The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, June 22, 2007


CSC responds to "no confidence" vote in Superintendent

After a four-hour closed-door executive session on Thursday, June 14, the Carlisle School Committee (CSC) began their response to the Carlisle Teachers Association (CTA) vote of "no confidence" in Superintendent Marie Doyle by issuing a statement and speaking to school personnel. The Teachers Association announcement and explanation of the 54 to 3 vote appeared in the June 15 Mosquito.

Past communication

The School Committee's reply is printed on page 7. In it, the CSC says that it regrets the teachers' concerns were not brought first to Doyle and the board, before the teachers released a public statement. However, according to eighth-grade teacher and CTA President Michael Miller, the Teachers' Association has communicated numerous times with Doyle and the CSC both formally and informally. The Mosquito has reported some of these communications (see "Teachers' Association concerns released," September 15, 2006.

The sequence of CTA-CSC communications includes:

· June 6, 2005 - A letter was sent by the CTA to Superintendent Doyle and copied to the School Committee expressing concern about disciplinary actions, the reorganization of the school and the salary scale changes. Disciplinary actions were a concern mentioned again in last week's CTA's statement under "Retaliation."

· March 21, 2006 - A letter by the CTA to Superintendent Doyle with a copy to the CSC, mentions concerns about trust and respect for the teachers. This theme is echoed in the new CTA statement, especially in the "Task Forces" and "Lack of Trust" sections.

· June 23, 2006 - Miller, as CTA President, sent a letter to Superintendent Doyle, copying the School Committee, expressing concern over "procedures you recently followed in the filling of positions within the Carlisle Public Schools." A similar concern is repeated in the new CTA statement, when failure to post recent vacant positions is noted in the "Violations of Contract" sections.

· June 29, 2006 - The School Committee responded to the teachers, thanking Miller for his note: "We will continue to work with your board to ensure that procedures are followed properly in the Carlisle Schools. We appreciated you bringing your concerns to our attention."

· June 15, 2007 - CTA announced a vote of no confidence in the superintendent. The CSC issued a response, sent by e-mail to school parents, faculty and staff.

· June 16, 2007 - Superintendent Doyle replies to the CTA (printed at right.)

Public discussion

Informal parent meetings were held in September of 2006 as a way to allow conversation about the school. CSC member Michael Fitzgerald attended and reported back to CSC members. During the same time the Boston Globe reported on the unrest in the community.

Concerned that the Carlisle community believed "that the problems stemmed from just a few rabble-rousing teachers," Miller explained, "we decided to take a survey of the faculty in which we asked teachers to write down whether they had major concerns, minor concerns, or no concerns related to the communication and leadership of the superintendent. A large majority indicated major concerns. We shared these results privately with Marie and with each member of the School Committee."

Why the 'no confidence' vote now?

Miller said they choose to do the no confidence vote at a time when the school would be least disrupted. "We felt that it was time to come forward and explain to the public why the relationship has suffered so much. We have tried to be discreet for quite a while, and since we feel the same problems are occurring, it seemed time to be more forthcoming."

CSC comments

Committee member Dale Ryder told the Mosquito that all members were in total agreement with the recent CSC statement. "This is a good first step," she said. "[The statement] does not represent everyone's opinion exactly, but it was the best we could do at 11 p.m."

CSC member Michael Fitzgerald explained, "The 'regret' comment stems from the fact that the CTA decided to take their issues directly to the newspaper first without even any sort of a conversation with the CSC. I think the appropriate approach would have been to have had the conversation concerning the vote with the chair of the CSC, then issue the release to the press." He continues, "Yes, both the CSC and Marie have been aware of some of the faculty's concerns."

June 18 meeting

Two members of the CSC, Chair Nicole Burkel and Michael Fitzgerald, held a private meeting with teachers and administrators on Monday, June 18. According to Fitzgerald, one topic of the meeting was the teacher vote. He told the group that the School Committee is "in the process of developing a comprehensive action plan to address the issues raised in their letter of last week." Fitzgerald said that while the teachers did not immediately respond to the remarks, the CSC members will try to meet with Miller in the coming weeks.

2007 The Carlisle Mosquito