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Friday, September 30, 2016


It's that time of year again for the monthly PAC meetings to begin. We are hoping to build on last years success. I've been serving as an officer or on the board in various capacities for a few years now and I can say unequivocably last year was the best and most productive. Our membership and interest in the issues we discuss has been steadily growing.

Thanks in large part to the translation devices LPS has provided. FRANCES MARTINEZ, PARENT LIASON has done a bang-up job making sure all of the parents of SPED students get a reminder call for the meeting. Our first meeting is a MEET-N-GREET, providing an opportunity to introduce just exactly what we do, how we can help, and who we are. The officers will be introduced an are:

LISA BISHOP - Chairman
ME-Treasurer (they promised I wouldn't actually have to handle money-go figure)

Anyway I hope to see you at:


at 6 pm. The first meeting will be rather short and we will discuss the calender of up coming meetings. The meetings are always held at 6 pm on the first Monday of the month.


CLASSIC DIVERSION | PUTTING OUR OTHER PROBLEMS TO REST | image tagged in bed bugs control,school,net school spending,overcrowding | made w/ Imgflip meme maker


As we fight the battle of the bug
On where to put PICKERING we remain smug.

Now we've already made our choice
Even before hearing the protest in your voice.

Our need for a new school is large
But our growth is not as big as we did charge.

Our numbers for this year we did inflate.
Seems we got 40% less increase than we said coming out of the gate.


I am sure everyone is tired of hearing this argument. Frankly, I am tired of making it. I've made it quite a few times already but this is kind of important here so I will make it again. Okay I will complain about these copies of communications that the SUPERINTENDENT gets and shares with the LSC in their "packets" (I think the ITEM usually gets one or they have in the past [I mean I have seen THE MIGHTY THOR have one] but never me because they probably see me as irresponsible [an argument that is probably TRUE]). They could scan the contents of that "packet" and put it up on the web for all the public to see but NO.

But here we go again hiding the truth right out in plain sight

There was as usual any revelation of what the report ACTUALLY said. Like I wonder if there was any reaction to the PUBLIC'S opposition to the chosen site selection. Probably wasn't, which in itself is troubling.


I got to put this out there if for nothing else than mentioning BRIAN'S name always gets me lots of clicks!

I am charging up the batteries in my camera now.

Thursday, September 29, 2016


At tonight's LSC meeting there seemed to be the sentiment to not allow field trips to NATURE'S CLASSROOM by ABORN and CALLAHAN SCHOOLS 5th grade classes to the HANCOCK, NH and FREEDOM, NH because of reports of recent bed bug infestations at another NC facility. Mind you there were no recent reports of the infestation at these particular.

There was testimony from DEPUTY SUPERINTENDENT WARRY expressing regret but strongly recommending that the trips be cancelled. Since it would have been on short notice I think it would have been fair to say we could have kissed any monies we may have sent them good-bye. To ease the pain, promises of day trips to LYNN WOODS were offered as a shallow substitute. My perception of LSC members JOHN FORD, PATTI CAPANO and even the MAYOR  and probably JARED NICHOLSON would have voted not to allow the trips. MIND YOU THAT IS ONLY MY READ OF THE SITUATION, NOT ACTUAL STATEMENTS OF POSITIONS.

Fortunately there were a couple of parents in the audience and the LSC suspended the rules to allow them to speak. Impassioned testimony was given about this rite of passage and steps that could and would be taken to prevent any infestation. It was reminded by LSC member DONNA COPPOLA that movie theaters are very fervant breeding grounds for these little critters but people still go there.

I would say that I think the MAYOR flipped first, JARED and JOHN were pretty silent, with PATTI holding out the longest stating that she still had reservations and didn't want to take the position she was taking a parent's side over a principal's. MIND YOU, NO PRINCIPAL HAD EVEN WITHDRAWN THEIR REQUEST TO GO. A little grandstanding by PATTI, perhaps?

TOM IARROBINIO, the SECRETARY of the SCHOOL COMMITTEE testified that he got the sense that the principals had no problem with going. That being said PATTI dropped any semplance of obstruction and the permission to travel was granted 7-0.

