Mayor Fried’s Campaign Against Elected BOE Raises Hackles

In emails to Baristanet and on the Watercooler, supporters of an elected BOE have expressed their displeasure at Mayor Fried’s campaigning against an elected BOE and his absence at Monday night’s forum held by the Montclair Times and Channel 34.
Mayor Fried makes no apologies. As far as the forum the other night, he says he was neither officially invited or asked to participate at the forum. “I think it is important for the public to know as much as they can about the issue, especially if they are undecided,” says Fried. “I’m not undecided, so I don’t need to continue to attend every meeting that takes place.”
Fried says the most significant power he has as mayor is to appoint the school board which is why he has come out strongly on the side of an appointed board. “It’s the one thing the mayor has the power to do that distinguishes him from the other at-large council members,” says Fried, adding giving the mayor this power was determined in 1978 after a lot of consideration. Fried said it was always his intention to have more public involvement in the appointment process by creating a nominating committee, an idea that was part of the Unity Montclair slate’s campaign.
As residents gathered to hear arguments for and against an elected BOE, Fried hosted coffee at his home on Monday night after sending this email out to invited guests:

As I’m sure you know, there will be a Referendum on the ballot on November 3rd to attempt to change our educational system. I think the elected option is too risky for our schools. To improve our kids education we need outstanding, committed members on the Board and I believe that if we make this radical change, only people who can raise lots of money will be controlling our schools.

The email then follows with a plea to raise money.

If you feel as I do, I’d like you to help by voting “No” on the elected Board question and working with me to defeat it. I have invited members of the Appointed Board Coalition (ABC) for a coffee at my home this Monday at 7:30 PM to do three things:
• raise money for the Appointed Board Coalition campaign
• sign up volunteers to make calls to their neighbors
• help solidify support for our school system
Please come to discuss ways to ensure we have a strong and vibrant school system for our kids on November 3rd and beyond. I’m suggesting a contribution of $50/person for the campaign.
Any amount will help the cause. But FAR more important than your money is your help.

So what’s your take? Does it trouble you that the mayor is actively campaigning for an appointed board, or is he entitled to choose a side and throw his support behind it? And have you, like the mayor, decided how you will vote?

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143 COMMENTS

  1. I’ll re-state my simple position:
    I prefer the folks get their say through a vote– here via an elected board.
    And while the folks may get an issue wrong, I’d rather that than a terrible Mayor making terrible appointments.
    (This is why I hate Bloomberg so much as he went against the will of the people, who now because they like him, seem to not care… It would have been the honorable thing for him to not run, and point out the problem with term limits. Instead he acted like the bully he is and using his money, changed the rules. the prof cannot get with that!)

  2. Just remember, we can’t have an elected board in Montclair we are told every day because “then it will get too political.” Give me a break.
    Fried is an arrogant blow hard who stood for change — until he got elected. Same old same old.

  3. “I believe that if we make this radical change, only people who can raise lots of money will be controlling our schools.” The email then follows with a plea to raise money.
    Did everyone catch the ironic juxtaposition?
    (Liz, you are terrific.)

  4. School Board elections are costly to the town.
    However, people should have a say on who the people are who make decisions about their childrens education. If they do a good job they stay, if they don’t, bye bye. It’s the American way, unless of course your a Democrat candidate pretty much anywhere in NJ.

  5. The pitch for money illustrates the mayor’s point. Campaign fund raising will now be part of our educational system.

  6. I’m about 80% decided to vote against the change. I think the voters should ratify the budget up or down, and I’d even like a system where the voters ratify up or down the BOE the mayor appoints. But I think a fully elected board will lead to “activists” with very small constituencies being elected.

  7. Fried could be expected to support an appointed board as it truly gives him great power. Even with his supposed committee to vet future board of education nominees, he is still maintaining that he will have the final say regardless of what the committee determines. This from a guy who ran on a platform of transparency.
    What really irks me to no end is that Fried outright lied at the emergency town council meeting that was convened to determine whether or not the town council would support the spirit of the petitioners when the mistake of the existence of two petitions arose. Fried’s claim against helping the petitioners was that he felt the town council should not get involved in any way, shape or form with the referendum. Then when the petitioners received the required number of names to pass the correct version of the petition, Mayor Fried then used his town council pulpit to try to pass a resolution in support of an appointed town council. And the defenders of the status quo claim that an elected board of education would be political. Mayor Fried will now be known as Mayor Fraud in this constituent’s book. He can no longer be trusted as cannot the League of Women Voters.
    At the same town council meeting, a representative from the league claimed that the town too should not interfere with the referendum process and that when enough signatures appeared on the petition, they would sponsor an open dialogue on the topic. We are still waiting League of Women Fraudsters. You too can not be trusted and my feminine side no longer wants your representation.
    Regardless of your position for or against an elected board, please make sure you vote. Certainly the league of stay-at-home mothers will be out in full force and we all know which way they will be voting. Pull the lever based on fact and not fear. That’s all I’m asking!

