March 2009

Confusion Reigns over New Rochelle's Stimulus Wish List

March 09, 2009 - 03:17

ABFE5817-4270-4A55-BD33-42C21AA8F5C8.jpgCity Councilman Richard St. Paul set off a chain reaction two weeks ago that has resulted in the City of New Rochelle having to withdraw millions of dollars in proposed stimulus package spending after a devastating report in Talk of the Sound found that 20% of the proposed $97.775 million in spending was ineligible or submitted improperly. The after effects of St. Paul's remarks are still reverberating around City Hall with the City now preparing a revised project list for lawmakers in Albany.

On Thursday February 26, 2009 three members of the City Council told a meeting of New Rochelle's Confederation of Neighborhood Associations that council members had no input into the list of projects submitted to Albany as part of the City's request for funds under the recently signed American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Running for New Rochelle School Board, Dr. Jack Wagner Aims for Efficiency, Quality, Transparency

March 08, 2009 - 16:43

IMG_4155_edited.jpgDr. Jack Wagner is running for election to the New Rochelle School Board, according to an article in The New Rochelle Sound Report. Wagner has many innovative ideas and is seeking to bring new thinking to what he views as a largely conservative group of board members who have not adequately embraced new technology:

“The Internet has not been incorporated in any consistent way in schools. We give our youngsters $110 American history books which get replaced. If you look up the Tripolitan Wars in one of these books you won’t find a paragraph on it. If you look on the Internet you get at least 25 responses,” he said. “There are inexpensive programs that will select lessons for you so the teachers can give instruction at the students’ ability. We can’t get rid of books completely, but I want to move in direction of substituting old technology with new technology. It will be better and vastly cheaper and allow for a better level of instruction.”

Help Wanted: New Rochelle Board of Education Seeking Two High Priced Administrative Replacements

March 08, 2009 - 13:32

The City School District of New Rochelle has just posted two major administrative positions with district wide responsibilities on the Lower Hudson Valley Region On-Line Application System for Educators (OLAS). Both positions add up to a grand total of a beefy $300,109 plus benefits. This is just for two employees.


The first position is the Director of Pupil Personnel. According to information reported by the Journal News, this position paid $166,006. This was the sixth highest salary paid in the district in 2007. The recipient made almost $20,000 more than her boss for the same year. This position typically falls under the purview of the Director of Special Education in many school districts. Oddly enough, the Director of Special Education also made $166,006 that year. See Below.


City School District of New Rochelle Posts Elementary (Trinity) Principal Position on OLAS Jobs

March 08, 2009 - 03:46

The Board of Education of New Rochelle has posted a Elementary (Trinity) Principal on the Lower Hudson Valley Region On-Line Application System for Educators (OLAS). As many are aware, Jackie Herman will not be returning from her leave and Mr. McMahon will not continue as Interim Principal.

Job Detail for NRON0034079-0056
Job Title: Principal - Elementary School
District Name: New Rochelle
Post Date: 3/7/2009
Start Date: 7/1/2009
End Date: 3/20/2009
Description: 12 Month Vacancies for the 2009-2010 school year. Strong instructional leader who employs a collaborative approach in working with staff, students and parents; outstanding expertise in curriculum, evaluation and supervision; experience analyzing student achievement data to strengthen instruction.

Yelp Reviewers Trash New Roc

March 07, 2009 - 22:50

Yelp is a social media customer review web site -- sort of like Zagats meets Twitter. It's stated purpose is to "connect people with great local businesses".

From the looks of it the naysayers are having their way with reviews of downtown New Rochelle. In particular, New Roc has been savaged in the few reviews entered over the past year.

Kathleen Y. writes "I hate this place.  As a teenager from the Bronx, I spent way too much of my life (and money) approximately 15 minutes away from home at New Roc.  Watching a terrible movie in a theater filled with annoying kids.  Eating bad food from Applebee's.  Wasting money on video games at the arcade.  Standing in line behind families with stupid children who kept replaying the same hole in glow-in-the-dark miniature golf even though you've been waiting for them to leave for 15 minutes.  While there are a lot of things to do here, it's overpriced, sometimes crowded, and the people suck.

Dennie C. writes "Well, this place has cleaned itself up as of this year setting out a rule that children cannot be in this area without an adult.  It used to be overrun with kids from the ghettos and that turned away a lot of prospective customers.

