Friday, July 30, 2010

Haven't Got Time For The Pain

Brockton Post
BROCKTON— The following poem, limerick, goof--whatever you want to call it, is in response to having snapped my ankle practicing soccer three, going on four weeks ago.
The title, "Haven't Got Time For The Pain," was inspired by Carly Simon's song from the 70s which was one of the tunes I listened to while I composed this little rhyme and tried not to think of all the things I wasn't doing.
Hope you get a laugh.

Oh, sprained ankle swollen and blue,
There’s just never a good time for colorful you.

Ice and heat are an hourly treat.
Oh, medicated sports cream,
You feel sooooo sweet.

And day after day, you won’t go away.

A blossoming palette of purple, blue, yellow and gold.
A sign the body is too old?

Play today, pay tomorrow?
Will tendons and ligaments bring future sorrow?

Oh, sprained ankle, my sprained ankle, please get well, so I can do
SOMETHING other than dwell!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Corvairs Concert Cancelled Tonight

Brockton Post
BROCKTON--Tonight’s scheduled Mayor’s Summer Concert Series performance by The Corvairs has been postponed until Thursday, Aug. 19 at 6 p.m. due to possible thunderstorms.
The cancellation was issued by the mayor's office in a statement issued around noon. For information, contact the mayor’s office at (508) 580-7123.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Bad Ankle Sidelines Post


Brockton Post
BROCKTON--As the clip art indicates, I've badly sprained my ankle and need to stay off my feet. So, will be back in a day or two when I can get around without crutches and the bruising goes away!
Sorry folks!!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Teen Night At Main St. YMCA

Brockton Post
BROCKTON--The Old Colony YMCA youth branch, 465 Main St., will host a teen night, aimed at Brockton residents ages 13 to 17 on Friday, July 23 from 7 to 10 p.m.
There is a $3 admission fee until 7:30 p.m. when admission will be free.
Activities include, basketball, Wii, Dance Dance Revolution; and swimming.
For more information, call (508) 587-4242.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Grant Enhances Brockton Nursing School Programs

Brockton Post
BROCKTON--Signature Healthcare Brockton Hospital School of Nursing has been awarded a $10,000 grant from the Verizon Foundation that will help pay for enhanced educational workshops and training for its students and teachers.
Susan Taylor, dean of Brockton Hospital School of Nursing, said in a prepared statement said the grant is a key to the program's future success.
“The technology which Verizon’s grant will purchase is key to our success in educating the next generation of healthcare providers--the benefits of this grant will be realized one hundred times over," Taylor said.
Verizon Foundation-funded programs include a four-week summer skills workshop for incoming nursing students; student support services through peer mentors and academic resources; and faculty training to optimize the revolutionary simulation mannequins by teaching to the learning styles of all students.
Since 1990, Brockton Hospital School of Nursing has partnered with Fisher College to offer associate's degrees to students who complete coursework at the college and hospital.
In those 20 years, 650 associate’s degrees have been awarded to graduates and over the last five years candidates taking the required registered nurse exam have averaged a 94.4 percent rate for first-time takers--one of the highest percentages in the state.
Brockton Mayor Linda M. Balzotti said the foundation's grant keeps alive a 20-year tradition of offering top quality, state-of-the-art nursing education and job opportunities in the city.
“The Verizon Foundation’s support for Signature Healthcare Brockton Hospital School of Nursing is crucial to continuing Brockton’s ability to advance health care employment opportunities,” Balzotti said.
“Health care is a major employer in the city, and by the same token, the partnership between BHSN and Fisher College has a long-standing tradition in the city for providing state-of-the-art education and training for nurses. This funding keeps that tradition moving forward," she said.
(Photo courtesy of Signature Healthcare Brockton Hospital School of Nursing)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Putting On the Ritz!