  8. I’m always amused at people who say their political opponents should “refrain from interfering” in the process.
    I won’t defend Fried’s posturing. But he (and anyone else whatsoever) in the town has a right to speak their minds.

  9. “But I think a fully elected board will lead to “activists” with very small constituencies being elected.”
    Whereas now it is the smallest constituency– the Mayor.

  10. Yes and elected mayor. Political accountability stops with him/her. More people will vote for mayor than in your typical BOE election.
    It’s like the president’s cabinet. He chooses the cabinet they’re not elected. Why? Because it’s more likely he can get things done that way.
    If we elected the cabinet then all manner of activist groups would pour resources in to those smaller elections and we’d end up with the Head of Greenpeace at EPA, The head of ACORN at HUD, etc.

  11. Why the nastiness directed toward stay-at-home mothers, who actually do so much for the schools through fundraising, volunteering, etc.? Without them, I can guarantee that your taxes would be even higher; alternatively, most after-school programs, school events, and classroom grants would just evaporate. You must not realize how many things used to be covered by the school budget and now aren’t–and hundreds of thousands of dollars are raised every year by those stay-at-home moms to maintain programs, improve the quality of the schools, and enhance the educational experience of all students.
    And don’t presume that they would all vote the same way. You can be a supporter of the schools without being in lock-step with the administration, the board, or any elected official.

  12. “Why the nastiness directed toward stay-at-home mothers, who actually do so much for the schools through fundraising, volunteering, etc.? ”
    Where is that?

  13. ROC, I’m surprised by your reasoning. Look at Mayor Fraud’s Complete Streets initiative. Had the entire town council not had to vote on this resolution, this thing would have passed and every single road resurfacing project, which is a huge part of our capital budget would have increased by 20% (wording of the resolution did not even require a vote on any future project where the cost of the complete street component would fall under 20%) to essentially provide for bike lanes. The appointed board will obviously carry the agenda of the mayor. This is much more dangerous than the potential of one or two out of the entire board having a splinter agenda. Especially when the mayor is such a fraud.

  14. I apologize for the stay-at-home mother comment. I will say this, an appointed board supported the 35 million expenditure (prior to cost overruns that there surely will be) for the new school which really is not needed. That’s a lot of bake sales and 50/50s.

  15. The president’s cabinet carries the agenda of the president. I’m comfortable with that because I think the trade off is worth it. Like I said, I’d favor ratification of the budget and BOE but not direct election.
    I firmly believe we’ll end up with BOE elections being decided by 300 vote margins. This will mean “single-issue” candidates with single-issue agendas. The BOE positions are unpaid, and not political career stepping stones, so the reason to run will be activism.
    We’ll end up with costly ineffective solar panels on every school.

  16. I agree with ROC. This is essentially a tax revolt. Let’s vote to ratify the budget and the BOE. If we have an elected board, the people who will wind up on the BOE will be the ones who scream loudest about an issue, or issues, and manage to raise money to support their campaigns.

  17. “Certainly the league of stay-at-home mothers will be out in full force and we all know which way they will be voting.”
    You should make nice with them. They’re likely to be the next elected BOE.

  18. “The BOE positions are unpaid, and not political career stepping stones.”
    Wrong! Exhibit A: Renee Baskerville.

  19. ROC,
    The President’s Cabinet is not a good analogy because while they are appointed, they must be approved by the elected Senate.
    Moreover, there is nothing explicit in the Constitution about the Cabinet- the executive departments- their size and power.
    Whereas here, the school board will have specific duties.
    Because of that, having an election is appropriate.

  20. “Let’s vote to ratify the budget and the BOE.”
    Unfortunately it’s not on the ballot gurl. But if you are game, you and I could chain ourselves to the BOE meeting room in protest.
    Or just vote “no” on the measure.

