Parent and taxpayer response

JUST SAY WHEN ...TO ANYONE SAYING YOU HAVE NO SAY IN YOUR CHILDREN'S EDUCATION. We are Citizens for Public School Education. We are Board Watchers. We want a Board of Education that follows the Law, because following the Law works for everyone. The purpose of this site is to help close the controversial Achievement Gap that is the subject in many educational arenas. Teachers are invaluable when dedicated individuals and are entrusted to encourage, nurture, and teach each child to achieve to the best of his/her individual abilities. Principals, Superintendents, Business Administrators, Support Staff, School Board Members, Attorneys and everyone else in the district must be dedicated to making certain that teachers have whatever they need in order to perform at their best. Teachers must be willing to go the extra mile like millions have done before them. This blog promotes an active, accurate & objective telling of history that includes ALL cultures and their literary, cultural and historical contributions to building America. We are Board Watchers.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Ciofalo in Lodi vs. Ciofalo in Englewood

Jamie E. Ciofalo, formerly of Lodi
Is it a conflict of interest that Jamie E. Ciofalo was given the job of the man he investigated in the supposed DMHS Student Transcript situation? His findings did not agree with that of the state, yet he was given the job of Director of Guidance after supposedly finding 11 people  and the then Director of Guidance guilty of something.  The tenure charge case has dragged on for over a year. The Englewood taxpayer has been paying the salary and benefits for 2 groups of people plus litigation which has reached more than $400,00.00 to date. 

Millions.....The suspended personnel did not get "due process", yet another set of charges were filed after the state informed the Superintendent and the Board of Education of this fact. We are also paying the replacement staff a higher salary amount than was paid the original employees. While 25 or more employees were let go for reasons of economy, these persons got raises. 


Jamie E. Ciofalo was hired by Robert Kravitz and the EPSD to investigate Student Transcript Problems. These problems were brought to the attention of Mr. Kravitz by 2 Guidance Counselors   who are now suspended and facing tenure charges. After Mr. Ciofalo supposedly found enough wrong doing to take down 11 employees, he was given the job of one of the persons  charged. Jamie Ciofalo needed this job since he had to leave Lodi, because of numerous Ethics charges that he could not beat.  Mr. Ciofalo's Pitt Bull Report got him the 2nd highest paid position in the Englewood Public School District.  

The drama was played up in the newspapers, while children cried and stressed over college
admission and their futures. This Drama affected all students from the Alternative School to the highly lauded Academy@Englewood. The Alternative School was eliminated and those students returned to the high school. High Achievers in the Academy were forced to attend Saturday school and take courses during lunch to garner the credits necessary to fulfill the state mandated graduation requirement. A few of the School Choice students who did not return to their "home districts" when the story first broke were trapped and lamented that they did not leave with their friends. I was told, by students, that they worked on the computer during their lunch period and completed course credits that would not be accepted back home in their own districts. They said that EPSD gave them grades for this work, but did not give them credit. High achieving sophomores were stuck here in the middle of a stressful controversy, because they would be reduced to freshman in their "home districts".

October 13, 2017 was a school
day in the EPSD. What kind of
day did Jamie E. Ciofalo take
to enable him to conduct this
presentation at the Immaculate
Conception High  School?
For years, we have watched this Board brag about the fact that they require 130 credits while the state only requires 120. They strutted about like this was a feather in their caps. The major problem is that students did not complete the course credits that are required by the state for graduation. For some of us, this means that Englewood finally gets the message that John Grieco did not control graduation requirements and neither did those that followed him. Stephen Brown & Company feign ignorance and allow folks on the bottom to be persecuted. At the Thursday, April 19, 2018 Board meeting a vote was taken dropping the credit requirement to 120. Thus, a small part of the charade has been put to rest.  

Mr. Jamie E. Ciofalo and Robert L. Kravitz changed the schedule at the high school in a way that caused pandemonium in an already beleaguered high school. Robert L. Kravitz got a Merit bonus for this Master Schedule change. Mr. Ciofalo has not attended another school board meeting since the change.