Brockton Post
Brockton--Brockton resident Dionne Andrade had an armful of shoes as she searched several racks of clothing during the city's first upscale garment swap, "Cosmos and Couture."
"This is great," Andrade, 29, said. "I'm going to an event next Friday and now I'm ready," she said as she showed the yellow, black and orange shoes she picked out as part of the swap that took place at Tamboo Bistro Sunday night. (Pictured second from top)
Andrade, a native of Barbados, donated 12 pieces, including dresses, jewelry and shoes, which allowed her to choose items that others had donated.
The event, organized by three women, (Pictured at top with masks ) dubbed the trio of bandits, was held as a fun way to gain donations of clothes for people who need good clothes to conduct job interviews.
One of the trio of bandits--Anne Marie Belrose, who works with the Brockton Redevelopment Authority, said the event is not only for charity, but to bring a better image of the city.
"We're trying to turn the city on its ear," Belrose said as she and her fellow bandits--Shaynah Barnes, a district representative with Congressman Stephen Lynch's office and Raena Camacho, a public relations rep with Lincoln Technical Institute--had their pictures taken on a red carpet in front of Tamboo.
More than 60 men and women sipped Cosmopolitan martinis--a free gift for donating clothing--and listened to jazz as many rifled through the donated dresses, tops, and slacks that hung on racks and numerous dress shoes and boots that were displayed on tables.
Many women eyed and wanted a leather and fur-collared jacket that had been donated, but it was Gloucester resident Bethany Pratt, (Pictured at right with jacket ) who went home with the jewel of the event.
"That is the find of the night," said Pratt's friend Ann-Marie Reddy, who came from Providence, R.I. for the event.
Julie Grant, a Brockton native now living in Middleboro, said the moment she heard there would be a red-carpet, fabulous clothes and a photographer taking pictures, there was no choice to help support the cause organized by childhood friend Barnes.
"I love it," Grant said. "This is really cool," Grant said.

Friday, July 16, 2010

South African Soccer Grannies Take Field, Hearts in U.S.