NYU Study Raises Doubts About Whether Surveillance Cameras Cut Crime

March 07, 2009 - 14:38

New Rochelle wants to spend $190,000 to install security cameras in downtown New Rochelle. A new study from NYU raises some questions about the effectiveness of security cameras to deter criminal activity. For proponents of installing such cameras in New Rochelle the question is whether the cost both monetarily and in reduce civil liberties is worth the benefit of possibly solving crimes that might be solved anyway.

The New York Times asks Do Surveillance Cameras Cut Crime?: "A study out of N.Y.U. questions how much surveillance cameras deter crimes, though law enforcement uses video footage to solve them.

The New Rochelle school system has already spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on security camera systems at the public schools but routinely fails to turn over evidence of student-on-student crimes committed at the school under the guise of "privacy concerns" for students. The real reason, of course, is a desire to suppress information about the level of criminal activity in the public schools as part of a broader public relations effort to present the District's schools as safe. Somewhat self-servingly, the District has turned over security camera video to police when crimes are committed involving school district property.

New Rochelle High School Broadcasts "Deadbeat" List for Graduation Cap and Gown

March 06, 2009 - 19:26

New Rochelle High School sent out a broadcast email earlier today which disclosed the identities of 127 graduating seniors who have failed to make payment of the rental fees for graduations caps and gowns. The email appears to have been sent to the school's entire list of graduating seniors, most of whom have already paid the $25.00 fee.

The email message reads:




This email blast is certainly a violation of student privacy. I would hope that the intent was not to shame students on the list to pay up by embarrassing them in front of their classmates. Surely, people at the school district understand that in the current economic climate there may be many reasons why students have not paid for their cap and gown as well as their senior portrait, their high school yearbook, their deposit for the senior prom and many other costs related to the rites of passage often associated with graduation.

Serious Health Concerns Raised with Ward Elementary School Lunch

March 06, 2009 - 12:19

We received the following e-mail inquiry regarding the lunch quality and quantity at Ward Elementary School. The author is concerned that the food has been deteriorating at Ward and Dr. Weiss told her no other school is complaining. Have you heard of this?

Hello Everybody - I hope you are all doing well. I have been busy getting ready for No Junk Food Week. In the midst of it, our hot lunch experience at Ward school is deteriorating at a rapid rate. I wanted to know if any of your schools were having problems.

Most recently (i.e. - this week and last week) there is simply not enough food to serve the children in the school. The 4th graders (the last served) are down to two pancakes (minus the "dried" egg - whatever that is -- and minus sausage. When that ran out, they were given white bread and american cheese (that's it). Today children received 3 chicken nuggets (as opposed to six).

School District Engages in "Improper Advocacy"

March 05, 2009 - 23:47

The School District has been telling parents that if the 2009-10 School Budget does not pass that the long-promised "Full-Day Kindergarten" will be in jeopardy. Before we get into the issue in more detail, we want to first review the issue of "Improper Advocacy". We would direct your attention to the bottom of this post -- if the Commission of Education finds that the school district improperly influenced the vote the vote can be annulled. We would strongly encourage school district employees -- especially Dr. Korostoff and Richard Organisciak -- to acquaint themselves with the law because it would be regrettable if the District had to pay the cost of an entirely new election just because they could not refrain from improper advocacy. The District can start by discontinuing the practice of communicating the idea that if the budget is voted down the Full-Day Kindergarten will not be implemented.

Improper Advocacy

6:49. May a school district urge voters to vote in favor of a proposed school district budget or other ballot proposition?

My Op-Ed on New Rochelle Stimulus Wish List

March 04, 2009 - 17:30

B6253C5B-745A-4084-AC28-83111A05D65C.jpgI turned my post last week on the City's Stimulus Wish List into an Op-Ed for the DC Exaiminer - How one city is using Obama’s stimulus:

New Rochelle, NY offers a window into how President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus package – the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 - is fairing at the municipal level where your tax dollars will flow from government to the private sector.

New Rochelle is the seventh largest city in New York State. Last week, city officials submitted a nearly $100 million list of proposed projects to Albany in the hopes of getting a slice of New York State's $24 billion share of the stimulus pie.

Out of the $97.8 million submitted, almost 20% of the projects are ineligible, few are actually shovel-ready and most contain highly improbably job creation estimates.

The story is on the front page.

The Freepers linked the story and have a few comments.