Tuesday, November 4, 2014

A Cry In The Wilderness

The most disturbing thing about this year's School Board Election is not that Stephen Brown and Glenn Garrison want more chances to rob the children of Englewood of their chances to compete in a global economy.
On May 25, 1961, renowned documentary 
Bruce Davidson joined a group of
Freedom Riders traveling by bus

 from Alabama to Mississippi
The most disturbing thing is the fact that Assemblyman Gordon M. Johnson continues to allow his office to be used by the KITCHEN CABINET. They are not the only ones who voted for him. Some of us also voted for him.
Mr. Johnson, was that a COLD READING on that ROBO CALL? Did you even READ that pack of lies before you put it out there for all of us to hear. You are disgracing the office for which you were elected. You should cease at this very moment to allow your office to be used to spread such lies.
You are willing to sacrifice the SEEK colleagues who remain on the School Board and who have been making all of the decisions of which you speak. Smells like desperation to me.
I post at lot, yes, and some say I expose dirty laundry. Well, dirty laundry needs washing and hanging out to dry in the cold winter wind. Where is your documentation? Mine is included in the posts.
I am fighting to expose the lies that hold the children of Englewood hostage and while Academic Achievement drops through the floor.
I am fighting to redirect the taxpayer dollar towards the Academic Achievement of ALL Englewood Children.
What exactly are YOU doing?

                                 "....And how are the children?"

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Kids Perspective: Update

This statement was written by a 7th grade child who attended the League of Women Voters
Candidate's Night with his parents on Thursday, October 30, 2014. When I learned that this young man was in attendance, I sent him a message and asked him to write his impressions of the Candidate's Forum. It is entitled, The Kid's Perspective.
"At the debate Mr. Glenn Garrison made me very mad and made me feel to shout out that his statements were false. Coming from a twelve year old kid means you can infer about the lies he was telling. During his statements he was talking about the buildings but mentioned nothing about the kids. That made me mad because isn’t the board of EDUCATION supposed to be about the kids? Never talking about the kids shows that he does not care for anything that is happening with the school system. Making false statements that even kids can tell are lies? That is just cold. He is trying to bring down the school systems and get all the kids in our schools to go nowhere. And Mr. Stephen Brown agreeing with that? This shows that neither of them care about our school system and are not trying to help the families within the community. Helping the kids would open people up to new opportunities but, with no help the kid have no connections and gets “stuck in the mud” and is able not to escape. So, with that please do not vote for Glenn Garrison and Stephen Brown who do not care about the kids, but want to gain power and mess even more things up."        
Even the children can see the lies. Is that not even the least bit embarrassing? The child is very intuitive in his assessment that Mr. Garrison cares more for buildings than for children. Review the events connected with the construction of the so called shed in the wetlands area across the street from Grieco School. Where is the permit from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection for Encroachment upon the shoulder of a stream or riparian zone?

The land from the rear of McCloud School down to the railroad tracks as well as the land on which Grieco School stands was given to the Englewood Board of Education for one dollar by Malcolm S. Mackay and his wife Helen Raynor Mackay. This Deed is dated March 18th 1922. Below is an excerpt from this deed. This deed was on file at the County and has been part of the public record for nearly 100 years. 
"...This conveyance is made upon the express conditions that the property hereby conveyed shall be used for such public purposes as the said Board of Education shall deem advisable. In the event however, that the Board of Education deems it inadvisable to use said property for school, park or athletic purposes then the title to this property shall revert to the City of Englewood to be used for the purposes of a public park and in no case shall the said property or any part thereof be used for commercial or business purposes..."
The excerpt above is what is called a DEED RESTRICTION.
Note that on the application below someone checked no to the question asking if there were DEED RESTRICTIONS on the property.

"The Board of Education saves money by performing all of its own maintenance and not outsourcing the work to contractors. As a consequence, the Board needs additional space to store its maintenance equipment. The City's Department of Public Works also makes use of the Board's equipment. Thus, the construction of a maintenance shed would benefit both the school and the community."
Glenn Garrison was sworn in and gave what appears to be false testimony to the Board of Adjustment on August 19, 2010. Below are minutes from a regular meeting of Englewood's Board of Adjustment.

