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Letter: Not Embarrassed to Care

School Committee Member Cindy Bohne responds to a Winchester parent's letter about redistricting posted earlier on Patch.

What I believe we need as a community right now is graciousness and leaders that are courageous enough to weigh all of the information available and make decisions with clarity of purpose.  

As a School Committee Member, I strive to have the courage to help fulfill our educational mission with or without outside support or acknowledgement.

I strive to listen with kindness, but the strength to at times disagree and make decisions with students and teachers first and foremost my priority.

Ms. McCarthy, I respect your passion and service as an advocate for your neighborhood.  I always favor anger to indifference.  However, I take exception to your choice to share your criticisms publicly before approaching me for clarity.   

In regard to your criticisms, there was a context to the conversation on Tuesday evening.  My remarks were taken out of that context, and the intentions of my comments were misrepresented in your letter.

Last night was the first opportunity for the School Committee to hear of the technical issues regarding the four homes at Washington Street.  It was not the first time “I” had been made aware of the concern. It was the first time “we” as a School Committee had learned of this detail as a policy body. 

As we move forward, I ask you and all of our neighbors to care about how we are doing our jobs with Winchester schools.  Keep driving us forward to ensure all of our schools are exceptional and all of our students successful.  I’m not embarrassed to care, and I’m glad you aren’t either.    

