TRSU cuts central office, doesn’t look at special ed Superintendent discounts public input on job review

By Shawn Cunningham
© 2018 Telegraph Publishing LLC

At the behest of both of the Act 46 created districts in the supervisory union, the TRSU board convened on Thursday night and cut the central office budget by more than $88,000, although questions remain about the $3.4 million  special education budget — especially out-of-district transportation, which Superintendent Meg Powden has agreed to discuss in executive session at a Green Mountain Unified School District board meeting on April 17.

The TRSU executive committee reviews the budget proposal submitted by the supervisory union. Photos by Shawn Cunningham

Before the full board meeting, the TRSU executive committee met to look at the cuts put forward by the SU, but committee chair Bob Herbst told the panel that there would be the addition of a discussion of Powden’s performance review added to the agenda if the committee approved it.

When the group began by discussing how to deliver the public comment portion of the review to the schools and town offices, Powden asked what the goals of the review would be.

“I think it’s important and I need feedback on my performance,” said Powden. “But is that what you are thinking?”

Committee member and GMUSD board chair Marilyn Mahusky said that they wanted to include stakeholders and that would include parents and other members of the public.

“It feels like this is being done to me instead of with me,”  Powden said, adding that she had worked on issues including Act 46 with teachers, administrators and board members, not the public.

“If you said to work with the community, I would have to come back and asked ‘what do I give up?’ ” said Powden. “I don’t see my work is with the community. Maybe next year.” Powden told the committee that she did not feel that the public would have any valuable information regarding her performance.

With 15 minutes remaining in the meeting’s half-hour schedule, Mahusky moved to table that discussion and to discuss the budget.

Cheryl Hammond, assistant to the Business Manager, walked the committee through the cuts – including $7,437 for a courier, $12,271 to software and $17,035 by making the director of Information Technology position 80 percent of full-time. With the reduction of Hammond’s position to 50 percent of a 200-day year adding savings of $51,309, the total savings proposed came to $88,052. That would reduce the cost to the GMUSD and the Ludlow/Mount Holly district by $58,564 and $29,488  respectively.

After a brief explanation of the $88,000 in budget cuts was approved, chairman Bob Herbst declared it the shortest SU board meeting on record.

The committee quickly recommended the budget to the full board, which then rescinded the budget approved on Feb. 22, 2018 and approved this new $5.930 million spending plan.

During both the committee and full board meetings, Mahusky suggested that the panels need more training on the state’s Open Meeting Law. Citing an article in The Telegraph which alleged an improper use of the personnel exemption, Mahusky said this does nothing for the public perception of the school board.

Following that, Powden told the board that the executive session for “Personnel FY 19 Budget” on the agenda for that night would not be needed.

On Tuesday, April 17, the GMUSD board will meet to discuss the outcome of the SU budget session and finalize a budget to put before the voters in late May. The meeting will be at 6 p.m. at Chester-Andover Elementary, 72 Main St., Chester.

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  1. John Grady says:

    “That would reduce the cost to the GMUSD and the Ludlow/Mount Holly district by $58,564 and $29,488 respectively.”

    GMUSD wanted $12.5 million for its budget.

    $60,000 out of $12 million is one half of one percent.

    Knocking 1/2 of 1% off my school taxes = $10 out of thousands of dollars.

    The teachers union and its groupies are good at putting on a show. The absurdity of haggling over a fraction of one percent of the budget while spending double per child what other rural places spend is amazing to watch while the towns are starved for revenue to provide services.

    Insanity is doing the same thing as everyone else an expecting different results.

    It’s not the smartest or strongest that survive, it’s the ones who are able to adapt to change.

    Continuing to cling to the failing post WWII American culture doesn’t look like a good idea too me.

    How’s the Class of 2008 doing? The 1950s system failed the millennials and turned the country into food stamp Nation and people sit around planning to carry on with the status quo and more of the same?

    All the TRSU people involved in trying to comply with the regulations should quit and tell the state and federal government to run the schools seeing as how they have basically taken over. What is the point of being a punching bag and enabling the dysfunction to continue?

    Gandhi ran the British out of India by telling people don’t cooperate with them. Why are people sitting on school boards and cooperating with the state & federal departments of education? Why are students cooperating with the system when they could deliberately fail the tests to help try an run the government overlords out of town? Why are the children & school board members busting their butts for FREE and cooperating with a system that is really lame?

    Decades ago we didn’t have people snapping almost daily and going postal. The Me Generation taking over the country has been a total failure economically & socially. It’s well past time to move on and dump the 1950s failed American culture and reinvent America for the 21st century. The people running things today are products of the America school system they claim was much better back in the good old days when they went.

    FREE the local schools of government bureaucrats and then FREE the children after 10 years old to choose their own education plan with no mandates to take certain classes. Give them a few dozen payment vouchers so they can enroll in courses of their own choosing.

    Tyrants force people to do things; freedom is about making our own choices. Being forced to do things isn’t freedom and seeing as how kids are snapping it’s not working is it?

  2. Otis Nelson says:

    Oh my, the school board works for the communities, the superintendent works for the communities, and the teachers work for the communities. So yes, we should absolutely have a say in your performance! We go to meetings, we followed the entire Act 46 process, and we are watching this budget process very closely. The time for excessive administration spending, lack of focus on what’s needed in the classroom and hidden budgets should be over by now! Transparency has yet to be found!