Story and photos by Lisa E. Crowley
Brockton Post
LANCASTER—The clapping, supportive chants and trumpet-like VousVousZellas on the sidelines at Progin Park in Lancaster weren’t for the “Bafana-Bafana,” it was for “Vakhegula Vakhegula,” or Grannies Grannies-- the 14 South African grandmothers who traveled 8,000 miles to play soccer in the semi-international Veterans Cup Tournament.
“It’s so different from where we live,” said team Captain Reineth Mushwana,58, who marveled at the trees and woods that surrounded Citizens Bank Fields at Progin Park in Lancaster, Mass., for one of the premier soccer tournaments for adults in the U.S.
“There are so many trees,” Mushwana said. “There is forests and then a town. It is so different from our country,” she said.
Mushwana and her 13 teammates played their first soccer match in the United States Thursday morning taking the kickoff in the first of three games that could lead to a berth in the Veterans Cup final on Sunday.
The "Grannies Grannies" have ridden the wave of World Cup fever in their home country to raise money to play soccer--"the Beautiful Game"--with hundreds of Americans in the rural Massachusetts town of Lancaster in the Veterans Cup which draws players from all over the country, including Texas, Washington state, Maryland, Virginia, Michigan and Texas.
The Grannies join a group of Japanese men from Tokyo who have played in the tourney for four years as the two international teams in an adult tournament that features players in divisions starting with over 30-years-old to over 60. The Grannies and Japanese men play in the over 60 division.
Some of the Grannies are younger than 60 but because of physical conditions and limitations are allowed to play in the division.
The Grannies have become something of a phenomenon in the region near their home village of Limpopo--400 kilometers from Johannesburg--and now among the hundreds of players who have met them since their arrival in Lancaster.
Since the team was founded by Beka Ntsanwisi five years ago to help aged South African women get much needed exercise and decrease medical problems from high blood pressure and heart disease to stress and obesity to cancer, the Limpopo-area league has grown to seven teams--a cultural shift that has had dramatic results.
The Grannies are between 49 and 84 years old and over the five years of their existence, "Grannies Grannies," is becoming as beloved as the "Bafana Bafana," or "Boys Boys," the moniker given to the South African men's national team that thrilled during the World Cup held during the last month in South Africa.
Ntsanwisi, a 42-year-old social worker in her hometown of Limpopo and a colon cancer survivor, has earned numerous awards for her work in improving health, education and youth development in the region and has become known as the “Mother Theresa of Limpopo.”
Hearing about the team, members of the United States Adult Soccer Association and Massachusetts Adult State Soccer Association and Veterans Cup Committee sent an invitation to Ntsanwisi to have the Grannies play in this year’s Veterans Cup which runs from July 13 to 18—just days after the first World Cup in any African nation finished in South Africa with Spain winning its first World Championship.
“What made all of this come together was the World Cup being played in South Africa,” said Jean Duffy, one of a trio of women playing for Lexpressas, a team out of Lexington, Mass., who are credited with making the Grannies trip happen.
Duffy, along with her over-40 division teammates Catherine Steiner and Heather Broglio, began fundraising events in the U.S. and making arrangements for hotels, parties and transportation for the Grannies once they arrived in the U.S.
Ntsanwisi did the same in South Africa. Intercontinental calls, text messages and emails flew between the teams, organizers, State Department officials for Visas, and consulates.
Individuals and businesses on both sides of the world donated small change and big bills, but money problems plagued the trip until last week when Herbalife, a company that sponsors Spanish League powerhouse Barcelona and Major League Soccer’s LA Galaxy, contributed more than $40,000 for the 19 players and coaches to travel to the U.S.
“We’re inspired by their story,” said Herbalife's Vice-President of World Wide Commnications George Fischer, who said company officials first read about the Grannies in an LA Times story last month.
“These are seniors in a small town in South Africa playing soccer. They don’t have what the professionals have who are playing in the World Cup. It’s such a contrast and such an inspiration. If they can do it, anyone can do it. No excuses,” he said.
Herbalife also outfitted the Grannies with new Herbalife-logo shirts--similar to the uniforms that the pros wear.
Surprisingly, after getting the money for the trip, organizers did not expect the next obstacle to be passports and the Visa authorizations that would allow the Grannies to travel.
“You wouldn’t believe the red tape,” said Lexpressa player Catherine Steiner, adding the hair-pulling effort was worth it because "it was (Grannies founder) Beka’s dream. She wouldn’t give up.”
It wasn’t until last Friday did the Grannies get their Visas to travel, but because of problems, three of the Grannies—two strikers and the team’s goalie—could not make the trip, a strategic situation that took its toll when the Grannies played their first game Thursday.
The Grannies are playing in the over 60 division and drew against the Bay State Breakers 60—a strong team that wished they were playing anyone but this year’s sentimental favorite.
“Everyone wants them to win, we want them to win,” said Barbara Meyer, a Breakers player from Medfield. “But, then again it’s a competition, a tournament. We want to win, but we want to be good sportswomen too,” she said.
The Breakers held possession for much of the first half and took the lead 2-0. The usual cheers and congratulations for the goals were sparse on the field and Breakers sidelines--it was one of the few moments in a competitor's life when winning wasn't everything and scoring felt weird.
Beatrice Tshabalala, the Grannies top scorer took over in net after a minor injury.
Allison LaClaire--the goalie for Lexington's over 40 Lexpressas--joked that substituting a goalie for an injured player seems to be a universal solution to an adult league soccer problem.
“We do the same thing,” LaClaire said.
In the spirit of wanting the Grannies to win, during the match, John Motta, chairman of the USASA Referee Committee, suggested a change in the way the teams scored would be a way for the Grannies to gain victory.
When the Grannies crossed the half they would get a point and the Breakers would get points by putting the ball in the net.
By those rules and Motta’s calculation, the Grannies were winning 11-4 by the end of the half.
The Grannies played better in the second half, but couldn't overcome their play in the first 45 minutes and the Breakers officially won the game by 4-0.
It was a loss that opened the eyes of the Grannies to the level of play, level of athleticism by seniors in the U.S. and gave them more inspiration for Friday’s match and future competitions.
“In Africa, we are the champions, we are the professionals,” Tshabalala said. Tshabalala, 49, said her team was missing two strikers and their regular goalie—but made no excuses, not even jet lag from landing in Boston the day before after a nearly 20 hour flight or being tired from all of the excitement, lunches and parties surrounding the team.
“These Americans are really good. We must work harder and play harder,” she said. “We are overjoyed to be here and playing,” she said.
When the game ended, the Breakers and the Grannies lined up across from one another and exchanged gifts, high-fives, handshakes and hugs.
The Grannies sang songs praising their trip and those they visited and waved flags as they sang the South African National Anthem--a unique performance that drew a crowd and stopped some matches for a short time.
English-speaking members like Tshabalala gave interviews to the press, including one with Boston's WCVB-Channel 5 reporter Mike Dowling which was expected to air last night.
Team manager Timothy Madibana, like many of the Grannies and their coaches, said it was his first trip on an airplane and he loved it, including the stops in Amsterdam and Atlanta and finally his first, personal visit to Boston, Mass., U.S.A. and its environs.
It was real and not footage on T.V. In fact, they were the footage on American T.V.
“The situation is fantastic,” Madibana said. “We need to carry this feeling back onto the plane and back to South Africa,” he said.
That feeling extended to members of Lexington's Lexpressa and many of the teams who have met the soccer-playing seniors from South Africa.
“Next year we have been invited to play in South Africa,” said Lexpressa player LaClaire. “If we made this happen, we can make that happen,” she said.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