Monday, September 26, 2016


What the heck, I'll plug another blog because I'm too lazy to go copy and paste off the original.

The next Lynn School Committee meeting is Thursday, September 29th at 7pm. Items on the agenda include:
-Review of the attendance policy in secondary schools (Policy Sub-Committee, 6:30pm)
-MCAS/PARCC results
-Extended Learning Time
...See More


Lynn puts foot down on violence


LSC member JOHN FORD is one of the founders.

Friday, September 23, 2016


Below is a project I am working on. My brief story is going to be included in the book. Its inclusion, combined with TRIPPY graduating this year could send my efforts off in another direction. The WATCH might go dark and I would stop persecuting LPS, maybe even LYNN. Unfortunately I have some other developments in my life that may help precipitate a change in focus.

So if you want to help SHAPE my direction, uh hum...., people of LPS, I strongly suggest you contribute to the cause by pre-ordering(pledging) to the cause.

A huge thank you to everyone who has backed, shared, commented, and given our Kickstarter some love! I can't believe we did it, in 13 days!!!
Our stretch goal is within reach, and will allow us to produce double the amount of books. Now is the time to up your pledge to the next level (or pledge if you haven't already --- pre-order your book NOW!).

Surviving Brain Injury: Stories of Strength & Inspiration project video thumbnail




I have to say I whole heartedly agree with the sentiments expressed here. This piece takes me back to my days as a VOLUNTEER LIBRARIAN at the FORD SCHOOL. I even owe the rise of the WATCH to the ashes of that ince fully staffed library. Several of my initial blog posts lamented the loss of access to books. Reading about this generous donation sort of chokes me up.

Not however from some emotional outpouring spontaneously generated from reflecting on some altruistic charitable act but rather from the thoyght of all this HYPOCRISY stuck in the crawl of  my throat.

Reading, School Superintendent Dr. Catherine Latham said last week, “is probably the most important thing we teach in the Lynn schools.”

Oh yeah, could you tell me why libraries were closed in the elementerary schols throughout LPS except where they were mandated in TURNAROUND PLANS in your LEVEL 4 schools at the same time raises were given in the administration and NEW positions were created?

I even had a public discussion with DR. LATHAM at a LSC meeting about the IMPORTANCE of BOOKS to children and the necessity of kids having ready access to them. (The images of six, seven, and eight year olds clutching their books like a new found treasure will be forever seared in my memory,) We had our discussion. I would not bow down to what I perceived as bullying in an attempt to impose an acceptance of a district without staffed elementery libraries. (I believe this conversation occurred while we had schools in LEVEL 4 before LPS was forced to make libraies central to the TURNAROUND PLANS.)

LIBRARIES were forced on LPS by the DESE in order to have access to ALL that money LPS got for HARRINGTON and CONNERY. Yeah, READING is important alright.

Then there is this:

The American Latino Committee’s investment in Lynn literacy is a true tribute to Latham’s reminder that “it takes a whole city to raise our children.”

Even if I manage to dislodge that wad of HYPOCRISY from my throat, I still couldn't cough up subserviant phlem stuck in my throat leftover from the things that have been said about"IMMIGRANTS" and their contributions to the overcrowding problems at LPS.

Oh LPS will take your generous donation but they probably would like to add "OF CHILDREN WITH DOCUMENTS" to the quote.


Tuesday, September 20, 2016


Equity Lab Charter Lab (Lynn) among the four proposed new charter schools invited to submitted a full application to the DESE. The school would potentially serve grades 5 - 12 and serve 640 students at maximum capacity.
Credit: Kathleen McKiernan, Boston Herald


Sunday, September 18, 2016


Great time at the eigth annuaul WORLD MUSIC FESTIVAL at LYNN HERITAGE STATE PARK by the HIGHLANDS COALITION yesterday. In this vitriol political season where others are demonized it was great to see how the world comes together through music. It's a lesson we all need to learn.

Both of my kids, TRIPPY (LTVI) and ASIAH (formerly of MARSHALL and ENGLISH for a minute) sang. I am having some technical difficulties with TRIPPY'S song but here is ASIAH:

Is this post a shameless plug? ABSOLUTELY! But as I've told you in the past, "THIS IS MY BLOG!".

