Friday, November 26, 2010

Little Correlation Between Per-Pupil Spending & Achievement

With budget season underway the annual debate about per-pupil spending will rear it's head once again in Cheshire. I'll break down this statistic over the next month and explain how the state calculates this measure. But in the meantime, this article by the CT Post is rather interesting, worth reading:

"Ansonia students outperform their counterparts in Derby on nearly every statistical measure. But Derby spent an average of $11,513 per pupil in the 2008-09 school year, the last where statewide figures are available, $1,252 more than in Ansonia."

"Shelton spent nearly $2,100 less per student than Milford did in that same year, but got higher results on two standardized tests and saw a higher percentage of high school students graduate."

"A local school district can only afford to do so much, said Thomas Murphy, spokesman for the state Department of Education. While he does find a relationship between resources and performance, those resources are not always financial, Murphy said. "What people do not include in the equation are the resources in the home, for example parents with a high school or college education, parents who speak and read English, books in the home, the Internet, time and money to travel, to go to museums and theater, and to pay for preschool, music, sports or other private lessons.''  

Cheshire is not mentioned in the article.

Bill Gates Calls for Overhauling Teacher Pay System

See full article from DailyFinance:

Bill Gates delivered a speech Friday criticizing school pay structures, and urging the 50 state superintendents of education to end teacher pay increases based on seniority and education level.

In a speech to the Council of Chief State School Officers in Louisville, Ky., the Microsoft (MSFT) founder argued that teacher seniority is costly, yet it has only a modest effect on student achievement.

"The pay increases that teachers get for years of service account for 10% of total school expenditures," he said. "On a budget of $500 billion, that means $50 billion is paid out every year for something that has little correlation with student achievement."

School spending has faced increased scrutiny in communities nationwide since the recession began, despite the $100 billion in stimulus money allocated towards public education. In recent years, Gates has turned his attention towards addressing education reform through his philanthropic organization, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Gates also questioned the practice of paying higher salaries to teachers with advanced degrees, because a teacher's level of education has little bearing on student achievement.

Instead, Gates urged state education officials to restructure the nation's public education budgets based on excellence.

"What if we introduced a new element in the pay structure that builds on the excellence we already see in the system?" he asked. "What if we identified the most effective teachers and offered them extra pay for taking on more students, or teaching kids who are behind, or teaching in the toughest schools?"

Gates also suggested that increasing class sizes could help save money, suggesting that it wouldn't negatively impact students if the increases were offset by technological innovations that enable educators to customize their teaching to each student's needs.

See full article from DailyFinance:

Nevada Legislature May Open School Contract Negotiations to the Public

By Steve Gunn
EAG Communications
CARSON CITY, Nevada - Public schools are struggling financially, partially due to the high costs imposed on them by teachers' collective bargaining agreements.
     Unfortunately the public doesn't know very much about this problem. That's partly because local reporters never take the time to read the contracts and share their findings with the public. Another problem is that collective bargaining negotiations are often conducted behind closed doors.
     That's why we were delighted to note that Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons has proposed a bill that would make collective bargaining sessions for local public employees, including teachers, open to the public.
     We hope the bill gets a fair hearing in the state legislature, and sparks similar proposals in statehouses around the nation.
     In far too many school districts, school board members and union bosses negotiate over taxpayer money, while keeping the taxpayers locked out of the room. As we stated in a press release earlier this week, that would be like Congress debating a spending bill behind closed doors.
     We've read too many news stories from around the nation, telling us about protesting teachers carrying signs that say things like "teachers work hard" or "teachers deserve raises." But when reporters ask them exactly what they want, and how much it will cost their district, they suddenly clam up.
     The unions want public support, but they don't want to give citizens the information they need to formulate intelligent opinions. Perhaps that's because union leaders are afraid they will appear self-serving, particularly during the current recession, which has forced local school boards to save every dime possible for student instruction.
     If negotiations sessions were open to the public, citizens could learn just how much money is spent on various provisions in union contracts. They could learn how much their districts could save if teachers, like so many workers in the private sector, would agree to make some temporary concessions.
     Rank-and-file teachers could also learn about their unions' demands, and the tactics employed by their union leaders. Quite often the membership is not in sync with union leaders, and that becomes clear when details of negotiations bubble to the surface.
     Earlier this year in Milwaukee, for example, an award-winning first-year teacher was laid off because her union refused to switch to a less expensive health insurance provider. The teacher told a local newspaper that she would have contacted her union leaders and encouraged them to compromise on insurance, if she had known the issue might result in so many teacher layoffs.
     Perhaps if negotiations were open to the public, more union leaders would quickly amend their list of demands, which would save schools a lot of money. It's easy to be greedy behind locked doors. How pushy would they be with taxpayers and reporters watching and recording their words?
I'd welcome transparency in the collective bargaining process here in CT. It would be an eye opener for many. - Tony