"...Sworn in and giving testimony was Glenn Garrison, member of the Englewood Board of Education. Mr. Garrison gave testimony regarding the structure of the board of education. Mr. Garrison stated that all school land is considered parkland. The BOA is responsible for snow removal, shoveling, equipment and all school buses..."
The child's words ring true in so many ways. The money spent on the million dollar shed could be used to build more classrooms at Quarles School where they have trailers. It could also be used to build a place for the Eagle Program students who have been kept in substandard temporary buildings for nearly 10 years. In statements at Ebenezer Baptist Church. Stephen Brown chastised the present Board Members for keeping children in temporary school buildings. Stephen and Glenn blame 3 new Board Members for this situation, but I have watched their remaining SEEK Colleagues control the vote for the last year.

Their SEEK Colleagues are the ones who created the need for the trailers, when they failed to consider recommendations made by the Principal of Quarles School. It suits their purposes to anger the residents surrounding the Quarles school so that they may collect their votes later.

Meanwhile, this shed/office building is supposed to be a prefabricated building seated on a concrete slab. Take a walk over and judge for yourself. Is that what you see? It is planned to have 3 bathrooms, an office, a break room and a 2nd floor mezzanine. Since when does a shed used for storage need a mezzanine. It also seems they have decided to add a basement. Go look for yourself.

The 2 bathrooms with outside access are said to be used by the Little League Field. This is supposed to give the building Recreation Status. Supposedly, this recreation status is what got them the variance approval. Good try, but no cigar. Little League is not Recreation. It is a Private entity. Are they renting the field? That constitutes a business deal. The rental of parking spaces to the hospital also constitutes a business deal. I see that as a Violation of a DEED RESTRICTION, just like selling those 2 houses were also part of the DEED RESTRICTION.

The plans say that the building is to be used by 16 grounds and maintenance personnel. The grounds and maintenance personnel are employed by Pritchard. We have only 1 employee engaged in that type of work and that is Michael Hunken. I do believe that even Mr. Hunken's Secretary is employed by Pritchard. I mean, she must be, since the Englewood Public School District abolished the position of Secretary in August of 2012 along with the position of Paraprofessional. These positions were outsourced like the positions of custodian, grounds and maintenance people.

I already had these documents in my possession when I asked the Board of Education who was responsible for grounds work and maintenance. I already knew that Pritchard handles all grounds and maintenance work. Before Pritchard, there was a company named Control. I know custodians, maintenance and grounds workers who loss their jobs when these services were outsourced over 20 years ago. Yet, page 5 of the variance application above states specifically that "the Board saves money by performing all of its own maintenance and not outsourcing the work to contractors."

Watch the video and learn who is really
responsible for grounds work since
the outsourcing of that personnel.

This is our rain forest in 2011. Isn't it green and beautiful?
Only Mike Hunken seems to know how this green space
got suddenly blacktopped. One day there was green
grass and the next there was this. It was as if
there was an IM Mission and everyone
went mute.

Take a look at the excavation below . Is that a basement they are building?
What will be stored in that basement?
The answer to that question is WATER!

When this ditch was dug we thought they were just 
planning a ditch for plumbing. Even that is against the 
rules of encroaching upon the shoulder of a stream 
in the Wetlands.

When will the legacy of lies end? 

When will we have had enough of these lies?  The child said it well. We do not want Glenn Garrison and Stephen Brown back on the School Board where the attention will be focused, once again on buildings and not on children.
Is this a concrete slab?

Is this a concrete slab or a foundation for
a regular building?
The most important word in the description of this expired permit is "existing".  Why is it that the schematics from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection show that the construction is being done of the West Side of the wetlands protected stream and NOT on the East Side where there is less space?

Oh, what a vicious and tangled web we weave, 
when first we practice to deceive.

Wash the dirty laundry, Engleworld. Alice is falling down the rabbit hole and will be arriving soon.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Impromptu Walk for Voter's Rights

Some of you may have received Stephen Brown and Glenn Garrison's flyer containing these statements. We will not even deal with the fact that the statement concerning the hiring of employees is untrue.

