When I tuned in, @EliSherman, who lost his Internet connection a little later, was tweeting that the Super had advised that 32% of students registered in Waltham this year will likely need ELL services. Additionally, there was a decrease in kids moving from K to grade 1 and from grade 1 to grade 2. So, it looks like Dr. Nicholson did indeed get the "metrics" for which she was waiting. She does love her metrics and her data. It will be even more impressive if the data and metrics can be used to address the serious issues confronting the district, and I haven't seen any sign of that.
I did get to see Mrs.Limonciello's soliloquy live, which sounded like part mea culpa, part speech to the team before the big game, and part what should have been said a year or two ago. She suggested 'working harder', while recognizing that the SC members already work hard, and not just every other Wednesday. That's radical talk!
Then began one of the strangest hours on television, and I am saying that having watched some of the coverage of the equally unnecessary and bizarre proceedings in the federal government this week. It's good to know that Waltham can be just as crazy as those kids in Washington DC!
As I recall, the hour began when a motion from Teddy Tarallo that had been put on hold with a 'Section 5' (which is only 3 away from a section 8, and which is totally justifiable because watching these meetings can make anyone crazy!) at the last meeting. So, Mayor McCarthy brought up the motion from Mr. Tarallo again and then the party got started. The next hour revolved around the following:
- Was there or wasn't there actually a motion on the floor?
- Should the fiduciary oversight that Mr. Tarallo was recommending in the motion that may not be a motion be thought of as 35 "line items" or should we call it "buckets"?
- How many accounts are there in the Waltham School District? (Answer (unsurprising to anyone who has ever worked in a large organization ): thousands)
- If the District Director of Nursing needs to hire an audiologist, would she need to come before the School Committee to do so?
- If a School Committee member falls in the forest....
Here's the deal: Mr. Tarallo's proposal (motion or not) was that the School Committee needs to have a better way to deal with the $68 million budget than in the context of the two categories that are currently used. Those two categories are personnel (Group A) and everything else (Group B.) I have managed budgets significantly smaller and the idea of trying to manage $68 million with only two categories is, to me, jaw-droppingly inefficient and possibly negligent. I am not implying that anyone is doing anything inappropriate with the money; I am saying outright that if you are only looking at two categories for a budget of that size, you aren't paying attention. My husband and I make a little less than $68 million a year and yet, in our household budget, we have categories like "utilities", "cars", "childcare", "mortgage", "wine" (that last one is just mine, btw.)
So, to me, it was another example of "what, exactly, are you people doing?" and Mr. Tarallo's sage advice and straightforward recommendation (whether it was actually a motion or not) made perfect sense.
- Mr. Cincotta missed his calling: he would have been a great trial lawyer
- Mrs. Burstein should read the papers in front of her instead of waving them around saying that she doesn't have the information
- Mr. Tarallo needs a steady supply of Tylenol for the headaches he must have for bringing up these astoundingly logical suggestions just to have them thrown to the curb.