(As of today's date, July 20, 2018, it has been noted that the Master Schedule must be changed again. Will we get our money back? I asked that question at the July 2, 2018 meeting in which Robert Kravitz's Merit Goals for 2017- 2018 were the only item on the agenda. I was not the only one concerned. At present, we do not have a Master Schedule for the high school and parents from all 5 schools are wondering when they will know the names of their children's teachers. Others are worried that the overly expensive supply lists for each teacher have also NOT been generated.


Some of us have some choice questions for Jamie E. Ciofalo. The public would like to question him
about the rumors emanating from our high school. Students, parents and others have expressed concern that the schedule has unraveled an already explosive situation involving School Culture and Climate. Students complained about fights every day. This past year, Teachers whispered that they were afraid to go to work. How many teachers have resigned?  Mr. Ciofalo is supposed to be an expert in School Climate & Culture, yet reports from inside suggested that the school was falling apart. There were even rumors of near riot conditions. Many sources attributed the turmoil to the new schedule and the lunch period. It seems that the team of Ciofalo, Kravitz and Bowie attempted to feed  far too many children in too small a time period.

Have we seen Mr. Ciofalo? No, we have not. Where is the expert on bullying, climate, culture and conflict resolution? Where is the Newly hired Civil Rights Attorney who functions as our Human Resource Director?  It is July 20, 2018 and we have never been introduced to the Human Resource Director. 

When Pitt Bull Secure Technologies was hired to investigate the Transcript problem, few people, other that R. Kravitz and Nora Peck, knew that Mr. Jamie E. Ciofalo was the auditor for this company. Few people knew that the School District was already using Mr. Ciofalo's bullying nonprofit to train the Harassment & Bullying Coordinators.   The February 16, 2017 (page 20 of 227) resolution suggests that the state (possibly Nora Peck) told him (the superintendent) to hire Pitt Bull Secure Technologies to conduct an investigation into the student transcript irregularities. Did the state also tell Robert Kravitz to hire the Pitt Bull Auditor to replace the man that his alleged findings condemned to tenure charges?

Popular Headlines
February 17, 2017 10 school officials reportedly suspended after 3K grade irregularities found
Letter From Robert Kravitz exclaining to Parents not dated: 

Not so popular Headlines
July 27, 2017    The State Investigation finds that the School Board & District are the guilty parties.
September 17, 2017  The School District filed Tenure charges against 8 Teaching Staff Members
"...If petitioner chooses to again file tenure charges based upon any of the allegations in the within matter – against any or all of the individuals named in the within matter – it must comply with each of the statutory and regulatory requirements for certifying tenure charges...."  http://www.state.nj.us/education/legal/commissioner/2017/nov/330-17.pdf
"...In essence, what petitioner has done by filing in the manner it has is to usurp
the function of the Commissioner or an assigned arbitrator to issue a decision on consolidation.
Severance is also not an option since the charges as written deprive respondents
of their fundamental due process rights to a clear statement describing the precise nature of the charges against him or her, and a description of the evidence which allegedly supports the charges. .."
Jamie E. Ciofalo
Auditor for Pitt Bull Secure Technologies
Now Director of Guidance
Director of Special Education
Author of the Tenure charge debacle
One might venture to ask how an attorney and a Superintendent might forge ahead ripping apart the lives of employees without first reading  the instructions on how to file tenure charges?  After reading these instructions, one learns that it is not a process without some very distinct evaluations and documentation over the course of at least 2 years. The original "Headlines" read as if Teachers are going to be charged with changing grades, yet not one teacher was charged after the District's Attorney (Mark Tabakin) conducted an additional in-house investigation in which all high school teachers and staff were interrogated.  It should be noted that Mark Tabakin has resigned as EPSD Attorney.

Everyday that the suspended personnel is not back on the job, we are paying salaries and benefits for 2 sets of employees. How many millions of dollars has Pitt Bull Secure Technologies and Jamie E. Ciofalo cost the Taxpayers of Englewood?  R. Kravitz has put him in charge of our most vulnerable students.  The case is still not settled. Suspended Personnel are not being paid directly as some residents think. They have been stripped of their benefits and their salaries are being deposited into escrow accounts pending the ruling of the Commissioner of Education of the State of New Jersey. Suspended employees do not have medical coverage during this time.

