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Election Tool? Cranston Special Education Resolution Audit passed in August - Subcommittee still has NOT been formed, nor any meeting dates filed. WHY??

Election Tool? Cranston Special Education Resolution Audit passed in August - Subcommittee still has NOT been formed, nor any meeting dates filed. WHY??

SEAC (Special Education Advisory Committee to the School Committee) met last night at the Horton School.  The evening unveiled a very disturbing realization when Co-Chairperson, Dannelle Littleton, asked the School Committee (“SC”) Representative about the progress of our newly formed Special Education Audit Subcommittee.  Ms. Littleton said that there are three School Committee Members
(Stephanie Culhane, Andrea Ianuzzi and Janice Ruggieri), who came up with a resolution in August just before the November Election.  This resolution was to put together a sub-committee that would investigate the Special Education Department.  Finally some parents felt that their concerns were going to be heard with the Resolutions passage.  Others felt that this was an election season game to get votes.  The Resolution states that initial findings were to be discussed at the December work session.  Guess what, we were told last night that the sub-committee has not even been formed yet!  WHY????

I have talked over the past two years to my School Committee members about the grievances and harmful actions that I have been exposed to in both my situation and with other parents (ex: C.U.R.E.).   I do think that some parents were under the assumption that the SC Members were taking steps to address these issues.  Clearly, SC Member, Janice Ruggieri was notably uncomfortable answering Ms. Littleton’s questions.   She confirmed that nothing has been accomplished since August because they have been busy with the Elections and stuff.   SC Member Culhane is Chairing this subcommittee and I asked her about this promise of looking into the Special Education Department at other times before this Resolution.   Several had believed she used this very issue on her last campaign.  When I initially went to SC Member Culhane, she guided me to get support from another parent and work with them to accomplish what I needed.  This was not what myself or others want when dealing with issues that are obviously common to many.  Therefore, hearing the Resolution in August it gave many parents in Special Education new hope.  However, I was not comfortable with the coincidental timing/campaign tactic or again the promise of meaning to find answers.  Today, I know there has been no meetings since the Resolution and NONE are scheduled. 

We are 4 months past the Resolution date of passage, and there is NOTHING to offer by way of Hope.  Remember, if this went to Committee in August….it was strategically thought about well before that.   Parents don’t want to be
placated anymore and want change. 

Superintendent Lundsten has made some significant changes.  Yet, Director of Special Education eludes answering questions and continues the cat-and-mouse game.  She should know there are many of us now educating, researching and looking to help our children.  Smoke screens were put up to benefit those we keep electing….we have our own Goals for our children, and we will continue to push forward.  I recently learned something about myself, it is that I always expect people to make the right choice and I keep expecting it even when they have not done so historically.  I can’t change them, but I can work with a group that can do our own investigating and find the solutions.

