March 25, 2017

Old Lyme Board of Selectmen Unchanged; Griswold In As Treasurer, Fuchs Fails in BOE Re-election Bid

First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder (left) and Selectwoman Mary Jo Nosal celebrate their respective re-elections to the Old Lyme Board of Selectmen.

First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder (left) and Selectwoman Mary Jo Nosal celebrate their respective re-elections to the Old Lyme Board of Selectmen.

UPDATED 10:17pm: In a tight race with an above average total of 2,321 voters, Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder (D) was reelected over her Republican opponent Cathy Carter by 269 votes – Reemsnyder garnered 1,278 votes to Carter’s 1,009.   Selectmen Arthur “Skip” Sibley and Mary Jo Nosal also both outpolled Carter with 1,150 and 1,120 votes respectively, leaving them both as selectmen, but reversed in roles with Sibley now as Second Selectman and Nosal as Third.

A beaming Reemsnyder told LymeLine after the results had been announced, “I’m delighted,” saying she was not surprised by them, but that she “did not take it [her re-election] for granted.”  She commented that “when people run against each other … it’s good for the community” because people “get to talk about things.”  She reiterated her delight at being re-elected concluding, “We’ve got to finish the work.”

Nosal added, “I’m pleased so many people came out to vote and I look forward to continuing working with Bonnie and Skip.  I thank all the candidates who ran a good, fair campaign.”

Former First Selectman Tim Griswold is all smiles after his convincing win as Old Lyme Town Treasurer.

Former First Selectman Tim Griswold is all smiles after his convincing win as Old Lyme Town Treasurer.

Former First Selectman Timothy Griswold (R) handily defeated Democrat Gil Soucie for the position of Town Treasurer with 1,267 votes over 982.  He commented, “I’m very pleased that the town has shown confidence in my abilities … I’m honored to be elected and following in the footsteps of (incumbent) John Bysko, who has done a superb job.”

In the Tax Collector race, Judy Tooker defeated Ruth Roach by an even greater margin with 1,385 votes over 876.

Perhaps the greatest surprise in view of the Democrat success on the board of selectmen was the Region 18 Board of Education result in which two of the three Democrats failed in their election bids, including incumbent Paul Fuchs.  Republicans Stacy Winchell and Erick Cushman were both elected with 1,184 and 1,138 votes respectively along with incumbent Michelle “Mimi” Roche, who polled the highest number of votes of all the board of education candidates at 1,255.  Fuchs and newcomer Peter Hunt, neither of whom was elected, garnered 1,088 and 1,059 votes respectively.

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  1. Bonnie Kramm says:

    I am so grateful that the good guys won! The lesson here is that doing a great job and playing fair will be rewarded with re election. Thank you Bonnie, Mary Jo and Skip for stepping up to continue to take care of our town.

    • Was the losing side really the BAD guys????? That distinction need not have been made. United we stand divided we fall.

  2. Glad to see people show up to vote in new board members a tend that will hopeful continue. It shouldn’t be to difficult to understand the Middle school and High School are a disaster and hopefully new board members will be instrumental in finding a qualified person to run the district.

    • good luck…chances are slim no matter who is at the helm as long as rearranging the deck chairs on the sinking k-12 ship (nationwide) is the priority, (other models of more student centered schooling such as reggio emeila, montessori and steiner offer a wealth of effective options), moored by theory and method inconsiderate of our developing knowledge of cognition and learning in an administrative structure that has taken creative control of school away from teachers and put it in the hands of a dominant and expensive bureaucracy (hint: try it the other way around, with teachers, say a board of senior faculty, deciding and charging adminstrators to get things done).

      • I would settle for competent primary instruction and an honest central office staff. SBRI a perfect example of a good program manipulated. The program should catch kids early, provide intervention and then exit them from services. In Old Lyme (and most districts) kids graduate from Tier 1 to 2,to 3 and then special ed were modified testing immediately turns them into High Honor students. Do these kids ever exit -no they do not, because they have been provided answers from Paras instead of strategies to succeed and stand on there own two feet acedemically. A 540c is a license to cheat with modified testing in education today. Parents then get fed up and are told to get and pay for a private tutor. We then get to hear how great LOL is because of their high scores. Lets be honest public education is 10% (almost all k-5) overworked heroes who never come close to receiving the pay or recognition they deserve and the remaining 90% are tenured slugs who need to be shown the door. I had an Administrator in the central office of this district report great diagnostic testing results only to have to admit a day later when we demanded printed results that not only did she not have them and they were never done but that the district didn’t actually have that test available to administer. It didn’t stop her from first trying to use scan-tron results as a substitute and when we told them thats cute but those are benchmarks not diagnostics she replied “Oops you caught us”
        Many of these problems could be solved if the board members took an active roll in investigating claims made by parents and held the central office accountable. If your child is receiving any support you should at a minimum go to the states website and read the SRBI manual carefully. Im sure there are plenty of parents that will read this and nod in agreement because they are so frustrated. Some staff members will read it and say oh no I hope no one reads this and actually reads the SBRI manual and pieces together what we have been doing. Then they might actually demand to know why there kids have been receiving intervention/support for 5 years when it should end after 13-20 weeks max. Most kids are in intervention because of a bad primary teacher and thats the sad truth of education . Also equally important is to find out when your child receives services during the day and if a certified staff member is providing instruction.The previous two sentences will save three years of frustration for you if you are told your child needs a little extra help. There are a lot of great teachers that need the support of active parents because sadly they are often the ones blamed they they are honest about were your child is academically.