A recent OPRA Request places the amount spent on litigation well over $400,000.00.  Add that to the amount to pay for salaries and benefits for 2 sets of employees and we have passed the $2,000.000.00 mark.

The Superintendent and the Board have proceeded, once again as if the Commissioner of Education for the state of NJ has decreed that these employees are guilty and should be stripped of their tenure.  Guidance Counselors have been put back in the classroom. A tenured Vice Principal has been stripped of tenure and assigned to teach Math. The very title of Assistant Principal/Vice Principal has been abolished in order to make it impossible for persons to return to their tenured positions. Joseph Armental's salary has been reduced to $63.080 from his former VP salary. (Tab 1 - May 3, 2018 agenda. Page 9 of 22.) The job of the Commissioner of Education has been usurped by Robert Kravitz and the Englewood Board of Education. Why?
Robert L. Kravitz

At times like this, one of integrity puts pride aside, cuts the Drama, and accepts the fact that one is not perfect. It is far past time that one admitted that one made a mistake. What was the mistake? The mistake was in NOT consulting the State Department of Education's Summary of Legal Requirements for Teacher Evaluation and Tenure Charges.  What was the rush? Why not be a real example to the students in the District and follow directions?

 At the very same time that Kravitz talked about "compliance", he failed to be compliant. His failure to adhere to the rules and regulations and state law has incurred victims. The victims here are the students and the families of the people dishonored in the eyes of the public. The victims are the taxpayers who must swallow the manufactured reasons for the financial tax increase while watching the 20 million pound gorilla in the room squirm in disgust. This Board of Education is wasting our money. As for Robert L. Kravitz, one who cannot accept constructive criticism, delegate responsibility and own up to mistakes does not belong in the field of Education.

Not one of the people suspended had the power to change anything other than a grade.  It is not inconceivable that in a failing school of over 1,000 students, there could be 3,000 plus grade changes. If students make up work, the grade changes. The problems that plague the high school have been an issue since practices were put in place designed to attract students from around the County into the School Choice Program at Dwight Morrow High School.

Did any of the Pitt Bull or EPSD reports reveal that only Academy students did not have the required seat hours in Physical Education Health & Safety? Did any of the reports reveal the fact that  A@E students were on a 4 day schedule. They had free periods. When the story first broke, School Choice students were only complaining about losing their free periods and not having toilet paper in the bathrooms. Why were they losing these free periods? They were losing the free periods, because the HS Administration was trying to fix the problem of "inadequate seat hours" in the Academy. Meanwhile, Englewood students were complaining in a totally different way.

School Choice students have been enticed into the Academy@Englewood Program with this incentive since 2002. In April of 2014, Academy Parents accused the Board of Education of breaking a contract with them which promised that their children, of superior intelligence, did not have to come in contact with students in the North building (the comprehensive high school).  A@E students since 2002 have been shorted seat hours in much more than gym. This situation was not created by any of the suspended employees. The situation has been in play for 16 years. 
  
Jamie E. Ciofalo is truly a Jack of all trades, but Master of none. Did he have access to Genesis before he was officially on the payroll of the EPSD?
Jamie E. Ciofalo - seems to be a one man outsource monster who negotiated his own salary. Stole money from the Lodi School system by taking days off that were not charged to his employee account. Is he doing the same here?
Ciofalo is the highest paid employee next to the Superintendent
Ciofalo is Director of Pupil Personnel Services (Special Ed)
Ciofalo is Director of Guidance, (The problems he "discovered" are still here)
Ciofalo is Direcot of 504, I&RS Services (which is currently a total mess)
Ciofalo is Director of Nursing Services. 

