Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Scarlet Letters

 Town center this morning

So I kind of hope whoever was responsible for these signs leaves them up for a while just as a reminder of how pathetic the turnout was for the People's Republic of Amherst local election yesterday:

6.6% vs 69% last November for the Presidential election.

And yes, no contests for town wide offices but every one of our ten precincts had town meeting seats to fill.  And Amherst is renowned as a champion of Democracy because we still maintain such an antiquated form of government.

Yet when it comes time to elect folks to this bastion of participatory Democracy ...

"Blanks" did very well.  Coming in 3rd for Select Board and 1st for School Committee


-----Original Message-----
From: Larry Kelley
To: amhersttownmeetingsubscribe
Sent: Wed, Apr 10, 2013 2:07 pm
Subject: Town Meeting List serve

Now that I am a duly elected member of Precinct 5 I would like to join this private, quasi-public list serve for Amherst Town Meeting members.


Larry Kelley
Precinct 5

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

This should be a clear sign to the powers to be as to how powerless our votes really seem. Nothing is going to change in the laughing stock of the Pioneer Valley. Many people are probably just trying to figure out either how they can rent their houses and move or sell out completely and vacate the circus. Such a discouraging state of affairs this town is in!

Dr. Ed said...

I would like to see a "none of the above" option -- where, if it wins, the seat remains vacant until the next election.

I also would like to see the Police Chief facing a vote of confidence every 3-5 years, and some sort of arrangement along the lines of what Chief Scott was talking about with the judges.

Anonymous said...

anon 1:07 pm: I'm one of the "many people." Can't afford the property taxes...

Anonymous said...

What precinct is your photo of the votes for? There weren't that many blanks for School Committee in my precinct, #7.

Also, any info on the second library trustee seat? who won there?

Anonymous said...

Where did you get this info? The town clerk did not post any results.

Larry Kelley said...

I did it the old fashioned way: walked into Town Hall and went to the Town Clerk's office where indeed the results are posted on the wall.

I think the photo I posted of results is from Precinct #1, but let's just say "Blanks" did very well in EVERY precinct.

Walter Graff said...

But without you being near homeless due to town taxes people like the Amherst School superintendent wouldn't be making more money than the governor of this state (seventh highest paid governor in the US).

And let's not forget how some of that money you pay goes to such waste as the school system being $600,000 over budget.

A town with no one in charge is wonderful for spending all your money with no accountability.

Anonymous said...

The sky is falling! (yawn )The sky is ZZZ...

Anonymous said...

Can we check this?

The Amherst Superintendent makes more money than the Governor of Massachusetts?????

Is this true, Larry?

I agree with the charge made above: where everyone is theoretically in charge, no one is practically in charge.

I'm afraid that the low turnout is a sign of general contentment, which is perhaps most disturbing of all. Ms. Brewer, for example, needed to take a break from her exertions as a public servant, if only for her physical health, which does not appear to be good.

Larry Kelley said...

I believe the Gov makes $140,535 and Maria Geryk, the highest paid employee in Amherst, comes in at $147,000.

So the winner is ...

Anonymous said...

I think that Ms. Brewer actually cares, and that may be part of the problem.

Can you imagine what would happen to a mayor who genuinely cared about Amherst and tried to be all things to all people?

Larry Kelley said...

At this rate we will never find out.

Tom Porter said...

The real intrigue: who got the write-in votes?

Anonymous said...

Sometimes an officeholder comes along and strikes it rich. Anyone seen her kissing the ground that has rewarded her so well (without the usual credentials)?

Tom McBride said...

Nobody cares about town meeting, but it holds so much power. Strange irony. Yet there will probably never be another vote to get rid of it again.

Anonymous said...

Any ideas on what the salaries are for the superintendents of those districts y'all like to compare us to? Brookline? Newton? Longmeadow?

There's an underlying tone here. Did y'all pay that attention to Arod's salary? Or the $15 thousand dollar annual traveling expense, in addition to his $158,000 salary, so he could use all of his sick and vacation time before working 8 months in his first year on the, job?

I just don't recall that.

