Cavendish Update 4/13/18: SB Mtg/Schools/News/Events

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 4/13/18 Cavendish Update

1. Cavendish Select Board Meeting 4/9/18

2. Cavendish Related News

3. GMUSD/CTES News

4. English Solzhenitsyn Website

5. Tick Talk

6. Events

1. CAVENDISH SELECT BOARD MEETING 4/9/18: Select board (SB) meetings are recorded by Okemo Valley TV and are available at their website and on Comcast Television.  Written minutes are available at the town’s website. The following action was discussed/taken at Monday night’s meeting:

• Received an update from the Telecommunications Committee. Agreed to have the representative from TDS come to the May meeting to discuss what TDS’s plans are for Cavendish.

Approved Neal’s Restaurant for a liquor license

• Approved VELCO’s request of a waiver of the full 45-day notice requirement regarding the substation on Quent Phelen Road.  A solar installation project is going in this summer and VELCO needs to make a connection with the array, which will be located on the old Barker Farm.

• Discussed repaving of Twenty Mile Stream and Quent Phelen Rd and the implications of  the construction that will be taking place for the NexEra Solar array and the VELCO connection.

• Approved the town’s attorney as the person responsible for handling tax sale property. Legal fees will be part of the sale price of the property, thereby eliminating costs for the town while at the same time improving accuracy.

• Discussed replacing the culvert on 131 by Glimmerstone as part of the repaving of 131, which is slated for 2021.

• Appointed Brendan McNamara as Energy Coordinator and Asst. Town Health Officer.

• Approved the expansion of the Transfer Station hours on Sunday from 10-2 to 10-5. No start date has been given. Discussed selling disposal tickets at the Transfer Station.

• Approved a proposal to “townscape” the Cavendish and Proctorsville villages with flags hung from the utility poles. A group of residents are working to raise funds for the project in addition to in-kind contributions from various community groups.

• The Planning Commission is looking for more members. If interested, please contact Brendan McNamara-226-7291

• The town’s new backhoe arrives on April 10

• Green Up Day is May 5th (Saturday)

• June 16 (Saturday) from 2-4 is the celebration of life for Rich Svec as well as the dedication of the Proctorsville Green. This event is open to the public.

For a full report, go to The Dish.

2. CAVENDISH RELATED NEWS

Rich Svec Obituary/Celebration of Life: An obituary for Rich Svec is now available online. Please note that his Celebration of Life will be on Saturday June 16, 2-4 pm at the Proctorsville Green.

Surprise Anniversary Party for Fitzgibbons: Millie and Eddie Fitzgibbon will be celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary today, April 13, 2 pm at the Gill Home in Ludlow. Stop by to wish them a happy anniversary.

Ludlow Woman Charged with Embezzlement from Cavendish Company: In October of 2017 Danielle and David Bonta reported that an employee had been embezzling money from their company Sundeavor, Inc in Cavendish, VT. Investigation revealed that the employee, Vicki L. Thornton, had been in charge of the business finances and had opened a credit card in her name and the business name. Between February 2016 and May 2017 an amount totaling $55,342 had been transferred from the business bank account to her own credit card account. On 4/11/18 Thornton voluntarily came to the Westminster Barracks to be fingerprinted and photographed. She was released with a citation to appear in court on 5/29/18 to answer to the charge of Embezzlement.  VSP

Volunteer Shortage Increases Cost of Ludlow Ambulance: Over the years, Ludlow Ambulance Service has had to hire more paid staff members to compensate for the decline in volunteers. Last year they had roughly 800 calls. In response, Ludlow Ambulance Service has had to replace volunteers with part-time and full-time work, so that they can have enough people to respond to the calls. During the last fiscal year, they had to use their capital replacement fund for payroll. Outside of Ludlow, they service the towns of Cavendish and Plymouth, both of which have already been paying subsidies for their services. Ludlow Ambulance Service is actively looking for volunteers or part-time staff so that they continue to serve the surrounding area. Anyone who is interested in learning more information about volunteering or applying to the Ludlow Ambulance Service can visit their Facebook page or their office at the Ludlow Police station. VT Journal

Vermont’s Flu Isn’t Over Yet: This flu season has been a tough one for Vermont and the rest of the country, in part, due to the predominant presence of the strain influenza A H3N2. But even though it's April, the flu is still on state health officials' radar. “The amount of flu symptoms being reported across the state is lower than it was at its peak — and the peak occurred in February and March.” VPR

3. GMUSD/CTES NEWS-CTES Interim Principal Forum:  On Wednesday evening, at least 50 members of the community-parents, grandparents, concerned citizens and teachers-attended a forum where they could meet the two proposed candidates. Attendees were divided into two groups and had 30 minutes to meet a candidate before they changed rooms to meet the second one. There was a break between sessions, providing an opportunity for people to write evaluations of each candidate.

Thirteen candidates applied for the principal’s position with six candidates qualifying. The Search Committee vetted those six candidates and selected two to interview. Prior to initial interviews, one candidate accepted another position resulting in the application process being reopened. Three additional candidates applied, one of which qualified. Following a second round of interviews, the Principal Search Committee selected two finalists Madeline Carlock of West Lebanon, New Hampshire and Joseph Smith of Swanzey, NH.

The position was advertised as an “Interim Principal” and according to many in attendance, it reduced viable candidates. Many discussed the critical need to make this a permanent position in order to attract a principal with vision for the school’s future. Given the current climate of closing small schools, the need for a principal with “staying power” was viewed as an asset. One candidate, Madeline Carlock, an instructional coach, appears to be changing jobs every two years or so and has no experience as a principal. Joe Smith, currently a guidance counselor but with experience as an assistant principal and principal of a low performing high school, Monadnock Regional, has retired once and appears to be looking for one more short assignment before retiring permanently. 

