Newly Elected BOE Members Issue List of Topics

John Vorous and Laura Roche, two recently elected to the Board of Education issue list of topics they believe should be addressed as soon as possible.

Newly seated Board of Education member John Vorous brought up a list of topics he and fellow member Laura Roche believe need to be addressed as soon as possible during a segment of the board's Tuesday meeting usually reserved for "Communications."

The topics need to be reviewed, in some cases, reconsidered, and discussed in public "all in an effort to earn back public trust in the Board of Education," said Vorous, who along with Roche and Cody McCubbin were elected to their first term on the education board in November.

Tuesday was the first public meeting of the newly seated board. During that same meeting, .

The list of topics, which he and Roche, the board's newly elected vice chairman collaborated on, was in no particular order, Vorous told board members.

  • hire
  • Budget transfer policy
  • Special education
  • Legal fees spent
  • Teacher evaluation policy
  • Superintendent evaluation policy
  • Newtown International Center for Education (Chinese program)
  • Reed School
  • Professional Learning Communities time spent and agenda for professional development
  • Curriculum planning agenda
  • Informational Board of Education Calendar dates
  • Bullying policies for the new bus contract
  • GATES program for gifted students and district goals
  • Full-day kindergarten

In some cases, Vorous appeared to be in support of the program, such as NICE, but believed the district needed to do a better job of explaining the goals and particulars of the program to the public.

In other cases, such as the hiring of a public relations firm to help with communication with the public, Vorous said he was opposed to the hiring decision.

Later in the meeting, newly elected Board of Education chairman Debbie Leidlein said that her plan would be to use the next meeting to review the goals for the board and set up action steps for meeting those goals, including forming subcommittees to further investigate.

Clarification: The Newtown International Center for Education was referred to as the "Chinese program" during portions of Tuesday's meeting although the partnership with schools in China only is one part of the program, according to Newtown school officials.

Kevin Fitzgerald December 07, 2011 at 06:21 PM
Yes, all very important. But please add a plan to address upcoming budget challenges to preserve quality education. Without it, there will be little you can do about the rest of the list.
onceuponanewtown December 07, 2011 at 06:24 PM
Hallelujah and thank you! This is good news for those still in Newtown public school system - a little late for those that were pushed out...the hidden statistics that are never counted!
Joey d December 07, 2011 at 07:47 PM
Here's a topic, STOP wasting tax payer's money!
Alex Tytler December 07, 2011 at 08:16 PM
Here's another topic. As enrollment declines, so should spending.
onceuponanewtown December 07, 2011 at 08:57 PM
I have a feeling that addressing these topics will save us money LOL!
Susan Washburn December 08, 2011 at 02:08 PM
I believe that all day Kindergarten is a detriment to children of that age. They get extremely fatigued holding all their emotions and active nature in for such a long period of time. They need the freedom of home to rest and emote for a good part of the day. Many children of that age are not capable of balancing successfully on a chair. The only thing hiring a public relations team would do for Newtown schools is get more people who want to move here with their children. What we need are more businesses locating here to provide more employment and real career opportunities for the children who are presently here so they don't have to move away to survive. We should have a private or state college here instead of more money infused into the town funded school system. We should have a school, private and/or that teaches computer programming and computer servicing and repairs. That type of education is sorely missing in the United States without unsurmountable student expense to obtain it.
Bruce Walczak TheNewtownRooster.com December 08, 2011 at 02:09 PM
Agreed all good things to think about, but what happen to the loftier goals of returning to Blue Ribbon status, increasing CAP and Sat scores, the upcoming budget crisis, technology, re-engineering our educational system and in general the education of our over 5000 students.
Susan Washburn December 08, 2011 at 02:20 PM
correction: private and/or public school for computing We have had a private operator-owned school bus system that has worked better than nearby town's private bus company systems. As a former user of a very close town's system, I was appalled at the unaddressed trouble on those buses, and the trouble the bus drivers caused for the innocent students when they tried to enforce behavior rules on the bus. One little girl almost got kicked off the buses because when she was being harassed by other students she stood up on the bus. I was never informed by the school system or the bus system about a traumatic incident my child and other students on the bus witnessed between other little students while on the bus that was ongoing. Therefore I was unable to help my child understand or cope with the incidents or drive him to school myself if I felt it had not been controlled. None of this happened on the Newtown bus system where the drivers were our neighbors and owned the buses and evidently succeeded in making sure that "things" didn't happen on their buses due to the lack of or shall I say, lessened severity of reported incidents that could affect the morale of students.
Hoa Nguyen December 08, 2011 at 04:27 PM
Per Laura Roche's request, I've attached a copy of the letter referred to in this article and from where John Vorous read during the Board of Education meeting. In order to also ease the reading of the letter, I've also posted it, along with a note from Roche, as its own article here: http://newtown.patch.com/articles/roche-we-are-listening
Newtownpatchreader December 08, 2011 at 05:40 PM
Classic Walczak. Newly elected BOE hasn't even had a chance to come up with their first agenda.
Newtownpatchreader December 08, 2011 at 05:44 PM
Actually, and I speak form an uneducated position, but many of the items on the list don't cost money. Things like calendars and evaluations. Those are items they could work on without a cost and would not be linked to any budget.
Sam Mihailoff December 08, 2011 at 09:41 PM
"loftier goals".....I love it
Sam Mihailoff December 08, 2011 at 09:54 PM
Mrs. Robinson..."a nice friendly chat" to ALL taxpayers would be full disclosure of the accounting of consultants including legal BEFORE and during the transportation negotiations (gag me with a shovel) and also a full and complete accounting of consultants including legal and costs to date to Baldwin Media...Thank-you in advance. I'm sure Ann will forward this information demand, not request ASAP HONESTY IS THE ONLY POLICY The crowds may be on your front lawn very soon and not cheering either!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bE1dz6_u2JI
Bruce Walczak TheNewtownRooster.com December 08, 2011 at 09:57 PM
To newtownpatchreader. So I'm confused, everyone else is allowed to suggest what the BOE should work on except me! Two BOE members, in a private meeting, create a recommended agenda list before they even have their first meeting, but I'm not allowed to comment on the list ( Which they made public on the Patch) or make suggestions. Sounds like a double standard to me. Or perhaps your belief that listening to the public is a good idea has already been short lived. Or perhaps you are wrong and the two BOE members might actually like input from the public on what the important topics are that the BOE should be spending their valuable and limited time on.
Newtownpatchreader December 09, 2011 at 03:15 AM
Come on Cousin Brucy...your showing your sensitive side.....of course you can suggest. But one only need walk down Walzcak Lane to see the dichotomy in your posts. And actually the two BOE members you refer to made their agenda known in public at the BOE meeting. I was there....were you? And please, please...lets continue the dialogue on what the public wants....seeing how we just had an election.
Newtownpatchreader December 09, 2011 at 03:16 AM
Classic Walczak


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