Where has the Fiscal concern / accountability been? Part 2 of 3

I’m all for supporting the Schools but there has to be taxpayer accountability and the process needs to be conducted properly and in full view of the parents / taxpayers. It shouldn’t be enough to show up the day of the City budget hearing to beg for more money when you never followed up on a vote you took in September 2016 for more money.

In part 1 I showed how last year the entire Budget process was poorly handled and if you look at the following information, you will see that the sloppiness continued again this year without any current school committee member voicing a concern!

When and where did we hear any School Committee member or any other current candidate express frustration or concern over the constant postponement and concern over meetings not being held in the view of the taxpayer even after the School Committee voted to do so? Where have Jackie Doherty and Connie Martin been?

Maybe the public and parents don’t care how the end is achieved as long has the end is what’s best for the kids? Everyone is busy with family commitments and we all have many things to do but doesn’t this School Committee owe the taxpayers / parents some accountability and transparency?

This School Committee seems to be in full support of doing things out of the taxpayers view except when they want to show up in an election year to ask for more funding!

Follow along to see the mess that was this year’s budget “process”

February 1st School Committee Agenda submitted by the Supt. of Schools

The Plan called for the Budget to be presented during April School Vacation week, then meetings outside the view of the taxpayer (AGAIN)

Mr. Gignac made a motion to revise that schedule and have more meetings televised and that passed 6-0 with Steve Gendron Absent.

The April 12th meeting was “cancelled” after I posted the following on April 10th:

There is a budget meeting this Wednesday April 12th to present the 2017/2018 budget to the School Committee NOTHING is posted on the City Agenda web page or under the School Committee Meeting Packet Tab on the School Dept website. In fact the Administration made sure to not hold the meeting in the City Council Chamber less it be televised.

According to the calendar on the School Dept Website there is also a fifteen minute “Special Meeting” of the School Committee scheduled but nothing is posted in the above locations to let the public know anything about this meeting.

At first glance I thought this was a deliberate attempt to stall because the budget isn’t ready or a deliberate attempt to not make the public aware of what was taking place.

Turns out it appears from the manner used to post the information, the latter seems to be correct.

Here are screen shots taken after 7:00 p.m. this evening from both the City and School websites which have no School Committee Meeting Information posted. Here is also the wording of the calendar showing the scheduled meetings.

Special Meeting of the School Committee. 4/12/2017 06:15 pm to 06:30 pm

SC BUDGET HEARING. 4/12/2017 06:30 pm to 08:00 pm

However if you search the School Dept. Site, you see a tab that is labeled Announcements

If you click on that tab you see the meetings scheduled and if you click on those you find these two notifications

On April 25th I noted the following:
if you look at the Calendar located on the School Dept. Website you see there is a Finance Sub Committee meeting scheduled for tomorrow night but the agenda CLEARLY says the reason for the meeting is to REVIEW the 2017/2018 Budget.

How do you have a sub-committee meeting to review something that you haven’t (at least in a public meeting) received yet? The meeting was still posted as of 8:00 pm last night and no other meetings to present the 2017/2018 budget have been scheduled.

What can they discuss based on this posting? It is under the required posting time so they really can’t change the subject matter. Shouldn’t they just cancel?

It turned out they did cancel and we didn’t get word on the budget until the Mayor and Supt. went on WCAP on April 26th, the budget was presented at the May 3rd School Committee but no new schedule was provided.

I posted this May 9th –

If you don’t check the School Dept. website and their calendar you would not know that tomorrow night is the final public meeting because the agenda calls for the adoption of the budget.

Tomorrow’s meeting isn’t televised and isn’t schedule for the Rogers School where meetings are usually held instead this is scheduled at the Butler School Auditorium.

The School Administration and Committee will allow a Connect ED call home about a Friends of Lowell High meeting but doesn’t do one to inform people about budget meetings and locations? Why not?

Possibly because like last year, this administration wants to keep their plans out of the public view.

It turns out that they were able to televise the meeting on Ch. 22 but didn’t announce that until after I posted about it not being televised. Where was the concern of Jackie Doherty or Connie Martin during all of this rescheduling?

In fact the night of the meeting Connie Martin and Jackie along with the rest of the School Committee, seemed to have forgotten it was a public hearing and it wasn’t until 45 minutes into the meeting that Bob Gignac realized that people were there to speak. Where was the concern then?

When and where did we hear or read about the frustration of this Committee or challenger with the constant rescheduling and the ignoring of the votes of the school committee to hold these meetings in City Hall so they could be televised on ch. 99 where all school committee meetings are generally shown?

I believe elected officials owe the taxpayers accountability and transparency.

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