At the conclusion of the Forum, attendees discussed their concerns with one another. As one parent noted, “a school can be destroyed by just one year of a bad principal.” A popular sentiment was that the position needs to be made permanent and re posted.

Evaluations from teachers, students and those attending the forum will be used as part of the selection process on April 17, when the GMUSD board is slated to choose a new interim principal.

GMUSD vision committee awaits other board input; questions transparency: The GMUSD Vision Committee met for the third time in three weeks, Monday, April 9, this time along with the Finance Committee, in an effort to provide focus and direction to the Green Mountain Unified School District Board (GMUSD) and the TRSU administration as they attempt to re-tool the GMUSD budget that was rejected by voters in early March. Vision committee members began by reiterating their opinions expressed during the first two meetings. Doug McBride, Cavendish, brought up concerns about some transparency issues he encountered when he was refused his request to participate in an executive session at the latest TRSU executive committee board meeting. There, he planned to discuss the Special Ed transportation budget. The response he received was that he would only be invited if his input was needed. He added, “That’s a great example of something that’s not very transparent.” Cavendish resident Sara Stowell also called for the need to see transparency in the contingency fund money that was rejected as a raise for the superintendent but put into a contingency fund without designation for use. “I’d like to see that identified as contingency for Spanish, or STEAM or STEM.” She expressed her hope that those contingency funds would not go back into something the voters have said they don’t want to support. VT Journal

Vision, Finance panels meet on ed plan, budget-Public Weighs in on STEM, foreign language offerings: At the April 9 meeting of the Vision and Finance Committees of the GMUSD, most vision committee members believe that at least part of the reason for the budget failure was the lack of additional educational opportunities promised by the merger, they have been unable to decide what to offer. At the same time, school administrators and supervisory union staff, who were part of framing the merger have asserted that things like elementary school foreign language take away from instruction time and instead urged a lengthy planning process including assigned readings and a retreat that would identify the school district’s goals but preclude adding anything this year. Kate Lamphere noted that the principal’s position at Cavendish Town Elementary should be made permanent rather than interim, but there are already two finalists for the interim position. She noted that offering an interim position has probably limited the field of choices. According to Superintendent, Meg Bowden “It’s too late to change.”  Chester Telegraph

TRSU Executive Panel Picks Powden Evaluation Form: The Executive Committee of the Two Rivers Supervisory Union, at its April 5 meeting, outlined a methodology and timeline for the evaluation of Superintendent Meg Powden, while also formulating a list of areas in the supervisory union’s proposed fiscal 2019 budget that could be considered for cuts by the full board. Suggestions from TRSU Board member Doug McBride (Cavendish rep) were also reviewed, focusing on the superintendent’s ability to deliver on a range of Act 46 promises, decrease costs and ensure student success. However, the committee concluded that the questions were too specific and the committee agreed that the suggestions should not be included in the final evaluation. Committee members agreed that the evaluation process should begin as soon as possible, with an announcement expected to be released online and to local press on Friday, April 13. Once the evaluations are released, employees and community members respectively will have  10 to 14 days to return them. Chester Telegraph

Note-Doug McBride has spoken consistently about adopting a mission of excellence for the GMUSD.  He discussed two schools in Harlem located in one building, where the Charter school excels and the public school does not. With all things being equal, one of the important differences is the attitude of the Charter school were excellence is the mission. You can learn more about these schools at  A Tale of Two Schools, One Building.

4. ENGLISH SOLZHENITSYN WEBSITE: The Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Center (ASC) supports explorations into the life and writings of the Nobel Laureate and Russian writer and historian Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who was a Cavendish resident for almost 18 of the 20 years he was  exiled from Russia. ASC has recently launched the official English-language website for  Solzhenitsyn, in order to advance the legacy of Solzhenitsyn.

The website includes a biography, photo gallery, blog, resources, video library and an overview of his writings. The latter section not only provides a brief synopsis, it indicates which translation to read, as in some cases there are various translations of a book. You can subscribe to ACS’s e-newsletter at https://www.solzhenitsyncenter.org/whats-new/ Be sure to scroll to the bottom of the page for subscription information.

Solzhenitsyn’s sons Ignat and Stephen are President and Executive Director respectively, with the author of “The Solzhenitsyn Reader,” Dan Mahoney serving as Vice-President & Chief Academic Officer of ACS.

5. TICK TALK : As part of its continuing series of nature talks, the Cavendish Community and Conservation Association will sponsor a talk at the town office (37 High Street in Cavendish) on April 24th at 6:30 p.m. on the pervasive problem of ticks in Vermont. Bradley J. Tompkins, Epidemiologist & Program Chief of the Tickborne & Enteric Diseases division at the Vermont Department of Health will share information about the changing landscape of tick borne diseases in Vermont. Come learn about the who, what, when, and where of tick borne disease risk in Vermont, how you can best prevent tick bites and the best actions to take after a tick bite.  All area residents are welcome. FMI:  Robin at 802-226-7736.

6. EVENTS

APRIL 16-20 (MONDAY-FRIDAY): Spring Break, schools closed

APRIL 17 (TUESDAY):  GMUSD Special Meeting, 6-6:30 at the Chester Andover Elementary School Meeting. The board will be deciding on the interim principal for CTES at this meeting.

For information on upcoming events, go to the Cavendish Connects Calendar. For area events, check the Okemo Valley Chamber of Commerce calendar.  

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