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School Committee Puts Brakes on Superintendent Search

Interim Superintendent Edward Daft will remain in his role until January.

East Providence school committee members voted to indefinitely suspend the search for a permanent superintendent during Tuesday night's meeting at .

According to Chairman Charles Tsonos, budget commission members strongly recommended that the school department hold off on hiring staff due to a $7.4 million projected deficit. 

"[The commission] discouraged us from pursuing a superintendent search for several reasons, much of which has to do with the financial situation of the city," he said.

Interim Superintendent Edward Daft will remain in his role until January.

"It's good to see you Mr. Daft. Take your vitamins," Tsonos said. 

According to Daft, the understaffed department works well together though he would like some extra manpower to complete his duties. He said Michael O'Keefe, budget commission chairman, was receptive to the idea.

"It's not a bad place to work, when it could be," he said, adding staff members have gone above and beyond their usual duties. "I do appreciate the help. It's one of the reasons why I have agreed to stay on."

Govstench January 26, 2012 at 03:18 AM
This is the first positive step to curtail the bleeding. It will take a few years for the city to recover from this recession. Cutbacks are still necessary.
Veteran January 26, 2012 at 01:34 PM
Give daft another 20 ger for taking his vitamins.
Rumford Resident January 26, 2012 at 01:46 PM
Charlie, as previously mentioned, you are now recognizing the obvious. This school committee has been neutered.... As long as Val Lawson and the rest of the union is running the place, why do you need to kid everyone by paying for 3 superintendants (Cirlillo, Daft, and what your search committee of 1 (Val Lawson with Vinhateiro carrying her water). Focus on the important issues.....Like keeping the union hack teachers fat and happy You already saved recess..... Why focus on anything else! BTW, i think I saw a yard sale last week..... Was that a fundraiser for Furtado to raise the $300 ?
Bruce Zarembka January 26, 2012 at 03:01 PM
Certainly a prudent idea in curtailing this search. One of the few positive actions taken by this school committee (although in reality it was astrong sugesstion of the budget committee. Let's face it the school committee would not have done this on their own) think about their decison to offer a salary rate that was $25,000 above what comparable superintendents in similar communities average. How is that for due diligence on the part of our school committee? (There wasn't any) On the comment of Rumford Resident above...I think it's unfair to target teachers by calling them "union hack teachers fat and happy," as do we really want to be the city with the lowest paid teachers in the state? I know I don't. Were there some benefits that needed to be reeled in and changes made? Yes certainly co-pays and the buy backs on health insurance. Those were benefits that were completly out of line with the public sector. I think the real issue and legitimately so, are the union fat cats along with the nepotism that has gone on for many year's in East Providence, The insider deals and puppet masters who put their puppets in place on the school committee and city council to do there bidding. I think most know who those individuals are/were that worked from behind the scenes. so,let's focus on the important issues!
Rumford Resident January 26, 2012 at 03:12 PM
Sorry Bruce, but my description is accurate. Any group of people that allow their dues to be used to elect folks like Katie and Chrissy are just that.... hacks! What have we seen in RI in the past couple of years. Central Falls teachers over play their hand, get fired, and then beg for their jobs back. Then call in sick! Same in Providence! The teachers have had a nice gig for too long. The more we allow for statements like 'the lowest paid in the state', the more we create a charade that they are not paid more then well for 180 days. When people have been out of work for 2 years in the private sector, lost their 401k investments, seen jobs shipped to India, it is hard to feel sorry for Val Lawson and Vinhateiro ($100k pension and still working!!!) The system is broken
Bruce Zarembka January 26, 2012 at 03:31 PM
I agree the system is broken, you are absolutely correct...I do not feel sorry for Val Lawson or any of the other union leaders who have taken advantage of not only their positions, but have taken advantage of their membership (I will concede if one allows themselves to continually be led blindly down the road to self destruction some of the blame does fall on the teachers for electing the union leadership) but just as important, the city council and school committes past and present have a big hand in this...and let's face it so do the residents/voters of East Providence, for either being blindly/falsely/or not educating themselves, led down this same road. (I need to note that I am not part of any teachers group, union, nor political party affiliation.) I do however stay educated as to what is going on at the city, state and national levels...and there is not a whole lot of good. (and yes I do vote) One answer to all these problems is to regionalize...the saving would be tremendous and while the politics of such would not go away completely, there should be less influence peddling. As many have stated before, as a state we are smaller than many school districts in different parts of the country. Why do we continually allow, groups of people to hold so much power in such small communities. (The answer certainly plays into the adage that no one wants to give up their so called circle of power) Bottom line with education, teachers are the biggest asset...don't blame them.
