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Poll: How Will the Owner-Operator Situation Turn Out?

The situation involving the Newtown Owner-Operators has dominated news coverage for months. How do you think it will turn out?

If you have read Patch for any amount of time, you know that there is overwhelming support for Newtown's Owner-Operators. However, their future is uncertain after the to provide school bus transportation starting in the fall of 2012.

In light of that and after a Patch reader e-mailed to ask that a poll be created on the issue, we present this week's poll.

Susan Joy October 19, 2011 at 10:15 PM
The loss of Owner Operated buses will be one more thing that make it less than wonderful to live in Newtown, We are moving to a large suburban town from a small town feel. All Star will not take the same care with the children of Newtown as the owner operated drivers did. Luckily for the tax payers this HUGE savings will make it so we do not need to increase the school budget this year. I do not think you can put a price tag on the Peace of Mind having someone you have known for years drive your children to school and back.Janet Robinson is a business person who cares about the bottom line and not about the people in town.
Sandra Mosher October 19, 2011 at 10:26 PM
I have grown up in Newtown and graduated NHS in 1975. When I started working, especially working in Danbury, I was privy to the compaints and problems of a hired school bus company and was always proud that my town wouldn't have those problems because it was our neighbors who ran the buses, not some guy hired out of town. Here is a first hand example of hired drivers. One day I was on my way home over Wooster Heights, I was in the slower climbing lane going up the hill, when a Danbury school bus passed in the faster lane, then proceeded to almost run me off the road to pull into the slower right hand lane. If I hadn't hit the brakes quick and hard, I would've been run off the road. I noticed that the bus also had children on it on the way home from school. I called Danbury school system the moment I got home and the lady on the phone inferred that they had trouble with that driver before. I believe he got fired that day. I think it is important to put this "out there" as a way to let people know what we may be looking forward to in hiring outside drivers with a bus company rather than staying with people we know and who know us. I do think the parents should more of a voice in who is driving their kids to school.
Mike Kelley October 19, 2011 at 11:32 PM
I am very soory for the small busineses people who will lose their job and business and some cases much more. I do hope that this decision does not also put the Town or Board of Ed on the hook for $4,000,000 in back payments to the State/Feds etc. Things could have been handled much differently to achieve savings. Level the playing field by releasing bid documents with enough time to allow for reorganization of the independant operators. In my opinion it was orchesrated from the top from the beginning. This has been an announced plan for years by this Superintendtant and the powers that be on the Board of Ed for over a year. Just read the past years Board minutes and statements made by all for the last two years.,
cathy sullivan October 20, 2011 at 03:33 AM
This is a bad decision. One we did not want nor were we asked. I think that Janet Robinson and the BOE should all resign for all of the behind the closed door meetings. Something this important generating such strong response from so many should have been put to a vote. This BOE clearly does not represent me.
cathy sullivan October 20, 2011 at 03:36 AM
Janet Robinson got a raise. Amazing.
Hawleyville Resident October 20, 2011 at 03:37 AM
I don't like waste, I don't like my money spent foolishly. In this instance, I am willing to pay my share for piece of mind and for a quality product. Gone are the days of "nicer in newtown". I don't like what is happening to this town. Just read an article about the flagpole, newbies want change and don't "get it"! Instead try slowing down people!
Sam Mihailoff October 20, 2011 at 05:28 AM
How about a resignation poll or a vote of confidence on Janet Robinson
Bob October 20, 2011 at 11:35 AM
Interesting that as part of the OO deal, that the buses would no longer be housed in Newtown so the company is not invested in the town. OO never got a chance to negotiate to see if they could compete. To make it worse, All-star's applicationwas filled out by the BOE so it was clear from the start, that this would happen no matter how the town felt. Plus, Robinson and two other admin's get 45,000 in raises and yet EA's get pulled from the classes sighting budget reasons. Plus, she has the nerve to say that she gets paid less then many other Superintendents. If she is unhappy, she should never have accepted the position and if she is still unhappy, she with the BOE should move on.
Bob October 20, 2011 at 11:35 AM
I like that idea Sam
Hoa Nguyen October 20, 2011 at 11:57 AM
I believe the buses are to be housed in Newtown. That came up earlier and All-Star said it was shopping for sites in town. Also, All-Star's application and bid was filled out by the company, however, district officials said that there apparently was a math error (used wrong number of buses) in the bid that the district business manager pointed out to the company, which it later corrected. Also, Robinson's salary raise amounted to an increase of about $4,200 over the year. Together with raises given to the assistant superintendent and business district, the increases totaled about $8,500 over the year.
