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Master Plan Town Meeting Calendar Links

Emergency or Political Notification System

Ever wonder why the schools are successful at getting their people to town meeting? Itís not the Parent Teacher Organization, Itís not volunteers and itís not good old fashioned hard work. It is abuse of the emergency notification system thatís supposed to inform parents of emergencies and snow days. Below is a chain of emails that I initiated on the subject.

Dear Superintendent Sorrell,

The School Department is making phone calls to people in the town from the main number of the Carver Schools 508-866-6100 pertaining to town meeting. I request a transcript of the phone calls be made public. I also request disclosure of the recipients of the calls. If the entire town was not called please disclose the selection criterion used to select who was called. Please disclose the company or individuals who made the calls. I also request disclosure of the total cost of the calls and who paid for the calls and who authorized the expenditure. If the town or any public financing was used please specify the accounts charged for the expenses.

Dear Mr. Johnson,

I hope you are available some time today to drop by the central office for Carver Public Schools. I would like to give you the information you requested. It is an electronic service that the school department subscribes to yearly. We use it instead of mailing notices to parents. It saves us quite a bit of postage money each year. The cost is approximately $3.00 per student, per year. This service allows for unlimited calls and emails. This is a technology account. As soon as the business manager arrives, I will be able to give you the exact cost for FY 2008 and the account number. If you drop by any time today, either Annmarie Metrano or I can log on to the service and show you the messages that we have sent in the past year. I authorize messages sent from the central office. The principals of each school authorize messages sent from the schools.

We also use it for public service announcements when requested. For example, the fire department has used it to send messages to parents regarding thin ice on local ponds-to warn against skating on ponds (winter, 2008). The police department used it to warn parents about a possible child predator seen in Carver (October, 2007). Mr. Nauen asked us to announce Town Meeting last June (2007). We also used this service to notify of bomb threats in the schools and to notify the town hall of emergency information. Those are a few of the public service announcements.

On a regular basis, we call parents regarding upcoming events, meetings, notices, etc. The principals can make announcements from their schools and my office can make announcements to all schools. Each student in Carver and their respective family is on the call or email list. You can select which group (by school) gets a message.

The message below was sent to all students and their families. On Friday, June 13, 2008, I scheduled a message that read as follows:

This is Superintendent of Schools, Liz Sorrell.

Please send School Bus Forms to the district office as soon as possible.

Donít Forget Town Meeting is Monday, May 16, 7 P.M. at the high school.

See you at town meeting, Good bye.

Using this system to rally a selected subset of voters (highly likely to support school related articles) to attend town meeting is wrong. If calls are going to be made they must be made to everyone or they should be made to no one. We have a system that insures disproportionate representation for the schools then we couple that with a system that denies opponents use of power point projectors that the schools use to make their presentations. Democracy requires an impartial forum for both sides. Why donít we simply discard every other vote for the opposition. A system such as this would be cost effective and intellectually honest.

I listened carefully to both sides of this issue and decided to vote for funding the school project. This does not mean I support an override or that I condone misuse of publicly funded system for political purposes. I almost voted no because of these abuses. If the abuse continues I will vote no on future articles. A system of notification to all eligible voters should be developed and use of the school system for political purposes should cease immediately.

Last Updated 03/19/2015 03:44 PM