        • Above should read 504C a document most of you have heard about.
          I have also asked the board on several occasions to publish the numbers of kids receiving SRBI and Special Ed services since all of them are included in Honor roll numbers. I have yet to receive a reply and I suspect the reason for that is they show explosive growth across the board. The adoption of the common core has also been a disaster and most K-5 teachers have lost at least 20% of there instructional time to track data. The district also flat out lied and told parents that students they must take the SBAC test because there was no opt out. This was false and we opted our kids out because we prefer they not lose three days of instructional time. LOL”s funding was also at stake if minimum numbers of participation were not achieved. Theres a laundry list of other creative ways kids are making the Honor roll you just need to look ask questions every day and be prepared to be labeled a nut when you don’t back down and keep asking questions. Its also time taxpayers demanded a line item explanation on Legal Fees so everyone knows when settlements are paid out and can demand accountability.

    • Hi there ‘Ken’ & ‘j ranelli,’

      I am interested in why you consider the LOL “Middle school and High School are a disaster?”

      Point of clarification, I’m a long time resident of Old Lyme and our kids did attend LOL schools K through 12, all have attended top tier colleges and graduate schools and are now embarked on successful careers. I attribute this to the excellent education that they received in our schools. I have never been employed by RD-18 and am not on the Board of Ed, but personally value our school system highly.

      I’d appreciate a constructive discussion of school system and its weaknesses because we’ve recently spent a lot to renovate facilities. And, our schools have been consistently highly rated by independent agencies and national publications as one of the very top school systems in the state of Connecticut.

      I am interested in hearing the details of your concerns.

      • Detailed reply awaiting moderation well see if it shows up – maybe things were different during your kids tenure and I was surprised as anyone to discover what is currently happening in these schools. My wife is an educator with close to thirty years teaching K-5 and she is disgusted with the attitude and condition of this district.She is a graduate of the Old Lyme school system and lets just say i wouldn’t consider todays honor roll to be anything but a staff award, it used to mean something.
        Kids going to college and being successful is more of a positive influence from home that any credit that should be given to any district. Iim glad you consider your experience to be a good one and although I have several kids still in the district none have or will set foot in the High School I will pay the tuition for them to go elsewhere and I don’t really have the income to do that easily, but it needs to be done.

        • Ken,

          Thank you for responding to my question.

          I’d suggest that you bring the details of your concerns directly to your child’s teacher, I am sure that the feedback would be appreciated. If your concerns are programmatic, it would be appropriate to discuss them with the school administration, the district or to a school board member.

          Our kids are out of school but we still maintain contact with some teachers and board members and I know that they are focused on providing quality education. The district is small relative to the number of students attending. That has provided significant benefits but the limited population also restricts the scope of some programs. It has been my impression that any recent changes at LOL schools has been very positive.

          We all benefit from having and maintaining a high quality local school system.

          • Scroll up I have and have given up, when Mr.Witkens term is up I will run if no other suitable candidates step forward and bring all of the documentation from the last six years to the table and be an advocate for parents who have experienced what we have.

      • j ranelli says:

        hi there pj…it was not “we” who made the “disaster” call…here, old lyme was not singled out… the problem, as noted, is nationwide, the system is ossified, the politics are stultifying…not-so-recent memory includes inspiring teacher-controlled classrooms with their own quirks of content and method (the sainted kathleen goodwin was one of mine) and it is the restriction of teachers that is part of the problem…however the opinions go, it can only be noted, from here that decades of reading the writing and hearing the oral presentations of incoming college students (at state and “selective” private universities) was less than inspiring, doubters are urged to give it a try….as to specifics, pj, start with any of the approaches noted in the original post…for remedy see the reggio emelia work first, then its descendants…see also schiller and whitehead on education, especially whitehead’s call for the early development of enthusiasm for learning, (not test scores)…as to impact, rb, i do not find the criticism of teachers in public system easy to do fairly, i do not question the good faith and effort of any, having seen too many (in less comfortable circumstances than we enjoy hereabouts), on triple duty as cops, social workers and classroom teachers, but if you want a starting point for concern, how about reading comprehension (remember the new york regents exams with examples of classic literature “simplied”)…what’s missing in the system and the clearly frustrated exchange today, is the one thing that is at the heart of all academic effort, inquiry…the wager here is that an investment in a laboratory school that would explore theory and method, might lead to a reasoned debate and a some useful conclusions that would, in turn shed light where there is only heat.

