Although the full contingent of School Board members were not present on July 26, 2012, the members seemed intent on taking the crucial vote to outsource secretaries and paraprofessionals. Harley Ungar was not present. Amid the claims of having no money this board has not stopped hiring or creating positons. They persist in irresponsible spending even though the auditor's report presented December of 2011 cautioned them against hiring and spending in general.
No agenda was available when we arrived at Grieco School after our walk. Throughout the march the sky seemed poised to open up and pellet us with a deluge of rain and thunder. It seems the Board of Education expected more than a little thunder from the unhappy residents. Expensive security surrounded the residents on all sides once inside the cafeteria. Englewood residents and employees were joined by teachers and staff from Hackensack, Teaneck and Tenafly. The prospect of "outsourcing" is not a welcome idea in any of those towns.
In the video below, Minister Munir Muhammad speaks of long term employees and how they are being mishandled. No gold watches are being handed out to employees who have served the district for over 25 years. Minister Munir suggests that all alternatives have not been vetted. He mentions the fact that Dr. Carlisle is being overpaid. He does not mention that this over payment may have caused state aid to be withheld from the district. Everyone is wondering about the other options that the Board had available to them. These options would have included redesigning the Academy Program at Dwight Morrow High School in 2008 when the Equity and Excellence millions ran out. It is very clear that our board created a "school choice" program that is not sustainable by taxpayer dollars. It is a very expensive program that is marketed outside the district and was originally created to integrate DMHS, but it did the opposite.
I have a firm objection to my tax dollars supporting a failed educational model, especially one that is a tool for segregation. A very simple fix that would save a half million dollars right now is the elimination of the extended day in this Academy. The Academy day ends at 4pm. During this extra hour, teachers make a hefty stipend for sponsoring clubs. The students may be seen tossing frisbees during this hour. In other districts, clubs are quite often ran by teachers who volunteer their time. I sponsored a Dance club for over 10 years before the Administration in Teaneck decided to pay me. My dedication to the students in the program did not change with the fact that I was given a check after working 10 years for free. My attention to the activity and the children remained the same. Glenn Garrison and Henry Pruitt did not change the program in 2008, because they wanted to keep the status quo until their daughters graduated in 2011. How many more children are they waiting to graduate before they fix this failed educational model? It must be noted here that they themselves refer to it as an educational model that does not work in this district.
Minister Munir Muhammad
Delta T, a referral agency, that the Board selected has been exposed as a "Temp Agency" that has several class action suits against them from California and Pennsylvania. It seems that the classification of paraprofessionals as "independent contractors" with absolutely no benefits instead of as "employees" with full worker benefits is in question. The question that many "civil liberties" attorneys are asking is about the reclassification of workers in order to avoid paying benefits. It seems an obvious "human rights violation" to many, including this writer. We see it as a step towards re-enslaving America's working class citizens.
In the spring of 2011, we watched Dr. Carlisle hire nearly 70 people that were not included in the budget. Most of these were novice teachers without the proper certification. At the time, no mentoring program was in place. The Board did not even know what the abbreviations CE and CEAS even represented. They simply smiled at the numerous white Barbie Doll types that were paraded before them. Glenn Garrison stood and hiked up his pants as they paraded pass him. The Board refused to listen to reason when Mr. James Olobardi (The former BA), Curtis Caviness (a former bd. member) and David Matthews (also a former bd member) warned them and implored them to stop hiring and stop spending. This Board had known since 2008 that the
Equity & Excellence millions that previously supported the Academy were gone forever. This demonstrated very irresponsible behavior. They mismanaged millions of dollars. News Flash!!! They are STILL hiring. Why? How? Where is the 5.8 million dollars paid to the Board by the City of Englewood for the sale of Liberty School?
