Rama Schneider | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Rama Schneider 
Member since Oct 31, 2015



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Re: “Just Saying No: Vermont Education Secretary Defies Lawmakers

This was an incredibly easy find: "An aggravating factor at the Agency is that we have seen a dramatic and unprecedented decline in staffing since 2008, when we had 211 FTEs (83.2 paid by the states General fund). Today, that number is 170 FTEs (53.18 paid by the states General Fund). This somewhat limits our capacity to extend technical assistance to school districts on issues related to state funding, especially given other statutory claims on those scare general fund dollars."

If that isn't enough, let's take the discussion to the VSBE ... starts just after the 2:04 mark ... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2214Frd-g… - I do admit this was a tad more difficult as I had to skim through the video.

Yeah - absolutely, uncontestably, totally fake news being put out in some of these comments.

Facts matter, and the matter of facts all point to Secretary Holcomb and the VSBE both speaking about the need for greater resources WHILE Shumlin was governor.

10 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Rama Schneider on 11/02/2017 at 1:07 PM

Re: “Just Saying No: Vermont Education Secretary Defies Lawmakers

For the record and from my own personal experience, Brooke Paige's comment "Secretary Holcombe made no fuss about lack of resources to implement her Act 46, however ..." is at best horribly mistaken, and at worst a deliberate lie. You know ... fake news.

The discussion regarding a lack of resources for the AOE and VSBE both began right after Act 46 of 2015 was signed into law by Governor Shumlin. No, I apologize, I'm wrong .... that very discussion began when the Department of Education was turned into the Agency of Education, and once again that was while Shumlin was governor.

13 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by Rama Schneider on 11/02/2017 at 11:19 AM

Re: “Just Saying No: Vermont Education Secretary Defies Lawmakers

Secretary Holcombe has been talking about the lack of financial resources to accompany legislative demands on the AOE's time for quite a while now. She was saying this when Shumlin was governor as Act 46 of 2015 was being passed. As an aside the Vermont State Board of Education has an even larger problem in this instance ... more and more work with less and less budgetary support.

The Secretary's stance is not a protection of Governor Scott's political policies and political proposals. The Secretary's stance IS a protection of some very important work that is occurring around Vermont this very day: everything from school district and supervisory union mergers to a process that provides for regular school inspections and evaluations. And of course there is the large amount of work that is required by federal law to access federal funds (read 16 VSA - there is a requirement the AOE do this too).

Seems to me both Representative Sharpe and Senator Baruth really liked the idea of taking the once upon a time semi-autonomous Department of Education and turning it into a wholly owned subsidiary of the governor's office ... sow and you shall reap the results.

8 likes, 12 dislikes
Posted by Rama Schneider on 11/02/2017 at 6:10 AM

Re: “Milton Students Return to Racial Turmoil

Hidden away in this story is a gem that describe the huge benefits of a public education system that includes kids from all background: "Even if their parents self-segregate in white neighborhoods and social groups, children sit in classrooms and on school buses with young people of varied racial backgrounds."

19 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Rama Schneider on 08/31/2017 at 6:28 AM

Re: “Policy Wonk Nicole Mace Lands in a Swirling Political Storm

Nicole Mace is an extremely talented professional, and nothing I have to write should ever be taken to question her abilities, integrity or motives.

This story focuses on the wrong side of this multifaceted issue. The most egregious injury done by the actions of the VSBA was perpetrated against the very school boards that pay dues to the VSBA. Contract negotiations were sent into a tail spin; negotiated contracts meant districts would be held liable for an unforseeable state claw back of money; and the Governor and Legislature got to put out what can only be described as "the great dumping on" (https://vtdigger.org/2017/06/29/rama-schne…).

To add insult to injury Honigford kept insisting that while this carnage was taking place, the VSBA was speaking on behalf of school boards around the state! (He wasn't, isn't and probably never will be.)

The VSBA through the Executive Director (Mace) and Board of Directors (Honigford, et al) leapt into the fray without a thought as to what could happen. Instead of pushing for an approach that the VSBA dues paying school boards could handle in a sensible and thoughtful manner, they, along with the Governor and Legislature said "I know, lets make ourselves feel good and screw the schools.

Here's a non-trick question: If one school district increased salaries by 50% to get to meet the demands of the VSBA, Governor and Legislature of an 80/20 split on premiums and out of pocket costs; and a second district increased salaries by 1% but didn't meet the 80/20 split .... which district is liable to the Governors grasping claw back? (Ok - answer - the 2nd district - the one that was responsible with the tax payer's money.)

5 likes, 10 dislikes
Posted by Rama Schneider on 08/10/2017 at 6:41 AM

Re: “Special Interests Spent $5.4 Million Lobbying Vermont Lawmakers

Protecting our only source of food, water, air and shelter (aka our physical environment) is not a liberal cause ... it is an absolute MUST!

9 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by Rama Schneider on 07/05/2017 at 6:36 AM

Re: “A Near Miss in Montpelier Suggests a Union's Clout Is Waning

A plan for teachers and support staff negotiations:

1) Negotiations begin no later then the October 1st preceding the current contracts expiration date.
2) The school district and teachers/staff have thirty days to reach a resolution.
3) The negotiating parties then have thirty days to reach a mediated resolution.
4) If no resolution is arrived at by that December 1st, then the contract along with the history of proposals is forwarded to the Vermont Agency of Education where the state may add, remove or change any items not yet agreed on. At this time the state will no later then February 1st impose this contract on all parties.

8 likes, 17 dislikes
Posted by Rama Schneider on 05/25/2017 at 6:05 AM

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