The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, June 21, 2002

Why cut student council?

To the Editor:

With all of the programs that are being eliminated at Carlisle Public School next year due to budget cuts, we feel obligated to question the reasoning behind the elimination of the middle school student council. The student council is a self-run and self-funded group of elected students whose goal is to improve the quality of middle school life. They improve the atmosphere with creative ideas, sponsoring dances and spirit days, fund-raising, and numerous other activities.

There is an immense amount of learning and experience that is generated through/ and by the student council. There is at least one dance per month, organized and run by the student council. The council members are in charge of finding and scheduling nine parent chaperones, scheduling and paying a teacher chaperone, ordering and serving pizza and drinks, booking a DJ, reserving the cafeteria space, and paying the custodians, along with many other jobs that include any sort of organization.

As is evident, a lot of responsibility and time are put into these events. Providing children with a fun, safe and well-chaperoned event creates a more closely-knit environment, and deters children from making bad decisions. In a town as small as Carlisle, this is one of the best ways to entertain the middle school students.

The student council is also beneficial to the Carlisle community. Organizing and running food and coat drives, sponsoring needy children from third-world countries, and hosting senior luncheons are just a few of the many community events generated by the student council.

Speaking as former presidents of the student council, we feel that all middle school students should be given the opportunity to act as leaders and make a difference at school and in the community, just as every one of the former councils have.

Before you eliminate the student council, think of the potential success and leadership you will be eliminating from the halls of the middle school, the change of atmosphere that will occur, and the sense of spirit that will be lost at Carlisle Public Schools.

John Kilfoyle and Katie Brown
2000-2001 student council

Flyer still stirs controversy

To the Editor:

After the notorious March 6th flyer came home in our children's backpacks, I wrote to the Carlisle School Committee asking if a policy existed covering such activities, and if it did not I urged the committee to adopt one.

Your report of the May 21st meeting of the Carlisle School Committee accurately reported the committee chair and superintendent's response to me, namely that there was a policy, that the flyer had been shown to the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF) and had been found by them to be acceptable. At that meeting I further urged the committee to read the Massachusetts Commissioner for Education's recommendations concerning such activities. I was told that this wouldn't be necessary as a policy was already in place.

Remarkably, none of these statements are true.

There was no such policy. The OCPF had not seen the March 6th flyer. Moreover, Ms. Peterson of the OCPF told me that her office would refuse to comment on a school's policy on literature distribution. Indeed, she expressed some concern that her office would be used in such a manner.

I received a strange phone call from Ms. Whitney Smith, the chair of the CSC, a few days after the meeting. While she was calling in her capacity as an elected public official, she also begged that I not repeat her comments. I find this unreasonable, but I will respect her wish. I did tell her that I had found the information I had been given to be false, and said that I intended to ask the committee if it wished to correct this when the minutes of the meeting were discussed at the subsequent CSC meeting.

I duly attended that meeting; however Ms. Whitney Smith declined to take a question from me. Later, however, she did introduce a policy on literature distribution (the intent of which I welcome), but persisted with the fiction that this was "the written form" of the shown-to-be-non-existent, policy.

While I can certainly speculate, I have no idea why the citizens of Carlisle and I should have been so grossly misled.

Simon Jensen-Fellows
Judy Farm Road

Thanks for FNL support

To the Editor:

The Carlisle Youth Commission (CYC) would like to thank the middle school families who contributed to Concord's Open Table food pantry at the food drive held at the last Friday Night Live of the school year two weeks ago. We collected approximately 300 non-perishable food items which Open Table will distribute to families in need from local communities.

The CYC would also like to take this opportunity to thank all the parents who chaperoned over the past year. It has been a great year and you helped make that possible. Additional thanks go to FNL program coordinator Mike McSweeney for a swell job of organizing the activities, food and chaperones. And a big thank you to the more than 280 middle school students who have attended FNL this year for their enthusiasm and cooperation. Last but not least, the CYC would like to extend our congratulations and best wishes to all the eighth grade graduates.