Friday, September 16, 2016


Lynn Tech running back Steffan Gravely mustered just 43 yards on 12 carries against Triton. Photo by Bob Roche By Gordon Vincent PEABODY -- Last week's "up...




I would like to add something for clarification. The MAYOR had TWO opportunities to sign resolutions sent to Boston opposing charter schools. One passed by the city council and the other by the school committe. She signed niether. You don't get to have it both ways. I hate hypocrisy

Thursday, September 15, 2016


After a brief presentation, residents, parents and potential abutters spoke up at last night's forum on potential sites for a new Pickering -…/pickering-middle-school-forum-vid…/
Spread the love9.15.16 Wednesday, September 14th was the second public forum to discuss possible sites for a new Pickering Middle School. Last night’s was well attended, at least by comparison with the first forum. Some last night voiced complaints that the first forum was not well publicized. (Lynn...


Some Lynn residents are frantic,

There are those who are pretty wary
Of putting it near a cemetary.

The idea of putting in a park
Caused much more bite than bark.

All the while traffic's a concern
Because of OUI's we did learn.




Remember before the site that was introduced last night and that had been approved unaminously by the LYNN SCHOOL COMMITTEE at their Sept. 7 meeting was after the one splashed all over the ITEM where the TWO buildings were side by side and to keep cost down would share a cafeteria.

Although I wonder about the TRUTH of their argument because the two seperate locations mentioned at the meeting last night totaled up to a significantly less amount. It does make you wonder if you can trust anything they say.

No matter what site they eventually choose there is going to be opposition. It's just the "NOT IN MY BACKYARD" syndrome. Because this is going to take a 100+ MILLION DOLLAR bond to pass, how much you yell is going to matter less than who votes.

At election time past arrests and questionable moral issues of those involved will become an issue, I promise you.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016



Ok, I know I do not have kids in LPS anymore, but I just cannot believe the things I read sometimes. Of all the challenges and problems LPS is facing (the city continuing to under-fund the schools MILLIONS year after year, lack of student resources, services and programs, overcrowded classrooms which impedes student learning, being one of the lowest performing districts in the state), school committee member Jared Nicholson thought required school uniforms was what was important and had it put on the agenda for discussion. Really? Perhaps it would be in the best interest of LPS and the students who attend, if the school committee stopped focusing on nonissues, like required uniforms, and started focusing on the real issues.

In the same meeting JARED NICHOLSON requested an accounting of how the new influx of $3.7 million of CHAPTER 70 money. 

So the MAYOR trotted out CITY OF LYNN, CFO PETER CARON to give a presentation explaining how it was all used to cover up an accounting underestimate made I assume by his office. The money was going to be used to cover health insurance premiums. It wasn't even crystal clear to me that it would be covering which city/LPS employees. Remember RETIRED LPS emplyees are treated differently when it comes to NET SCHOOL SPENDING.

Based on correspondence I received (FINALLY) from JAY SULLIVAN from the DESE (after getting the ATTY. GEN. office involved), I do believe ultimately that use won't fly.

I read that to mean that this new money comes with the expectation it will be spent on new things, not OLD bills. Maybe I'm wrong, after all I didn''t go to one of these fancy, smancy New England Ivy League type schools. Although one of the girls dorms at WESLEYAN did have IVY on the outside walls.

Anyway I don't think they will be held accountable in this political enviroment.


Once again the question of mandatory school uniforms came up before the LSC. Since I have been covering the LSC the argument has been raised by and pushed by LSC member MARIA CARRASCO. Her contention that a lot of LPS's students come from other country's where a uniform is required attire. There are a host of other reasons that this would be a good idea, like reducing peer pressure and reducing wardrobe cost by eliminating trendy designer fashions.

In the past the iniative has been voted down because of initial costs and first admendment issues. No one really wants to tell a teenager what to wear. LYNN ENGLISH, where a pilot program was tried and failed a few years ago.

Now in the past, I may have been on both sides of this argument because as is usually the case in a good debate both sides have valid points. What makes this time a little different is that  this time the question was brought up by new LSC member JARED NICHOLSON.

