Monday, July 16, 2012

Winchester is in for a rude awakening

Back in February, the town of Winchester passed a budget that was designed by the team of Jackson/Horton, who are now on our school board.

I was the accountant for Winchester School. This was a new assignment for me for the 2011-12 school year. I was responsible for payroll, accounts payable, purchasing and basically anything else that needed to be done for our new school administrative unit.
I worked hand-in-hand with Ken Dassau our superintendent, Charlie Paulin our business manager, Chris Boyle our technology director and Marie Braley our assistant to the superintendent.
We all started training for our jobs way back in January 2011, while we were still doing our regular jobs.
This group of administrative unit staff and the current school administration, and some of the past school board members put together a budget we knew would work, a bare-bones budget.
Our town voted to adopt the even smaller budget proposed by Jackson/Horton team. The team totally destroyed our administrative unit by cutting our salaries big!
I’m only going to discuss my job, which the team never, ever, even asked me what I did. They cut my salary, which in turn cut my hours, but I still have the same duties.
Meanwhile, our superintendent resigned and will be done Aug. 30, our business manager is basically just staying on for the summer, and our tech director left for a job that will pay him what he is worth in another school district.
We also lost our 7-8th grade science teacher to another school district and one of our 6th-grade teachers left also.
I was going to stay on because I love my job, my school and the staff I work with. Unfortunately, the stress of worrying what would happen in the upcoming year, losing the wonderful people I worked with in the administrative unit, knowing we were going into the school year with a budget that will never make it with the expenses that are “set,” made me ill.
I have resigned my position as accountant for Winchester School. I will miss all my co-workers but many are friends, so I will still get to see them.
What I will miss most is a job I love, children that knew my name and gave me huge hugs, and happy employees.
Wake up Winchester: Just because you passed a smaller budget does not mean we still won’t have the same expenses we knew about.
I will be hanging back and awaiting the results of this fiasco. Unfortunately, I am also a taxpayer in the town of Winchester and I know what to expect.

204 Manning Hill Road Winchester

Spending over 11 million dollars on a top heavy school budget is NOT fiscal responsibility Patricia. It is a proven fact that as a country we are spending nearly double over the past 10 years on education and yet our students can not compete with other students from around the world. Even poor, underdeveloped countries surpass our students in math and sciences. The United States was once #1 in the world, yet despite doubling the costs for teachers, administrators and aides according to the three-year study OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) report, which compares the knowledge and skills of 15-year-olds in 70 countries around the world, ranked the United States 14th out of 34 OECD countries for reading skills, 17th for science and a below-average 25th for mathematics. Several months ago there was another report published in the Keene Sentinel regarding Winchester ( as well as other towns ) students showing that they were far behind other students in the area despite increases in education funding and new hires here in Winchester. Despite all the chest thumping and rah rah nonsense coming out of the school system, it's obvious to all of us who bear the brunt of these tax increase, that there are serious issues that need addressing asap for the sake of the students who depend on their education to fulfill their life's dreams. How much longer are we going to continue to allow dumping millions into a failing system and turning a blind eye to the problems. Yes, we are in for a rude awaking come tax time in December when all of the spending for the school and town comes due. It's too bad that our students and taxpayers aren't getting their monies worth and that we have educators and town officials that only think of themselves first.


Anonymous said...

Dear Patricia,
We have proven over the years that throwing money at this school is not helping the kids and its not raising the test scores. It only helps the bloated administrative salary's.
I was sick to my stomach and very upset when I saw the pay of some of the administration and you say its all about the kids, NO its all about people making big bucks without earning them. If test scores improved and the % of sped kids went down maybe the huge salaries could of been justified.
I myself wanted the BC original budget of 9.2 million to pass but the chairman dropped the ball. If people worked at it the school would still function but as you just pointed out the staff is more worried about large salary's than they are about our kids education.
The economy is hurting I haven't had a raise in sometime and the benefits ( that I pay for) cost more and cover less. Welcome to the real world Patricia. I love our kids and I am pro school but the days of wasting money on administration instead of educating our kids is coming to a end.
By the way who was the panel that studied about us forming our own SAU, Seems to me they need to be tarred and feathered.
Last note there is a large amount of people in the unemployment line that will love hearing about these job openings you and your cronies are creating....Thank you Patricia.

Anonymous said...