In March of 2012, it came to my attention that SEEK was holding interviews and selecting Candidates to run for the Englewood School Board. Persons who were handpicked by SEEK Members and interviewed reported that they were questioned by 5 sitting School Board Members and their wives.

I was so distressed by this that I called the New Jersey School Boards Association.
Ray Pinney, then in charge of Community outreach said that it did seem a bit odd that they would have 5 Board Members present, but that in Type II School Districts all over the state of NJ they did it this way.

I did not take that as my final answer. I consulted the NJ Legislature. I was given the same
answer. It was okay, as long as there was no quorum. (in this case, a quorum is more than 4) If there was a quorum, then they were violating the Open Public Meetings Act and could be reported to the County Prosecutor.

Point being, that SEEK has hand picked School Board Candidates since they came into existence. As soon as the other side does the same thing, with Community Members instead of Board Wives, there is something wrong with the process.  

I see something terribly wrong in that logic.

Tomorrow, in the year 2014 @ 2:30 pm, we are walking for the right to vote
We are walking for the right to choose our own Candidates.
We are walking for the freedom of Choice to vote for and Support whomever we please.

It is ultimately up to the people whom they elect.

We were recently made aware that 2 of our School Administrators have been threatened,
because they displayed lawn signs that the other side did not agree with.

We are walking for those 2 Residents' right to vote for and support whomever they please.

We are walking for all those who are not able or who are afraid to walk for themselves.

We are walking for those who lost their lives and their freedom during the Civil Rights era
so that we could walk to exercise our right to vote today

Finally, we are walking to make sure that Englewood Voters are made aware that School Board Elections have been moved to November 4, 2014.

Please join us on Bennett Road where our walk will begin. Help us to send a peaceful 
message to those who would discourage us from our right to choose our own candidates.

We will exercise our right to vote. 
Help us send the message there is no place for voter suppression of any kind
in our town.

We will see you on Bennett Road at 2:30 pm tomorrow if you have some time to spare.

                  "......And how are the children?"

Friday, October 31, 2014

Just Unadorned FACTS and STATISTICS...

"...This is not a 1 Year Phenomena....." 

Michael Roth, Interim Superintendent of the Englewood Public Schools - Addressed the public at the Englewood School Board Meeting, October 16, 2014.

This is what the Interim Superintendent of schools had to say about the

plummeting TEST SCORES of Englewood children.

"Since we received the scores, we’ve been very concerned. We have been taking them apart trying to find out, what went wrong, what is not going right. However, there are 2 particular areas.

1 is from 3rd to 4th grade in Language Arts. The other one is going from 6th to 7th grade in mathematics. 

Where the other scores went up a couple of points or down a couple of points, those 2 specific areas fell off a cliff. They didn’t go up or down by 1 or 2 points. They went off by almost 30 points. We’ve been trying to pull it apart. 

We’ve gone back to approximately 2006 so far.

That’s been happening in Englewood every single year. I don’t wanna give you a glib, answer. Right now, I am as confused as you. It doesn’t make sense that on the other years, there is fluctuation of a couple points, which is normally what you expect.  If you’re getting better, you’ll see a certain trend going upward. If there is a problem you will see a certain trend going downward. You never see a 30 point drop. I mean, it just doesn’t happen, and yet…

I don’t accept that as an answer this is not a one year phenomena. This has been happening, or close to it, for every single year. There is always a reason. There is a cause and effect. We’re going to have to find it. We are going to work to find it and I don’t want to give you a glib answer. I just don’t know. 

That’s why I wanted people to see unadorned facts and statistics. So we can dedicate ourselves to doing something about it. It doesn’t do any good to not face the facts. And that’s what it is…it is a very fair question. And I’m going to have to come to you with some answers. But I just don’t have them now. I don’t have them now."

                        "...And how are the children?"

Thursday, October 30, 2014

This Is Not a One Year Phenomena...

All together now.....
On the subject of plummeting TEST SCORES...
Repeat after our Chief School Leader who was hired by unanimous Board decision. This includes the majority SEEK Board Membership.