Ms. Elana Carello-Rabiner, who ran in this past School Committee election against Stephanie Culhane (Ward 2) commented and said “the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.  Ms. Carello-Rabiner continues to show concern
even after losing the race.  It is customary for many running for political seats to fall off the face of the earth and become ‘uninterested or active’ in keeping up with a community role.  Clearly this is not the case with Ms. Carello-Rabiner, as she will continue to work on transparency and change for the better in our Schools.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Suzanne Arena December 06, 2012 at 02:00 PM
It should be noted that these pressing points were brought out by SEAC as a whole in trying to get the School Committee Chair of the Special Ed Audit group to commence with moving the group forward. Unraveling, educating and accountability are areas in which this Parent group continues their mission to work closely on resolving issues. Ed Angilly, President, recently presented a letter to the School Administration which pressed on with questions in areas needing either clarification or change. We are all looking forward to hearing the outcome.
Jay Rosenfield December 06, 2012 at 02:46 PM
Another disappointment by the school committee. Suprised? Let's look at the culprits. SC Member Culhane claims that they SC has had balanced budgets (which is true), yet doesn't understand that presenting a balanced budget and then radically overspending and causing a deficit are two different animals. I'm not sure how anyone can expect her to understand the complex concerns of SEAC. And, for SC Member Ruggieri to use the election as an excuse for not getting things done is just a total embarrassment for those that elected her. If she is the hardest worker on the committee, we're in trouble. Regarding, SC Chair Iannazzi, she wrote the resolution to give our "unaudited surplus" to the city (another useless resolution). We get the government that we deserve.
Janice Ruggieri December 06, 2012 at 05:37 PM
Ms. Arena is mistaken in what she states regarding my comments and my demeanor. What I actually said was that we were dealing with a lot of other issues as well as election season so it was difficult to get things started...we have already sat and identified the major issues that we were going to be looking at ( which I went over at a previous SEAC meeting) and have set a meeting with our attorney. I was not uncomfortable answering any questions; perhaps Ms. Arena misunderstood my demeanor as I had just come late into that meeting straight from another subcommittee meeting that lasted 2 1/2 hours and was not up to speed as to what had already been discussed. The subcommittee for this portion of the work has been formed...it is myself, Ms. Culhane and Ms. Iannazzi as well as Spec. Ed, director Cheryl Coogan..working with our attorneys. These issues are especially sensitive and as I stated at the meeting we need to break out all the pieces to make sure we are not violating any privacy laws before we can include parents and members of SEAC for the next part of the process. IF Ms. Arena had an issue with what was stated she certainly could have stated that at the meeting and I would have been glad to clear this up for her; rather than have her accuse myself and other members of the School Committee of doing things for personal gain. This issue is a large one and not one that I or any member of the School Committee take lightly; and it does take time to review and revise.
Suzanne Arena December 06, 2012 at 05:54 PM
I am not mistaken on my perception. The points about "dealing with a lot of other issues ...." that you pointed out are not relevant to the fact that this has been 5 months from submission to passage and nothing has been done. Ms. Ruggieri, these issues were discussed and you gave your answers and can justify (as anyone can) with a pleuthora of reasons why this investigation has not moved forward. There is no clearing up the facts and when I am behind on something I just "own it"..."apologize" and work on getting it done. There is no playing nice in the sand box anymore with some of the snarky, contorted, and run-a-round answers I have received from some of the School Committee members. My only personal gain, is to know in my heart I have given voice to a child that is not getting what they should. Perhaps I take things more like a man and am thicker skinned because of my childhood and because the Education Department has taught me that over several years of meetings that the only proof is Data, data and facts. They are what they are and I only put it out there for others to read. Clearly from your admission, nothing has been done....because of other stuff. Hmmmmm
Elana Carello December 06, 2012 at 06:19 PM
Here is what troubles me: 'The subcommittee for this portion of the work has been formed...it is myself, Ms. Culhane and Ms. Iannazzi as well as Spec. Ed, director Cheryl Coogan..working with our attorneys.' Is Mrs. Ruggieri saying that those are the people who will audit the Special Education department? I would like to remind everyone of the definitiion of the word: au·dit /ˈôdit/ Noun An official inspection of an individual's or organization's accounts, typically by an independent body. An audit is only reliable if it is done by an independent body. Anything else is open to influence, and will be seen as suspect.
TruthHonorValor December 08, 2012 at 01:55 AM