I congratulate the school board for sticking to their word and cutting the adminstrative costs. When we left SAU 38, even though we didn't have a choice in the end because all other towns left first, it was to cut costs. By simply moving the bloated salaries from the old SAU to all the new SAUs it didn't accomplish anything.
SAU costs are not helping our hard working teachers do their jobs better or providing them with more resources to help the children.
I applaud our teachers for working so hard. They are always there for students, they work evenings and weekends preparing lessons for our students and are always willing to meet with parents at a time that works for them and not compensated any extra for it. Now that the SAU costs are cut, perhaps their will be more money for our students instead of big salaries, now to take care of the bloated assistant principal salary.
I think Winchester is in for a rude awakening- we can survive without these huge salaries. Lets continue to demand that our school board put the money where it belongs, into our students' educational needs, not into large salaries.

To The Future said...

The world goes on. For every purported disaster, there will be a golden opportunity. Many businesses use outside contracted services, to provide payroll, benefits administration, accounts payable, and many other bookeeping needs. Don't for a second believe that it can't be done for less than the accumulated costs of this administration and it's , bloated salaries, perks, and part time employees. Yes, join the real world that will become the norm of the future.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for opening up a job for someones else that really needs it. Your the best Patricia, such a selfless thing you are doing. Good luck finding another job paying you like we were.
Most likely not the reaction you were hoping for with your Boohoo letter.
Maybe we could offer some of these administration jobs to some of our hardworking teachers for a bump in pay. A Lot of small school the teachers do double duty. It just seems such a waste paying these salary's to people who don't step into the classrooms and actually do what a school is meant for educating kids not overpaying people who sit in a office.

Anonymous said...

What about the article this month in the Sentinel talking about how great the Winchester kids are doing?? Also, the NECAP scores from this year were just about the same as Keene. The gap is closing fast.
Oh but let's not focus on that. That would be positive. Much easier to complain.

no wool pulled over my eyes said...

Who do you think provided the fodder for that article and out of all of the students attending from Winchester, didn't you find it a bit odd that Sharra's daughter was singled out for comments? Besides we all know that the Sentinel has taken a step back from actually reporting the facts to a town friendly feel good local newspaper now. One thing that "story" didn't print was actual facts and statistics. I'm glad if our students are finally starting to compete and flourish but am still dismayed that they have to do it at Keene and not in Winchester.

Anonymous said...

If the high school was open then the town would complain about that budget. What would the high school offer that would be comparable to the classes at Keene? Not much.
Have you looked at what is required to graduate high school? Lots more than just math, science and english. They require social studies, music/ arts, pe, health, computer, etc. Ask the majority of the Winchester students at Keene, 98 percent would not want to come back!

Anonymous said...

Patricia -

I for one was floored to read your letter! Considering the fact that you were being paid better than the majority of teachers who are responsible for the education of the children.

Thank you for stepping down

Just Saying said...

Patricia, you should be thanking the Jackson/Horton team, if it wasn't for them the cut would have been a heck of a lot bigger and it would have passed.

Anonymous said...

Dear Patricia,
Judging on your address. I am going to guess you take Parker Street to get to the Winchester School. I am going to ask you to drive a bit slower on your next trip and notice how many houses are for sale on that street alone. This doesn't count the homes that are close to foreclosure that we don't know about. Yes I think you are right, we are in for a rude awakening. Although it is not going to come employees at the school that will work for a different pay level that you desire. It will come from this town going bankrupt and not being able to pay those new salaries.
Kevin on Swan Street.

Anonymous said...

Hey patricia, are you a CPA, or is the term "accountant" just school-speak for bookkeeper in an attempt to over-professionalize the image of your job?

Bookkeeping is a worthy and respectable job, but it is not accounting.

The town does the same thing. They have an accounting department, but no accountants, and perhaps not even qualified bookkeepers. But boy, do those "accounting" jobs pay well. That's right, there are two full-time jobs for what would be one part-time job in the private sector.

Anonymous said...

These comments are a getting a bit ridiculous. What is the point of this post? Patricia gave a opinion and now her job is open. Quit complaining, either apply for the job or send these so called umemployed waiting in lines to apply for the job. Personal jabs and insults just make this blog look bad and the people who live in Winchester look worse than people think. Acts like adults!

Anonymous said...

Adults don't whine when the government teet gets pulled away. They grow up and find real work.

Anonymous said...

I heard they are hiring people (tech Person) for more money and less hours that do not know they systems or State requirements should be interesting how the school board spin that one.

Anonymous said...

Do you believe everything you hear? Your post makes no sense. How can we believe you after trying to interpret your post. Go to the school board meeting if you want to get accurate info, then post...