Maria said at the most recent SC meeting the $96,000 we donate annually to Umass School of Ed goes towards grant writing and education/training courses for Amherst public school teachers.

From: Kathy Mazur
To: amherstac@aol.com
Sent: Fri, Nov 19, 2010 12:54 pm
Subject: Re: Public Document Request

I will ask Maria about the "in kind" services you are referring to. One thing though, this was a one-time payment of 96K for a training partnership using ARRA funds. It's not donated annually.


From: amherstac@aol.com
To: cmccormick@educ.umass.edu
Sent: Fri, Nov 19, 2010 1:02 pm
Subject: Public Documents Request

Hi Christine,
Sorry to bother you on a Friday afternoon but could I please get a breakdown (rough is fine) of how the School of Ed spent the $96,000 the Amherst Public Spends expended for the "partnership to support teaching and learning"?


Larry Kelley

From: Christine McCormick
To: amherstac@aol.com
Sent: Mon, Nov 22, 2010 3:01 pm
Dear Mr. Kelley,

Thank you for your interest in our partnership. We are very excited about this collaboration. Last Friday when you sent your email inquiry, the School of Education was focused on ensuring the success of the major event described in the notice below. I am only in today for some key meetings and will be traveling tomorrow to spend Thanksgiving with family. In the meantime, I would encourage you to contact Dr. Rebecca Woodland, who will be glad to fill you in on the accomplishments of this partnership.

Christine B. McCormick
Dean, School of Education


I want my money back! said...



The Recovery Act

On Feb. 13, 2009, Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 at the urging of President Obama, who signed it into law four days later. A direct response to the economic crisis, the Recovery Act has three immediate goals:

* Create new jobs and save existing ones
* Spur economic activity and invest in long-term growth
* Foster unprecedented levels of accountability and transparency in government spending

The Recovery Act intends to achieve those goals by:

* Providing $288 billion in tax cuts and benefits for millions of working families and businesses
* Increasing federal funds for education and health care as well as entitlement programs (such as extending unemployment benefits) by $224 billion
* Making $275 billion available for federal contracts, grants and loans
* Requiring recipients of Recovery funds to report quarterly on how they are using the money. All the data is posted on Recovery.gov so the public can track the Recovery funds.

In addition to offering financial aid directly to local school districts, expanding the Child Tax Credit, and underwriting a process to computerize health records to reduce medical errors and save on health care costs, the Recovery Act is targeted at infrastructure development and enhancement. For instance, the Act plans investment in the domestic renewable energy industry and the weatherizing of 75 percent of federal buildings as well as more than one million private homes around the country.

Construction and repair of roads and bridges as well as scientific research and the expansion of broadband and wireless service are also included among the many projects that the Recovery Act will fund.

While many of Recovery Act projects are focused more immediately on jump starting the economy, others, especially those involving infrastructure improvements, are expected to contribute to economic growth for many years.

Follow the bouncing money Larry:




~Everything~ here:


I want my money back! said...

"~Everything~ here" meaning everything about Amherst schools' funding...

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, bureaucrats seem to spend federal grant money the same way they spend Community Preservation Act Money: like it was manna from the heavens.

I want my money back! said...

Thank you.

Also, can they spend it any which way they want to?

After all, there are guidelines.

Damned guidelines...

Anonymous said...

Great research Larry. Keep plugging. Without the watchdog effort, and yours is the only one I've seen in print, folks tend to get less disciplined with tax dollar expenditures.

LarryK4 said...

Well, I'm not exactly "print" as I could not afford the presses or ink but I know what you mean. Thanks.

But hey, the Gazette broke the (now major) story about Antonio's pizza getting scammed.

Anonymous said...

I hereby willing give to the town of Amherst one container of smoked Orestes in hopes that it makes many U mass trustee's fertile and produce offspring that attend our schools... LOLOLOLOL what a F**Ked up town!

Anonymous said...

Mazur earns her money? LOL

some one please justify this amount of salary ? Please!

Anonymous said...

We are going to find out this spring whether we as a community want to have Ms. Sanderson on School Committee continuing to ask questions like the one here, or the alternative.

LarryK4 said...

No doubt about it.

And the pro status quo, blank check, supposedly "sensible center" types will be working in overdrive to take her out.

Anonymous said...

Yes, the issue of the accountability of our schools is where the "sensible center", a coalition that had some brief, but real effectiveness in Town Meeting, has broken up on the rocks.


LarryK4 said...

Well, with Baer Tierkel as skipper...

Anonymous said...

"And the pro status quo, blank check, supposedly "sensible center" types will be working in overdrive to take her out."

Then we will take them out.

Bare knuckled.

Anonymous said...

Figurative speaking naturally...


Ed said...

As a UMass student who had to PAY to take courses in the School of Education, I do want to know who is paying for these "fee" courses that the teachers are taking.....

They are not free, someone is paying....