Culprits? You sound like a nut. Perhaps that is why you couldn't get elected! You have no clue how the bugetary process works. When a budget is presented and approved, and then your puppetmaster Fung underfunds, that is not overspending, that is undersupport. The voters aparently noted how undereducated and myopic you are. Complex you say? Your comments alone are indicative of the fact that the complexity of government are far beyond your limited capacity to comprehend. We did get the school committee we deserve. One that care about ALL the students, one that works hard to provide the best while the Mayor does his best to produce a generation of poorly educated students. You, Mr. Rosenfield, and the rest of your group-think limited "Team Republican" would have been a scourge on our city and a festering sore on our school system. Thank God that we did get the School Committee we deserve!
TruthHonorValor December 08, 2012 at 02:09 AM
It is a disappointment that Ms. Arena is blinded by her conspiracy theories and her obsessive desire to complain about everything. Suzanne, instead of complaining and undermining the honest efforts of the School Committee, why don't you throw your support behind them and go after the real culprits. They would be the Mayor and his toadies, his failed puppet regime (I see that two of them have posted here), and the governmental organizations who work hard to foil clean and honest efforts. You want change only because you aren't getting what you want, even if that change would be disastrous for the whole. Don't tear down the building just because there is a chip in the paint in your room and you don't like the colour!
Suzanne Arena December 08, 2012 at 03:29 AM
Transparency is the tone for this blog, and start owning up with real names if you are to be taken seriously. Interesting that you site conspiracy theory, as there are many different uses and in contemporary American culture, it is said that a conspiracy theory is a belief which explains an event as the result of a secret plot by exceptionally powerful and cunning conspirators to achieve a malevolent end. The term "conspiracy theory" is itself the object of a type of conspiracy theory, which argues that those using the term are manipulating their audience to disregard the topic under discussion, either in a deliberate attempt to conceal the truth, or as dupes of more deliberate conspirators. I see your statement as the latter usage. Clearly the Resolution was crafted based upon issues presented to SC that there are some possible structural issues and an investigation is necessary to correct that which is needed.
Suzanne Arena December 08, 2012 at 03:30 AM
Admittedly, it is difficult to be consistently criticized, and therefore understandable that one would have such reactions, but you can change your colors. Rest assured, I send out more compliments than I do criticisms and as an Advocate-Activists I do so knowing I am helping not just my children's future but others....even if it is in such a small and snail-like way. It's sometimes hard for people to understand my why, as you clearly are frustrated and assumed wrong....but you would have to know me and my past, present and future. Hohoho! One SC member that I couldn't compliment enough is not sitting amongst you and I am not as confident knowing there is little new blood up there. I have been very vocal about my pleasure with Dr. Lundsten taking over for Nero and have seen some much needed changes. My views there changed and I was relieved to see some genuine "hit the road running" change. Either you will continue to be defensive, or a better listener and eventually a doer....and your room color could change. By the way, the role I have committed myself to, trying to fix problem areas. This is achieved with cross-checking with other parents, citizens etc, and is unpaid, arduous and sometime hair shedding. I have already answered WHY I do it.
TruthHonorValor December 08, 2012 at 04:45 PM
I assure you, you have never criticized me. I have read many of both your informed and ill-informed writings. Therefore, my reactions and comments are not the result of anything you have, or anybody else has said against me. I think that you are so blinded by your crusades that you fail to see, or fail to want to see the truths around you. You are trying to rapair the garment before the needle has been threaded. If you want to throw rocks about election season games, look at the people whom you support (two have written in this thread), supported by the Mayor's effort to control the whole city. Look at the negative campaigning in which they engaged. Look at the lies they spread and half truths they told. Look at all of the out-of-context quotes that they propagated as the whole truth. I saw the literature, the flyers and the on-line articles and comments. All the while, the Republican ticket (Team Fung) never said what they could do for the city, what their talents were, or what made them better candidates. They could only try to make themselves look good by trying to make others look bad. If you were stupid enough to be fooled by their smoke and mirrors, you probably voted for them. As far as the core arguement of your article, just because the train dosn't move fast enough for you doesn't mean that it isn't moving.
TruthHonorValor December 08, 2012 at 04:55 PM
I prefer to remain invisible so that I can see and hear all around me. Anonymity does not preclude truth. I know how Team Fung works and am wise enough to remain anonymous in an effort to avoid retribution. You can believe whatever you want. However, I would think that anybody so vested in the process would be glad to support the actions of those trying to work hard for the same ends instead of complaining. I agree that there is truth in your last sentance, "Clearly...".
Suzanne Arena December 08, 2012 at 05:34 PM