"Cosmos & Couture" Charity Garment Swap at Tamboo

Brockton Post
BROCKTON—Brockton and area residents—women especially--are being asked to raid their closets and trade in their new, gently used, upscale clothes and accessories for a specially-mixed Cosmopolitan martini and clothing swap at Tamboo Bistro early Sunday night.
“The price of admission is a garment,” said Raena Camacho, one of the event’s organizers. “The number of items you donate is the amount of clothes you can swap—that’s the admission and people get their first drink free—a Cosmopolitan,” she said.
The event, “Cosmos and Couture,” takes place from 5 to 9 p.m. Sunday, July 18 and includes appetizers and music.
The night is designed to wed people’s desires to have a good time and help others.
“You know how we women are,” Camacho said. “We buy things that look good on the rack and when we get them home they don’t look good on us and they hang in the closet for months or years. We think someday we'll wear them and we never do,” Camacho said.
“This swap, women—and men who come with them—can swap what they bring for other fabulous fashions,” Camacho said.
Camacho, a public relations representative for Lincoln Technical Institute, said organizers are looking for nice, clean and hardly used clothing, especially formal and casual business attire suitable for job interviews.
She said everything is needed from dress slacks and shirts, to business suits and socks to handbags, ties and jewelry.
Items that are donated will in turn be donated to several charities and nonprofit organizations that give away or sell clothing at low cost, such as the Salvation Army or Dress for Success. Lincoln Technical Institute’s on-site “closet” will receive some of the garments.
Camacho said participants should limit the number of donations to four of the best items.
She said she understands some people will not be interested in swapping their clothes, while others, consignment store goers will really enjoy it.
“It’s something new and something different,” Camacho said.
She said it is also a way to liven up Main Street—Tamboo Bistro, 252 Main Street, is practically at the heart of the city’s downtown.
The garment swap is being sponsored, among other city businesses and organizations, by the Greater Brockton Society for Poetry and Arts, which held a well-attended and popular event at the Main Street library, called City Lights—another event that attempted to showcase the downtown in a more positive light.
“So call your girlfriends and after church or the beach or other family activities, bring clothes, handbags or accessories, have a good time and dress to impress,” Camacho said.
For more information about Cosmos & Couture please visit us on the web at www.atrioofbandits.org or contact Raena Camacho at 774-451-6625.
To join the event contact Shaynah Barnes at 508-802-0449. Please remember this is a 21-plus event.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Free Late Night Basketball League Begins Wednesday

Brockton Post
BROCKTON--The Boys and Girls Club have teamed up with the Mayor's office to offer Brockton teens free Late Night Basketball beginning Wednesday, July 14 from 10 p.m. to midnight.
“This program will help us address the needs of our community,” said Mayor Linda Balzotti in a statement.
“Our young people are looking for ways to engage in positive activities all the time. Midnight basketball can reach an entire group of teenagers that we might be missing because they have jobs or other responsibilities that prohibit them from taking part in our other programs and activities,” she said.
The program begins Wednesday, July 14 at 10 p.m. at the Boys and Girls Club, 233 Warren Ave. and will continue to be held Wednesday nights through August 25 from 10 p.m. to midnight.
Practices will be held Monday nights, beginning July 19 from 7-8 p.m. at the Old Colony YMCA Youth Division, 465 Main St.
The idea for the program grew out of a need identified through the efforts of outreach workers involved in the Safe Corners Program, an initiative funded through the Shannon Grant that is aimed at reaching out to Brockton's and connecting them to resources.
It attempts to take youth out of negative situations and engage them in positive activities.
One of those outreach workers, John Williams, is coordinating the program, in conjunction with the mayor’s office.