  21. “Moreover, there is nothing explicit in the Constitution about the Cabinet- the executive departments- their size and power.
    Whereas here, the school board will have specific duties.”
    Are you saying prof that the State Department, or HUD or EPA or Health and Human Services have no specific duties?
    That’s not my understanding.
    I agree about the confirmation point you make though. Which is why I’d like the Mayor’s BOE to be ratified in some way. Perhaps the council could vote on each nominee in a public hearing process. Rather like the US Senate.

  22. Tax revolt? More like a vote of “no confidence” on the current central office regime and the board that has let them rule the asylum.
    I don’t know what’s worse – cronyism or incompetence. I do know that when equally mixed you get a very expensive yet mediocre result.
    Fix it or we will.

  23. The tax revolt thing irks me as well. For some it may be, but for others like me, it certainly is not! Most people believe that simply throwing money at a school will improve it. I used to live in Jersey City and know firsthand that this does not work. We need to spend much more wisely. I will not go through the list of frivolous spends approved by the board as there is not enough space on this blog, but I will say that we do an absolutely terrible job at spending efficiently in Montclair. It’s fiasco after fiasco after fiasco. We then award all of the non-unionized workers 4 to 5% raised for their less than satisfactory performance. Meanwhile, our academics, to put it bluntly, are mediocre at best. Do you support Dr. Alvarez trip to China? The appointed board did. Perhaps we should add Vietnamese and Korean to the coursework? I mean, who wouldn’t want to travel the world instead of actually trying to make some changes that would improve our overall performance. Eh…let’s just move the baseball field 17 feet for 1 cool million. That will help the 50% of the test takers who fail their AP tests improve. Tax protest my hairy butt.

  24. The condensed version:
    “Tax Revolt? pssssh! It’s not a tax revolt! It’s all about how those bastards WASTE our tax money! Tax protest my harry butt!”

  25. “Do you support Dr. Alvarez trip to China? The appointed board did.”
    That trip was not paid for by the BOE.
    “Eh…let’s just move the baseball field 17 feet for 1 cool million.”
    That didn’t go through.

  26. ROC…I’m not calling for limiting spending on education ya imbecile. I am calling for spending more efficiently with some accountability for the decisions made by central office. In our current setup, the board is essentially behaving like the board at Enron. They are not looking out for the shareholders. They are simply approving all of the actions of the executive board regardless of their value to the shareholder. As long as the board continues to be appointed by single-term mayors, one can expect the mediocrity of our schools and how they are run to continue as there is absolutely no accountability for their decisions.

  27. Specific duties yes. But defined by whom? Whoever is President as they chose the Secretaries and they then set the policy.
    Those Departments have no specific or listed (in the Constitution) duties.
    Regardless, I don’t think having the Mayor deal with a bad Board and/or then waiting for an election to boot out the bad Mayor is the best process to deal with this.
    I would like to have an elected board and as you’ve been suggesting, a town vote on the budget (how does that get on the ballot?)

  28. ROC,
    Who paid for Alvarez trip? And I’m pretty sure the field was moved. At least that’s what the local media said. Please correct me.

  29. Interesting. I actually don’t have kids in the school system and honestly believe the schools are better served with an appointed board. As a taxpayer, I think I will have more of a say with an elected board and a budget that needs to be voted upon. If I did have kids in the system, I’d be worried about an elected board. As it is, I may just vote for one so I get a chance to vote on the budget. Since more than half the people in town do not have kids in the system but still pay plenty in taxes, I’ll bet anyone voting on the “I will not increase spending one dime” platform will get elected.

  30. Sorry – to clarify. If we get an elected board, I’ll bet anyone RUNNING on the ‘I will not increase taxes….”

  31. I have one child about to enter the school system, but we are trying to move into Glen Ridge prior to the start of his kindergarten next Fall. I know a good school system when I see one and Montclair can’t hold a candle to Glen Ridge. The elementary school kids in Glen Ridge carry backpacks full of homework daily. Did you ever see a kid walking home from the high school even carrying any books? I suppose it’s the state funding formula. Yeah right!