Did y'all question Jere's salary? or Gus's? Who was the last female supt? Did y'all question her salary too?

I would truly like to see one of Mr. Kelley's famous documents listing all of the salaries of all the superintendents in the state of Massachusetts.

Oh please, Mr. Kelley, can't we get the whole story?

Then maybe I would learn that superintendents in general are making a lot of money, that the governor doesn't make as much as one would think, but somehow is still a multimillionaire anyway?

Maybe I would learn, too, if I looked at the President’s salary:

“The president's salary was increased from $200,000 to $400,000 in 2001. The president's current salary of $400,000 includes a $50,000 expense allowance.”

Hmm, interesting. Anybody know who was President in 2001?

Gee whiz, Ms. Geryk makes almost as much as the most powerful man in the free world. I guess she is doing pretty well.

You go girl!

(Note to self: become Superintendent of Amherst Schools as soon as possible!)

Larry Kelley said...

Actually I questioned Gus, Jere's and A-Rod's salaries.

And you would not have known about his taking all his sick and vacation time in only 8 months if it were not for me publishing one of my "famous documents."

Or maybe YOU would have known, since obviously you work for the schools. But the rest of the world would not have known it.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I guess you could say that there's a lot of people in Amherst who make more than the leader of the free world... many people who live in this town have done very well for themselves!

I hope that the most talented and hard-working of the younger teachers in our the Amherst schools take a look at who the leaders are, and the path each took to become leaders, and recognize the potential to do relatively well by staying here and contributing their talents, and perhaps create goals to take over leadership positions as they become available.

Anonymous said...

(Note to self: become Superintendent of Amherst Schools as soon as possible!)

I've got a 20 year education and work plan that will help to get you considered if you are interested.

Anonymous said...

anon said: Gee whiz, Ms. Geryk makes almost as much as the most powerful man in the free world. I guess she is doing pretty well.

Actually, she makes about 1/3 of the Pres's salary...there's a huge difference between 150 and 450...you must be an English teacher.

Dr. Ed said...

Regarding the lucurative Supt position:

I've got a 20 year education and work plan that will help to get you considered if you are interested.

Does it include actually earning a doctorate, which generally is a prerequisite for the position and something that other Supts had going into their positions -- does it?

Does it include actually being certified as a classroom teacher, let alone perhaps having taught for a while in a regular classroom?

And what does this say to someone like me who actually has both of those qualifications (not that I would want anything to do with the ARSD at any salary). What do you think this says to the high school student who is tempted by the immediate cash of the part time job?

Maria G's message is clear -- drop out of school, don't bother to graduate because I didn't and look at how well I'm doing.

Team Maria simply can't spin this -- she doesn't have a doctorate and everyone knows that, and the more you go on about "the last female superintendent" and the rest, the more the young Black & Hispanic men are encouraged to drop out of school and then blame their problems on racism.

Maria G's minions can attack me, and likely will, but perhaps they might first answer the question of why in h*ll some 17-year-old should stay in school 3 more months and graduate when he could go work construction right NOW and if he doesn't go NOW, someone else will have the job in June.

What's the value of a diploma -- Maria G doesn't have the one she is "supposed to have"....

Anonymous said...

It's because you're a lazy, stupid a**hole and she's a hard-working, intelligent, woman.

And the message isn't "drop out of school"... it's drop out of the UMass Ed.D. program and just do the work. Don't get trapped into that bullshit over there...

right, Ed?

Anonymous said...

when maria g is done in 6 or 7 years we will be able to look back and assess whether it matters whether or not she got her ed.d.

she has her Massachusetts State Superintendent Certification and License (something you certainly do not have!) she's qualified, energetic, is clearly making progress... so what difference will it make in 10 years, when she's all done here, whether or not she can log in as "dr. maria"?

Besides, what difference does it make to you since you have no roots, no foundation, no credibility in this town, and you have and never will have anything to do with the public schools in amherst or anywhere else ever?

get a life, dr. ed...

Larry Kelley said...

Jonathan McCabe won Jones Library Trustee via write in votes.

Anonymous said...

