Crusading hyper-local blogger Robert Cox has announced the launch of his campaign for a seat on the local school board. Just months after a death threat was painted on the side of a boat owned by an employee of the local school district in New Rochelle, NY, Cox filed a stack of signed petitions from voters including a number of prominent New Rochelle residents, among them current and former elected officials, school board members, community leaders, parents fed up with declining academic results and property owners fed up with ever increasing taxes.
"I figure 'Don't get mad, get elected'", said Cox about the death threat as he walked out of New Rochelle City Hall on Wednesday.
Exposés of the school district by Cox on his Talk of the Sound blog have become the bane of school officials determined to cover up problems in the district over the past several years.Read more
I announced on my radio show on WVOX last Friday my intention to file papers this week to run for school board in New Rochelle. Over the weekend I began obtaining the required signatures and getting the necessary paperwork in order. The papers are due Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. but I will likely file sooner than that.
Once I file, I will explain more fully how it came to be that the most vocal critic of the New Rochelle Board of Education and the current administration opted to become a candidate for one of the two open seats but for now let me say that it had been my hope to find a candidate that was not selected by "insiders" and would advance my goals of increased transparency, accountability, equity, and excellence in the New Rochelle system. After looking long and hard and talking to over a dozen prospective candidates, all of whom ultimately opted not to run, it became clear that if no one stepped forward the available board seats would be filled by two candidates hand-picked by current board members with the goal of maintaining the status quo on the board. If all was well in the New Rochelle schools that might be acceptable but all is not well, as has been documented amply on Talk of the Sound over the past several years, and so more of the same is not only not acceptable but also intolerable. I came to realize that I had no choice but to step forward to present New Rochelle residents with a clear alternative to more of the same.
If you are satisfied with ever-increasing taxes then please vote for my opponents.
If you are satisfied with declining test scores and graduation rates then please vote for my opponents.
If you are satisfied with a system that allows criminals to work in our schools and come in direct contact with our children then, by all means, vote for my opponents.
If you are satisfied with classrooms overcrowded with children who do not live in New Rochelle vote for my opponents.
If you are willing to accept school budgets that purposely obfuscate the district's finances, school vehicles being misappropriated for private use, the willy-nilly paying out wages and overtime with no system in place to reliably clock workers in and out during the work day, or students enrolling in our schools from Yonkers, Mount Vernon and the Bronx then you most certainly want to vote for my opponents.
But if you had enough of the waste, fraud, and abuse then vote for me.Read more
Today will be a special show and perhaps my last for several weeks as I consider a run for school board in New Rochelle. Many people have been encouraging me to run over the past year and I am now at the point of giving it serious consideration. The filing deadline is next Wednesday so if I decide to run I will not be able to host a show on WVOX as an active candidate for elective office.
I intend to use today's show to discuss why I am considering a run for school board and what I hope to accomplish should I be elected. One thing is for sure, I would be giving up some degree of freedom to report on certain matters within the district that our discussed in Executive Session but I am under the distinct impression that much of my reporting on incidents and problems at the schools are not being shared by the Superintendent with the Board of Education anyway so this may not be much of an issue.Read more
New Rochelle High School Football Coach Lou DiRienzo has launched a Twitter account to provide news and information about the New Rochelle Huguenots Varsity Football team. Twitter is a popular social media service which can be access for free at Twitter.com.Read more
New Rochelle Board of Education members Quay Watkins and Sara Richmond will not stand for re-election to the school board next month. The school board is comprised of 9 members with two up for re-election each year except for once every five years when only seat is up for election.
The news, rumored for the past several weeks, was made official with an announcement today by the League of Women Voters. In announcing their New Rochelle LWV Candidate Forum to be held May 9, 7:30 p.m. at the New Rochelle Public Library, the League of Women Voters added:
Board members Quay Watkins and Sara Richmond have indicated that they will not run for re-election to the school board, which have 5-year terms.
A student at Albert Leonard Middle School received a 5-day suspension earlier this week for distributing brownies laced with marijuana. Several students reported feeling sick after eating the "pot brownies".
The incident was widely discussed among students at Albert Leonard Middle School. Several students who say they know the student, an 8th grade female, tell Talk of the Sound that the student's older sister was recently disciplined for a drug-related incident at New Rochelle High School.
One City School District of New Rochelle employee, who asked not to be identified, told Talk of the Sound the student may have been selling the brownies and that some student knew they were ingesting brownies laced with marijuana.
UPDATE: A reader sent the following note:Read more
Alleged child molester Jose Martinez, former administrator in the New Rochelle Public school system, waived his right to appear in New Rochelle City Court. His next appearance date was set for May 12th. An application for a bail reduction was denied. Martinez remains locked up in Westchester County Jail on $500,000 bail.
Talk of the Sound has led the way on coverage of the Jose Martinez case. We were the first to report on his abrupt resignation, his disappearance and his subsequent arrest. Keep reading Talk of the Sound to get the inside story on New Rochelle.Read more
The New Rochelle Board of Education voted last night to adopt a 2012-12 proposed budget of $230,872,398 with an estimated tax increase of about 4.5%. The budget represents a 2.66% increase from last year's budget.
Funding for non-mandated out-of-district busing for private and parochial students was partially restored and there will be fewer teacher layoffs than initially announced. The transportation budget was cut by $750,000 down from the original projected cut of about $1.9mm.
Schools Superintendent Richard Organisciak said 35 employees may be laid off down from 100 in the initial proposed budget due to 46 retirements and resignations, an increase in state aid and the employee union foregoing a wage increase in the first year of the new 3-year contract which will be made up on the back end of the contract with subsequent increases of 2.1% and 2.6%.
There will be a purported salary freeze for Schools Superintendent Richard Organisciak and Assistant Superintendents.Read more