Friday, December 19, 2014

GAMES WE PLAY ----- by Larry Fillmore

At the last Town Council meeting, Mr. Richard Green, Superintendent of Schools, briefed the Council of a situation the School Department was made aware of in late November.  The state provided the wireless system technology requirements at the Lisbon Community School to ensure it meets the requirements for Smarter Balance.  Smarter Balance is the new system the state will be using instead of the current paper/pencil NECAP.

The School Department conducted a technology readiness assessment and discovered that the current wireless system does not have sufficient network capacity in order to implement and administer this new state ordered system.  The School Department then determined what was necessary to meet the upcoming requirements and presented the solution to the Lisbon School Committee which approved the solution unanimously.  The solution required that $42,000.00 be transferred from the Lisbon School Department’s capital reserve account.  This required the approval of the Town Council.

Mr. Green briefed the Town Council and Chairman Pesce, Councilors Bickford and Metivier spoke and voted against approving the transfer of funds.  Councilors Lunt and Crafts had no input but voted against the motion.  These funds are already in the approved budget so there are no additional funds necessary.  It would appear this was a blatant attempt at controlling the School Department’s funds.  If these three councilors have a problem with the manner in which the School Department’s funds are utilized, I recommend they run for the School Committee

The assessment reveals Lisbon Community School will fail this test without the necessary upgrades.  At that point, are these three councilors going to blame Mr. Green and the Lisbon School Committee?  Mr. Green and the Lisbon School Committee did everything right in my mind.  They identified the problem, performed an assessment and provided a solution without asking for additional funds from the taxpayers.  This is being responsible and doing what the taxpayers expect of them; so why is the Town Council acting this way.

The real losers in this battle between the Town Council and the Lisbon School Committee are the students who have to struggle with inadequate equipment in an effort to complete their work.

Larry Fillmore