On October 7th in our post Parent Attends Board Meeting Seeking Answers we reported some of the observations of City School District of New Rochelle parent while at the Board of Education meeting. We requested a copy of the prepared remarks made to the board of education during the public meeting because we learned that the speaker was repeatedly interrupted by board members who sought to prevent the speaker from completing his remarks during the allotted 5 minute time period and the adjourned the meeting in the middle of these remarks. The speaker also presented a Freedom of Information Act Request to Mr. Organisciak and hand-delivered it to the clerk of the Board of Education. Mr. Organisciak asserted that he refused to accept the FOIA request even though the delivery of the request was a "good delivery" for legal purposes and seen by more than two dozen witnesses. Once again we see the hypocritical behavior on the part of the Board of Educuation. On the one hand they encourage the community, "come and see us and let us know what is happening." When something is said that the Board does not agree with, censorship is the mode of operation.
The following are the remarks that one of our parents tried to deliver to the Board of Education of the City School District of New Rochelle.
In a Journal News article in August on supposed inequalities between North End and South End schools, Superintendent Organisciak told a reporter, “there's nothing about this district or this community that people should fear speaking about publicly. This has been an open forum for both pleasant and unpleasant comments." I would point out that the Superintendent made this laughable assertion while engaged in a conspiracy to suppress my efforts to publicly address this board.
Mr. Organisciak is also quoted saying, “if they have evidence, please bring it”.
How does he propose parents bring forward such evidence since he directly controls the data, which would form the basis for such evidence, and he has been unwilling to make that data public? What parents need is data on performance of students from different schools in a common school trended out over time, for example, performance of students from the two middle schools after reaching high school.
The paper also reports that two classes of students from Trinity were forced to walk the perimeter of the playground for about 25 minutes during recess one day during the spring of 2008. The parents who came forward complained this was a “group punishment”. Mr. Organisciak dismissed their concerns telling the paper it was “nothing more than a way to get in some exercise on a chilly day.” Mr. Organisciak basically hides behind his office to defame these parents by calling them liars.
Documents subsequently made public reveal that the principal at Trinity School agreed with the parents and required the teachers involved to formally apologize for meting out a group punishment in a letter sent home to the parents. One of those documents is an email on which Mr. Organisciak was copied. If the principal and the teachers at Trinity agree that this incident was a “collective punishment” then on what basis would Mr. Organisciak tell the press otherwise? Who else would HE really on for information about this incident other than the school principal and the teachers? The answer is no one. He knew full well what had happened and he lied about to the press.
When the Superintendent lies to the press, and does so, in order to discredit the legitimate concerns expressed by parents in New Rochelle, trust is lost. It may be too late but Mr. Organisciak still owes those parents a public apology and owes all New Rochelle residents an explanation for why he lied to the Journal News. This City has to have trust in its leaders. Mr. Organisciak has violated that trust. He needs to make a good faith effort to set things right; if he is not willing to do so it raises serious questions about his fitness to lead.
Given the gravity of the issue, the District has an obligation to disprove these allegations of inequality by making public any data, reports or analysis about the performance of students that would address these concerns. Towards that end, I have brought with me today a Freedom of Information Act request letter asking that the City School District of New Rochelle turn over to me any and all such data, reports or analysis in its possession so that I may make that information public and put an end to any "unwarranted" accusations made against the District in this regard.