March 2009

New Rochelle School District Wants 4.9% Tax Increase to Fund 3.75% Budget Increase

March 04, 2009 - 03:44

Richard Organisciak announced tonight that the District's preliminary budget for 2009-10 calls for a 3.75% increase in spending. The District will seek to raise taxes 4.9% to support the increase.

The board refused to provide members of the public with copies of the budget documents, they are not available on the district's web site and will not me made available to the public prior to tomorrow night's budget meeting at New Rochelle High School.

Highlights include the following:

There will be an 11% cut in the budget for school supplies and materials so parents can look forward to being asked to provide over $100 per child in supplies in September.

There is now a "vacancy control process" in place so that newly vacated positions are not always being filled.

The district reduced its insurance coverage which will lower the cost of insurance premiums by $200,000

Full-Day Kindergarten for all schools is still in the budget.

After presenting the figures, copies of the budget were handed out to board members. In what was perhaps one of her worst acting performance, Cindy Babcock-Deutsche pretended that was not familiar with the budget numbers until announced by Organisciak.

In an evening full of laughable candards, Babcock-Deutsch affected to be pleasantly surprised that that the increase was below the state number.

Liveblogging School Board Meeting at Ward School

March 04, 2009 - 02:44


The New Rochelle School Board is meeting tonight at Ward Elementary. They had a pageant and then Principal Regan did a slide presentation. He mentioned that there was going to be an 11% cut. I missed the part where he said 11% of what

Cindy Babcock-Deutsch says school district mission is to challenge students to the best of their ability. Not sure what that means.

Organisciak talking about Newsweek rankings. Board votes to reject participation in the rankings because they are simultaneously too subjective and too data driven. Not sure how that works in their mind but they all start to complain about Jay Matthews from Newsweek. As I spent the past year or so working for Newsweek I think I will make a few calls and see what they have to say about this. It is really quite bizarre -- they are wearing it like a badge of honor that they are not going to allow themselves to be evaluated by Newsweek. Funny how they had no complaints about BusinessWeek which used standardized test scores as a key driver of their analysis which came out good for New Rochelle.

New Rochelle School Principal Tells County Health Inspectors "Never Smoked" on Isaac Young Campus

March 04, 2009 - 00:28

1DC67FC9-41C4-4971-884C-7B8592D121D7.jpgIsaac Young Principal Anthony Bongo repeatedly lied to the Westchester County Department of Health during their investigation of a complaint filed by Talk of the Sound after last fall's incident where Mr. Bongo was observed smoking a cigar on school grounds. Legal experts say he may have perjured himself in signing a statement claiming that he was not smoking a cigar on school grounds, a clear violation of New York State law, New York State Education Department guidelines and City School District of New Rochelle policy.

During an interview as part of the investigation, Bongo told investigator Public Health Sanitarian Ken Laghedo of the Westchester County Health Department, that on occasion he does carry an unlit cigar in his hand while on school grounds but that he never lights the cigar.

New Rochelle Talk of the Sound Hits 30,000 Visitors at Six Month Point

March 02, 2009 - 15:00

New Rochelle Talk of the Sound was officially launched on September 1, 2008 with little fanfare and even less readers. In just six months of operations, our innovative hyper-local news site for New Rochelle has become the fastest growing " New Rochelle" web site is the largest New Rochelle blog on the Internet.

We broke through the 30,000 visitor barrier exactly at our six month point -- with most of the traffic coming in the past three months. Our average since launch is about 5,000 visitors a month but about 8,000 readers a month over the most recent three months.

The site as a whole is among the Top 50 search results for "New Rochelle" in Google with a Page Rank of 1 (out of 10). The story we broke on "Girl, Interrupted" is among the Top 15 results with a Google Page Rank of 6. When we began last summer, there were 2.3 million sites ahead of us. Today there are just a handful of sites ahead of Talk of the Sound in Google include the City of New Rochelle, the Wikipedia entry for New Rochelle, College of New Rochelle, New Rochelle BID, City School District of New Rochelle, New Rochelle Police Department, Iona College, the Topix New Rochelle entry, the New Rochelle Public Library, the New Rochelle Humane Society and the New Rochelle Opera.

Snow Day - New Rochelle Schools Closed Monday

March 02, 2009 - 09:58

New Rochelle Schools will be closed on Monday March 2nd.

Metro-North: System-wide 10 to 15 minute delays, due to weather-related conditions. Expect scattered delays of up to 20 to 30 minutes on the New Haven Line.

UPDATE: For the PM Peak Hudson and Harlem Line trains will operate according to schedule. Some New Haven Line trains will be canceled; others will make additional stops-visit and click on our weather advisory link for more info. Listen for announcements at stations and on trains.

Suffragette Remembered: Carrie Chapman Catt of New Rochelle

March 02, 2009 - 00:14

Sydell Hertzberg, moderator for the February 15 meeting of the Huguenot and New Rochelle Historical Association, was honored with a New York State Assembly Citation presented by Assemblyman George Latimer.  A talk about a famous person, Cary Chapman Catt, who lived in New Rochelle followed.   

Nat Levin, author of "Carrie Chapman Catt, A Lifetime of Leadership," characterized Catt as most important for both the suffragette movement and for her "fight" for women's right to vote.  In l916 when President Wilson won a close election many people believed that woman's votes in states that gave women the right to vote had helped Wilson win.  The Democratic Party then gave more support for women's suffrage.  Acknowledging the obvious need for the United States to help England and France in the war (World War I) against Germany, Catt along with other groups began to campaign for Americans to assist in the war.  Not surprisingly, the Women's Peace Party which she had helped start, asked her to resign and she did.