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Easter Week events at Park Avenue Congregational, elsewhere

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Regent: URO to benefit OneFund Saturday

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Work days at Spy Pond Park begin Saturday

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LexFarm stand to open Saturday

Busa blooming

Olivio's to celebrate Italian-style Easter

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April Vacation Arts Camp at ACA

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Patriots Day parade set for Monday

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Multi-Chamber networking Tuesday

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Read, walk Arlington’s cultural heights Tuesday

Arlington Cultural Heights

Workshop on Afghanistan Tuesday

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Lambs due at Wright-Locke Wednesday

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Interpretive Alewife walk April 24

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'Reciprocal' at 13Forest; talk April 25

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Drum Connection beats this spring

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National Drug Take-Back Day April 26

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Bikeway cleanup April 26

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EulipiaJazz to launch concert series April 26

Scptt Samenfeld

Arlington-Nagaokakyo host families get ready for April

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Chorale, philharmonic concert April 27

Ju Hyun Lee

Historical Society: Our veterans April 29

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AFD Theatre presents 'A Little Night Music' May 2-18

AFD Theatre presents 'A Little Night Music' May 2-18

Tryst serves new dinner menu

Paul Turano

Arlington Cultural Commission calendar

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Fourth international film festival seeking entries, lists partners

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Historical talk, reception at May 3 Old Schwamb Mill

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For 2014-15, AFD Theatre seeks music, stage directors, choreographers

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All that's jazz: AHS Pops Concert May 3

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A first: Art to rock Menotomy starting May 4

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May 7 conversation: Can junk food end obesity?

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Foundation's tech showcase May 5

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A cappella joy in Mudville May 10

There is joy in Mudville

Community Collection Day May 10

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Astronomy Nights continue at Robbins Farm May 31

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Community Card for 2013-14 aiding Thompson available

Thompson Community Card

Soap-box derby participants get ready for June

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Farmers' market to open 16th season June 11

Farmer

16th Feast of the East set for June 14

Feast of the East, 2008

Conversations about diversity conclude June 9: 'Many Social Classes'

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OPEN MIC

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Kick Stand Cafe, just off Mass. Ave. in Arlington Center, continues the Jam'n Java open- microphone tradition Friday nights once a month for local entertainers starting in December.

For an up-to-date listing, go to Open Mic.

ENTERTAINMENT

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The Regent Theatre on Medford Street is Arlington's showplace of stars.
For an up-to-date listing to know what's on stage what's coming, go to www.regenttheatre.com.

YOUR SPORTS

sox-33914 Hundreds of people came to Town Hall on a rainy evening Saturday, March 29, to pose for pictures with the 2013 Red Sox World Series trophy on a...
marathon-3314Campbell The Boston Marathon has expanded to 36,000 runners this year, and as of April 15, 78 Arlington residents will be among those hitting the...
 Friday April 18, 2014 |  1:09:43 a.m.

School Committee first to back statewide changes to collaboratives

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Educational collaboratives, under fire statewide because of allegations of misappropriated funds at a Billerica agency, are moving toward change, and the School Committee on Thursday, March 8, became the first among 21 communities to support that shift.

Altering the face of nonprofit EDCO is part of a push by the Legislature in reaction to charges at the Billerica-based Merrimack Special Education Collaborative. EDCO had no connection to charges against John B. Barranco, the former executive director there.

With praise of EDCO's work in providing professional development for teachers, staff and school officials in Arlington and 20 other greater Boston communities, the committee voted, 7-0.

Member Joseph Curro Jr. called Arlington's "relationship with EDCO incredibly important."

Curro said EDCO programs in which he has been involved are "one of the most valuable things I've done as member of the School Committee."

He referred specifically to advice that he and member Jud Pierce, an attorney, received while researching whether the committee should change legal representation. In October 2010, the committee voted to replace Stoneman Chandler attorney Alan Miller

School Committee logo

The committee asked that Dorsey Yearley, EDCO's executive director, based in Waltham, come to a future School Committee to explain further what changes are occurring in the organization and what it does.