-- Cindy Bohne

School Committee Member

Suburbanmama November 14, 2012 at 07:34 PM
Wonderful letter Cindy! Thank you for all your hard work.
BAV November 14, 2012 at 08:09 PM
Great letter!
Paula M November 14, 2012 at 08:16 PM
We should all respect the work of the School Committee and the Supt and its decision in regard to redristricing- though I am not affected..They are my neighbors who work very hard at a volunteer position...with our childrens best interest at heart...
Winchester Parent November 14, 2012 at 09:09 PM
Thank you, Cindy! Your job is not easy but is immensely important. You and the other committee members are doing it well.
Mayberry Mom November 14, 2012 at 09:27 PM
Well said Cindy- we as a community should all be moving forward rather than dwelling on that we can not change.I feel very fortunate to live in Winchester and while redistricting is not ideal for all, there are far greater issues here in our community that are in need of our attentions. Thank you for all your hard work!
Cathy F November 14, 2012 at 10:01 PM
I am very grateful to have such a dedicated and thoughtful person representing our town on the school committee. Thank you to Cindy all of the volunteers on the school committee and redistricting committee for all of their hard work during this challenging time.
Winchester November 15, 2012 at 12:54 AM
I really appreciate all your hard work, on school committee, redistricting and with msba. As well as everyone else on school committee and. Of course rac. Unfortunately, it's a thankless job, but thank you for your hardwork. Change isn't easy and some people have difficulty accepting change. As parents we must support decisions that have been made and be an example for our children. It appears that mrs McCarthy is not a shining example of this. A close friend of one of my children is being redistricted out if our school, but I'm sure there will be new friends to be made an other opportunities to reconnect. Cindy, I appreciate your hard work and you will have my vote again when it's time for reelection
BABS November 15, 2012 at 03:13 AM
I think it is very hard to understand the frustration that families that are moving are experiencing. Please don't sit back and judge and instead be grateful that a few families are sacrificing a lot to solve a town wide problem.
Pats November 15, 2012 at 06:38 AM
Cindy, we thank you! What hard, dedicated, selfless service. Your open, fair, caring and passionate approach is evident in everything you say and do.
Lisa November 15, 2012 at 01:01 PM
People who "work hard" and are "devoted", "dedicated" and "selfless" can still make stupid mistakes and not be totally honest. As a strict observer, I am appalled at both sides---the negativity of the "anti-Lynch/anti-VO" crowds, as well as the public name-calling when one person speaks their mind on how they saw the SC process and has proof with emails. Sure, everyone can run to the SC's defense, but really, the fact that they would vote on an incomplete map and not even listen to BM's recommendation? There smacks of ego, lack of thought, and lack of consideration at the forefront. Ms. Bohne was never "owed" some sort of "private discussion"---as a public voice, all emails and commentary are public, and she should have realized this. So should have Ms. McCarthy, now with the mommies defending Ms. Bohne in sweetness and admiration, and the daddies lambasting Ms. McCarthy in aggression. How stereotypical. I am disgusted to watch this but intrigued, like a bad car accident. That's what this entire process ended up looking like.
Abraham November 15, 2012 at 03:16 PM
What a crock. "I'm not embarassed to care" is no excuse for incompetence.
Juanita Zerda November 15, 2012 at 04:18 PM
Excellent letter Cindy! Gracious yet strong. Thank you for all your dedication. Many, many, many of us regard you as a person with integrity! Juanita Zerda
Marsha November 15, 2012 at 06:01 PM
I am curious- how many of you that just posted a letter in favor of Cindy are being effected by the redistricting plan Map 1? How many of you watched or attended almost ALL of the school committee meetings during this process. Suburbanmama, BAV, Winchester Parent, Kara Driscoll, Cathy F, Juanita? You all failed to mention if your children are switching schools? or if your property value is now compromised because you can no longer walk to the school that is so close to your house.
Suburbanmama November 15, 2012 at 07:18 PM
I don't think you can jump to conclusions. I left a comment on the previous letter that said the SC should absolutely own up to and correct the map mistake. I'm not affected by the redistricting but if you look at Kara Driscoll's previous comments it looks like she is (and her neighborhood is split three ways). People can be unhappy about the result (I am) but still be grateful that others in town are volunteering for this difficult job. When my kids were little they redistricted Grove St. and people were also incensed and worried about property values. The first year was difficult at Ambrose. But now no-one wants to leave and I think the neighborhood would be mad to be moved back to Lincoln. House prices didn't fall. Many people either don't have kids or move to Winchester for the schools, not a specific school.
Winchester Parent November 15, 2012 at 07:23 PM
I am not affected under the final plan but could have been affected under other scenarios that were considered. There are many people who would not have been affected under any scenario yet have been extremely vocal during the process. I'm not sure what you're getting at with this question? Would changing schools be my first choice? No. I sympathize with the inconvenience your family is facing. However, I also made peace with the fact that no matter what the outcome, I personally would be happy to have my child attend ANY of the schools in Winchester. I truly believe they are all excellent. I stand by my statement in support of the School Committee. A difficult decision needed to be made. From what I observed, the process was lengthy and thorough. In particular, Cindy provided a great deal of clarity and thoughtfulness when explaining the rationale for her decision about which plan she favored. I don't buy the property devaluation argument. There is no evidence to support this. Lots of houses in town are not within walking distance of a school yet they command a price commensurate with the market when they are sold.
DRW November 15, 2012 at 08:29 PM
