Friday, November 19, 2010

11/19/10 Cavendish Update: CTES/Fair/News/Events

The 11/19/10 Cavendish Update Contains
1. Cavendish Town Elementary School Board Meeting Nov. 16
2. 9th Annual Cavendish Holiday Fair Just Around the Corner
3. Cavendish Community Fund Announces Fall 2010 Grants
4. Small art wanted at the Cavendish Fletcher Community Library
5. Business Underwriting on LPCTV
6. Cavendish Related News
7. Cavendish Events 11/19-11/27/10

1. Cavendish Town Elementary School Board Meeting
At their regular scheduled monthly meeting, on November 16, the Cavendish Town Elementary School (CTES) discussed the proposed budget for FY 11-12. As previously noted in the Oct. 15, 2010 Cavendish Update, as part of the Vermont Challenge for Change, as well as state budget cuts, the Cavendish school may be required to reduce their current budget by $80,000 to $100,000 for the coming year.

At this meeting, Principal, George Thomson, provided a revised draft budget, noting that nothing was set in stone, and depending on various ongoing discussions, modifications were most likely to be made. Since the board went into executive session for almost an hour with the teacher’s union representatives, it is anticipated that additional cuts will be announced at the next board meeting.

Thomson walked the board through the following possible budgetary reductions:
• Supplies and materials in most areas adjusted to represent a 2% reduction from last year.
• Program Aid salary and all benefits reduced by 2 hours per week. Assistants for 504/230/EST salaries and all benefits reduced by 2 hours per week.
• Salaries and all benefits reduced by 2 hours per week for one assistant
• Reduction of Head of Maintenance to .75 FTE and all benefits including insurance
• Elimination of one bus; reduction of personnel by one as well as all benefits; repairs and maintenance reduced by $2,500; vehicle insurance reduced by half ($661) and diesel fuel reduced by $2,000
• Salaries and all benefits reduced by .5 hours per week for both Director of Food Service and Assistant

A review of the proposed budget showed that the regular instruction budget (teachers) will go from $627, 915 for 2010-11 to $651,820 for 2011-12. The principal and administrative staff will continue to be level funded, as they have been since 08-09.

The 2010-11 Elementary School budget was $1,711,693. The proposed budget for 2011-12 is $1,705,054. Since the school’s “Voluntary 2% reduction” in education is about $26,358, an additional $25,440 needs to be cut to meet the states Challenge for Change.

A number of parents attending the meeting voiced concern about the discontinuation of a bus and the school’s policy of having children within a mile of the school not being eligible for bus service. The principal explained that they are tracking bus utilization and the current thinking is that one bus, plus designated pick up locations, could adequately handle getting the students to school.

Several members of the audience suggested a volunteer approach to addressing issues of families who might have problems with changes in bus scheduling. This could include a designated parent to wait with kids at pick up points, as well as parents that would be willing to come to school earlier so students could be dropped off before 7:30. It was also suggested that a community/school driven non-profit organization could help to raise needed funds for school programs.

The issue of “local control” was raised in view of the draft budget. Between state mandates, the union and the supervisory union, there is very little in the budget that the town has control over, other than voting for or against the budget itself. Board member Peter Gregg addressed this issue, saying that cuts in education spending need to come from the top. He explained that Vermont has more supervisory unions (64) than any other state. At this juncture, it is not mandatory for supervisory unions to consider merging and the supervisory unions will have until 2017 to decide if they want to consolidate. Gregg recommended that people write to their legislators about this, as well as their concerns over the “2% Voluntary Reduction.”

Several other issues were brought up during the course of the meeting.

Three of the teachers have petitioned the board to enroll their children in the school for the 2011-12 school year. Currently, four of their children are in attendance, and would increase to five next year. The board approved the request. This led to a discussion that because Cavendish has one class per grade, there is a need for diversity. Why isn’t the opportunity of choice available to all students, not just the teacher’s children, particularly since it’s available at the high school level? It was explained that it was up to towns and supervisory unions to set this type of policy. Further, the school choice available to CTES teachers was a benefit, with the idea being that by having their children at the school, the teachers would be able to spend more time there, as they would not have to leave to pick them up from babysitters etc.

Thomson read a resignation letter from Art Branton, the music teacher, who will be leaving at the end of the school year.