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Adinolfi Resigns from the Town Council

I learned today that Justin Adinolfi resigned from the Town Council effective yesterday. I believe it was work-related-time constraint but I'm certain we'll read about it in the papers this week.

Monday, November 15, 2010

2010 Cheshire Youth Survey Report

This youth survey was sponsored by the Cheshire Coalition to Stop Underage Drinking, and the
Cheshire Youth and Social Services Department. It was administered in March 2010, with the
cooperation and participation of Cheshire Public Schools, to students in Dodd Middle School and Cheshire High School.  The report is available here and is very lengthy. I pulled out a couple of areas to highlight here but I suggest going through the report.

One positive note is that fewer youth reported having tried drinking alcohol since the last survey (2008).  However, consumption ( in the past 30 days ) has changed little (Graph A). Most Cheshire youth reported somewhat less recent drinking than national statistics or than 17 CT towns surveyed in 2006-2010.

Less positive results: Lifetime use of marijuana among 7-8th graders remained about the same Lifetime use increased from 16% to 24% among 9th - 10th graders and remained the same at 34-36% for 11-12th graders.

Perceived availability of Alcohol remained relatively highly available 2008-2010 with 59-62% for 7-8th graders and 85-86% for 11-12th graders.

Perceived availability of marijuana increased from 16%(2008) to 27%(2010) for 7-8th graders, 48% (2008) to 68% (2010) for 9-10th graders, and 72% (2008) to 82% (2010) for 11-12th graders.

The risk of progression from drinking alcohol to the use of other substances is quite real, in
Cheshire as in other communities. Youth who reported recent use of alcohol were 13 to 33 times
more likely to also report recent marijuana use. Recent users of marijuana were 17 times more
likely to smoke cigarettes. Indeed, 35% of marijuana users smoked cigarettes, compared to only 4% of non-users, even after the confounding effect of age was removed statistically. The
concordance of use of multiple substances by a sub-group of youth is not unique to Cheshire, but has been seen in most towns surveyed. Data indicate that either alcohol or marijuana may act as the “gateway” substance. Use of alcohol preceded marijuana use by at least a year among 37% of dual users, but marijuana use came first for 20%.

This report is quite sobering, IMO, and I suggest spending some time going through the responses, charts, etc. and draw your own conclusions from it.

Reminder: Joint TC Budget Committee & BOE Meeting Tonight

I commend David Schrumm for getting the budget process (pre-planning) started earlier this year by hosting a joint budget pre-planning meeting with participation by both the TC and BOE. It should come as no surprise that this upcoming budget is not going to any easier than the previous one and, in fact, will be more challenging this time around. I expect some of the following issues/topics to be part of the discussion:
  • Health Care cost increases
  • Pension funding
  • Major upcoming capital projects (i.e. sewer treatment plant)
  • Education Cost Sharing shortfalls
  • Secondary School Reform Costs/Impact
  • Salary/Benefit increases due to contractual obligations
  • BOE Special Education Account (~$490K short)
  • Concessions*
* There has been no official word from the teacher's union leadership that they will help with the upcoming BOE budget. No news is just that, no news at this point.

Friday, November 12, 2010

11/12 BOE Planning Committee Highlights & Lowlights

The BOE Planning committee met this morning ( see agenda ). Notes from today's meeting:

High Lights:
  • District-Wide Window Replacement project came in under budget by $99K. The original appropriation was for $750K.
  • Dodd Kitchen Renovation project is nearly complete and on budget. I visited the Dodd Kitchen on Monday and there was touch up work going on namely painting. The new walk-in Freezer/Refrigerator is excellent and the loading dock appears complete. I will post pictures soon.
  • The BOE Planning Committee today voted to approve up to $10K to seek out and hire a design engineer for the CHS Boys Locker room. As such, Vincent Masciana will begin the search ASAP.
  • Energy Savings (this one's for you Tim).  Some work is underway at the CHS Auditorium. Part of the work entails replacing the auditorium's incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs. It's anticipated that the LED bulbs will save ~8,000KW/hr. The cost to purchase and install the LED bulbs was covered by an energy grant and ~$3K from the BOE budget. It's anticipated that these LED bulbs will generate up to $5K/yr in energy cost savings. The LED bulbs have a life expectancy of 50 years.
  • Dodd Kitchen Phases 2&3:  With the referendum item passing the project is moving forward with phases 2&3 and the PBC is starting the search for a design firm.
  • CHS Auditorium Windows Caulk/PBC Issue: There are a series of windows embedded in between steel/concrete and caulked with a material containing PBC. The caulk has separated and naturally water is making it's way past the caulk and into the auditorium. The caulk needs to be replaced but because it contains PBC the EPA recommends that we test the caulk and surrounding areas for seepage (concrete, walls, parking lot and adjacent grass field). The cost to perform the testing alone could be as high as $12K. It's worth noting that BOE Planning committee recently approved up to $5K towards the replacement costs of the caulk. Not sure why testing is so expensive. The planning advised Mr. Masciana to solicit more estimates before we commit to the testing.
  • CHS Track Resurfacing:  A discussion about the track occurred. Since the referendum to resurface the track failed the current appropriation of $150K is not enough to perform the project. The track drainage issue was discussed. My belief was that part of the $150K could be used to install the curtain drain for the track. However, it was pointed out to me that the curtain drain would also require digging under the track and/or making saw cuts into the track surface. I think this would basically destroy the existing track. The discussion shifted to the "South D" zone which is in terrible condition and perhaps we should focus on this part of the track for now. Then again....the drainage issue still persists. It was determined that the track is still usable for another year in it's current condition. Further discussion needs to occur on a plan of attack.
  • CHS Turf Field:  There was no update/communication from the TM/TC regarding the turf motions made by the BOE. It appears we're in a wait and see mode at this point.
Regarding the Turf/Track and the notion that the two projects could be combined and should be done at the same time. It's my opinion that either project could be done independently of one another. Should the turf field go in first, a bridge would need to be installed over a section of the existing track to allow trucks/equipment to pass through without damaging the track. The cost of a temporary/portable bridge is $10K. Whatever drainage work is required for the field could be done at this time.

However, when the track does get replaced, the turf along the inner perimeter of the track would need to be peeled back to allow trenching to occur for the track drainage. In essence, we'd be touching part of the turf field twice thus increasing the cost of both projects. Even if the turf field installation (hypothetically of course) happens and preliminary drainage (i.e. hookup points) is installed for the would need to be retouched when the track is resurfaced...remember, the track drainage also requires digging under the track. The cost savings being touted entailed doing the drainage installation once.

It's unclear how we would proceed at this point with either project. Then again, I don't expect the turf project to be put on top of the town's priority list of projects anytime soon. The field is usable for another year and deemed safe by Dr. Florio. Personally, I would like the TC Planning Committee's input on the Turf proposal/plan as well as general input on how to best move forward with the track at this time.

I do believe that there's been too much focus on the politics surrounding the turf project. I've found that when I take the time explain the turf project, the costs and assumptions with voters I usually hear "I didn't know that." We forget that we've spent north of $200K on the current grass field over the last 10 years...and I expect we'll spend even more over the next 10 years to maintain what we have. I understand voter's concerns about adding additional infrastructure and the potential costs associated with them...but don't forget that our current grass infrastructure is costing us just the same.

I hope that if/when the turf project is discussed that the focus can shift to the actual dollars and plan presented by the BOE. In the meantime, we have bigger priorities and issues to contend with.

Tony Perugini

Thursday, November 11, 2010

11/12 BOE Planning Committee Meeting

BOE Planning Committee Meeting
Friday 11/12/2010 7:30am Humiston Building 


1.      Current Projects Update
·        Cheshire High School Auditorium
·        Dodd Kitchen
·        Norton Windows
2.      Review of Capital Budget Funds
3.      Locker Room Project*
4.      Track Replacement and Synthetic Turf Project*
5.      Technology Update

Some thoughts about the CHS Boys' Locker Room:

The planning committee has been researching what's needed to resolve the issues at the CHS Boy's locker room. Two months ago, the planning committee took a tour of the CHS Boys' Locker room with Vincent Masciana and Steve Trifone. My regret during that tour was that I didn't have my camera with definitely tell a better story. My initial reaction to the condition of the locker room: simply disgusting. My reaction after our visiting the locker room: Why has it taken so long to get moving on this project? I plan on revisiting the locker room again, taking pictures this time, and posting them here.