David Freedman
Carlisle Youth Commission

Notes from CCHS class of 2005

To the Editor:

As this fast-paced year comes to a close and we reflect upon all of our activities, we wish to thank a number of people. The fall potluck dinner for parents went well and it was a nice first connection for many of us. A thank-you goes to the parent advisors who had scheduled this get-together.

The spring wine and cheese social was a terrific and very successful fundraising event. As we tasted wines and cheeses from around the world, connections were made between Concord and Carlisle parents. A wonderful time was had by all with multiple requests heard to repeat this social. Many thanks to Gunilla and Kevin Gorman for hosting this event in their lovely home. The Garden Bazaar brought great promise as an annual fundraiser, thanks once again to Gunilla Gorman, the organizer.

The Concord-Carlisle "spirit items" were a big hit. Thanks go to Lee Bagley for her idea and for organizing this fund-raiser. We will continue to offer these items at many major CCHS events or you can contact Lee Bagley to place an order. Next year we may set up a pushcart or portable store of sorts that will be stocked with a variety of these high quality items (for starters, try the flannel pajama pants - they wash and wear and are so comfortable). Though the bake sale generated profit, we felt that it was a great deal of effort for parents. Other fundraising ideas will be considered by the student government for next year.

Speaking of students, we wish to thank the officers from last year: Nate Kerr, Meaghan Riley, Caitlin Holland, Jason Pan, Laura Belkner, and Amy Boyle for their efforts and we want to welcome and congratulate the newly elected officers: Jason Pan, president, Laura Belkner, VP, Caitlin Holland, secretary, and Samantha Charm, treasurer. We look forward to working with them. The faculty advisors, Sarah Moore and Catherine Berube, were a great help to us all as they worked cooperatively with and guided the student council as well as the parent advisors throughout the year. To them, a warm thank-you.

Finally, a very special thank-you goes to all the parents who have continuously supported our events, lent a helping hand, donated, or were just simply present when needed. You made this transition year a sucessful one for parents and students. As we end on a positive note, we hope the freshmen students enjoy their class trip to Canobie Lake Park. We wish you all a relaxing, peaceful summer and we look forward to a fun-filled sophomore year.

Donna Vienneau
Margaret Coughlin
Bev Castrichini
Lee Bagley

Resident urges voters to support the override

To the Editor:

On Wednesday, June 26, we will vote at the ballot box on an override of $75,000. The ballot language clearly states that the override is solely for the high school. However, at last Monday night's Town Meeting, the majority of attendees voted to fund the high school budget regardless of the outcome of the override. It is our contractual duty to fund the budget and we have now done so. Yet if the high school override fails, a budget deficit of $75,000 will result and all Carlisle budget items will be scrutinized for cuts.

The high school folks very much wanted to avoid a joint Town Meeting, given the expense ($10k to $15k) and preparation time. So now that we have avoided the joint Town Meeting, we instead face a Special Town Meeting, with its attendant expense and preparation time, if the override fails at Wednesday's town election. This Special Town Meeting will determine the cuts from a variety of board recommendations and motions from the floor. Everything is potentially on the table. Many have expressed concern about this unintended consequence of Monday night's vote.

Some background: to be prudent, Carlisle cut 10% from revenues expected from the state. To then balance the town's budget, town departments' budgets were cut back. The level budget included substantial cuts in services at our school. And, as salaries in all other town departments represent the next largest variable, wage increases of any sort were eliminated from the base budget and placed in the override choices, together with what have become hard-lost K- 8 school programs. From there, the override failed, state revenues were then restored, and the high school budget is funded with the real potential of a budget deficit.

What happened in Concord? Concord funded its town departments in its base budget and relied on an override vote to fund the high school. By contrast, Carlisle must now squeeze the high school into its base budget and depend upon a successful override just to keep Carlisle budgets intact. Had Carlisle started with the revised revenue figure, our town departments would have been more fully funded in our base budget and we would be voting on the high school budget as a bona fide override vote.

To be sure, our school and town departments should not pay the price of this difficult and protracted process. There's a better process and it starts with your vote. Please vote "Yes" on Wednesday.

Deb Belanger
Palmer Way

2002 The Carlisle Mosquito