The collaborative is composed of two organizations -- EDCO and ECGB Inc -- which must merge. All 21-member school districts have to approve changes.

The 7-0 School Committee vote was on this motion:

"I move that the School Committee vote to dissolve ECGB, Inc. by June 30, 2012, or as soon as legally possible thereafter, and further that our representatives for EDCO and ECGB, Inc. be authorized to take all necessary steps to transfer all programs, contracts and available assets, including the Seefurth Fund, from ECGB, Inc. to EDCO by the close of the fiscal year on June 30, 2012, or as soon as legally possible thereafter."

In January, a House bill, which follows approval of a similar measure in the state Senate, was proposed after a 2011 scandal surrounding Merrimack, in which Barranco, faces accusations of transferring $11.5 million to a related nonprofit and using the funds to cover lavish salaries for himself, a former girlfriend and a close circle of associates. 

School Committee view of town/school financial consolidation


Feb. 7: Treasurer, school budget analyst rap consolidation report


In other news, the School Committee's packet included a March 2 letter to Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine, addressing proposed consolidation. It says the committee does not have enough information to proceed. The following is a copy of what the letter says:

We write this as official comments from the School Committee regarding the DOR Town and School Financial Analysis Report dated January 2012. We are responding to the request for comments from the Town Manager regarding the Report's recommendations.

The Report has many sections. In particular, we note that the bulk of the recommendations suggest significant changes in the organization of the Town financial management structure, and further, that this reorganization is suggested to occur in advance of discussions of consolidation of Town/School financial offices.

In regard to the recommendations to the school department we are in agreement with most: for example, inclusion of payroll in a consolidated financial department and implementation of an automated absence & substitute tracking system. The recommendations of MUNIS terminals to the schools and payroll warrants need more study on how to resolve certain technicalities. (See addendum for all responses.)

While we do not take issue with any of the details regarding the organizational changes of the Town financial structure, we do not feel is it our purview to make detailed comments on them either.

At this time, we do not feel we have sufficient information to agree to a final consolidated Town/ School finance office. We understand that this is seen as a potential final step by the DOR; however some of our members are concerned that unless we are explicit in our views, we will be assumed to be in agreement.

We do not feel we have sufficient information about a consolidated Town/School department for the following reasons:

1. There is no mention of the oversight role of the School Committee of the whole in the recommendations.

2. There is no mention of the School Committee on the proposed organizational chart (Report page28).

3. There is no clarity of the Superintendent/Finance officer relationship on the organizational chart.

4. It is unclear what the final structure of the Town finance department will be at this early time, and thus it is difficult to understand how the School Administrative personnel and/or the School Committee should best interact with it.

We are also note the absence of a definition of the role of the Finance Committee with a consolidated Town/School Finance Department.
We are not ruling a possible merger in or out, just trying to be clear that there are still lot of things to clarify, and that many of them are not dependent on the Schools.

In conclusion, we reiterate the School Committee's authority over our budget [MGL 71 s34] and to agree to any eventual School-Town consolidation 71 s37M]. In addition, we require that any future blueprint for a consolidation include clear lines of authority that incorporate the Committee and the Superintendent before we enter discussions of consolidation.

Addendum regarding the recommendations

We are in agreement about the following:

* Recommendation #5, 23: Migration the IT department.

* Recommendation #7, page 24: Inclusion of the payroll department in the consolidated financial department.

* Recommendation #8, page 24: Regular meetings between Superintendent Town Manager, Comptroller, CFO; and addressing outstanding issues of previous town-school consolidations

* Recommendation #9, page 24: Purchase of automated absence tracking/substitute calling.

* Recommendation #10, page 24: Improving administrative capacity at or building cost center level.

* Recommendation #14, page 25: Creating written agreement concerning allocation of municipal costs to be included in net school spending.

We are in the process of working out the technicalities involved in the following:

* Recommendation #10, page 24: Rolling out MUNIS terminals to schools and piloting decentralized purchasing, payroll, and budget monitoring. Our concerns include staffing ability, software ability (example: hold function on purchase order) and hardware purchasing.

