See the latest Norwich Bull article 3/20/07 on the plight of the Academy and Mike Alberts’ claim that he doesn’t know “what specific changes Breen wanted” in his request (supported by many) to the Education committee. Just as a reminder, see the quote below:
“Proposal â€“ Woodstock Academyâ€™s â€œdriftâ€? from its chartered public education mission is a function of its poorly defined governance, and has raised serious legal and public policy issues which can only be resolved through modifications to the state statutes, the schoolâ€™s charter and the sending town contracts. However, any proposed changes require direction from the General Assembly. Woodstock Academy should be governed by the simple principle of public oversight of public funds expended to accomplish a public objective. These principles can be captured with the following basic modifications.
1. Mission – The Academyâ€™s role in the provision of public education services to secondary students from its sending towns, and its responsibility to advocate for the public education of all students should be made explicit and extended in perpetuity.
2. Governance – The sending towns should have full 50% representation on the Board of Trustees, proportionate based on student/tuition contributions. Sending town representatives should be appointed by the sending town boards of education and their role as representatives of the sending towns should be made explicit. The chair position should be rotated between public and private representatives.
3. Major Decisions â€“ Major capital, financing, curriculum, management, budget and legal decisions, including reasonable line item budget restrictions as well as expansion of participating towns, facilities or land holdings, should require consent of the sending town representatives with input by their boards of education.
4. Domicile Costs â€“ Woodstock, as the home of the Academy, bears costs for public infrastructure, traffic and public safety costs, and should be reimbursed for reasonable associated costs.”
The natives are restless in Woodstock… I can hear the drumbeats across the Quinebaug. Unlikely alliances are being formed at the hearths of those that have felt ostracized, dispossessed, or are otherwise unable to affect the track of their own lifeâ€™s paths. Suddenly there seems to be a place for negativities of all stripes to bondâ€¦the cynics, the pessimists, the conspirators, the ignorant, the displaced, the mean-spirited, and the just plain selfishly cheap.
Now, this group is gathering in homes to foment their conspiratorial accusations. Once again they have set their sites on the Board of Education and the Superintendent. Under the rallying flag of protecting the Academy, their blind hatred is seething forth with wild allegations of â€˜hiding moneyâ€™, building empires, and even embezzlement.
Their continued ignorance to the facts is astounding. With our â€˜per pupilâ€™ spending in the bottom 3% of the state, how is it that there is money being hidden? How is it that expecting proportional representation on the Board of Trustees empire building? Perhaps there was embezzlement by a Superintendent or Board of Ed years ago, when some of these malcontents were involved on the Board of Education. Why else would that idea surface in their minds and spew out of their mouths?
How much nonsense must we indulge? These are the same people that want to insist on a referendum to spend $100,000. Why wouldnâ€™t they also want to have some say on the $5,000,000 that is shipped off to the Academy each year? Talk about pennywise and pound foolish!
The Academy is entirely dependent on the four sending towns for their existence. When my eighteen-year-old filed her income taxes without consulting her parents, her father was concerned that she may have claimed herself as a dependent. When we queried her about it, she responded “She hadnâ€™tâ€¦ how could she have when every penny she has spent came from her parents. ” That came from a young college student, someone who understands who is buttering her bread. Why is it so threatening for the Academy to admit the fact that they are wholly dependent on taxpayers? What would be so devastating to be honest not only with themselves, but the taxpayers that provide their livelihood? Whether they like it or not, the taxpayers should be their ultimate supervisors, not a non-representative so-called Board of Trustees.