Librett

“MammaFrancescaAd”

Parent Attends Board Meeting Seeking Answers

Time to read
7 minutes
Read so far

Parent Attends Board Meeting Seeking Answers

October 08, 2008 - 00:23
24 comments

It has come to our attention that a parent will address the Board of Education meeting tonight, October 7, 2008 calling in to question several items related to lack of equity, accountability and transparency within the City School District of New Rochelle. Some of the specific items being brought up have been raised previously. As we understand, neither the Board of Education nor the Superintendent of Schools have responded to this parent’s concerns. This particular parent’s concerns are of interest to all that live in New Rochelle. Tonight, other items will be added to the list awaiting a formal response (or acknowledgement) from the district. Maybe if the Board of Education and district officials close their eyes really tight and plug their ears, any concerns that parents bring up will simply go away.

It is important to note that efforts will not go away because they are about our children and our children are not going anywhere. Many of us will never tire when it comes to advocating for our children. Those of us who have made New Rochelle our home are not going to be forced to conform for less than the best.

The parent has agreed to provide us with a transcript of his remarks. We look forward to him reporting back to NRCP.

There are 24 Comments

8:15 PM - Dr. Kosrostoff just spoke, two board members heaped praise on him, other board members remain silent.

8:50PM - Margaret Pecunia is done and is heaped with praise by two board members, David Lacker asks voice over IP, another board member concurs.

8:52 PM - All 3,500 computers in the district will now automatically shut down at 10 PM and turn on at 6:30 PM Monday through Friday.

8:54 PM - All computers will no longer print. When users click "print" they will instead get blocked by a "print preview" screen.

9:11 PM - Dr. Adrienne Weiss on topic of new medical manual for district, she said parts will be on web, entire huge book will be on internal network.

9:15 PM - Editor's Note:
Interesting that there has not been a word on the financial crisis and the budgetary implications of declining home prices, reduced property tax income and Albany's plans to cut their budget.

no one should be surprised at the form and content of school board meetings. they are non responsive to community issues or views counter to theirs. I remember a recent "presentation" to the community on projected school taxes where the first 45 or so minutes was consumed by a dog and pony show from each school in the district on everything and anything but the issue on the table. After a long while -- and after members of the audience left --- the floor was reluctantly open to questions and, among other insensitive and wrong-headed occurrences, the union head actually answered a question from an audience member concerning visiting high benefit outlays and costs indicating that it was essentially a quid pro quo for lower salary demands. why he was even there was problematic; anwswering for the board was tantamount to a abuse of collective bargaining. This is not rumor or hearsay; it can easily be verified by looking through the files from the Journal News who covered the event and reported on this fact.

The only ray of light is that the city fathers are starting to slowly see the need to provide stronger linkage to the school district; a fact better late than never in coming. we cannot afford any more financial shocks given the abominable conditions in the economy and all signs indicate that the lack of proper long term planning, capital planning, infrastructure review, etc. will obviate against city growth unless addressed. We can no long afford a form over substance stylistic nightmare at the administrative level nor a board whose response is usually "the state needs to provide more funding" or we are saddled with state mandates and large union contractual demands. Yes you are and so is everyone else. Open your eyes and look -- throwing money at the second highest per student capita state entity has done little or nothing to solve the performance issues we face and certainly nothing regarding local planning issues such as raised above. This entrenched oligarchy of a school board knows less about oversight or delegation of control. Set the budget tone in advance -- ask for annualized 3% 5% and 10% budget reductions and see what you get. Let the principals set their own budgets following sensible guidelines? And, divorce yourself from the union. Our teachers may be excellent, but so are our police, fire and others and no one has a more favorable at work contract and retirement contract than the district personnel. Lobby for state mandate relief. Enter into collective bargaining and look for give backs on benefits, pensions, etc..... don't feel bad about it --- how long is this work year for teachers anyway. Toughen up and stop mythologizing the job of a pedagogue. The district seems to equate it to a Wharton MBA and believe me, I have done the job of a teacher at all levels and a business executive in several industries and there is no comparison and my work year exceeded 240 days per year with many hours of late work.

I am not knocking our teachers -- I know many of them and they rank with the best in the county and elsewhere.I have no doubt about this, but because so many well meaning parents have literally crushed the meaning of "its for the kids" politicians like Sheldon Silver and so many others gain power through reciting this mantra like it is a non-negotiable area. Well it shouldn't be --- it wasn't always that way and if you embrace that mantra blindly be you north, south, east or west in New Rochelle you are doing your kids and your community a disservice.

Insist on a district with ideas that work. don't let them skate on thick ice. Every child has the right to the best we have to bring to the table; not an entitlement for something that is so socially engineered or politically correct, that it thwarts whatever potential and choice he or she might have in life. Every parent who can provide the best for his or her child should enter the debate on what that best is for all children regardless of means. "Extras, perhaps can be secured similar to electives in college and there always are ways to provide scholarships or lotteries for those who cannot afford these extras providing that all children receive the essentials, the core and as Scarsdale just did on math; research best practises before knee-jerking changes in the classroom curricula.

I think our teachers are up to the challenges, but I am less sure about our administrators. I demand at the minimum a greater return on my tax investement than a 72% graduation rate. I further demand that when I or any of my taxpaying neighbors, friends, or even adversaries stand up and demand accountability and response they are not fed the standard "diversity" pap or dog and pony show on what is going on in little Sally's classroom. That is fine; but there is a place for that outside of the need for a taxpayer to find out what he or she needs to know to feel good about this system.

If the board and management of this district cannot commit to this, improve our student's performance to exceed the county averages, and stop whining about "no child left behind." then simply RESIGN. We are a city on the move and a nation in crisis. If you cannot cooperate and lead, get out of the way.

The transcript below was provided by a parent in attendance of last night's Board of Education meeting. The seemingly lack of substance of the meeting is probably the reason why the the Board of Education of the City School District of New Rochelle is reluctant to televise these meetings. Obviously cost is not a problem and the Board spares no expense.

The time and format of these meetings makes it extremely difficult for working parents with small children to attend the meetings. If meetings were televised, more parents and stakeholders would be able to realize what is happening and would not stand for this nonsense. Stakeholders gaining more knowledge creates more oversight, transparency and accountability. This is exactly what the City School District of New Rochelle does not want. If cost is an issue, maybe we should wait a bit before we upgrade to Microsoft Open Office. By what was reported, it is clear that the financial crisis our nation is experiencing will have no impact on the Board of Education. All is well in Disneyland.

Pages