2. 9th Annual Cavendish Holiday Fair Just Around the Corner
The Cavendish Holiday Fair will once again take place the Saturday after Thanksgiving (Nov. 27) at the Cavendish Elementary School in Proctorsville from 9-3 . This is a great time to take a bit of Cavendish home for the holidays.

As always, there will be a number of special raffles. The Episcopal Church will have a lovely gingerbread house as well as a quilt. The Cavendish Historical Society, for the first time, will have a raffle-a quilt made by the artist Carolyn Van Tassel, which hung at Six Loose Ladies this past summer. Along with its annual book sale, the Cavendish Library is raffling off an iPod Touch. Of course, it wouldn’t be the Holiday Fair without the much anticipated “Tower of Chocolate” raffle by St. James Church.

A variety of delicious soups, chili, sandwiches and desserts will be for sale. There will be plenty of tables and chairs suitable for a visit with friends over a cup of coffee or lunch.

The Cavendish Conservation and Community Association (CCCA) will have their information table, where people can learn about their on-going efforts. They will be selling their spectacular 2011 community calendar featuring photos of Cavendish landscapes by community photographers, both amateur and professional. The Cavendish Historic Barns poster framed or unframed will also be on sale.

The Cavendish Historical Society is keeping the green in Christmas, and honoring their 1940s theme, by offering ornaments made out of recycled soda cans. They will have a “going out of business sale” for the last of their 1940’s Candy Store. In addition, look for old Cavendish photographs to buy, along with other historical items.

The Proctorsville Fire Department will once again be selling wreaths and greens.

3. Cavendish Community Fund Announces Fall 2010 Grants
The Cavendish Community Fund has announced that it awarded grants to four local organizations for community oriented educational and related projects. The Fund has distributed grants twice each year for the last four years and emphasizes community building as its primary consideration.

Two grants go to the Cavendish Town Elementary School. The first will pay for the seven-member Cuban band, Tivoli whose members will visit each of the school’s grades and introduce the children to the band instruments and teach basic Cuban songs, and then play a concert for the students and the community. The program adds a new facet to the music curriculum at the school and complements the Spanish classes too. The second award will go toward the creation of a Music Garden. This project, in conjunction with Donald Knaack, a.k.a. The Junkman, a world renowned, classically trained musician and environmentalist, will use objects collected by the community and recycle them in an imaginative and creative way to create a music sculpture as a community project.

Stepping Stones Pre-School was awarded a grant to purchase book bags for the school’s reading program. Parents can check out a bag of ten books to read to their preschool children and when they are done they can swap the bag for another bag with ten different books. Thus each pre-school child can be exposed to over five hundred books depending on the parents’ stamina. Another grant will pay for quilting materials for “Operation Cover-up” in which Cavendish residents led by Diane McNamara craft quilts for Vermont veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Sponsored by the local American Legion Post, Diane and friends plan to create and distribute these quilts throughout the state. Finally, the Fund will help sponsor “Playing with Shakespeare,” a cultural, educational, and community building workshop that will allow up to twenty Cavendish residents to explore live performance under the tutelage of professional actor Jamie Ward. The workshop builds on last year’s session in which participants studied the Bard for a weekend and then performed what they learned for a very appreciative full house. Mr. Ward will follow a similar format this year.

The CCF sponsors educational, cultural and artistic projects, programs or events to benefit the citizens and residents of Cavendish. Anyone can apply for a grant so long as the project meets the criteria published by CCF on its website, Application forms and instructions are found on the website. The application deadline for the next grant round will be announced in the spring.

4. Small art wanted at the Cavendish Fletcher Community Library
The Cavendish Fletcher Community Library is hosting its second annual group art show in December in the library's Redfield Proctor Room, and is looking for small pieces of art to display. The art should be no larger than 5X7, framed and can be in any media and on any theme. If you are interested in submitting a piece of art to the show, please contact Kata at 226-7503 for more information.

5. Business Underwriting on LPCTV
LPCTV, the Black River Valley's community TV station, is inviting local businesses to sign up as underwriters for 2011. Underwriting is a source of operating income that LPCTV counts on every year in its budget, and as Executive Director Patrick Cody explains, underwriting will "go a long way towards helping offset the increased expenses in our new facility". (LPCTV will be moving from its small office / studio in the Ludlow Elementary School to a much larger space in the newly-renovated community building behind the former Ludlow Armory). Cody says underwriting is "a low cost alternative to advertising", whereby local businesses make a tax-deductible donation towards to support local programming on LPCTV and in return, receive they publicity on LPCTV's cable TV channels (8 and 10) and its website ( every day for a year.