Sam Mihailoff October 20, 2011 at 12:02 PM
Hoa...you neglect the additions to retirement and annuity package...If you are going to state corrections, get it right. Thank-you
Hoa Nguyen October 20, 2011 at 12:09 PM
You're right Sam. I don't have those figures. According to the Bee's article (http://newtownbee.com/News/2011-09-29__13-18-28/School+Contract+Details+Released), the increase to her annuities and retirement package equates to $555 over the year.
Sam Mihailoff October 20, 2011 at 12:33 PM
$174,180 PLUS $20,500 annuities PLUS $2,255 retirement contribution PLUS ong-term health care insurance in the amount of $2,500 to the carrier of her choice PLUS $4,800 automobile use allowance PLUS professional development for the superintendent, as she deems appropriate, to attend to such matters and pay for the necessary fees for travel, registration, and subsistence expenses. PLUS annual membership dues for memberships of the following organizations: Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents, American Association of School Administrators, American Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Phi Delta Kappa, Southern Fairfield County Superintendent's Association, and Western Connecticut Superintendents Association. and yet, yjr poor soul complained and whined "I hope people understand that I have been flat for three years," said Dr Robinson, "as a matter of fact, I went backwards last year."...SO DID HER PERFORMANCE Last year, Dr Robinson said, she did not receive a $5,000 performance bonus she had received the previous year. She also said she did not receive a bonus this year, on top of the raise....HER BONUS SHOULD BE A ONE WAY TRIP TO THE TOWN LINE...How do you say "ht the bricks in Chinese?"
Nastier in Newtown October 20, 2011 at 12:39 PM
Sam, thank you for that eye opener
Sam Mihailoff October 20, 2011 at 12:43 PM
what is the dollar amount of all the professional membership dues and fees? How much did she receive last year for professional development, to attend to such matters and pay for the necessary fees for travel, registration, and subsistence expenses?...and why do we have to pay to feed her while on these little junkets?
Sam Mihailoff October 20, 2011 at 12:48 PM
_______________________________________________________________ PLUS SHE WAS GIVEN A THREE-YEAR CONTRACT EXTENSION... ..........................."INSANITY IN NEWTOWN"........................ ________________________________________________________________
Bob October 20, 2011 at 01:21 PM
Professional development is required to keep certified for all eduacators.
Sam Mihailoff October 20, 2011 at 01:28 PM
Bob, correct...but Superintendents don't choose local venues...Last year the big Superintendent "conference" was in Arizona; not sure if Janet attended, but that makes for another add-on to my question...thanks How much did she receive last year for professional development, where were these "development sessions held"?... to attend to such matters and pay for the necessary fees for travel, registration, and subsistence expenses?...and why do we have to pay to feed her while on these little junkets?
Reddy Kilowatt October 20, 2011 at 01:37 PM
I am required to take classes to maintain my electrical contractor’s license in Connecticut. Currently I have an unlimited license witch will allow me to wire up anything from a bathroom light to full construction of a skyscraper. When ever I need to take a class it comes out of my pocket, and it is mandatory. My employer only wants to see the final result. Janet has a gravy job no two ways about it
Carey Schierloh October 20, 2011 at 01:45 PM
Except for Debbie Leidlein who did not vote for All-Star.
Sam Mihailoff October 20, 2011 at 01:55 PM
and also another eye-opener of the IPN Mantra “Real Choice and True Leadership" O-Os = 4 IPN members against save EAs and make cuts elsewhere = 4 IPN members against raises for the "big wigs" = 4 IPN members in favor
Karen Visca October 20, 2011 at 10:51 PM
I agree with you Bob.
Terry Laslo October 21, 2011 at 06:07 PM
I would rather see a poll, "How would we LIKE the O/O situation to turn out" - and like Sam's idea of a poll, "about a resignation poll or a vote of confidence on Janet Robinson".
Douglas Brennan October 21, 2011 at 07:12 PM
Emotions run high, data almost absent.
NewtownResident October 21, 2011 at 07:46 PM
@Hoa - I thought All Star already said they were unable to house the buses in town? They couldn't afford/get the land to park them, so they're going to remain out of town.
Hoa Nguyen October 21, 2011 at 08:19 PM
NewtownResident, I have not heard that at all. Last I heard they were shopping for sites in town but hadn't committed because at that time the contract had not yet been signed. Now that it has been signed, I will check in to see what the latest is. Let me know if you or anyone else has confirmed info on that. Thanks
Mike Kelley October 21, 2011 at 08:37 PM
The data on Dr.Robinson's increase in salary,benefts and perks as well as the new 3 year contract she was awarded was very interesting reading when it surfaced.
Robert Hennessey October 22, 2011 at 12:41 AM
Makes for interesting campaign rhetoric, though!
JMS63 October 22, 2011 at 01:15 AM
This article is about owner/operators - not this Janet person.....Owner /operators are a thing of the past - by way of blacksmiths and drs. who made house calls....live with it!!! If you want to crab about Janet - at least head the article - "crabbing about Janet!"

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