In my opinion, the CHS Boy's locker room issues consist of the following:
  • No ventilation is in place either exhaust/intake. There's no air circulation and certainly no fresh air making it's way into the locker room. I think that installing a rudimentary fan exhaust system in the existing glass block windows would make a world of difference in ventilation. We need to exhaust the damp, humid, hot air out of the locker room at a minimum especially during the late spring/summer and early fall months.
  • Small confined space. There's just not enough space to accommodate the lockers needed. The locker room is located under ground, basement, at CHS. There's a set of stairs that leads in/out of the locker room from one of the outside parking areas. My initial thought was to tunnel out into the parking lot, sacrificing a few of the parking spots in order to increase the size of the locker room. But Vincent reminded me that we don't know what's lurking in or behind the foundation that may pose problems for us such as the location of sewer and electrical lines. It could end up being a costly option.
  • Drainage pipe issue. Perhaps the major issue is the size of the drainage pipe utilized by the shower area in the locker room. Engineers, administration and various members of the TC such as Jimmy Sima have told me the pipe is too small in diameter because it's shared between the boy's locker room showers/sewer and upstairs showers.
  • Lockers: The lockers are in terrible disrepair if not beyond repair. In addition to there not being enough lockers, we need lockers that will hold up over time.
  • Configuration: The coaches desk/office is wide open and sits in between the entrance, locker and shower areas. However, there's no space for a true coaches office without either sacrificing locker room space or making the area bigger.
  • Regarding the ceiling...there are numerous missing ceiling tiles, stained ceiling tiles and very clear view of all of the concrete, steel, electrical lines and plumbing running over head. I'm not certain if ceiling height is an issue but the upkeep of the ceiling needs to be addressed. Ceiling tiles come down after accumulating moisture/humidity and not necessarily related to student vandalism.
  • ADA Compliance: We don't have ramps for ADA compliance. More than likely, ramps will need to be installed in lieu of the stairs in the parking lot entrance. It's unclear if we need additional ramps on the side of the locker room leading into the high school although we have stairs there too.
The administration believes that capital money approved for the project is not enough to cover the upgrade. This may very well be true, however, we don't have specs or a floor plan for the renovation. Without this, it's difficult to estimate the true cost of the project.

My advice to the team was to determine the issues with the locker room, prioritize them and come up with a plan/spec based on the funding we do have in place. Some want a field house installed, as an alternative to renovating the locker room, among other benefits. However, I don't think that the taxpayers have an appetite for building a field house at CHS in the near future. It may be a great idea but the cost/benefit & long term cost estimates/savings analysis never happened. I'm hesitant to put forth anything that hasn't had the proper due diligence performed on it. Plus, it can easily be a $1M+ effort.

And while our options and funding is limited for the boys locker room I think it's prudent that we clearly define the issues, how to resolve them and...specs with the approach that we need to make the locker room work based on the capital we do have in place.

Norton School Honors Veterans by John White

Today (11/9) I attended an all-school assembly at Norton School in honor of veterans. It was an excellent event, and great thanks is due to Principal Mary Karas. She and her staff invited vets through students who know us as family members, relatives and neighbors. There were about 40 of us who arrived at 8-ish for breakfast in the cafeteria, and a very fine breakfast it was.

Then we went into the gym for the assembly. We were seated in several rows along the wall. All grades came in, sixth graders first. They sat on the floor in back. Then the other grades filed in. When everyone was in, the first graders were in the front, closest to us.

The program began with the Pledge of Allegiance, led by a student, and the National Anthem, sung by a student. Student Council members offered remarks. There were presentations by various grades to recognize and thank veterans.

Mrs. Karas had asked me to speak, and since in my heart of hearts I am a teacher and always in the classroom, I was very happy to talk with the kids about veterans, the branches of the armed forces, the chain of command, and about the vets who were present. We ranged in age from 31 to 90 (but all were male). So the kids got to see that vets are their fathers and mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers, relatives, etc. I also pointed out that women serve in the military, so vets are not just a bunch of old guys who fought in the war, as one student sort of phrased it.

