Friday, June 18, 2004
Good news so far for CCHS
Carlisle had been eagerly awaiting the results of Concord's Special Town Election, held on Tuesday, June 8. At issue was whether the town of Concord would vote for budget overrides consistent with levels passed in Carlisle last month to support the Concord-Carlisle High School. On Wednesday we heard the good news: Concord chose the higher of two levels for the CCHS budget, thereby matching Carlisle. On another ballot question, upgrades and renovations for the high school, previously approved by Carlisle, also passed. As reported by School Business Manager John Flaherty, the final high school budget of $16,844,079 is a $711,566 increase over the levy-limit budget.
Also on Tuesday, shortly after midnight, a negotiation session which began at 5 p.m. ended with a tentative agreement reached by teams representing the Concord-Carlisle Regional School Committee and the Concord-Carlisle Teacher's Association (CCTA) for a new three-year teachers' contract. Although nothing definite has been signed, CCTA president Andrei Joseph will go back to the teachers' union membership for ratification, while the full School Committee will address final approval at its next School Committee meeting on June 22. It should be noted that teachers at the high school had been working without a contract for 343 days before this agreement.
What does this mean to the students, teachers and the administration at the high school? Without the overrides, as has been reported, teaching, co-curricular, and athletic budgets would have been reduced. Voting in favor of upgrading and renovating the high school will mean, among other things, replacement of language lab equipment and modifications to the gymnasium.
We will have to wait another week to learn about the final agreement and details on the teachers' contract. In the meantime we should recognize the efforts and time that Carlisle's Selectmen, FinCom, and Regional School Committee members gave to working towards a positive outcome. Special thanks go to the late Vivian Chaput of the Carlisle Selectmen and Michael Fitzgerald of the Regional School Committee who served on the negotiating team for the School Committee.
We celebrate Father's Day this weekend. All of us can relate to a father in our lives. There are the fathers who raised us and father figures such as teachers, coaches and mentors. My father has unique traits. He tells great stories, sneezes and laughs louder than anyone I know, and loves my mom, his kids and grandchildren with all of his heart.
When talking about fathers, most of my friends agree on some almost universal characteristics. Fathers tend to work hard and worry about money. They want to know how much you spent when you went shopping, and if purchases were essential. Some might say that they obsess about money. But fathers also have other qualities. Fathers wish they had more time to spend with their families and make the most of time they do have. They have high expectations of people. They want to teach their children what's important. The fathers I know also have a great sense of humor. This last trait carries fathers far. My father could always make me laugh (and still does). My husband and father of our children possesses many unique traits, but also has a great sense of humor. Many an argument has come to a quick end using humor. It's an effective communication device, especially in our house. Sometimes the subject of a disagreement is so trivial that a little humor puts things into perspective.
Most fathers are also special in the ways they are devoted to their families. I noticed this trait this past week at elementary field day up at the Carlisle School. The younger grades were on Spalding Field at 10 a.m. in 90-degree weather. The kids were active, happy, sweaty and flushed. Many moms were there to watch their children jump over hurdles, kick soccer balls, and do a variety of other activities. Many fathers were there too. They were cheering on their children, taking pictures and smiling with pride. The fact that both mothers and fathers attended was, in my opinion, invaluable to those kids. Many of these children might take for granted the fact that their parents were supporting them. Later they will realize the sacrifices that were made, and what it showed about family values.
Field day activities lasted about an hour. As the kids were drinking water and eating popsicles, I heard one father ask his daughter if she was going to compete in any other games. She said no. He kissed her goodbye and said he was "back to work."
This weekend we should all thank the fathers who take time to be there for those special moments in their children's lives. Sparing an hour in the middle of a work day can be a monumental gesture. It's not always easy to leave work, and it's heartwarming to see such priorities.
So this weekend, make time to spend with the special father in your life. Talk and laugh with your father, the father of your children, and/or a special father that you know. And so everyone enjoys themselves to the fullest — don't talk about finances.
© 2004 The