It cost more money to educate a child in the Englewood Public School District than it does in one of our finest Private Schools. What do we have to show for it? Low test scores and children with broken spirits? How many generations of children has this district failed consistently?

This did not start in April of 2013. It has been ongoing and consistent for over 12 years. It was in full force in 2006 when Stephen Brown was President of the School Board and in 2008 when Glenn Garrison was President. Check out this article in FAST (Fiscal Accountability Starts Today)

Is this a tag team for failure? Where is the worm hole that swallows up the money?

Checkout the amount of money from the U.S. Department of Education that passed through the New Jersey Department of Education to the Englewood public School District IN THE SCHOOL YEAR 2003-2004. Keep in mind that taxes were going up consistently at the same time in the Municipality and in the school District. Double digit tax increases. Check the data for yourselves. This is the reason that there is now a 2% CAP for municipalities and school Boards. Wake up and smell the truth.
Stephen Brown and Glenn Garrison are part of the mechanism that created the problems in our school district. What makes you think that the architects of the problem will now become part of the solution?
"I don't care if children cannot read when they leave Quarles.Their parents should teach them to read and write before they go to school." Glenn Garrison, May of 2011.
That is what Glenn Garrison said to me in 2011 when I questioned the efficacy of teaching 3 different languages to pre-school and kindergarten children. Reminder: The test that they must take and pass with a full knowledge of computer usage and English Grammar is given in English in 3rd grade. Is your child ready? Is your child computer literate enough to pass this test? Is your child able to type with speed and accuracy? Does your child know English Grammar?
WHAT HAPPENS TO THE MONEY IN THE ENGLEWOOD PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT? LOOK AT YOUR CURRENT TAX BILL. HOW MUCH GOES TO YOUR SCHOOL DISTRICT? Where is the return on your tax dollar? Every single word and action should be directed towards educating ALL of the children.

Friday, October 10, 2014

When Old Problems Persist

A friend of mine read this article in northjersey.com today. She wanted to know what I thought...

In a perfect world, Englewood Cliffs will build their own little high school for a small number of students. There are tiny high schools all over the country. So what is the problem? Folks seem to forget that Englewood Cliffs is totally free to set up their own small high school. They might even set up a Charter School. Remember, Charter Schools are public schools. That means that the people of Englewood Cliffs need to make some very important, history changing decisions. It would be a bold and admirable move. That would take care of Englewood Cliffs. (One wonders why this was never done. Gives one pause.)

The State and Federal Government or whomever makes the important decisions on these things should officially redefine the term "integration".

The Academy should be forced to eliminate the TEST with the stringent MATH performance requirements that all applicants must take to enter the School Choice Program. It is contrary to School Choice Guidelines to base admission into this "funded program" on a test. School Choice is based on Space. We see from this article that School Choice Admission is also based on Funding and this Funding is running out. The Program is costing the entire School District money. Poor planning, poor work organization and poor fiscal management may also be factors to consider.

It costs more to educate a child in the Englewood Public School District than it does to educate a child in a good quality Private School. This would be fine if test scores demonstrated that we are providing a good quality competitive education to every child. That, is not the case. School Choice is a privilege and should only be available to school districts that demonstrate they are already successful at teaching their own children. School Choice Students come here and they can be number 1 or number 10. What number were they in their home districts?

Exactly what does Englewood get out of that arrangement? Enrollment of Englewood students in A@E dropped long ago. There is no longer even an attempt to keep the enrollment to half and half as was mandated by the state. School  Choice is based on Space. 

Why should the State even consider giving this funding to Englewood Cliffs and Englewood? Both places need to accept that the world is changing. Some old deals need renegotiation and some just need to be discarded altogether, because of the backroom nature of the bargains. When I came here in 1967, there were quite a few students from the Cliffs. It was said that the additions to Martin Luther King, Jr. Hall were made to accommodate Englewood Cliffs students. I don't know about that, but I do know that the taxpayers of Englewood paid for the construction of the South Building. That information was easy to find.

Englewood Cliffs must take on the full responsibility of educating their own children. 