The assembly began at 9 a.m. and was over by 10. Throughout it, the students were attentive, polite, well-behaved and respectful. As they returned to class, they all passed by us, shook our hands and thanked us. And after they’d left, we vets spoke among ourselves, expressing our appreciation for the event.

A Bravo Zulu (BZ) to Principal Karas for a wonderful Veterans Day program. BZ is milspeak for “Well done!”

- John

Monday, November 8, 2010

CABE's Concern Over the 14% Gap in ECS Funding

CABE Executive Director Robert Rader recently wrote an article about what can be done regarding the 14% gap in ECS that has been, over the last two years, filled by Federal stimulus funding. Yes, you read this correctly...the financial wizards in Hartford have been using federal stimulus money to make up for their contribution shortfalls ECS. That money, amounting to $540 million over those two years, is expected to run out as the State puts together a new biannual budget. CABE, CAPSS and CASBO (had enough acronyms) recently got together to discuss the impact of lost stimulus money on various school districts/towns. Namely, most school districts were lucky to pass their budgets this year with minimal increases. (Yes, despite what some may tell you Cheshire is not alone in passing a minimal education budget increase for 2010-2011.) How would school districts, like Cheshire, be able to handle a 14% (average) decrease in ECS?

CABE, CAPSS and CASBO came up with the following points to help people understand the impact of a 14% decrease in ECS funding:
  • Even if the State Legislature is to keep funding at the same level that is has provided over the last two years, that level won't keep up with inflation. But, they agree that it will help school districts protect themselves from severe cuts if funding decreased by 14%
  • CT school districts have estimated that 4,593 teachers alone have been saved from losing their jobs by the fed stimulus money. Over 1/3 of these teachers were in DRG I, the most impoverished school districts in the state.
  • CT is ramping up it's expectations for it's schools focusing on student achievement (graduation rates, test scores) loss of teachers and other staff would be "devastating".
  • If the 14% gap is not filled, the result will be larger class sizes, deferred maintenance on schools and cuts to instructional technology and athletic programs.
  • They agree that the 14 percent gap cannot be passed on to our cities and towns. School budgets, which in 2007-2008 increased on average over 4%, are now averaging close to 1%.
  • They agree that there's no appetite at the local level to increase local taxes to make up for the gap as taxpayers are already feeling strangled by very high property taxes.
  • The one year $257M in stimulus money represents only 1.4% of all State of CT budget expenditures for 1 year.
Meanwhile, school districts are bracing for the financial ramifications of implementing Seconary School Reform.

It's important to note that these three organizations represent Board of Education, School SuperIntendents and District Management across CT. The issue of ECS funding is not isolated soley to Cheshire. Yet despite our State's financial condition, Hartford continues to beg and borrow money to make up for it's shorfalls yet continues to pile on education reforms we know we can't afford or figure out how to pay for.

And, Malloy doesn't give me any sense of relief that he'll be able to (and willingly) lead the State out of the financial mess we're in. The house of cards continues to wobble.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

BOE Policy #5131.62 - Too Harsh or Not Harsh Enough?

We were recently given a presentation on the latest Cheshire Youth Survey and unfortunately underage drinking, drugs and underage sex are on the rise even in Cheshire. We continue to hear/read about symptoms of this problem (such as the Lacrosse party that was busted this past spring) and often there are consequences for those students caught in the presence of and/or consumption of alcohol, tobacco or drugs. BOE Policy #5131.62 clearly articulates the consequences of violating Standards of Behavior/Extracurricular Activities/Out of School Behavior although some choose to take a chance and ignore it. 

A concerned stakeholder recently raised their objection to this policy in that it puts the BOE into a position of being "judge/jury/executioner" and that it unfairly targets students participating in sports with greater consequences than those not participating in sports activities. Below, is the text concerning policy 5131.62.

Cheshire Board of Education – Policy #5131.62
Standards of Behavior/Extracurricular Activities/Out-of-School Behavior

"Participation in extracurricular activities and student leadership positions is a privilege, not a student right. It is the position of the Board of Education that students attain and retain this privilege by maintaining high standards of decorum, both in school and school-related activities, and outside of the school environment.

