This site aims to inform and mobilize Beverly parents to take an active role in all issues related to the funding and operation of the city's schools. It was launched in the spring of 2008, when the city saw its first-ever override attempt fail, followed by the closure of a nearly-new elementary school. Subsequent years have seen further cuts that have led to larger class sizes across the district. While the opening of an impressive new high school and plans to replace the city's aging middle school give us reason to be optimistic, the school community must be ever vigilant in demanding appropriate school funding by city and state governments, and better community communications from the district and School Committee.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A New Sideshow

In what is sure to add more confusion to the budget debate, and potentially delay tonight's vote further, the Salem News' top of Page 1 story today reports: "Tape Catches Mayor Saying Superintendent 'Lying Through his Teeth'"

The story quotes Mayor Scanlon's comments to School Committee member David Manzi during a break in the meeting, which were picked up by BevCam's microphones and broadcast live. The comments essentially accuse the Superintendent of making up the Special Ed numbers:

"He's slipped the budget by you and he's lying through his teeth on some of the costs. He should have to give a special education breakdown. He's got these huge increases without any explanation whatsoever of where the increase comes from. Frankly, I don't believe it. I think what he did is he drove it up in order to be able to get where he's trying to go." Scanlon is quoted as saying.

Adding an element of Nixonian conspiracy theory is the fact that these comments weren't included in the rebroadcast of the meeting, and BevCam says they weren't recorded, because the tape was being changed. The Salem News got the tape from a resident who recorded the live broadcast at home.

The fact that BevCam will not televise tonight's meeting live, but will air it only on tape tomorrow at noon, could further add to this speculation.

Again, all this is another unfortunate sideshow, and as we posted earlier this morning (see post below), let's not forget that the bottom line is class sizes. The School Committee needs to get to the bottom of this & figure out what the real numbers are for both plans before they vote on anything.

10:20 UPDATE: BevCam states that "We’ve heard from the school department regarding tonight’s meeting. Since it is not a regularly scheduled School Committee meeting, they are not requesting that BevCam cover it. Other than regularly-scheduled City Council and School Committee meetings, BevCam does not cover meetings unless asked to do so by the President/Chair of the City Council or School Committee."

If you feel strongly, as we do, that tonight's meeting should be covered live, please contact Annemarie Cesa.

12:05 UPDATE: More on Tapegate. This may have been posted on the Citizen's blog yesterday, before the Salem News explained the discrepancy between the original live broadcast & the taped broadcast, but now it looks like we have a little battle between the newspapers over this too. This post later clarifies, along with another Nixonian reference.

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