Before the meeting at OPEN MIC, which to everyone's surprise I did not speak, principal at CONNERY, DR. MARY DILL spoke against adopting a uniform policy because many of the students live in homes without ready access to a washing machine so keeping a clean uniform would be problematic not to mention cost prohibitive. Speaking right after her was a parent whose daughter goes to an out of district charter school due in large part to her desire to be in a school with required dress. Also the mother was a small business owner who belongs to the NORTH SHORE LATINO BUSINESS ASSOCIATION and indicated there would be a few businesses willing to help defray the cost of the uniforms so it looks like that argument was eliminated.

As to constitutional rights and the legality of such measures, ATTY. NICHOLSON cited several instances where other school districts have implemented such a policy. While not really coming out and supporting required uniforms he did propose forming an AD-HOC committee to examine all sides of the issue to come to a recommendation on the feasability of going forth with a pilot program in an elementery school (that's how lawyers turned politicians think-that way you are on both sides of the argument-plausable deniability.). Of course it was agreed that the MAYOR would form such a committee.

Although JARED thought there must be a way to work with the language to get around the constitutional requirements since other public school districts have implemented the policy. Instead of anticipating linguistic gymnastics to evade the constitution why not ask the question how do charter schools get away with it. I guess we would just get into another PUBLIC without being really PUBLIC fiasco.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016


From LynnItem 9/13/16
Baker defends donation by ed chair to pro-charter group
Gov. Charlie Baker is defending a $100,000 donation by the
chairman of the Massachusetts board of education to a group pushing a pro-charter school ballot question.
The Republican told reporters Monday that Board of Elementary and Secondary Education Chairman Paul Sagan sought and won
the approval of the state Ethics Commission before
making the donation. Baker, a longtime supporter of
charter schools, appointed Sagan to the position last year.
“It’s a nothing-burger,” Baker said when asked
about the donation. “Are we going to get into the business
of saying every private citizen in Massachusetts has no ability to do anything associated with their private position?”
Opponents of the charter school question are
demanding Sagan’s resignation. Juan Cofield, chairman
of the Campaign to Save Our Public Schools, said
the donation will impair Sagan’s judgment and impartiality.
“How can Sagan be trusted to properly regulate
charter schools when he’s so invested in expanding
them? The chairman needs to step down immediately,” Cofield said
in a statement. Question 2 would allow for up to 12 new or expanded charter schools each year outside of existing
state caps. Sagan said in a statement that he was happy to
disclose his contribution. He described himself as “a
dedicated supporter” of all of public schools including
traditional district public schools and public charter schools.
“It is an honor to serve as Chairman of the Board of Elementary and Secondary to Education and I am thrilled to work toward
maintaining Massachusetts’ position as a national leader in public
education,” Sagan said.The donation also drew criticism from the chairman of the Massachusetts Democratic Party who
said the donation “calls into question the governor’s
judgment on who best serves the people of
the commonwealth.”“As chairman of the Massachusetts
Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, Mr. Sagan has
a duty to fulfill that position in an unbiased manner, free from personal opinion,” Massachusetts Democratic Party Chairman
Tom McGee said in a statement, adding thatthe donation “suggests an inappropriate bias and, at the very least, shows poor
judgment.” The question is one of the most contentious on
the November ballot. Supporters and opponents have pulled in nearly $19 million in contributions. Charter school activists
raised $12 million, according to reports filedlate Friday with the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance. That’s
nearly double the $6.8 million raised by opponents
of the question, including teachers unions.
Donors to the pro-charter school campaign include
two prominent billionaires— former New
York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg who contributed
$240,000 and Jim Walton of Arizona, the son
of Walmart founder Sam Walton, who contributed
more than $1.1 million. Another $5.5 million in
direct contributions came from the New York Citybased
Families For Excellent Schools Advocacy, Inc.
The three biggest donors to the group Save Our
Public Schools, which opposes the ballot question,
are teachers unions

