Transparency in public affairs
To the Editor:
This Letter to the Editor follows repeated requests to the Carlisle School Committee (SC) for transparency. As per Massachusetts G.L. c. 30A, § 21(a), a public body can meet in executive session to conduct strategy sessions in preparation for negotiations related to collective bargaining. While executive session discussions are protected by law, so is the public’s right to know what should be public information.
As I have argued before, I believe that the teachers in the Carlisle Public Schools (CPS) are one of the most important resources of our community. Our children’s teachers have been working without a contract for more than six months. I believe that it is the community’s right to have access to the public data that will allow it to understand what the situation is and have input on ways to move past an impasse that has lasted too long.
I have asked the questions below during the SC meeting on January 9, 2019, when I was told that I will not get an answer then or ever. Consequently, I must ask them publicly.
1. What is the impact of the teachers’ request on the budget in dollars and as a percentage of the budget? Has the SC requested this analysis?
2. What are the 3- to 5-year budget projections for CPS? Has the SC requested these projections?
3. What percentage of their healthcare do CPS teachers pay? What is the percentage other teachers pay in districts whose performance compares to Carlisle’s (Dover-Sherborn, Weston, Lexington, Wayland, Westford, Concord)? Has the SC requested this analysis?
4. Do master teachers who are on the last step receive bonuses in CPS? What is the practice in districts whose performance compares to Carlisle’s? Has the SC requested this analysis?
5. Does the SC intend to change the current structure of the teaching teams in the middle school from a team of four licensed, highly-qualified teachers to a dyad model?
6. Given the steady decrease of the student population, what actions have the SC initiated to maintain or increase enrollment? What actions do the SC intend to take in the future?
Ice skating rink is open
To the Editor:
On behalf of the Recreation Commission, I’d like to thank the Bose family for generously donating their ice skating rink to the Town of Carlisle for recreational use during the winter months. The skating rink was opened on Saturday, January 12, and many visiting skaters have already taken advantage of the opportunity to enjoy ice skating without leaving Carlisle. Town residents have donated hockey sticks, pucks and a hockey net, too. I ask you to please remember to keep the play at the “fun” and not-too-competitive level. The main objective when providing the rink is to allow for a “free skate” option close to home. Be respectful of other skaters when considering your level of play, especially when little skaters are on the ice and/or when there is a high volume of skaters. Lastly, I’d like to ask for your support clearing snow from the ice rink after a storm (there will be shovels available) in order to preserve the smooth surface of the ice. This is a community ice rink and it will take a community of volunteers to work quickly and efficiently to keep the ice clear so we can all continue to enjoy this classic New England winter activity! Thank you!
Red Pine Drive
Ice rink is a true rink
To the Editor:
One of the best things about living in Carlisle is the fact that there are delightful outdoor activities for every season. This is especially true during the winter months. This year, thanks to the energy and generosity of many, we have an open air public skating rink for all to enjoy. If you have not had the opportunity, I urge you to visit Kimball’s on Bedford Road. Thanks to the tireless efforts of Holly Mansfield, Carlisle’s Director of Recreation, and the volunteer-led Recreation Commission, we have a glorious new ice rink. This new rink was generously donated by the Bose family.
The rink is a community undertaking—and I hope all who use it will be part of its maintenance. Here are just a few ways residents can help:
• Do not walk on the ice unless it is 100% frozen. Doing so will wreck the ice for future skating.
• Donate equipment to leave at the rink. There’s already an assortment of hockey sticks. Additional pucks are always welcome, as is a snow shovel and large push broom.
• If you have old skates (for both adults and kids) that you wish to pass on, please consider posting on the Carlisle Parents Group Facebook page or via the City in the Woods Yahoo group.
• When it snows the rink must be shoveled off as quickly as possible. Leaving the snow on the ice will make it unpleasant for skating. Come help shovel!
There are many reasons I love living in Carlisle—the open space, the closeness to nature, and especially the people and their heartfelt engagement in creating a vibrant community. The ice rink is a testament to this.
With great appreciation to the Bose family, Kimball’s, Holly Mansfield, the Recreation Commission, and all who made this community project possible,
Why the impasse?
To the Editor:
I am incredulous that the teachers in our fine town have been working without a contract for 200 days . . . 200 days. According to the letter from Linda Vanaria, President of the Carlisle Teachers Association, negotiations with the School Committee have been going on for over a year.
Depending on which survey one selects, Carlisle is consistently in the top ten in the state (often in the top five), which means the Carlisle Public Schools rank near the top in the nation. This success didn’t just happen. It takes commitment from the citizens to achieve these top rankings and historically Carlisle citizens have supported quality education in town.
The people of Carlisle recognize the value of a great education for their children. This gives the students a leg-up when they further their education by either going to CCHS or some other high school.
My wife and I sent our three sons through the Carlisle school system and all three agree the foundation in education they received at Carlisle overly prepared them for their experience at CCHS. We are fortunate all three eventually graduated from quality colleges and have pursued successful careers. It all began in Carlisle.
I have no idea what is being asked for as a pay increase by the CTA. However, aligning pay increases with our sister town Concord seems like a reasonable request.
It would be interesting to hear from the School Committee, in detail, what is causing the impasse, what progress the mediator is having, and what is the expected time frame for this to come to a conclusion.
Thank you, Cultural Council
To the Editor,
The Carlisle Mosquito and its parent organization, Carlisle Communications, Inc. (CCI), thank the Carlisle Cultural Council for a recently awarded grant that will partially fund color photography in upcoming issues.
The Carlisle Mosquito, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, has served the Carlisle community for more than 40 years. Four to six times per year, the Mosquito publishes issues that feature color photographs showcasing Carlisle’s unique scenery and community events.
CCI is grateful for the Cultural Council’s support and hopes that the color photography will encourage an appreciation of our town, its events and the natural beauty of our rural surroundings.
Jay Luby, President
Carlisle Communications, Inc
Help the Friends of the COA
To the Editor:
The Friends of the Carlisle Council on Aging (FOCCOA), the fundraising arm of our Council on Aging (COA), needs help. Unfortunately, our Annual Fund Drive has fallen short this year. We need help to sustain the vital services like health and wellness programs, fuel assistance, cultural and social events and so much more that benefit our senior citizens. We come to you, our fellow Carlisleans, once again asking for your financial assistance.
To those of you who have already donated to the Friends, we are truly grateful for your generosity and support. If you haven’t yet made a contribution to the Friends, there is still time to help us meet our goal. Our seniors appreciate your support.
Donations may be sent to: FOCCOA, Box 38, Carlisle, MA 01741.