I watched or attended all of the meetings. I am not affected by the map plan, but likely would have been under K-Flex. Are there things that could have been better throughout the process? Sure. The data provided wasn't always correct. The Superintendent isn't the best at presenting the various concepts or the thought processes behind them clearly and succinctly. Would I have liked to hear more debate, more best practice data, and more clearly stated pros and cons earlier on in the process? Yes. Is it unfortunate that the final map has a mistake? Absolutely. We all want to be crystal clear on the final decision, especially the people who are affected. But on the whole, I found the process to be open and thoughtful. I appreciate that the committee took the time over the summer to readdress capacity and enrollment numbers and allow the community to submit alternate plans. I found their responses and questions thoughtful, and clearly focused on students and educational outcomes, rather than parent preferences. I'm sure they combed through thousands of comments, had countless email exchanges like the one described, and had many conversations that we weren't privy to, all on volunteer time. I think I would have felt that way even if we ended up being affected. I hope the committee will continue to look into the K-Flex and ALO plans, as they both have merit, even if they didn't necessarily solve the capacity/population distribution mismatch on a standalone basis.
Mike November 16, 2012 at 06:20 PM
The back and forth on this is discouraging. I think a lot of blame for this comes from the format of the School Committee meetings. For all of you who have not been there, the rules are byzantine. They allow for public comment only at the beginning of the meeting. As you sit there for the rest of the meeting, you can not speak nor is your input sought at any point. Thus, as errors of fact, erroneous numbers, contradicitory statements, or statements that raise more questions than answers are made by the school committee, no member of the public can point these out or ask for clarification. I tell you, it is frustrating to be in that audience. I think this is a large reason that Sally Ann put her emails and statements here in the Patch. There was no way for Sally to question Cindy's statement at the meeting and thus never a chance for Cindy to explain what she meant. While I disagree with the plan chosen, and thought the SC contradicted earlier statements in choosing it, I believe that this plan is better for the education of Winchester Students than the plan laid out in May. The SC did lay out goals this summer and the new map plan will meet them if the projections remain accurate. I hope the school committee will address some of the "mistakes" in the maps prior to next year. Mistakes such as those on Washington St, Westley street and others that cause odd bits of isolation.
concerned for the children November 16, 2012 at 08:08 PM
I agree, this back forth is crazy. Only time will tell if the right redistricting plan was chosen. If in one or two years, 2 or more schools are over 100% capacity and class room sizes are over the SC goal sizes,than it clearly was a wrong decision, and the town will expect the wrong, righted. It will be that simple. The numbers will tell the truth. In regards to bias, I tell you now “in my opinion” Ms Bohne is now involved with the group who wants to put a pool in the high school. “In my opinion” she has told them she will support the pool. I ask you to watch how she sways other members of the SC and EFPBC in regards to the pool.(She is on both committees as she was on the SC and RAC) Simply watch how she discusses and votes on the motion for a new high school with a pool. If I am right regarding the pool bias, I ask you to ask yourself, if she “potentially” used her influence for a pool in a bias way during the high school/ pool project, could she have done the same in the redistricting process.? Please consider this when it comes time for the override vote or any town election. …. If my opinion is correct, I ask you to say NO MORE and vote NO on any upcoming over ride question with a pool or any one running for town election who might have bias. If Cindy and her friends want a a pool, build one in there yard and please, pay for it yourselves. I am not too embarrassed to speak the truth. I mean, give my “opinion”.
Catherine Curtis November 17, 2012 at 08:39 PM
The pool initiative is actually a grassroots effort to build a facility that would be enjoyed by all Winchester residents, from babies to seniors. A few of us decided to get a group together after we heard many people voice support for a pool at the spring public hearing on the WHS feasibility study. This is not a School Committee or EFPBC project, and no-one from these committees is involved with our group or asked us to form it. We've presented to the Board of Selectmen and to the EFPBC, and many of them support the idea since it would be a great asset for the town. But they were very clear that the initiative needs to move forward separately and won't happen unless we can raise significant private funds for the pool. Also, if any public money is spent on a pool, it will be through a different town meeting vote than the one for the high school project. The only reason we are working on it with the high school project is that it is a good opportunity to move the idea forward. Our vision is a community pool that happens to be at the high school because that makes sense for cost savings. Imagine having children's swim lessons, fitness classes, lap swimming, swim teams and water aerobics right here in town! Wouldn't that be great? Please help! We are still building our website so for now if you want to get updates about the pool project, you can send an email to winchesterswims@gmail.com or join our Facebook group: http://www.facebook.com/groups/453521051365253/
concerned for the children November 18, 2012 at 02:09 PM
Hi Catherine, being so involved with the pool project I guess you must have just forgot to mention the below information. http://www.wickedlocal.com/winchester/topstories/x928645687/Winchester-High-project-coming-into-focus#axzz2CWu36Kii Attached is an article that spells out the connection between the School Committee member who is also on EFPBC and pushing for a pool (paragraph 5). Other articles mention that she is running the Community Use Subcommittee of EFPBC. It sure seems to me that she has a bias of "community use" of the new high school. Coincidence, I think not. If you were not affected by the biased map redistricting plan, then maybe you still trust the volunteers on the committees in this town. I do not! What I find really absurd is Ms Bohnes major involvement in a pool before finding ways to pay for the 3 unfinished classrooms at the new V.O.( our last 28M over ride.) I think her educational priorities for our children are mixed up. Catherine, if you keep up the good work of forgetting the truth and not remembering the facts regarding Ms Bohnes influence in the flawed and unneeded pool project you might someday get nominated by her to be on one of her sub-committees. Just think of that! But never cross her, look what happened to the superintendant when he gave his honest opinion. Not embarrassed to tell the truth. I mean, give my opinion.
