"Save Our Services" (SOS)
We have added this page in repsonse to Lisa Valone's letter in the March 13, 2014 Town Crier. In her letter, she calls out our webmaster as a "very vocal participant in town who runs a website with a very clear negative agenda". We're assuming that she means this one, even though we can think of nothing more positive than trying to improve the community by providing documents, data, videos, etc., to inform and educate the public.
To read Valone's letter and our response, Click Here.
What was SOS and why were they so controversial?
According to their now defunct website, "Save Our Services (SOS) is a grass roots coalition that works to preserve Wayland's services and quality of life in a fiscally responsible manner."
In their heyday, they had very strong connections to the boards in town. There was at least one private meeting that they were able to arrange with the Chairs of several boards that was held at founder Lisa Valone's private residence. It was a closed meeting, by invitation only, and the public was not invited, as indicated in this short video, aptly called, "Were YOU Invited?" The legality of this meeting was never challenged, but many were outraged by the impropriety of a group of citizens privately exerting their influence on town board members.
They were known as being strong proponents of overrides in Wayland and worked very hard to ensure their passage. The controversy was in two forms:
First, there have always been some individuals in town who have opposed overrides on principle, who did not support the SOS message.
Secondly, in 2008, their target audience of several hundred families with kids in school, including the founders of this site, were disenfranchised over the school reconfiguration of that year, and SOS, in spite of its reputation for supporting the schools, instead supported the decision to close Loker School (See Reconfiguration). In addition to the original Loker families who were disrupted at the time, there were later many Claypit Hill and Happy Hollow familes that came to realize how the reconfiguration affected them, as the two remaining elementary schools became significantly more crowded, frequently at, or in excess of, the SC class size guidelines.
Some have sarcastically referred to SOS as Save Our Secretaries, as the organization continued to support some controversial positions of the school administration, i.e. when the FY11 budget cut 7 teachers, but left the administration nearly intact, including 3 secretaries for the Superintendent.
The year following Loker's closure, the schools had $750,000 excess, disproving the need to close the school to save money. And the year they laid off 7 teachers, the schools had a $1,200,000 surplus. More recently, as information has come to light about the poorly managed school budget, illegal accounts and little or no controls in place (see the Abrahams Reports), the claims that SOS made in its day that "there's not and ounce of fat in this budget" have left much doubt in the credibilty of this once powerful and influential group.
Many of the contributors to this site are former S0S supporters who continue to believe strongly in the schools, but whose experience with that group grew sour, due to the extremely poor choices the group came to make.