It is shaping up as another banner week for the New Rochelle school district, one of the most crime-laden school districts in Westchester County.
Former New Rochelle District Employee Vito Costa will be sentenced today in White Plains as part of his guilty plea last April on charges related to working a no-show job for the Buildings and Grounds Department. Despite pleading guilty to working a no-show job, after investigators from the District Attorney's office followed him around for a month watching him do everything but show up for work in New Rochelle, no supervisors were ever charged by the DA or terminated by the District.Read more
At the parent meeting last Wednesday at the Isaac E. Young School, Larraine Karl, a New Rochelle resident went to the podium to ask Mr. Bongo about his qualifications to be the Principal of the school. Schools Superintendent Richard Organisciak interrupted the speaker, refusing to let Bongo answer the question, and responded saying that Bongo met the same qualifications of any other principal in New York State and in the district.
Not satisfied with that answer, Bongo, who has largely been kept under wraps by Organisciak since the Jose Martinez scandal was first reported here on Talk of the Sound, gave an answer anyway. He would have better off taking Organisciak's lead and clamming up.Read more
Negotiators for the New Rochelle school district will be meeting with union officials on Thursday in an effort to conclude negotiations on a new three year contract. The school district will be represented by attorney Jeffrey Kehl. Also present will be Assistant Superintendent for Finance John Quinn and Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Margaret Pecunia.
Marty Daly, F.U.S.E. which represents 1,300 staff members including Pedagogic staff (teachers, counselors, teaching assistants, etc.) and School Related Professionals (secretaries, custodians, teacher aides, etc.) has told union members that the meeting this week will determine if there will be an agreement prior to the District finalizing the budget at their meeting on April 14th.
The union, like the school district, bases its negotiations largely on what is going on in other districts.
Daly told F.U.S.E. members he hopes to be able to share specific information about the contract in the next two weeks.Read more
Channel 12 News reporting New Rochelle Police took DNA Samples from Martinez' Office at Isaac Young
Talk of the Sound has learned that an employee at Jefferson Elementary School in New Rochelle formerly expressed concerns to school district administrators earlier this school year that then-newly appointed Assistant Principal Jose Martinez was taking unusual steps to make his office at the school more private. Martinez requested new locks on both the interior and exterior doors to his office including a special lock on the interior door which connected an foyer-area which served as a waiting room to his actual office. Martinez also covered up the window looking into his office until a shade was installed on the interior door, according to sources.
Sources tell Talk of the Sound that the employee was demoted after filing the complaint and admonished for being a "trouble maker".
Another district employee expressed concerns over the nature of the lock on Martinez door.Read more
F.U.S.E. President Martin Daly, in a newsletter communication to union members, wrote that recent parent meetings at Jefferson Elementary School and Isaac E. Young Middle School were painful but essential if "the district, staff members, parents and students are going to rebuild the trust that has been badly shaken by the allegations against Mr. Martinez."
In the newsletter, Daly said that many parents who spoke at the meetings supported the school district but there was some "serious criticism" for the way in which district administrators communicated with parents. The district relied almost entirely on their "CONNECT ED" system where automated calls are made to deliver pre-recorded messages. Many parents claimed that they never received any “robo calls” despite having provided their phone numbers to their child's school.
The newsletter also contained a carefully worded statement on who knew what and when.Read more
Jerome Planter, a part-time school security guard working for the New Rochelle Board of Education, did not live in New Rochelle at the time he applied for a job through the New Rochelle Municipal Service Commission in 2008 as required for civil servants in New Rochelle. Planter's official start date was November 20, 2008. To qualify, Planter claimed to reside on Drake Avenue in New Rochelle when he actually resided in Co-Op City in the Bronx. Any paperwork presented to the Civil Service Commission at the time of his hire would have been falsified.Read more
A parent from Jefferson wrote the following email which I have reprinted here with permission:
I am writing you this correspondence in support of your efforts and actions covering the Martinez case. I am one of the concerned Jefferson parents. My son is in kindergarten and I have had numerous interactions with Mr. Martinez during the past year. Like many of the Jefferson and Isaac Young parents, I trusted him, and am now shocked at the allegations, particularly because I am the father of a young boy. I am also a lifelong product of New Rochelle schools - starting at Mayflower, then Albert Leonard, and then the High School, and I returned to New Rochelle with my family so that my son could go to New Rochelle schools, so this incident is particularly disturbing.