Ciofalo's Nonprofit businesses - (Official financial disclosures)
  • 'Pitt Bull Secure Technologies - Ciofalo is the auditor for this Company. This is the Company that supposedly found 3000+ grade changes at EPSD. Ciofalo is the one who originated the botched tenure charges that is costing the taxpayer millions of dollars. 'He found problems that got him the previous employee's job. How dependable is that information? Ciofalo needed a job since he was being chased out of Lodi Public Schools where his wife also works. Did he participate in creating problems so he could get in the Englewood Public School District and solve them? I wonder. Remember, he was already supplying our District with his bullying expertise. Members of the EPSD Staff had already attended the training Ciofalo offers at the Lodi Boy's & Girl's Club. This Fact is corroborated by his own Financial Disclosure Statement.
  • Duracio Films
  • ZenDeliver
  • EdJobSpot
  • Power Capital Consultants
  • YoPay
  • Duracio Technologies
  • HIBsterVention
  • Haley House Publishing
  • HIBster PD
  • Power Educational Consultants
  • Team HIBster
  • YoGetMe
  • Duracio Designs
  • President of Board of Directors Lodi, Hackensack, Teaneck Boys & Girls Clubs
When does this man have time to do the job for which we pay him? This arrangement is costing us more money....Mo' Money....Mo'Money.....

Was Jamie E. Ciofalo dong a great job in Lodi where he was hired by friends and his HS football coach? He was forced to leave his hometown dream job, because he was participating in some unwholesome practices with the then School Board President, Joseph Licata. A Lodi blogger, now Lodi school board member, launched a campaign against Ciofalo's unethical practices in Lodi. Joseph Licata, Ciofalo's benefactor and protector resigned from the Lodi School Board. I want to know if these 2 get to skip out on the chaos and illegal activity in Lodi simply by resigning and leaving town. Licata and Ciofalo still work together on Boys and Girls Club ventures. How did we end up with this train wreck?

Ciofalo was hired here with 4 times the duties he had in Lodi. In addition to all of this responsibility, he runs at least 11 non profits and is Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Lodi, Hackensack and Teaneck. He is also on the Board at the Immaculate Conception High School. 


Does Jamie E. Ciofalo wear a cape and tights to work everyday? Did we hire Superman or the Joker?

Is Blended Learning Equal to Flushing Money?

The Englewood Board of Education and Superintendent have ignored "every single concern and/or suggestion made" by Parents/Guardians and Residents since his hiring.

In reference to this, it seems that we have a serious Attendance problem in this District and the High
An armed police officer
was on hand for what?../
School in particular. When you notice the term "Blended Learning" it means that students are making up "seat hours" or at least this is what we have been told. All of this is supposedly about Attendance. Students are making up for absences from the school year in specific courses. They sit in a room with a computer and a Teacher (who may or may not be certified in the content area) who is paid $30 an hour to babysit. There have also been guidance personnel not certified in any content area serving as Teachers in "Blended Learning" sessions.

It is imagined that these students will graduate from high school sometime before September. We don't know for sure.

There has been a great deal of speculation about how many students out of 200 did not graduate. We have been given many conflicting numbers, none of which I believe. Numbers as high as 124 not graduating have been thrown out.

Okay, let us get back to the subject, which is Attendance. Read the State's Mandates from ESSA regarding student Attendance. Using "Blended Learning" in this fashion is contrary to State Law. We need an Attendance Officer. We have been begging for the "state mandated Attendance Officer position" for over 10 years. They look at us as if we are from Mars.

Consider the cost of the "Blended Learning" idea below.


July 19, 2018
1. "Blended Learning" instructors are ONCE again on the agenda. This time an additional 18 teachers are being approved for 200 hours! THAT'S $109,800!

FOR WHAT?!

*When you add up all of the "Summer Blended Learning" Instructor's payouts, the district will have spent OVER $200,000 IN TOTAL.

May 17th agenda -- 9 teachers at 120 hours = $32,940 (for work done July 9th to August 3rd)
June 14th agenda -- 17 teachers at 100 hours = $51,850 (for work done June 16th to June 30th)
June 14th agenda -- 2 teachers at 100 = $6,100 (for work done July 9th to August 3)
July 19th agenda -- 18 teachers at 200 hours = $109,800 (for work done August 6th to August 31st)

GRAND TOTAL: $200,690


This is the summer of "Blended Learning"! What are the outcomes of this? You could have allowed
That is Board Member
Elizabeth Schwartz
standing in the corner.
She is on her cell phone.
The rest of the Board is
engaged in a training session
conducted by the NJ School
Boards Association.
The Board Members are learning
about Goal Setting.
At the time of this meeting, there
was on the agenda
Merit Goals for the
Superintendent.
Mrs Schwartz is obviouisly
not interested in this
training.
Those Merit Goals cost
the taxpayers over
$30,000.00.
for 4 of the 25 people that were let go for reasons of economy to come back and do their jobs. These people now have jobs in other Districts and we are left with no VPs in the high school. Good Teachers are resigning every meeting. Hmmmmmm!