The Unions...Teachers, Secretaries, Paraprofessional...Vince Giordano
In a conversation with Gabriel Bousbib, I realized that the primary objection for supporters of Glenn Garrison and his cohorts is that secretaries actually have the audacity to have a union. This objection to less than 30 women forming a bargaining unit to protect their jobs is a very interesting concept. Mr. Bousbib is an Executive at Gottex Fund Management, which was founded in 1992. Bloomberg Business Week lists his profile, but does not list annual compensation, stock options or total compensation. He is also one of the writers for Englewood FAST or Don'tBankruptUs.com. This is the publication that wrote the article about the swinging pendulum. I rather like the way a Tenafly resident reacted to the ideas expressed about the secretaries and paraprofessionals tenure. This tenure, by the way is nothing like that of a teacher. It does not in any way protect a secretary from being fired. It is basically a system of seniority. Based on the recent situation with the banking industry, it is quite clear that any of the rich folk on the hill may be one stock market crash from the poor house themselves. A bit more compassion would be more appropriate, instead of the disdainful way this man spoke of a paraprofessional. This employee was speaking as a homeowner and a parent.
Will Mr. Bousbib and his rich cohorts at Englewood FAST feel differently when the stock market crashes and their hedgefunds and banks fall into financial crisis? He was very adamant that the unions are crippling the City of Englewood with rigid demands to pay for their benefits. There was no mention of the children. When forced to speak of students, he blamed the low achievement on the teacher's rigid union. That was a very interesting twist. He seemed unconcerned when pressed to speak of the welfare of our most vulnerable students. He was only concerned with the fact that the lowest paid group in the district actually has the nerve to have a union. It appeared to this writer that much of his disdain had to do with the fact that they are mostly single women. Now where have we heard that before? Susan B. Anthony, are you spinning in your crypt at this back to the future crap?
James Harris, State NAACP, Thomas Reynolds Montclair NAACP
Never was I more proud to hear someone speak as a policeman, as when Anthony Cureton spoke of the children that were not protected by our board of education. People in Englewood are so used to being bullied that they seem to help the bullies keep their actions secret. Anthony spoke of the 1,000 pound Gorilla lurking about the corners of Englewood... Roy Hermalyn, Roy Hermalyn. I too, am not afraid to mention his name. Hermalyn retired soon after his arrest with a fat pension (page 18 of the report) collection of nearly $250,000.00 upon separation from the district even in light of his transgressions. Where was Englewood FAST when this money was collected? A grave injustice was done to some extremely vulnerable young men in this town. The man that this board called hero, put his name on a building and built a shrine to most certainly had knowledge of Roy Hermalyn's actions. Check out how much money was paid to John Grieco's estate upon his death in 2004 mere months after the arrest of his friend. (last paragraph, page 17) Dr. John Grieco took the truth about what he knew and when he knew it to the grave with him. Why does it seem that those 2 white men may grab as much money as they like and "single women" who happen to be secretaries or aides are not even allowed to have a union? What is wrong with that picture? Note also that there will be no Penn State justice here in Englewood. Hermalyn will walk as free as the rest of us according to the papers and recent rulings. Regardless of the text of the official court document listed above, Englewood was ordered to share the burden of a 2.3 million dollar settlement with Bergen Academy in Hackensack where Hermalyn worked before he came to us.
Anthony Cureton, President Bergen County NAACP
Why is the Board of Education of Englewood forcing the Teacher's Union to settle in the middle of the summer? This is the burning question that many of us never got a chance to ask on Thursday, July, 26, 2012, because the "real" leader of the Englewood Board of Education abruptly called an end to the public session at the end of Sharon Vanterpool's passionate speech. Mr. Vince Giordano was wrong in his speech that extolled the harmony of diverse groups in Englewood. That harmony has never existed here. I moved here in 1967, 5 years after the town was torn apart by civil rights issues concerning schools and the right of African American children to an equal education. There was little harmony then and there is no harmony now. Many things have happened to rip asunder the fabric of life in the City of Englewood. Englewood is not a place to be emulated. It does not encourage the spirit of harmony when the "nobles" up on the hill still feel as if they may control the "peons" in the Valley who have less money.