The Board of Education directs the administration to develop standards of conduct for participation by students in extracurricular or leadership activities. Further, the Board directs that appropriate notification of this policy and its attendance regulations be provided to all students and parents annually.

For students in grades K-6, possession, use, sale or distribution of alcohol, tobacco or controlled
substances outside of school shall be treated as an issue requiring counseling, and the student may be subject to discipline including but not limited to suspension and/or expulsion under the Board of Education’s disciplinary policy, as appropriate. As such, the Board directs school staff members to work with the parents of the child and appropriate agencies to address the issues associated with the possession, use, sale or distribution of these substances. For grades 7-12, school disciplinary consequences and counseling as appropriate are to occur.

Extracurricular Activities Students Grades 7-12

Regulation Regarding Involvement with Alcohol, Tobacco or Drugs (Outside of School)
Participants in extracurricular activities including but not limited to all interscholastic, intramural and club sports, student organizations and other school-sponsored associations or groups, shall not possess or consume, knowingly be in the presence of a person(s) who unlawfully possesses, sells or distributes, alcoholic beverages or any controlled or prescription substance without a prescription, including steroids, or shall not possess or consume, sell or distribute tobacco, on or off school grounds, at any time during the school year and for the period of time school sponsored activities occur during summer recess.

For the first violation of this regulation, the student shall be suspended from participation in all extracurricular events or leadership positions for three weeks and/or as may be appropriate for one performance. * For athletes, the suspension shall be three weeks or six contests, or until the end of the current season, whichever is shorter. Any student who is suspended from participation in extracurricular activities under this regulation shall be required to participate in a counseling program as a condition of reestablishing eligibility, which counseling may include participation by the student’s parent/guardian. In conjunction with the suspension from extracurricular activities, both the student and his/her parent/guardian will be required to sign a statement acknowledging the consequences of subsequent violations of this regulation. The student will be permitted to participate in all activities, including but not limited to practices, meetings, and subsequent work sessions.

For the second violation, the student will be suspended from all extracurricular activities for 180
consecutive school days. The student may be required to take part in an additional counseling program to reestablish eligibility, which counseling may include participation by the student’s parent/guardian.

For third and any subsequent violations, the student will be permanently banned from all extracurricular participation for the duration of his/her length of time remaining at Dodd Middle School, or Cheshire High School. The student will be encouraged to participate in an appropriate chemical dependency program.
When disciplinary action is contemplated pursuant to this policy, the assistant principal or designated administrator shall hold an informal hearing with the student, at which time the student will be given an opportunity to explain the situation."

The section of the policy that is considered to be "unfair" is highlighted in bold above. I think this policy is fair and clear. As parents/guardians we sign the policy handbook and it's our parental responsibility to make certain our children are aware of the consequences of their actions with regards to these policies. These policies, or this one in particular, only seems to be a problem when someone gets caught.

Many in town believe that the punishment for underage drinking, illegal drugs and tobacco should be harsher. I agree but when it comes to punishment and the town doing enough to punish the "enablers" that facilitate these illegal activities to occur? How far can/should government go on this matter? No matter how many policies/laws are written to combat these illegal the end of the day it's up to us as parents/guardians to take responsibility for our children which can also mean not being "enablers" of these illegal activities.

Tony Perugini

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

November 4th BOE Showcase Meeting

The Board of Education Showcase Meeting will be held at 7:30pm, this Thursday November 4th, 2010 at:

Quinnipiac University
370 Basset Road, North Haven
Building 1, Second Floor - Room 220

Welcome to my BLOG

Welcome to my BLOG. Tim White has been my inspiration for starting this BLOG related to the Cheshire School District and BOE related topics. It's my goal to utilize this BLOG as a communication vehicle to keep you informed about school district topics and continue delivering on my promise of transparency as a BOE member.

My goal is to publish what I know and learn as a BOE member and to educate the good people of Cheshire about the various opportunities, topics and issues affecting our school district. I've always felt that not enough meaningful information is being published about BOE business. I feel that this blog may be a good vehicle of delivering information so that you can make an informed decision.

Unlike anonymous blogs, I put my name and integrity into this BLOG. I do support anonymous comments, however, any comment that is derogatory in nature and/or violates Blogspot's terms of use will be removed. Let's keep is civil.

I will post/upload various topics and information as I can so please be patient. Additionally, if you'd like to see certain topics/ideas discussed/covered, please shoot me an email to

Tony Perugini