Just for the record, my daughter was on Andrea's palm card. I was supportive of Andrea and do not run on any one ticket. I appreciate your perspective, and understand we may disagree but I do not "project" half truths...I research and/or know what facts have been laid out. Train has moved at all. Some of the issues I have sought out to correct have surprisingly made a small change, albeit slow...but it was accomplished and I have been satisfied. Looking glasses are all subjective and I can understand why you would or wouldn't agree ~ that's the beauty of America and Freedom to write and have a challenging view.
Suzanne Arena December 08, 2012 at 05:36 PM
Sorry...I meant train has NOT moved at all and that point of view of those at this meeting were shared by several of us.
Martha Johnsberg December 08, 2012 at 08:48 PM
If this takes time why didn't you start right away? Whether you stated you were busy with the election or not, we all know you were working on your own reelection. Why not one meeting in five months. For all the readers on this blog Ms Ruggieri was the chair of committtee to consolidate city and school departmetns and that committee never really met and kept no minutes. Janice eventually blamed Mayor Fung for for the reason there was no consolidations. I saw Culhane walking around Cranston East at open house. Her time would have been better spent working on the issue of Special Ed. In Cranston than walking around introducing herself as a School Committee member.
Martha Johnsberg December 08, 2012 at 08:55 PM
You keep defending Iannazzi. She has taken thousands from the unions. Probably because her dad is a big wig in the Laborers union. She doesn't pay Cranston property taxes because she lives at home with her parents. Imagine the chair person of our school committee living at home with her parents not understanding the financial impact on us residents because she doesn't pay those high property taxes. We all know she wants to run for state Rep, but she can't beat Palumbo and she can't run against Gallo for her senate seat. And not having a meeting when you form a committee back in August is not moving at all forget your analogy about trains. I am not a Fung supporter, but I think even less of Iannazzi and her awful tenure on the school committee.
Carole December 08, 2012 at 09:44 PM
You're right. She pays no property taxes. She also has no children and isn't a Cranston graduate. So what exactly is her "interest"? Her own self promotion, that's what.
Elana Carello December 09, 2012 at 03:41 AM
What, exactly, would be 'disastrous for the whole?' How, exactly are Jay and myself puppets for Fung? How are Fung and anyone else in his 'regime' responsible for what Suzanne brings up in this blog?
Elana Carello December 09, 2012 at 03:10 PM
it is disingenuous for one to post anonymously. It is not a fair argument or debate, since the person in hiding can choose to speak about the other person's past or affiliations. Therefore, I will no longer comment to one who debates so unfairly and so immaturely. It is beneath all of us to comment on this person's ramblings, because they don't even have the courage to say who they are, unlike all of us.
Elana Carello December 09, 2012 at 03:12 PM
Suzanne, you are a 'rainmaker' and for that, I believe our community should value you. You are unafraid to stand by your opinions, and I know you to always be fair and extremely trusting. You call it like you see it, and I respect that.
Joe Richer December 10, 2012 at 01:12 PM
Please explain how the mayor had underfunded education? You make a serious allegation of something that seems impossible. If the mayor wanted to underfund education...just how could he do it? Please cite the laws allowing this, if possible. I am truly curious!
Joe Richer December 10, 2012 at 01:15 PM
You made a promise and you did not keep it. Even if the reasons are plausible and good, it still appears that you did not live up to a promise. Thank you for responding in this public way. That takes courage.
Joe Richer December 10, 2012 at 03:06 PM
Hi Elena, if you do this...he will have succeeded in his goals. Posts from identified correspondants carry much more weight. Stay at it. Please.
Elana Carello December 10, 2012 at 06:15 PM
Someone messaged me and I know who this coward is. We had a discussion outside of the high school, sir, and this type of cowardice is not worth my time. i will not embarrass you more than you have already embarrassed yourself. Joe, I am not going anywhere, but I will not engage with a coward who hides behind what is a pretty obvious name.
TruthHonorValor December 25, 2012 at 03:39 AM
Sorry for taking so long to respond. I have been unavailable. Thank you, Elana, for confirming that you have no clue at all who I am. Nobody does. Perhaps you should check the veracity of your sources. Also, please be aware that just because I choose to post anonymously does not discount the truth of the matter. You claim I am a coward. OK. Believe what you will. The truth is what it is. People can believe the truth from a "coward" or stupidity neatly printed above fresh ink. Keep guessing. Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn once in a while.
TruthHonorValor December 25, 2012 at 03:57 AM
So Martha, you are advocating that people who do not own property have no voting or representation rights? As a renter, I find this small minded! Martha, the 18th century wants you back! Just because somebody does not pay taxes does not preclude them from doing things that are good for the public! Elana! Really? You both were on his ticket. Both of you were suypported by his campaign. You both got money from him! Any person who is not completely daft can see that you were puppets for Fung! What does this have to do with this post? The curent committee has to spend all sorts of effort explaining the who, what, why's and where's of what they do, and certain conspiracists think that the committee has some irrational vendetta against them! It is crazy! Has anybody thought that perhaps they are doing the best that can be done?

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