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POLL: Are Branford Schools Abusing the Use of AlertNow?

One family was offended by receiving a message to attend a RTM/Board of Education budget meeting at nearly 9 p.m. on a Sunday night.

Last night at 8:40 p.m. a family, the Gravers, received an AlertNow message from via e-mail and phone asking them to attend the tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the ; the committee votes on the .

Father Scott Graver said he and his wife Amy who have two children under age 7, found the call to be “disrespectful and inappropriate” coming so late at night on a Sunday for something they don’t deem an "emergency."

This was the message sent to all parents of students signed-up to receive the contact:

Good Evening:

I hope everyone enjoyed their April break.  Tomorrow evening at Canoe Brook the Education Committee of the RTM meets to vote on the Board of Education's budget for next year.  The meeting starts 7:30 and you are encouraged to attend as your presence is important.

Thank you in advance.

Respectfully,

Superintendent Hernandez

He and his wife hope there’s more consideration put into how the AlertNow system is used. Graver said they signed-up to receive messages regarding school closings and delays.  

This is the second time during budget season that Branford Schools has used the AlertNow emergency notification system to contact parents about attending a public meeting regarding the budget.

What do you think?

Nicole Ball April 23, 2012 at 11:59 PM
From Facebook (www.facebook.com/branfordpatch) Question: Branford Patch reader Scott Graver thinks Branford Schools are abusing use of AlertNow system. You? Shell Remillard: That call came way too late. There should be a time cut off. Wendy Sarro: Absolutely! The Alert Now system is a great tool to be used when the town has an emergency or a situation where information needs to be heard ASAP. NOT for PTA or RTM meeting announcements. The system was used beautifully during Irene and is very helpful for school cancellations or late starts. Lisa Schweizer: They called my cell twice and emailed me,I did not pick up my phone! Scott Graver: I agree Wendy. It's a great tool using todays technology and it works quite well and I'm glad we have access to it. However, I wonder if there are any guidelines they follow when it's not a critical alert? Do they even have a policy, procedure or protocol to follow? If they do someone please direct me to it so I can educate myself. If they don't have a guideline maybe they should create one so everyone clearly understands when and how the system is being used. Anthony Martino: It's an alert system which implies some sense of urgency. Is there anything LESS urgent than a BoE meeting? <yawn> Laura Mebert Zabawa: I think they are abusing it for non urgent issues.Really 8 p.m. on a Sunday night alarms me when there was no alarming news :(
Kelly Thompson April 24, 2012 at 12:29 AM
As was previously mentioned above, I appreciate the Alert Now system and how it has been used to provide alerts about urgent situations. However, I do think that last nigh;ts call was not urgent nor an emergency and therefore should not have been broadcast on a system for such. I support the need for guidelines if they are not already in place.
Laura Troidle April 24, 2012 at 11:28 AM
They are also using the alert now system to push parents to support their (the BOE's) view of the education budget when we really should be questioning how our education dollars are being spent. The only emergency with their budget is how the dollars are designated. Parents should be asking why we are spending millions of taxpayer dollars on the stupid math program we have to supplement! How about the nonsense calls during CMT season reminding kids to get a good nights sleep and eat a breakfast? Is this not important during the rest of the school year?? The hype this creates is absurd. That said, let's hope their next move is not to cut sports or music or arts because we didn't march lock step with their ideas of how to spend our $47+million budget. The Alert Now system is a valuable tool and needs to be used for true alerts. Budgets, CMTs, PTA newsletters, etc are not emergencies. Letting parents know about these meetings via backpack notes or using the homework now system may be a better option.
c April 24, 2012 at 12:12 PM
I appreciate the updates including budget which iis vital for our education system. For years the budget was denied or changed with little notice or awareness. I am happy to be updated on important meetings that effect my childrens education I thank the current adminstration for their efforts at better communication and a more informative/ transparent process.
Gina Kennedy April 25, 2012 at 12:23 PM
Ditto- I too appreciate the transparency of the current administration and am also thankful for the reminder as a very busy schedule keeps me from remembering such an important meeting and having the time to squeeze it into said schedule was ideal- thanks for the HEADS UP
Amy Graver April 26, 2012 at 10:03 PM
I don't believe anyone was saying that the Budget meetings were not important. If you read again, the issue is the day and time of the Alert Now message. I'm not going to argue that notifying parents of a Budget meeting is or is not important. I will argue, however, that calling on a Sunday night at quarter to 9pm when my children are in bed was inconsiderate and the message of the call and email did not warrant using the Alert Now system for that particular message. When the Alert Now system is activated, I would hope that if it was to be sent out on a Sunday evening, it was because there was a water pipe that broke and flooded the school or something equal in urgency. A Budget Meeting reminder could have gone out much earlier that 8:45pm Sunday night. That is the issue.

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