Thursday, December 1, 2011

Are Our Schools In Crisis? Are We Prepared to Lose State Aid?

Englewood schools face state sanctions over superintendent salary.

How many of you were expecting this headline? Better yet, how many of you are prepared to stand up and scream to the heavens? "I'm mad as hell and I won't take it anymore!" 

When I first started questioning people about the CAP imposed on Superintendent salaries in New Jersey, I had no knowledge of this investigation conducted by the NJ State Department.  Tax Payers Beware: What you Don't Know Can Cost You!   Without being told one is able to connect the dots and see that the CAP on salaries was NOT an arbitrary decision. This investigation was conducted when a Democrat was in power in Trenton. The gross mismanagement of taxpayer's hard earned money knows no party line. The giant wormhole that grabs our cash continues to take money regardless of the  party affiliation of the Governor. I applaud Governor Christie for taking a stand. Yes, I applaud him. I said that. Read the document and you will understand why. Oh, and please take note that our "Poster Boy" was a major topic in this investigation.

Even if Englewood agrees to pay Dr. Carlisle the $167, 500.00 allowed under CAP, we all know that he will get much more under the table. So lets just be real here. He has already collected $10,000 that he did not EARN. This (bonus) was given to him for raising the scores of Dwight Morrow High School students on the HSPA. We all know that he was still in Port Chester when the HSPA was given.

If teachers, principals and other employees have to prove themselves, so should Superintendents. Our board President speaks of Dr. Carlisle turning districts around. HOW? I do not see the DATA DRIVEN EVIDENCE that this has happened anywhere that the man has worked as Superintendent. It does seem that he was a good Principal twenty years ago. I see no evidence that he was a great Superintendent. I did not see Port Chester trying to hold onto him. I did not see evidence that any of the districts in which he worked as Chief School Administrator tried to hang onto him. So Mr. Garrison III, stop insulting the intelligence of people who are avid readers and researchers. You simply diminish the small amount of trust "we the public" still have for you and this board.

It is my guess that the sanctions on our Board of Education do not rest solely on Dr. Carlisle's salary. Our Board threw away a man that served Englewood for over 25 years. Did anyone ever wonder why? Dr. Segal's contract was never properly completed either. When comparing the history of this situation, the two contracts blur together in a rather suspicious way. What is going on here? Oh, and Aaron Graham retired in October of 2010. Why did our Board send him a copy of Carlisle's supposed contract on November 3 or 4th? The date changes depending on which suburbanite reporter is writing the story.

In Parsippany, the Superintendent had a proven record. He was not entering into a contract for the first time. Our board attorney, Mark Tabakin represented the Parsippany Board of Education. (Me Thinks it is about time to assess our attorney) The Parsippany mayor spoke out against the board's actions. He took a stand for the people in the community. Where is our Mayor? Is he willing to climb down from the fence and take a stand for the children of this community and their taxpaying parents and guardians?

There is also documented evidence that the county Superintendent, Robert Gilmartin was in communication with the board. At a school board meeting on Thursday, March 31, 2011, we were given a copy of a letter from Gilmartin that had been shrunk down so small that it required a magnifying glass to read it. Read the letter. It is obvious to me that Mr. Gilmartin is doing his job. Is our Board of Education? Oh, and please stop reminding us that you all work for free. That is also insulting. We totally see what you gain.

There are some real issues here. If the state withholds 8 - 10 million dollars in state aid, the district will literally shut down. The favored Academy will not get funds from school choice. Out of town students will not be able to attend school here? Do you want to pay for these students to attend school here? Free and reduced lunch will disappear. Needy kids will not be able to eat lunch. Transportation, salaries, programs that help children achieve will suffer more than they already have. Property taxes will go through the roof. Schools must remain open. Reassess priorities. You have already demonstrated that your priorities are at odds with those of the Community as a whole. Start thinking about the children. Your children will and are also suffering. You must be able to see this.

We do NOT have:

  • No Chief School Administrator
  • No Assistant to Chief School Administer 
  • High Academic Expectations for ALL students (This does not seem to be a priority)
  • No Business Administrator 
  • No Board Secretary 
  • No properly qualified/certificated Director of Curriculum and Instruction
  • No Vertical and Linear Curriculum in all subject areas
  • No Middle School Principal
  • No Assistant Principal in McCloud School
  • No Attendance Officer for the district (especially for DMHS)
  • No bells on the High School Campus (The state already told BOE to fix this)
  • No Parent Conferences in the high school (What is up with this? Hiding from Parents?)
  • An integrated High School Population (2 children. I guess one is a stepchild. Cinderella under wraps)
  • A Properly certificated Athletic Director
  • A successful sports program for the first time in 80 years
What we do have is: 
  • A candidate for Superintendent who does not know New Jersey Law. 
  • Who does not show evidence that he is even interested in learning it. 
  • Who has held up the district for a year by focusing the attention on his contract, his needs. 
  • Who does not seem to be at all fiscally aware.
  • Who knows next to nothing about budgets. (Do you even use a calculator?)
  • Who hires too many teachers (WTF?)
  • Who suggests and approves numerous salary hikes that make no sense (whatever happened to raises based on exemplary service and experience?)
  • Who threatens parents with unwarranted law suits in writing
  • Who threatens to outsource any staff members who do not march to his discordant tune
  • Who accepts bonuses that he did not earn
  • Two schools that did not make Adequate Yearly Progress. (Literacy is a problem here. Children are not learning to read and write at an early age)
  • A board of education that has not complied with mandates to register for fingerprinting for criminal background checks. 
  • Board members who are in desperate need of training by the NJ School Board Association
  • A Board member whose allegiance seems to be to private education. So why is he even on our board?
  • A board of Education that persistently flouts mandates handed down by the State Department of Ed.
  • That clearly separates and favors segments of the town's population 
  • An elaborate tracking system that feeds into a segregated high school population
  • Board members who did very little if anything to protect children during a very tragic time between the years of 2000 - 2004.
  • A Board that is currently using proceeds from facilities rental to pay salaries. I was told that this money could not be used to help fund the After school Program. Interesting.
  • A Board that is involved in an ongoing lawsuit that is costing us money everyday. (We have been paying a mediator for months now) Does anyone know the specifics of this lawsuit that is connected to facilities?
  • A Board that definitely does not think a viable sports program has any value
  • A Board that does not know the difference between co-curricula and extra curricular activities. Clubs are not mandatory. They are extra-curricular. Outside of curriculum. They are not classes where attendance is taken and grades are given. Children are involved in clubs because they enjoy the activities. If a college happens to like the idea, that is a plus.
  • A Board that thinks it is above the law.

                                           How are the children?

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