LPCTV would like to thank its 2010 underwriters: Wine & Cheese Depot, Timber Inn Motel, People's United Bank (formerly Chittenden Bank), LaValley Building Supply, CT River Transit / The Current, Wicked Good Pizza, The Book Nook, TDS Telecom, and Okemo Valley Storage, as well as its new underwriters The Mountain Times and Christopher's. Longtime underwriter Leslie Stuart of the Wine & Cheese Depot says "LPCTV plays a vital role in our community...taking the pulse of what is going on in our towns. There are so many talented people, young and old, involved in LPCTV's programming. (LPCTV) does a terrific job and I am happy to continue supporting them."

For more information on LPCTV's 2011 underwriting program or to become an underwriter, visit its website or call 228-8808.

6. Cavendish Related News
• VT Ranks #1 in Hunger: New numbers show that Vermont now ranks among the top hungriest states in the country. The USDA just released its annual report, which shows that 1 in 7 Vermont households don't have enough to eat. These figures are determined by census data on families' eating habits. According to the USDA's analysis, Vermont and Alabama are tied for the highest increase in household food insecurity over the past decade. Read article on-line

• Economist: Vermont Not out of the Woods: The New England Economic Partnership will be coming out with its bi-annual report Wednesday. Experts say the Great Recession will likely be the longest recession in U.S. history, but only the second most difficult downturn for Vermont's economy-- meaning there's still a long road of recovery ahead for Vermont. According to the economic outlook for Vermont, job recovery is still at a slower pace than originally thought. Job expansion is not expected to happen until the end of 2013. The bright side-- the state's overall unemployment rate is expected to still be among the lowest in New England through 2014. Read article on-line

7. Cavendish Events 11/19-11/27/10
November 19 (Friday): Ski Swap at Okemo FMI: 228-1401
• Parent Teacher Conference at GMUHS
• Annual Book fair at the Cavendish Library during regular Library Hours. Funds raised go towards children’s books for the library and classroom. FMI: 226-7503

November 20 (Saturday): Ski Swap at Okemo FMI: 228-1401
• Ludlow Winter Farmer’s Market, 9-1, Ludlow Masonic Lodge, 22 Buttermilk Falls Road (across the street from the entrance to Jackson Gore).

November 21 (Sunday): Ski Swap at Okemo FMI: 228-1401
• Facilitated Meditation from 4-5 pm. Please call Robin at 226-7736

November 22 (Monday): Tween (ages 10-14) WII night at the Fletcher Library, 4-6:30 pm
• Legislative Breakfast 8:30-10am at the Roundhouse of the Jackson Gore Inn. Speakers will be Vicki Tebbetts, Vice President, and Patricia Moulton Powden, VP of Public Affairs, of the Vermont Chamber of Commerce. This promises to be an interesting year with budget deficits continuing, a new Administration, and new legislators. Sponsored by the Okemo Valley Chamber of Commerce, this is a good time to hear the Chamber’s top priorities and the general expectations for the upcoming session, and for them to hear from you. FMI: 802-228-5830.

November 23 (Tuesday): Autumn Story Hour at the Fletcher Library in Ludlow, 11 am, for kids 5 and under.
• Bone Builders Class at the Cavendish Baptist Class from 10:30-11:30. FMI: Linda at Green Mountain RSVP & Volunteer Center of Windsor County at (802) 885-2083, or Charlotte Snyder at (802) 226-7343.

November 24 (Wednesday): Schools closed for Thanksgiving Recess
• $5 a Bag Sale at Black River Good Neighbors Thrift Store in Ludlow

November 25 (Thursday): Happy Thanksgiving
• Turkey Trot-Toys for Tots Dorsey Park, Ludlow. Fundraiser, bring new unwrapped toys, money also accepted. FMI: Leslie 228-3176
• Library, schools, Town Office closed.

November 26 (Friday): Schools closed for Thanksgiving Recess
• Ludlow Library Closed

November 27 (Saturday): Holiday Fair, Cavendish Elementary School 9-3
• 2nd Annual Wine Tasting at Pleasant Valley Foods in Proctorsville (Black River Produce building) from 4-6 pm. 226-7336
• Ludlow Library Closed
• Ludlow Winter Farmer’s Market, 9-1, Ludlow Masonic Lodge, 22 Buttermilk Falls Road (across the street from the entrance to Jackson Gore).

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