October 2008

Isaac Young Board Meeting, Failure Every Which Way But Loose

October 30, 2008 - 16:19

Only in the bizarro planet world that is the City School District of New Rochelle could school board members applaud presenters who spent two hours misstating basic facts, torturing data to put forward conclusions diametrically opposed to reality and otherwise misleading the board and an audience compromised primarily of district apparatchiks and assorted hangers on. I have been to quite a few board meetings lately but this one really took the cake.

Isaac Young Math Department Chairman Struggles with Basic Calculations

October 30, 2008 - 14:10

I thought I had seen it all at these through the looking glass school board meetings but Mr. Bongo, the principal at Isaac Young saved the best (i.e., worst) for last night when he presented Michael Galland who is, believe it or not, the Chairperson for Math & Technology at Isaac Young Middle School. Word is that this person is paid over a $100,000 a year to run the math program. I think the tax payers are getting taken for a ride with this guy.

Given his obvious lack of basic math skills the massive improvement in math performance for black and hispanic students at IEYMS described last night is even more incredible.

I have FOIL'd this particular slide so will soon have the actual slide but I can recreate it in a text version here. I do not know how to make tables in HTML so bear with me.

Board of Ed Seeks to Suppress Criticism of Superintendent Making False Statements to the Press

October 29, 2008 - 18:40

At the board meeting on October 7, 2008, I read from prepared remarks about a disturbing incident which came to light here on Talk of the Sound at the New Rochelle Community Pulse blog. It was while making these "controversial" remarks that School Board President Cindy Babcock-Deutsch and board member David Lacher repeatedly interrupted my remarks on the grounds that the "privacy rights" of the Superintendent of Schools were violated. Please note that I was commenting on statements to the press by a public official where no such expectation of privacy exists.

The Journal News reported that two classes of students from Trinity were forced to walk the perimeter of the playground for about 25 minutes during recess one day during the spring of 2008.

Free Speech Rights Suspended by Board of Education

October 29, 2008 - 16:34

At the end of every board meeting there is a public participation period which is described as follows in a lavender brochure distributed at the board meeting:

A portion of the agenda of each regular meeting is reserved for public discussions. During this time, members of the audience may express opinions or ask questions about any aspect of school district operations or procedures, except personnel. In order to protect the rights of those involved, all personnel matters should be referred to the Superintendent of Schools via the proper channels. Such matters are discussed by the Board in Executive Session.

I asked two board members about this policy and both stated that they were told by the District's lawyers that there was a law that prohibited the discussion of personnel matters in public session. I searched the New York State Code. I could find no such law. I contacted the New York Civil Liberties Union.

60 Day Report From the Host of New Rochelle Community Pulse

October 28, 2008 - 10:56

Many of of our readers may not be aware that when they visit New Rochelle Community Pulse they are just getting a snippet of a much larger and comprehensive effort. New Rochelle Community Pulse is not a standalone blog, rather one of several blogs within the New Rochelle Talk Site. We encourage everyone visiting to look around, read, comment, register and become an active participant. The 60 Day Progress Report for Talk of the Sound within the main page describes some of the progress of the overall site up until know. Furthermore, alludes to the inherent potential of People voicing their opinions and being heard. Please visit the latest post on Mr. Talk's Blog and get more information.

60 Day Progress Report for Talk of the Sound

October 27, 2008 - 20:30

A Message to our Readers

We launched two months ago in August and are ahead of schedule.

The long-term goal for the site is to get to 2,000 registered community members with 60,000 unique visitors a month by the end of the first year of operations. This site was launched on August 25th, 2008 - two months ago. Obviously, at that time we had zero readers, zero registered users, zero comments and zero blogs within the site and were invisible to search engines like Google.

We have made a great start towards reaching our goals and thus creating an active community discussion where all stakeholders in the New Rochelle community get a level playing field upon which they can raise issues of interest to them.

"Parent Attends Board Meeting Seeking Answers" - Update

October 22, 2008 - 11:31

On October 7th in our post Parent Attends Board Meeting Seeking Answers we reported some of the observations of City School District of New Rochelle parent while at the Board of Education meeting. We requested a copy of the prepared remarks made to the board of education during the public meeting because we learned that the speaker was repeatedly interrupted by board members who sought to prevent the speaker from completing his remarks during the allotted 5 minute time period and the adjourned the meeting in the middle of these remarks. The speaker also presented a Freedom of Information Act Request to Mr. Organisciak and hand-delivered it to the clerk of the Board of Education. Mr. Organisciak asserted that he refused to accept the FOIA request even though the delivery of the request was a "good delivery" for legal purposes and seen by more than two dozen witnesses.

City Government’s Frivolous Spending In Bad Financial Times

October 20, 2008 - 20:49

This is to let everyone know that The City Government of New Rochelle ordered and received four brand new Plow/Salt trucks. Don’t get me wrong, these vehicles are beautiful. One was actually on display at the FireFighter’s Car & Bike Show that was held at Glen Island on Sunday, October 19th.

There are a few problems with this purchase:
1. Each truck cost was $180,000 for a total of $720,000.
2. These trucks can only be used on main roads. The trucks are huge.
3. The DPW only has 2 people on staff that are truly qualified to navigate these monsters, so why did they purchase four of them?

Who gave the “Okay” to purchase such equipment?

Why wasn’t any though put behind this purchase? It would have been more cost effective to purchase 6 new smaller snow/salt trucks that would be able to fit on all of our City’s roads.