* Recommendation #15, page 26: Recommendation around School Committee payroll warrants. Our concerns include implementing policy so there is no possibility of payroll warrant delays if the chair is unavailable.


This story was first published Tuesday, March 13, 2012.

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POLL: PRESERVATION ACT

YOUR VIEW: This site's only blog

  • Dollar image

    Treasurer gets deputy after urging vote

    "Below please find the date-trail where important actions took place: "• Internal posting - December 12, 2013 "• External posting- December 12, 2013     o Town Website        o Monster.com "• Review of applicant resume's and credentials - January 13, 2014 through February 3, 2014 "• 1st round of interviews- February 6, 2014 and February 13, 2014     o An Excel-based budgetary exercise situation problem was administered to each applicant during the first round of interviews "• 2nd round of interviews-February 21, 2014        o A writing skills exercise containing an investment scenario was administered during the second round of interviews "I am extremely pleased that we were able to attract and obtain a candidate with Mr. Morse's qualifications, skills, experience and passion. Mr. Morse will bring an array of valuable skills and experience to the Deputy Treasurer's position. "I strongly ...

  • William Hayner

    School Committee reminded of its standards

    School Committee: Norms and Standards (policy BDA-E) We, the Arlington School Committee, acknowledge that a School Committee meeting is a meeting of School Committee members that is held in public and not a public meeting and that we will make every effort to ensure that meetings are effective and efficient. To that end, we acknowledge the importance of subcommittees and we and the superintendent agree to utilize them to focus on specific topics in-depth and to prepare for presentation, deliberation, and possible action by the School Committee.  We, the Arlington School Committee, set forth these Standards and Norms that we will all commit to abide by as individuals and as a committee:     1. Represent the needs and interests of all students in the district.     2. Exercise leadership in vision, planning, policy making, evaluation, and advocacy on behalf of the students and district, not in managing the day-to-day operations of the district. &n ...

  • Dollar image

    Vote *against* Community Preservation Act

    If you can afford it ... The CPA is a good deal for municipalities whose residents can afford it. In exchange for a property tax surcharge of 1 to 3 percent, the state will provide matching money (used to be $1 for $1, is now more on the order of 50 cents state matching on each dollar of local property tax surcharge). At least 10% of the match must be spent on each of 3 categories - open space, historic preservation, and affordable housing; the remaining 70% can be spent on a much wider (but still limited) range of possibilities. Spending is thus on projects which most communities would like to spend money anyway. The state match reduces by half the cost of extra spending. Bottom line is that CPA money is worth spending on, if one can afford it. I suggest that individual support for or opposition against the CPA is based largely on one's personal finances. Those who feel they can afford to pay more have compelling reason to support it; those who feel they can't have compelling rea ...

  • Open Space image

    How the Community Preservation Act is good for Arlington

    Surcharge of no miore than 3% Money for the fund is raised through a surcharge of no more than 3 percent on the property-tax levy. Massachusetts has set up a fund that is used to partially offset these charges. On average historically, the reimbursement rate has been about 30 percent of the surcharge. After decades of growth and development, residents from across the state began to realize that their communities were rapidly changing and that they needed to do something to protect the resources that made their home towns unique. Some communities wanted to protect open space, some to preserve historic sites and others wanted to ensure affordable housing for their residents. All petitioned the state government for assistance in planning and funding. With so many worthwhile interests competing for limited resources, it took nearly 20 years of on-and-off debate to complete the legislation now known as the Community Preservation Act. The law does four things. It addresses all of the co ...

  • Metco image

    Long Live Metco, Starks writes

    The reason I co-authored the article with Mr. Foskett was to make sure that as we head into the need for future overrides for our schools that we make sure that we are talking about all of the costs that our public schools are asked to take on and that we as a town decide whether to continue to support them or not. As I had hoped, the discussion that has ensued about Metco has been a positive response to keeping the program going. I will continue to work to get more funding for the program and make sure that our legislators know how woefully underfunded it is. But my stance on Metco needing more funding is not a reflection on whether or not I think it is an important program that has a long future here in Arlington. Education itself is woefully underfunded, but you will not find a more passionate advocate for it than those of us who serve on School Committee. This letter was published Friday, April 11, 2014. ...

