AllenN's blog

Obama the oath-breaker

Every American is supposed to follow the U.S. Constitution. It is the law of the land. The Supreme Court does not decide whether the Constitution has been violated until it is asked to review a decision that has already been made, perhaps years prior. That is why the president must swear an oath to follow the Constitution. We need leaders who take that oath very seriously and never intentionally violate it.

Our delicate balance between our three branches of government relies on the oaths all these leaders take.

Mass. Supreme Judicial Court to hear church-state funding challenge

When you subsidize something, you tend to get more of it.

Massachusetts has a Constitutional prohibition against funding churches, yet many towns have used their Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds to financially support churches when doing things like building renovation. They have justified these expenditures by saying that the buildings themselves are historic, and their present use by private religious groups are not relevant. The money is following the building, not its current use.

So for years, this type of funding has been growing across the state.

School Committee's May 24th meeting in 47 seconds

In an amazing editing job, Acton Forum has created an incredible 47-second video clip which completely and totally summarized the May 24, 2017 AB Regional School Committee meeting.

This was the meeting held in the high school auditorium to answer questions from the public about Dr. Glenn Brand's abrupt resignation, and the reasons behind it. This video is just about all you need to know about the School Committee's response.

The clip boils down the entire meeting into one question and answer.

Free speech 101 and the AB School Committee's violation

A few days ago, some neo-Nazis and White Supremacists tried to hold a march in Charlottesville, VA, and were prevented from doing so on a pretext. The pretext was the concern over crowd control, but the real reason was to suppress their members' and supporters' free-speech rights. Americans must be allowed to speak freely, not only because it is in the Constitution, but also because it is the right thing to do.

Free speech makes democracy work. It ensures that when you vote, you have heard (if you cared to listen to) all available arguments.

Mr. Fantastic

"Hey Clint, how have you been?"

"Fantastic!"

Fantastic was Clint Seward's favorite word, and one which I now use, but not with the same relish and enthusiasm. Nobody could "out-fantastic" Mr. Fantastic himself.

Clint was an eternal optimist. No matter what was going on in his life, Clint was fantastic. Fantastic also describes Clint, in a funny way, although he would have been too modest to accept the label.

Improper coercion

Two weeks ago, Acton Forum released the unredacted minutes to two secret executive session (ES) meetings of the AB Regional School Committee. The School Committee (SC) met to criticize Superintendent of Schools Glenn Brand's professional performance and to pressure him into resigning or risk being terminated. Since Dr. Brand did nothing wrong, according to the minutes, he held his ground and ended up resigning but with full salary and benefits for the remainder of his contract.

Transparency

The School just released the Executive Session minutes for the two meetings in which Glenn Brand was apparently forced to resign. These are the meetings of April 26 and May 2, 2017.

$200 per hour gym teachers

Yes, you read the headline right. We have gym teachers that are getting compensated at the equivalent of about $200 per hour, give or take a few bucks.

I'm sure they are well worth it. After all, it is for the children.

How did I come up with this outrageous amount? I will carefully break it down in the following article. Feel free to post your disagreements below as comments. But if I am off, I'm surely close enough for government work, as they say.

START WITH SALARY
We have gym teachers in Acton who are making over $100,000 a year.

Acton Forum files SECOND Open Meeting Law complaint

Acton Forum filed a second Open Meeting Law (OML) complaint with the Acton-Boxborough Regional School Committee on June 29, objecting to its June 22 vote to expand a Subcommittee charged with searching for the Interim Superintendent.

The Subcommittee was formed at a prior School Committee meeting and consisted of five School Committee members. Its charge was to conduct a quick search for an Interim Superintendent while a permanent Superintendent search committee would begin work in the Fall.

Foxes guarding Acton's henhouse

Acton taxpayers, be prepared for more property tax increases, as our town leadership and elected officials refuse to stem the tide in rising employee salaries and benefits, while School officials are seemingly planning a Proposition 2 1/2 override to pay for some new school buildings.

Boxborough residents will see more moderate tax increases, as the School regionalization formula starts to more heavily tilt in Boxborough's direction as temporary payments to reduce Acton's share of school costs are phased out.

Acton Forum files open meeting law complaint

Acton Forum has filed an Open Meeting Law complaint with the School Committee (SC) because the school has refused to release the Executive Session (ES) minutes from two meetings in which the Committee and Superintendent Glenn Brand decided to part ways.

Massachusetts' most-unfair tax

I was driving up to New Hampshire to do some Father's Day shopping at BJ's in Nashua. We make the trip every couple of months to stock up on staples. And as I was driving, I began thinking about a Massachusetts tax "policy" that is just wrong.

Let's provide free housing for our new Superintendent

If anyone had any illusions about how unimportant having the right Superintendent for our school system is, those have been dashed by recent developments. I'll bet everyone now knows that we need a top candidate to lead our system and "second best" won't do.