Sharon Vanterpool is the President of the paraprofessional union. It should be noted that Mrs. Vanterpool is an Englewood resident who has used her time here to earn a Master's Degree with a dual certification in Early Childhood/Students with disabilities degree. This Board of Education will most probably never allow her to use the advanced degrees in her field in this school district. This was a fact long before the passionate speech delivered below.
Most of the night was spent in trying to convince the Board of Education to do something that Dr. Carlisle had recommended them against. Somewhere down the line this Candidate for Superintendent changed his mind about the Barbie Dolls that he paraded before the Board last spring and for months afterward. On the first day of school Dr. Carlisle had more teachers than he had classrooms in which to place them. He told new hires that they were being hired for one year only. We have him on videotape admitting that he had overstaffed the district. We all wondered why he was hiring them in the first place. Of the many teachers that he paraded in front of the Board, only one stayed until the end of the meeting. I made a special point of thanking this person for showing that type of interest in our district and our children. I will not name that person here.
You will notice that Stephen Brown called for a 15 minute closed session after Mrs. Vanterpool's speech. They had already spent 2 hours in closed session. Mr. Brown's 15 minute break turned into nearly 4 hours. Take a look at the Open Public Meetings Act and note why that this time spent in closed session was too excessive. (one should note also that security for the night was a gross waste of taxpayer funds. It was much TOO MUCH for a Board that claims to be broke. How many secretary salaries would the total cost of the security have paid?)
At the end of the night this writer did not see much movement. All of the unions were in exactly the same spot. No vote was taken. It is questionable whether a vote without all Board members present would have been legally binding anyway. The action of taking the motion in the summer stacks the cards severely against all concerned parties, including the students in the district. It makes every single child a potential victim of callousness.
The Board knows that the teacher's union is at a disadvantage in summer. There is no way a vote of all teachers may be taken in the summer time. The Board is fully aware of this fact. The very act of putting the unions in this position is disingenuous. The Board and Dr. Carlisle are bullies. Dr. Carlisle isn't even a legal Superintendent and he wields such awesome power. The very thought of it is disgusting. It is time for the full wrath of the state to come down upon the true "POSTER CHILD OF GREED AND ARROGANCE." I am still waiting for our Board to reveal the obscenity of Dr. Carlisle's contract in a public meeting. I am still waiting for Governor Christie and the now Commissioner Cerf to exact some damages from this man. How much longer must we watch this man take actions that rip apart our school system? Dr Carlisle has taken numerous ACTIONS that the statues and regulations of 18A and the Administrative Code (6A) says that he shall not take until his contract is signed by the County Executive Superintendent and accepted by resolution in a public meeting. Why was he even listed as the Superintendent on the state website? I do not recognize him as the educational leader of this district. He has already been allowed to dig us into a financial hole that threatens to take away the pupil support staff that nurture our most vulnerable students. When all he really has to do is keep his promise to lay off all of the Barbie Dolls that he hired throughout the year. It is the nature of the beast. Even the new tenure reform bill agrees that it takes more than one year to determine if a teacher is a good effective. The length of time required to determine tenure will be increased to 4 years, not reduced to 1 year. Henry Pruitt suggested that these teachers are not being laid off, because they may be better teachers than those who have tenure. Well, I declare. How was this determined with only one year to make this presumption? Were they even evaluated?
In all of the other districts that Dr. Carlisle has wreaked havoc there was one constant. Each of those districts had an Assistant Superintendent. The Assistant Superintendent position is the stable one. Superintendents come and they go. Port Chester's Assistant Superintendent was a beloved individual that is still there. That district was not brought to it's knees when Dr. Carlisle left and neither was Miller Place. Jersey City's Assistant Superintendents are also persons who have served the district and have the trust of many residents. As the war was waged over whether Lyles was a good choice, I thought about the fact that they have people in place to fall back on regardless of the outcome. What will happen here? We must have a leader. I am very disappointed that the teachers did not take "a vote of no confidence" in Dr. Carlisle before the end of the school year. Perhaps they were still mesmerized by that Cowboy charm. That inaction may cost a lot of people their jobs.
How are the children?