Arthur Dolloff January 26, 2012 at 07:09 PM
Whoa, we know there are problems with teacher wages and benefits but lets not miss the very glaring comment by Mr. Daft. He wants some more employees to help him out! Last time I drove by the administration building it looked like a new car dealer slightly used car lot. How many people do you need to poorly run the school department anyway? I think Mr. Daft needs to explain what the workforce is doing for it's pay and benefits. How much consolidation has been achieved and more importantly how much more can be done????? I know of a couple of Patch contributors that get a lot of important work done with a very small staff. WHAT ARE YOU DOING FOR US Mr. Daft????? More people?? Come on we are taxed out and you want more people to do a poor job of things! GET REAL !!!!!
Bruce Zarembka January 26, 2012 at 10:36 PM
Arthur, All good points! As for Daft...you have to wonder how these people rise to these positions...he was a marginal vice principal while at the high school...while he does credit his staff at the administration for pulling together and getting the job done, he asks for more staff as you stated, without defining what they would be doing as well as the associated cost. Do these people live in the real world...today's businesses are doing more with less. Everyone is expected to increase productivity. Cost cutting and effcient operations start at the top! What is Mr. Daft doing for us? Well as I believe he stated at one of the budget commission meetings in regard to a proposed plan his response was..."it has to work." Well maybe you should get to work to make sure plans put in place do work!!
taxpayer January 27, 2012 at 07:39 PM
Hey Arthur...why not stop in and see? I guess that you don't really want the FACTS to get in the way of your preconceived ideas! Under the "fiscally responbsible" past school committee we had the second highest paid super in the state ($180,000+) along with a COO (@$150,000) 2 Assistant Supers (Both over 100K) a Finance Director (another $100K) a Human Resources Director (at near $100K) and a buildings and grounds manager (@85K plus benifits) NOW we have Interim Supt Daft, and Fianace Director King! PERIOD! And YOU think that is OVERSTAFFED?????
Rumford Resident January 27, 2012 at 08:04 PM
Taxpayer, You forgot Val Lawson and the Vinhateiro crew...... We all know they run the place with the NEA thugs......
Rumford Resident January 27, 2012 at 08:06 PM
Oh, and taxpayer, if we have ALLLL of those savings, when can we get the tax cut that Tsonos campaigned on?
Arthur Dolloff January 27, 2012 at 09:08 PM
Yes taxpayer those overstaffed committies of the past set a standard that we have yet to fix. There is way too much money being spent running the school department ant way too little effort teaching the students. There is a glut of overpaid and underworked people in the city government and it has to be fixed. If we paid on performance: a teacher may be worth $40k , a principal $50k , a supt $65k, and i fail to see why a person with a Masters or PHD is needed at the level this school department is performing!!!!
Arthur Dolloff January 27, 2012 at 09:14 PM
I have to say you are right on target Bruce, If you get rid of all those people that are crying about how hard their jobs are, I am sure you would have a line down to the square waiting to take their places. Hell even the least qualified person is capable of doing the job that is being done now. I think that may be the problem, we are using the least qualified...
Govstench January 29, 2012 at 01:58 PM
Bruce and Arthur, all good points - you have to wonder how Supt. Martin was able to get it all done with just him at the helm. At best, he may have had a secretary. Compare then to today's graduates - it is no comparison. The system is broken and the taxpayers are paying for it. Major reforms are needed and the economy will drive it this time.
Arthur Dolloff January 30, 2012 at 04:36 PM
Govstench, My wonderings led me to some old memories, my Grandfather was a teacher in Cranston for many years, I watched him retire into a trailer on my aunts small farm in South Kingston with barely a cent to his name, the state had taken his land for Rt 295. My cousin retired from teaching in Bristol and as a single parent lives in EP and travels extensively. My daughter was a PC teaching graduate that went into the travel industry. My point is I have seen a lot of the system and it is BROKEN if not corrupt. The Tea party, Occupy (city) movement, and the GOP tearing itself apart are mere signs of the civil unrest in this country and city. You would think that with the level of social media that the city elected officials would be sending strong messages and sharing ideas, hell even asking for public input. Instead they sit mute with their fingers in th… ….. and hope it will all blow over. Well this one is not going away. There are people who will venture into the Blog arena and snipe at things but there have been few advancing ideas, good or bad, for consideration. Maybe the elected officials do not even know we exist, or maybe they hope WE will go away. In any event I will not stop until they pry my keyboard from my cold dead hands, or maybe tax me into oblivion.

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