3. With this amount of spending, the board is also allowing the Superintendent to hire all extra comp positions between board meetings! Lord only knows what other hires he is going to make that will allow him to secretly spend more of the tax payers money! Why did the Board approve this recommendation last night ?Another thing, why were the police in high alert last night? A uniformed and armed policeman was in attendance. He was also presumably paid with your tax dollars.

It should also be noted that there is included in EPSD POLICY already  permission for the Superintendent to make an EMERGENCY executive decision to hire personnel between Board Meetings. It is stipulated within the policy, that the Resolution for hiring SHALL appear on the very next meeting agenda. On July 19, 2018, our School Board gave the Superintendent permission to hire personnel between meetings when there is no apparent emergency. Why would he need to do that?

The Salary of the "State Mandated Attendance Officer" is less than half the cost of "Blended Learning" expenses.

My question is this:

Is all of this a lie? 
What is the REAL PURPOSE of "Blended Learning"?

Do you want to know the real deal?

Friday, November 3, 2017

"Claiming a Future For Our Children"

Betty is seeking re-election to the Englewood Board of Education. She has been a resident of Englewood over 40 years. 
She earned a BA (Bachelor of Arts) in Sociology from South Carolina State University. Betty worked for the State of New Jersey for over 30 years. 
While employed with the Division of Family Development she administered the Food Stamp Program (SNAP) and supervised Child Care Centers across the state.
As part of the board , she has served on the following committees:
Year one (2015) Academic Affairs and the Ad Hoc Negotiations

Year two (2016) Chairperson of the Personnel Committee and Community Outreach .
Year three (2017) Academic Affairs

In May 2017, Betty was awarded the Certified New Board Members certificate for her completion of the requirements for Level One of the Board Members Academy Program.
The goals she has for the district are:
Complete the implementation of the reading program in the primary and elementary schools.
Continue to improve transparency between parents,students and the administration of the district through community meetings.
Update policies to assure the changes made are captures and understood by parents, students and administration
.
She currently serves as a member of the Englewood Recreational Advisory Committee. 
Betty is a tutor in the community and volunteers. She is the proud mother of two sons, Sebron and Samuel.

"Claiming a future for our Children"

Friday, October 13, 2017

Why Are our Children forced to Vet their Own Teachers?

A parent called me today with some very real concerns about an incident with his child. It seems, a Geometry teacher, Miguel Tactuk employed in the Englewood Public School District was removed from the building today, October 13, 2017.  This teacher was allegedly verbally abusive with a group of female students. One young lady was insulted that he was speaking to them in ways that she had never heard from a teacher. She decided to google  him. What she found will shock you. 


It seems that this teacher has a history of being verbally abusive to female students.  He had in fact gotten into trouble in New York for sexually harassing a 12 year old female student when he taught    7th grade there. At the very least, this Geometry teacher was removed from the building.


What has our School System come to when the children must police their own teachers? We were assured that our new Human Relations Manager with her law degree was a top notch person for the job. How did she miss this? The former Human Relations Manager did not have the credentials to do the job, yet was kept in the position for many years. 


Why are employees not being vetted more closely now? Is this the reason so many teachers have been found teaching outside of their certifications? In light of recent developments one would think that every new hire would be vetted more closely. Who is watching the store?

It appears that the employees who have tenure charges against them are not the problem. The current system which is still status quo is. The new HR Director is part of the Corrective Action Plan. Perhaps the "exhaustive certification audit" should be expanded to include issues such as this.

http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2014/01/29/mother-bronx-teacher-sexually-harassed-girl-12/

Unfortunately teachers in Englewood and other school districts around the state and the country sometimes run afoul of what is right and good. They forget that children are people too.