It is time for Englewood to do the same thing. EPSD must stop making excuses for failure. Englewood children must be "priority ONE" if we are to achieve the Reward School Designation. We must endeavor to raise the Academic Performance of every single student.  There are Regulations and we have policy regarding Equal Educational Opportunity. This policy is in direct conflict with the concept of "academic segregation" and this should be stressed to the public. It is unfair and gives children the wrong idea when adults do not practice what they preach. They make laws that apply to OTHER people and not to themselves. The children are watching, learning,  judging...and...

The very concept of Integration means that you need a certain percentage of white people. This A@E Entrance Test probably eliminates some very brilliant white children who excel in many other subject areas and who will fit more harmoniously with the children of Englewood Residents. Do you follow? It will do wonders on helping to repair the Toxic Climate and Culture that has been pervading our high school. Then perhaps children, teachers and administrators will get down to some learning. 

Everybody is looking to register white children. This very paper did an article a few months ago about Teaneck Public Schools. It seems that Teaneck still thinks that they need white people in order to survive and educate all children. The perception that education must stop because of a person's address and skin color is old and played. White flight is at its highest. Population growth among Caucasian people is said to be about 0-1%. It is time to stop chasing Anglo Saxons. Some people don't like being in the minority, so they fly. Englewood must buckle down and teach the diverse population of children enrolled.

There are just not enough white people to go around.

What does Englewood get out of any deal with Englewood Cliffs? There is no real gain from even the School Choice Program since we lose money on every single student. Add that to the cost of the extended day and there lies that deficit that was defined in 2012. This same deficit was predicted in 2008 - 2009 when the last check came from the Equity and Excellence millions that were given to the EPSD for the purpose of integrating DMHS. How did that work out for us?  School Choice does not earn money for the Englewood Public School District. Those False Rumors have been dispelled.

A Focus School Designation has a negative impact on our HS and our district. 

The burning question on the lips of taxpayers.....
Would DMHS have been designated a Focus School if there was no School Choice Program in our district?   

In the words of one of our Board Members, "We are who we Are!" 
And that includes Englewood Cliffs. 
Solve your problems and we will solve ours.

So that is what I think...


...And how are the children?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Maquette Finds A Permanent Home

Gearing  up for the Campaign
These 3 Englewood School Board Candidates
attended the Celebration and Presentation of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Maquette to the 
Englewood Public Library by the Mayor and Assemblywoman Valerie V. Huttle.

George Garrison III, Betty Griffin, Kevin Lake pose in front of the
Maquette of Martin Luther King, Jr. created by the Artist Richard Blake
and commissioned by the Martin Luther King, Jr. Monument Committee.
The Commissioned work of Art will be unveiled on Sunday, October 12, 2014
at Fairleigh Dickinson University.
November 19, 2013
The Artist, Richard Blake poses with
his work at Fairleigh Dickinson University.
November 19, 2013

May 20, 2014
The Maquette arrived in Englewood.

May 20, 2014
4th Ward Council Wayne Hamer delivers the
Maquette to the Mayor to be presented to the
Library at a later date.

May 20, 2014
He won the bidding war. His opponent wanted the
Maquette for Teaneck High School. They have a
Multicultural Studies Center that contains an
African & African American Studies Center.
Englewood does not have anything
that remotely resembles that, yet.

May 20, 2014
The Maquette was informally presented to the Director of the
Englewood Public Library.
September 28, 2014
The Marquette is formally presented to the Englewood Public Library.
Theodora Lacey, Assemblywoman Valerie Huttle, Mayor Frank Huttle III and Arnold Brown
At the risk of getting stoned later, this writer sincerely hopes that this is not the last we hear of this Maquette and what it means to the people of Englewood. It is hoped that the Armistad Curriculum will be dusted off and actually used in the classrooms in the District. We embrace the idea that this will infuse renewed interest in making sure that African & African American History is not ignored or changed to suit the teacher who happens to occupy the seat at the time. 

Some of us happen to believe that Martin would have been more interested in how his life's sacrifice translates into the classrooms of America. I believe, that the man embodied in the monument would be most happy to know that our schools have become places where all little children will live, play, laugh, study and learn in educational environments where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, zip code or parent's bank account, but by the content of their character.

- Vote November 4, 2014 - Make the Dream A Reality -