“The idea was to have a safe activity for the young of Brockton; something that’s positive, something that’s competitive,” said Williams.
He hopes to attract enough teenagers to have six teams of 15 players.
“I think it is wonderful that both the Boys and Girls Club and the YMCA stepped up and assisted with this venture,” said Williams in a statement.
Each organization donated the use of their facilities to host games and practices.
“This program provides an opportunity for us to give teens a chance to take part in an positive activity with adult mentors in a safe environment,” said Jay Miller, Assistant Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club in Brockton.
The Youth Branch of the Old Colony YMCA was happy to provide practice space for the league.
The league is open to boys and girls.
Each player will receive a t-shirt for their participation. Trophies will be given out at the conclusion of the program.
“A big part of the City’s role is to keep our kids safe, so they can become positive members of society that have bright futures. This program does that,” said Koren Cappiello, Brockton’s Director of Community and Social Services.
“This league lets Brockton teens know we care about them by trying to provide a program they want, when they need it. It shows them there’s another option for their present and future.”
Funding for the program comes from a grant through the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
For more information concerning the Late Night Basketball, please contact the Program Coordinator John Williams at (508) 345-4701 or call the Mayor’s Office at508-580-7123. Information is also available at the city's website.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Killer Fair Rides Thrill


Brockton Post
BROCKTON--Greg Golfomitsos, a 21-year-old Sandwich native now living in Brockton gives a thumbs up after completing one of many rides on one of the Brockton Fair's showcase attractions, a ride called Tango.
"They're killer-thrillers," he said. Below, one of the arms to "Speed," spins four passengers around at 13 rpms and smacks riders with 3.5 G-force as it rockets past the ride operator.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

City Hall Farmer's Market Kicks Off Friday

Brockton Post
BROCKTON--The Brockton Farmer's Market returns Friday, July 9 at City Hall Plaza.
The market will be open every Friday from July 9th to October 29th from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., or until items are sold out.
Massachusetts grown items being offered this year include: fresh fruits,vegetables, herbs, plants, flowers, honey, maple syrup, fresh cider, dairy products, poultry products, baked goods, and other specialty foods. For further information, please contact the Mayor’s office at (508) 580 7123.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Public Cool-Off Spots in the City

Mayor Linda M. Balzotti has taken steps to help residents keep cool during this week’s projected record temperatures.
The Cosgrove Pool, formerly the East Side Pool, located on Crescent Street, near Plouffe Academy will be open two additional hours each day until Thursday.
The pool will be open from 1 to 7 p.m. through Thursday, July 8.
There is no admission charge to use the pool.
The Manning Pool, located behind Brockton High School, will be open from 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday (July 6 and July 8) for Brockton After Dark, a free program for youth ages 13-20.

All three branches of the Brockton Public Library will welcome members of the community during regular summer hours.
Library hours are:
Main Branch, 304 Main Street, will be open Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
West Branch, 540 Forest Avenue, will be open Wednesday from 3-8 p.m.
East Branch, 54 Kingman Street, will be open Thursday from 3-8 p.m.

The common areas of Brockton Housing Authority's seven high-rises located on the first floor of those BHA high rises will be available to residents until 9 p.m. daily.
Locations include: Belair Towers, 105 Belair Street; Sullivan Towers, 140 Colonel Bell Drive; Caffrey Towers, 755 Crescent Street; Campello High Rise, 1380 Main Street; Manning Towers, 45 Goddard Road; Kennedy Drive, Kennedy Drive; and Rainbow Terrace, Hawley Street.
“If you are going outside this week, I encourage all residents to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and to wear sunscreen,” Balzotti said.

For more information concerning the Cosgrove Pool, please contact the Mayor’s Office at (508) 580-7123. You can also obtain additional information by visiting the City of Brockton’s website at www.brockton.ma.us.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

FETCHIN' IN BLUE! HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!