Unfortunately, the recent abrupt departure of Glenn Brand, without any believable public explanation, has cast a cloud over our District. Maybe, one day, the public will learn what happened and maybe it is nothing bad.

School building: assumptions and repurposing

Last article, I wrote about my disappointment that the "recommendations" that came out of the School's elementary-school-building process didn't include any estimate of costs or potential impact on our taxes.

Hidden costs and pseudo-science

I attended the School Committee meeting last night (6/8/17) to continue to follow the issue of the resignation of Superintendent Brand, which had a couple of pertinent items on the agenda. For those looking to get involved in the next Superintendent search, please attend this Tuesday's (6/13) School Committee meeting. The meeting is currently scheduled to start at 7:30 in the Junior High library.

I stayed a little longer for the discussion of the new elementary schools that the School District wants to build, and I'm glad I did.

I made a mistake

Blog Post by Allen Nitschelm

The website is fixed, for now!

Today's article picks up the issue of the imminent departure of AB Superintendent Glenn Brand, who most people (at least parents in the community) think was doing a very good job. Having a change in leadership now is, at best, very inconvenient with a lot of complicated stuff on the School Committee's (SC) upcoming calendar.

People say that I never admit mistakes, and there is a very good reason for this misperception. It is because I so rarely make them.

Let go of your anger

[Acton Forum website continues to experience technical difficulties. You can read the article below online at this link: https://secure.campaigner.com/csb/Public/show/gmoo9--chldo-br0tmx3 ]

Yesterday, our "Facebook" group met to discuss next steps in our attempt to get a great Superintendent for Acton.

You are invited to attend tonight's School Committee meeting!

A community group, started online with a petition and then a Facebook page by Susri Anuradha, has met to compile a list of requests which it has sent to the AB Regional School Committee. The School Committee is holding a meeting tonight, Tuesday, May 30, at the R.J. Grey JHS auditorium, to discuss how it plans to move forward and the public is invited to attend. The meeting starts at 7:30 pm.

The agenda has several items and the School Committee policy is to allow public comment near the end of each agenda item for issues pertinent to that topic.

Time to move on in Superintendent search

[NOTE: The Acton Forum website is experiencing technical difficulties. Please forward this message or you can read it online at the link here: https://secure.campaigner.com/csb/Public/show/glos4--chg9k-br0tmx9 ]

It has been a tumultuous ten days since the abrupt announcement of Superintendent Dr.

What is "disparagement"?

[NOTE: The Acton Forum website is experiencing technical difficulties, so we are emailing articles in their entirety for now, until things get fixed. If you wish to share the article, please forward, or you can try sending this link: https://secure.campaigner.com/csb/Public/show/gic8k--cgmou-br0tmx9 ]

The School Committee released its Separation Agreement with Dr. Brand and as promised, there were few surprises, except for one.

My concerns validated over full regionalization of Schools

By Allen Nitschelm
Publisher, Acton Forum

[NOTE ONE: There is a critical meeting of the School Committee tonight at 7:30 pm in the High School auditorium. If you are concerned about the recent resignation of the Superintendent, please attend this meeting and demand answers from our elected officials.]

[NOTE TWO: Acton Forum website is experiencing some technical difficulties. So this article will be sent out in its entirety with no link to the website.

Questions the School refuses to hear, let alone answer

The Acton-Boxborough Regional School Committee (SC) is stonewalling Acton Forum and members of the public about the recently announced resignation of School Superintendent Glenn Brand. For a town whose residents, children, and tax dollars revolve around the school system, Brand's sudden departure is big news.

The School now says they will have a public meeting this Wednesday night at the R.J. Grey library. They may want to move that meeting to the auditorium and plan on several hours of questions.

Why socialism is terrible

(This is part three on the differences between capitalism and socialism...)

Good intentions and $4.65 will get you a mocha latte at Starbucks.

Good intentions are used to justify socialism's control of people in a society. And I believe that most people who promote socialism are not evil, they are just not very bright and somewhat confused. They believe that having good intentions gives them the power to make decisions for other adults.

They get that impression because already we allow government to make many decisions for us and most people just go along.

School Committee Chair refuses to speak with Acton Forum

Amy Krishnamurthy, the newly elected Chair of the Acton-Boxborough Regional School Committee (SC), has flatly refused to speak to Acton Forum editor Allen Nitschelm, after repeated attempts to contact the Chair and ask some simple questions about the resignation of Superintendent of Schools Glenn Brand, effective June 30, 2017.

Don't fire Jane Chu

A very strange story has appeared in my favorite Wall Street Journal, about a Yale administrator who was posting racially insensitive comments in her Yelp reviews. Jane Chu referred to some people as "white trash" and said that a particular Japanese restaurant might be good enough for white people, implying that they were not as sophisticated about Asian cuisine as she was, coming from a Chinese background.

The latest news is that Yale has put her on "leave" after more "insensitive" posts were discovered.