Monday, September 12, 2016


Dear Lynn homeowners and taxpayers (particularly those who have children attending or will be attending LPS): I am sure you must have wondered where your hard earned money goes and what you get in return for the taxes (which will continue to increase as public services continue to decrease) you pay each year. Well here is a little snapshot for you.
The city is facing a $4.2 million shortfall, according to the city’s chief financial officer.
Police Chief Coppinger said a dozen officers will be reassigned as patrolmen, but the city will be deprived of valuable services that the public depends on.
Coppinger told The Item the police department budget has been cut by $2 million over the last four years and the city is already down 13 officers because of a hiring freeze. (I could input articles about the endless shootings, violence, and crime that occur daily in the city, but I think you get the point)
City Council President Daniel Cahill raised the question of how the city will fund the remaining contracts, including one for International Association of Firefighters Local 739. He stated, "There’s not enough cash to go around and we don’t want to tell people you will get a raise and then tell them we have to lay you off.”
According to the most recent net school spending compliance reports posted by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), about 94% of the 320 or so school districts in the state spend more than their net school spending requirement. Lynn is not one of them. Lynn is one of the 6% of districts that does not meet its net school spending requirement and actually under-funds the schools. In fact, Lynn has the highest net school spending deficit in the state. Lynn has been under-funding the schools in the city for years, but according to the most recent report, Lynn under-funded the schools by $8.8 million in FY15 and is expected to under-fund the schools by $6.8 million in FY16. (I should note these figures could change.)
Even with the continued under-funding of the schools and as student and teacher resources, programs and services have been cut out of the budget, the administrators for LPS (who have offices on Bennett Street) have continued to receive exorbitant raises. The City Council, as you know, voted to double the Mayor's salary and increase their own salaries, yet the Mayor continues to put forth a budget, which the city council continues to approve, that under-funds the schools by millions. (Of course they accuse KIPP of taking money away from LPS ;) )
If you take a drive through downtown Lynn and "the waterfront" I am sure you will be awed by and happy with what millions and millions of your tax dollars have accomplished.


Stop! JibJab time! Put yourself or a friend in Hammer pants for a Hammer dance in this iconic ‘90s music video!


When LSC member JARED NICHOLSON put on the agenda for last Thursday's LSC meeting a request for an accounting of the new Chapter 70 money (Remember the $3.7 million I've been telling you about?) I was a little exited. Maybe somebody besides my mother reads my blog after all.

Well when it became time for the agenda item come up the room suddenly got dark and a smoky fog permeated throughout the room. It was like something out of the WWE. The sockless warrior LYNN CFO PETER CARON strolled to the table facing the LSC and school administrators and confidently sat down. The new money would go to pay health insurance premiums they had previously underestimated.

A positive spin was applied to the city's siezure of the money intended for the schools. Basically they were told if we had known we were wrong you would have never gotten as much money as you did so in effect we are just taking back money we mistakenly loaned you. Maybe we were supposed to thank the city for letting LPS hold it.

Not surprisingly I got a couple of problems with all that. First there is this whole mess with being able to count the HEALTH INSURANCE premiums of retired school employees thing. I mean that's how we got into the arrears problem. I know, I know, we are now allowed to count it after it is phased in. I think we are scheduled to be allowed only 50% of it this year. Since it was like pulling teeth to even get the DESE to admit they cut a deal to let LYNN of the hook for their total $17 million  bill (making the pay about half spread out over 4 years), good luck trying to get actual numbers.

Then what PETE WITH THE BARE FEET seemed to fail to take into consideration is that because they are getting more CHAPTER 70 money the DESE is going to expect the city to spend more because their NET SCHOOL SPENDING amount will be higher. At least that's how I read a letter I got from JAY SULLIVAN from the DESE:

. The additional funds the city received also increased the Net School Spending requirement

This was not FREE money to PAY your OLD bills.

No this NEW money meant NEW bills for a HIGHER obligation.

Apparently though the smokescreen was enough to INTIMIDATE everyone there so no raised any questions.


Oh yeah, one more thing. With all those lawyers up there, I am sure there wasn't an actual violation of any OPEN MEETING laws but it does seem a little shady that MR. CARON'S presentation wasn't publicly advertised.

I'm sure  he just happened to stop by on his way to the laundrymat or WALMART in search of socks.