  • Arlington Avocado image

    Avocado slices, dices town election

    Kurt Fusaris, who writes The Arlington Avocado blog, takes his political knife to the April 5 town election. He takes a look at how his forecasts turned out. He also takes a close read of the results and makes some conjectures as to what happened and why. See his detailed post here >> Kurt is not curt. This blog link was published Wednesday, April 9, 2014. ...

  • Simulator for Distractology Tour

    What are you doing to distract your driving?

    According to the latest data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nationwide in 2012, more than 3,328 people were killed in crashes involving distracted drivers, and approximately 421,000 people were injured. Massachusetts law makes it illegal for any operator of a motor vehicle to use a mobile telephone, or any handheld device capable of accessing the internet, to manually compose, send or read an electronic message while operating a motor vehicle. Fines start at $100 and can be as high as $500 for subsequent offenses. Drivers younger than 18 are also subject to license or permit suspension for as long as one year. "All motorists need to know that Massachusetts is serious about stopping this deadly behavior," Ryan said. "Driving and texting has reached epidemic levels, and enforcing the law is part of the cure." This news release was published Tuesday, April 8, 2014. ...

  • An old-fashioned reporter

    OPINION, NEWS, TIPS: Let us know what you think

    The annual town election has passed, and life in Arlington continues. If you have a letter about any subject related to our town, or news you want residents to know, send it to YourArlington. Here's how: -- Your opinion and news should be related Arlington, Mass. (News about neighboring communities is welcome, but can be published as the publisher's time allows.) -- If your news is an event, you must provide the name of the sponsor (and a way to contact them), what the event is, where it is to take place, when it will happen, why it is taking place and any further information helpful to understand your report. -- There is no restriction on length for your letter or for news, but you should understand that if you go on too long, you run the risk of losing readers. -- Email letters and news as plain text (no formatting, no Word docs). -- If you have a photo, attach it to the email. -- Email [email protected]          -- Or send it dire ...

  • Bob Sprague

    Vote steers Arlington clear of change

    Contrary to my general opinion that the outcome of the election reflects fear, fresh-face Jennifer Susse was elected to the School Committee with the highest vote total. Stephen Gilligan was reelected treasurer by 139 votes, hardly an endorsement. Still, overall, I think voters -- the few (20.08 percent) who decided to delay 15 minutes of shopping and turn out -- erred on the side of caution and cast votes for what they knew. The same cautious attitude may have lurked behind Precinct 7 voters' rejection of two outspoken incumbent Town Meeting members -- Chris Loreti and Mark Kaepplein. Loreti, a close follower of town business, was dropped from the Redevelopment Board in 2011. His often-technical arguments on the floor of Town Meeting are well known. Kaepplein is a longtime critic of the Mass. Ave. Corridor project and is noted for his anticycling views. Unlike Loreti, his public opinions often seem scattershot. I do not place both men in the same boat exactly, but I think Town ...

  • Douglass T. Davidoff

    Two modest proposals for after the election

    Suggestions for renaming First: Let’s rename the Board of Selectmen to the "Select Board." Second: Let’s rename the Town Meeting to "Representative Town Meeting." As a relatively new resident of Arlington, having moved here only four years ago, I don’t know if these two ideas that gnaw at me have been debated before in the town. If they have, it’s a marvel that the Arlington I have come to know wouldn’t have moved sooner to address deficiencies I see in naming our chief town governance structures. The New England tradition of town meetings and "select men" elected to manage town affairs between meetings of the town citizenry is well documented. From Maine to Connecticut, town meetings and select men have run affairs of New England towns for centuries. But in Connecticut, where I grew up, the towns that grew in population and abandoned the town meeting because it became unwieldy often replaced it with elected leaders who sit in what’s usually a "Representative Town Meeting." My h ...

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