Brockton Post
BROCKTON-Jessy, a 4-year-old Border collie owned by Brockton resident Michelle Callahan fetches a stick in the crystal-blue cool water of her owner's pool.
Weekend forecasts predict pool weather for the holiday weekend. Make like Jessy and JUMP IN!
Happy 4th from BrocktonPost.com!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Brockton Clean Energy Hosts Power Plant Info Session

Brockton Post
BROCKTON--Brockton Clean Energy, the company that has proposed building a 350-megawatt natural gas plant on the Brockton-West Bridgewater border, will host a free information session Tuesday, July 6 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Shaw's Center.
A mailing sent to Brockton residents states there will be food, Brockton Rox baseball, and information on the proposed power plant.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

New Contracts Save School Jobs, Haitian Amendment Seeks State $ for Refugee Influx

Brockton Post
BROCKTON—While concessions by Brockton school department unions have decreased system layoffs from about 112 to about 80, school officials are looking to an amendment in the state budget passed by Gov. Deval Patrick Wednesday to reimburse the schools an estimated $1.5 million to offset an influx of Haitian refugees.
School officials had hoped the amendment, loosely dubbed the Haitian refugee amendment, would bring more money to the district for the opening of the 2010-2011 school year and save even more jobs.
However, the amendment--led by State Rep. Geraldine Creedon--did not have any money attached to it and directs the state Department of Secondary and Elementary Education to create a plan based on, among other aspects, per pupil costs for districts that have had 25 or more Haitian refugees swell enrollment during the last school year.
School officials have estimated a department of education reimbursement plan based on per pupil costs would bring about $1.5 million to the district.
School Spokeswoman Jocelyn Meek said the district has had 142 Haitian refugees come into the district since the January earthquake--four in the last week.
"As it stands we were able to limp through this year," Meek said, adding, "however with the cuts we face next year there will be an impact," she said.
The school committee had to make drastic cuts because of a $9.7 million shortfall for the 2010-2011 fiscal year that began today, July 1.
The only problem is the amendment requires the state education department devise the plan by Dec. 31, likely too late to decrease cuts in the district for the opening of school in September.
“It looks like we will not know anything until the winter,” said Superintendent Matthew Malone. “I am keeping my fingers crossed and thinking positively, but the reality is that we may not see any relief until FY12,” he said.
Jonathan Considine, director of board and media relations for the state education department, said in an email the agency would begin work on the plan and submit it to the State Legislature by the end of the year.
“(The amendment) on displaced students would require the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to provide the Governor and the Legislature with an estimate of the cost of serving those kids,” Considine said. “Actual funding would require a supplemental appropriation by the Legislature,” he said.
School officials said at least the amendment was not vetoed and is a step toward help with the influx of Haitian refugees.
In the meantime, school officials are seeking every avenue for money to lessen the impact of cuts, including letter-writing and lobbying of its federal delegation in Washington D.C. and renegotiating contracts with all of the schools’ unions.
An agreement with the Brockton Education Association and signed by the School Committee earlier this month saves the district between $1.4 to $1.7 million for the 2010-2011 school year and will bring back 35 to 40 teachers who received layoff notices in the spring.
Timothy Sullivan, head of the teacher's union, said the group could have forced the district to honor the old contract, but decided to work cooperatively with the school committee.
"We chose to see how we could help them face their fiscal issues," Sullivan said.
At a special meeting Tuesday night, the School Committee approved new contracts with four of the five other school unions, saving nearly $340,000 in next year’s budget by delaying salary increases until the 2011-2012 fiscal year.
The four union contracts signed Tuesday are with the paraprofessionals, school security, custodians and food service workers. The administrative assistants are working on a new contract and are expected to have one finalized in the coming weeks.
The changes extend all of the approved contracts to 2013. All were to expire next year.
Officials said about six paraprofessional positions and eight custodians would be called back after the new agreements. Security and food service employees did not face cuts.
Lorraine Niccoli, head of the paraprofessionals union, who received much congratulations from the committee Tuesday night for the concessions, said while the agreement is not perfect, and saves only six to eight paraprofessionals out of 55 who received layoff notices, retirees benefits were not touched and that is a victory unto itself.
“We really wanted to keep the retirees whole,” Niccoli said. “The para’s do a really big job and the teachers are worried how they’re loss will effect the classroom, but in these economic times we learn to make concessions,” she said.
Along with approving the four contracts Tuesday night, the school committee also approved an early retirement incentive that would give certified personnel a lump sum payment of $15,000 and non-certified $10,000.
School Financial Services Director Aldo Petronio said employees who are a short time away from retirement could help the district by taking the incentive early and allow the system to possibly hire two younger teachers for one retiree and save the district unemployment costs.