Ted Siefer's City Hall: Old-school Beaudry on losing side of vote to go paperless
Until that time, however, there are plenty of people who have a special affection for the tangibility and texture of the printed page. And then there's Ward 9 school board member Art Beaudry, whose attachment to parchment, as we learned at Monday's meeting, is especially fierce.
Connors is a relative newcomer to the school board and one of its younger members. She was irked to learn, given the district's financial woes, that its employees were driving around to deliver the packets to school board members. In the case of the Food Services department, the director himself sometimes makes the rounds.
Other members of the board were clearly receptive to the idea of going paperless.
"I think there's a better way to allocate those resources," Brennan said.
It was then that Beaudry brought up the "B word."
"There are a lot benefits that I don't take that others take. Maybe we should bring that up again," he said.
And Beaudry angrily responded, "No, we're not moving the questions. I have the floor, mister benefits man."
Hopefully that nickname won't stick.
With Gatsas gaveling the meeting back to order, the question was moved, and the motion was passed overwhelmingly, with only Beaudry and his ally Debra Gagnon Langton voting against it.
How does Gatsas feel about this Brave New World? After all, he's both a strong proponent of technology in the classroom and personally partial to old-school communication methods, e.g. paper, phone and face to face.
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The paperless debate Monday was a discordant coda to what was otherwise an exceptionally productive and harmonious school board meeting.
Gatsas was also unusually buoyant.
"What'd you have for breakfast this morning?" Dave Gelinas, the board's vice chairman, asked the mayor.
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Gatsas was troubled by one matter that came up early in the evening. It turns out that the additional $1 million the aldermen managed, after much deliberation and calculation, to send over to the district would only result in the hiring of four additional teachers, once retirements and vacancies were filled, according to estimates from district Business Administrator Karen DeFrancis.
It was perhaps a sober reminder that the final $156.7 million school budget was still nearly $3 million less than the budget Brennan said was necessary to hire enough teachers to ensure that all classes were below the state minimum standard of 30 students per class.
"I love budget discussions as much as the next guy, but I like to have numbers in front of me," said Ward 3 board member Christopher Stewart.
"I have a lot of respect for her, but I want to go over those numbers again," he said.
Ted Siefer may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @tbsreporter.
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