  3. Ken & J Ranelli
    Firstly I would like to state how appalled I was to read such an unfounded attack on our school system-it is totally unwarranted and extremely insulting to our educators.
    We have three children, two of whom have graduated from Region 18 to attend top ranking colleges and graduate schools and are now gainfully employed. Our third child is a current student at the high school .As with all our children we have experienced education at its best in a small school system which is a huge bonus. We are very fortunate to have high caliber teaches who continue to support and grow our children. I am very grateful to them for the effort and commitment that they have exhibited to all our children. I too would like to hear specific examples and details of your concerns.I would also recommend that you attend a class at LOLHS to experience the impact that our educators have made on our childrens’ education

    • Lets not confuse the issue I said Central office staff and the size of the district has little to do with weather or not they are doing a good job. Everything in my response above was discussed with appropriate staff members,administrators, Central office staff and finally the board ,it will come as no surprise to them when they read it.They have also never denied it, defended it or proved us wrong but instead have quietly made changes because we were correct and proved it with documentation and constructive face to face meetings. Theres a reason theres a revolving door at the middle school or maybe you didn’t notice.
      Lets also be clear there are plenty of incredible teachers in this district who cant do their job effectively any longer because of those above them- they need support and our appreciation for hanging in there. They are also not solely responsible for educating kids its a team effort with parents providing important support at home and holding their kids accountable for their academic responsibilities. When either part of the team fails the system doesn’t work effectively. I don’t expect perfection and I honestly would support and approve any budget they proposed “If” they were honest and transparent.

    • j ranelli says:

      alas rb you too havebundled the two first posts…i can’t answer for ken but j’s gripe was indeed founded…see sources for worthy alternatives offered therein…more whenever…

  4. I have seen nothing but steady progress and improvement in the Lyme/Old Lyme School system since 1962 when I first moved to town. Many, many graduates have become exceptional adults. That said I do question what kind of an education “Ken” received. It obviously failed him grossly in spelling, punctuation and grammar. I doubt that his judgement fared any better. I suggest parents judge by their own experiences with their own child. The only suggestion I can agree with is to talk openly with both your child and his/her teacher and make sure you are ALL working toward the benefit of the child. By the way everyone has the choice to send their child wherever they think their child will be able to do their best.

    • JH- Nice reply I guess medicating kids and awarding honor roll grades is a sign of success for you its clear you know nothing about the current state of education. How about the kids that graduate this district not knowing how to solve a fifth grade math problem because of modifications, it happens every year in Old Lyme.
      I won’t lose sleep over grammar why don”t you present some facts to support your argument. If you are a High Honor/Honors student in Old lyme why are you in Special Ed/Tier support Services and why are all of your tests modified to make them easier? Why have you never been exited from services year after year? Why do your teachers add bonus points to every test that will raise your grade but not lower it? Why do you go from Tier 1 to 2 to 3 and then Special Ed which is a clear sign all levels of intervention have failed.
      Explain the revolving door at the Principal position when they are caught lying or just disappear without explanation,do you think they left quietly without a settlement? People like you always care about the children until you actually have to step up and defend them based on facts.
      Clearly you work for the district and bring nothing to the table to support your claims, hopefully Old Lyme graduates won’t be filling your prescriptions in the future because they cant take their Para”s with them when they graduate. Since your the smart guy here with excellent grammar I will wait to hear an explanation for the questions above.

    • “That Said”- A term used by highly educated, morally superior individuals who have to let the common people know they have completed the previous sentence and are about to bless us with a new one.
      Clearly from your lack of commentary on the subject matter your comprehension of facts and ability to engage in discussion is severally lacking. Typical behavior from someone defending a position without data and something that is common in education today when you ask questions.
      Im sure the district will be releasing the numbers of everyone in support services and who are receiving modifications on tests,assessments , and SBAC just prove how wrong I am . I will just politely wait for them to appear and practice my spelling and grammar while I wait.
      At least you pointed out the obvious we are all free to make choices for our kids- Brilliant

  5. George Miller says:

    I hope Bonnie has listened to me, and we will have a place to put grass clippings for those who mow their lawns.
    A large composter at the dump would be easy to do.
    GM

  6. George Miller says:

    It should be understood that all education in this country is not what it was.We need a longer school year, Federal money, and a major loosening of the grip of the unions.
    When we built the new High School, all anyone was interested in was how cheaply it could be done. They were interested in their taxes and little else.
    This is not a way to get better education.
    GM

    • GM you are 100% correct a new building is also not a replacement for quality instruction which is lost on everyone also.
      Tenure needs to be eliminated and a voucher system put in place so residents can vote with their tax dollars.
      Adoption of the common core has resulted in huge losses of instructional time for test prep as well as testing. Data tracking has caused K-5 teachers to lose massive amounts of instructional time as well as created a schedule that serves no one.
      Your Board had to swallow and accept it because if they have to pay for their out of control spending and without assistance they would be removed from office because of the tax increases.

  7. Bonnie My dad would have been happy you won and would have voted for you. My mom will be happy you won. I know everyone in Sound View misses him and in the town of Old Lyme.

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