Team Maria simply can't spin this -- she doesn't have a doctorate and everyone knows that

who's trying to spin anything, ed? it's not like she tried to convince anyone she did have a ph.d. during the national superintendent search, which resulted in mg getting the job. and anon is right, she's getting positive things accomplished here that no supt. has ever been able to accomplish in amherst...so what do you care? i'm confident we'll look back in ten years and know we made the right decision, and you will still be doing exactly what you are doing RIGHT NOW.

Dr. Ed said...

so what difference will it make in 10 years, when she's all done here, whether or not she can log in as "dr. maria"?

The difference, quite simply, will be in all the young people who took her example and failed to graduate.

Why should they, when she didn't?

she's getting positive things accomplished here that no supt. has ever been able to accomplish in amherst

Really?!?!?!

i'm confident we'll look back in ten years and know we made the right decision

When the town is in receivership?

and you will still be doing exactly what you are doing RIGHT NOW.

No, by they I likely will get talked into going down to DC, but still, I wouldn't mind doing exactly what I am doing right now.

And when you find out what it is that I *am* doing, it will be way to late to do anything about it.

Anonymous said...

Oh, yeah... your book about Amherst that you're writing before they talk you into going down to D.C. ...

You're insane if you think any of the kids in high school or middle school look up to central office administrators as their role models. Your argument lacks credibility. Can you offer some kind of proof that her lack of a Ph.D. will have the effect you suggest? What if graduation rates increase during her tenure? Will you eat your shoe?

Everything you write sounds like sheer resentment toward a woman who has pulled herself up by her boot strapos and worked and educated herself for 27 years, and is accomplishing amazing things...

Really?!?!?!

Yes, really. But you wouldn't know, you have nothing to do with anything that goes on in this town except for this blog.

Walter Graff said...

"Everything you write sounds like sheer resentment toward a woman who has pulled herself up by her boot strapos and worked and educated herself for 27 years, and is accomplishing amazing things..."




The equivalent of 12.6 full-time positions will be cut from the Amherst Regional Schools to help bridge a budget gap of over $1 million under Superintendent Maria Geryk...

The cuts, could affect 21 separate positions...

Academics and electives in the Amherst Regional High School...

In the middle school they will affect physical education and technology...

Geryk said she will not know whether layoffs and reductions to staff hours will be necessary until early April...

Funding for the regional schools would be 2.1 percent higher than it is in the current school year...
The addition of a Steps-to-Success liaison, to work with income-eligible families, and additional funding for summer scheduling support, which would cost slightly over $57,000 and $12,000...

Geryk will use approximately $100,000 in reserve funds, and prepay $117,000 in retirement incentives and $100,000 in summer tuition for special needs students from a surplus that the school system has for the current year...


The staff cuts are expected to save over $650,000...

Geryk said that the cuts are in line with changes in enrollment — which has declined by almost 500 students in the past 10 years...

The middle school would see the elimination of technology as an elective course...

The middle school would also see the reduction in the amount of time spent on physical education, and the loss of a physical education teacher...

The high school would see the bulk of the reductions, losing the equivalent of 3 1/3 academic teaching positions, and slightly over 1½ elective teaching positions...

The South East Campus, which serves special needs students, would also see the reduction of one teaching position...

Several administrative cuts — the equivalent of 3.2 positions, and a part-time bus driver...

While the number of students has declined, the reporting and tracking demands that state and federal requirements place on administrators have increased over the last decade...

Anonymous said...

thanks for all the "new" info walt. it appears very few agree with your assessment of mg and the current state of the amherst public schools, however. have you noticed, walt, that you are one of the very few coming on to here to criticize mg? even the sc member that sanderson brought on board to form a voting bloc against mg just voted to extend mg's contract for FIVE YEARS.

so gather those other fort river parents and high-five-ing teachers who want to aid you in "pulling back the drapes" (awful, awful analogy!) because you've got a LOT of work to do.

walt, have you set up that meeting with central office yet to discuss your concerns for our schools?

Anonymous said...

mg's budget went through easy...if walt doesn't get why teacher positions are being eliminated, he hasn't been paying attention and clearly doesn't watch town meeting or sc meetings.