Catherine Curtis November 20, 2012 at 07:05 PM
As I said, no-one from the School Committee or the EFPBC is involved with the swimming pool group. We are of course coordinating with town officials since they are leading the high school project. Ms. Bohne and many other town officials support the idea of including community use of the high school so that Winchester residents of all ages can benefit from the building. But it's clear that building a pool as part of the project is a long shot and will only happen if there is strong support from many people, since a very large amount of money must be raised privately. The aquatics facility would also have to cover its own operating and maintenance costs, so it would be separate from the schools while taking advantage of the location and building cost savings. I'm personally excited by the idea because ever since I moved to Winchester years ago I've been wondering why such a great town doesn't have a public swimming pool. Instead of writing anonymous accusations here if you have other concerns or questions, please contact us at winchesterswims@gmail.com. Thank you!
Townie November 20, 2012 at 11:03 PM
I'm confused. How does paragraph five show Ms. Bohne "pushing for a pool"? It explicitly states that "the community" may propose such things--it seems she is merely informing the public about the process. "Any project will include inherent community spaces, such as a gymnasium, auditorium and meeting rooms. But over the next few months the community may propose potential spaces such as a swimming pool, a career and volunteer center and space for WinCAM, said Cindy Bohne, who serves on both the EFPBC and the School Committee."
concerned for the children November 24, 2012 at 01:47 PM
Catherine I find it funny how a few e-mails back you acted like you did not even know Ms Bohne or anything she did. In your last e-mail you knew her well. I think we all knew from the start which one it was.Just in case you forget, Ms Bohne is the one who saved your family in the flawed doomed map plan when the Superintendants reccommeded plan was K-flex. Clearer now.? Townie to help your confusion, there are emails from Ms Bohne trying to get other members of the pool group together for a meeting, In the e-mail Ms Bohne clearly states her desire for a pool. One comment was.. Please let’s get together, the more support the better. Also in the e-mail she states, please come join US. By come join US she clearly implicates she is part of the pool group, clearly. From the responses Ms Bohne got from her e-mail its clear of her outside involvement and bias in the high school pool project goes even deeper. Again, my original point is that Ms Bohne being on three committees that have direct influence on the high school project, she should not be bias because she has direct influence on the outcome on the consideration of a pool in a new high school. (Just as she did with redistricting.) She is an elected official for the whole town not for her friends and own interests. Unethical, conflict of interest….. more.? Very interested parties will decide that. Not embarrassed to give my opinion.
concerned for the children November 27, 2012 at 12:27 PM
Sox fan, Well, it is sad day for the town when someone’s only defense is they are an unethical/bias politician. This is not what Winchester is or has been about. We as a town are a family and we look out for each other as a whole. The decisions we make are in the best interests of the entire town, not just our friends and associates.Here is another funny quote from our unethical/bias politician.(your words) This was in regards to the V.O. over ride going through."I'm delighted the town voted in favor to move forward with this project," said Cindy Bohne, Vinson-Owen PTO co-president. "It's nice to see so many are committed to the long-range vision of tomorrow. They've served the students of Winchester well."I guess we all know what her long range vision is now. A year later this same Cindy Bohne wrongfully destroyed over 200 hundred families achieving her vision. Her main reason behind the flawed unsustainable map plan was there were more kids needing a school in the "Muraco/Lincoln" area. What real vision she has. Many people worked with her on the V.O. Project fooled by her hidden agenda/vision and are sickened by what she did to these 200 families. I look forward to the day when I can run against Ms Bohne. To expose Ms Bohne to the entire town would be my vision. I just worry by the time that day comes she will be so exposed for her unethical bias that the only seat she can run for, is an open seat at the tavern. Not embarrassed to give my opinion.
Michael R. November 27, 2012 at 07:44 PM
The redistricting process never affected me but after reading the letters and comments this past week I was intrigued to do some research. All I can say is thank you Sally Ann! You’ve alerted me to the fact that I need to pay much closer attention to whom we elect in any town official position and to always pay close attention to the decisions that they're making for Winchester. It appears that you and your neighbors tried endlessly to work with the SC and the RAC this past year and they in turn left your neighborhood an absolute mess! Your neighborhood is within a half mile or less of 2 elementary schools but they are now going to send your section of town to an elementary school just under 2 miles away? There is absolutely no logic to this recommendation. I’m sorry Ms. McCarthy for the unfortunate non-logical outcome. However, I’m so impressed with your bravery and ethics. Please run for School Committee in the next election. (Paper work needs to be submitted soon). I believe you to be a trustworthy resident concerned with the entire town of Winchester not just your own personal interest and those of your friends. We need people like you on the School Committee. I will be happy and proud to campaign for you! Michael R

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