  32. jersey,
    What percentage of the people in town use the Fire Department?
    Is that a reason to reduce, eliminate or even question why you pay for it?
    No.
    So the idea that most don’t have kids is of no matter.
    Moreover, it is a town with good schools that attracts people. That’s the benefit folks like you- with no kids- gets from the schools.
    And this is why this issue is important to all- not just those of us with kids in the system. Because we all pay.
    And pay….
    And pay….
    And pay….
    And pay….
    And pay….
    And pay….
    And pay….
    And pay….
    And pay….
    And pay….

  33. That’s just it prof. I vote for the Mayor and council members. They work out the budget. I don’t get to vote on whether or not to cut spending on any particular item.

  34. Is our school system really that good that it attracts people? I think this is a myth. Every town thinks their school system is the best as is their country and religion. What’s next? It’s for the children? It’s to maintain our property values? You don’t support diversity by pricing it out of our town. Of course, many of the people who claim to love the diversity of the Montclair school system send their children to private school.

  35. “Please correct me.”
    The trip was paid for by The Office of Chinese Language Council International (known as HANBAN).
    https://www.montclair.k12.nj.us/WebPageFiles/43/081022.pdf
    “These delegations were sponsored and funded by the Office of Chinese Language Council
    International (known as HANBAN). The Chinese Bridge Delegation is just one result of a
    partnership formed in April 2006 between the College Board and HANBAN to build and
    expand Chinese Language Programs in United States schools. The partnership also includes
    a Chinese Guest Teacher Program that brings qualified language teachers from China to
    teach in United States schools ”
    Baseball field move cancelled
    https://www.montclair.k12.nj.us/Article.aspx?Id=57

  36. ROC,
    I’m not sure of all the costs on the trips to China, but I believe some of the charges fell on us.
    As to the move the field project, here’s what happened:
    $750,000 was allocated for a new ball field. There were problems, like it called for a WALL to be built in the outfield, and huge fencing on Champlain. But more important was the realization that $750,00 was insufficient to do the project. When actual numbers showed $1.25MM would be needed, the project was dropped.
    INSTEAD the $750,000 was used for “related” projects. Fixing the ball field up “in place.” i.e. a smaller project was done.
    The $750,000 was spent.
    If the new field was a good idea, I would sooner have spent the larger sum of money than throw away the $750,000.
    We are just now getting a handle on Capital Spending. If there are any folks out there who would like to serve on the Capital Finance Committee, AND you actually understand this stuff, please send along a note. We need more “volunteers.”
    Thanks,
    Cary

  37. Since the web sites of the competing forces are full of hyperbole and sound bites rather than substance, I was wondering how would the budget votes work. What happens if we vote down a budget? Would the board then have to submit a new budget for a vote, and how soon would it occur? If we continue to vote down the budget would the school system then have to shut down when the new budget year begins? Or could the school board act like Congress and approve a continuning resolution to keep the schools open?
    An up or down vote on the budget would provide no guidance to the board about what about the budget bothers the voters. Thus, the board would be flying blind about how what changes would satisfy the voters.
    Also, how much detail would voters be provided to make an informed decision about the budget? And if we think that school board elections will have small turnouts primarily by activists do we think that the budgets would do much better?
    I agree that we must have more accountability and I hate the current system but am afraid that we may be creating more problems than we solve. Any information you can provide will be happily accepted.

  38. “I’m not sure of all the costs on the trips to China, but I believe some of the charges fell on us.”
    Care to illuminate us Cary?

  39. stu,
    A simple test: at the end of the school year get the Montclair Times. They print what our graduate’s post High School plans are.
    In the list you will see plenty of our kids going to the best schools in the Country.
    You will also see some who plan to “work.”
    That is our great diversity: a good student can go here and get into the most elite colleges and universities. Or they can do nothing.
    So are our schools that good– YES. THEY ARE!
    (Our best can compete and usually win against those from any other school!)
    Couple that with our kids knowing and understanding diversity from pre-school and you have kids that are desirable to any college.
    And like Yankee tickets, Montclair ain’t for everyone. If you can’t afford it, there are options: apartments, condos, etc. Or move to a different, cheaper town. NJ is full of cheaper towns with great schools
    Moreover, just like the Yankees, Montclair usually has more folks wanting in then it than out.
    As for those who send their kids to Private Schools, I have no answer. Seems like a waste of good money to me considering the options as they compare to our schools.
    But that’s me, I don’t get into how folks chose to spend their money.

  40. Prof,
    I am familiar with the list. I’m fairly certain that kids in almost every school system go on to attend a similar mix of colleges and professions.
    ROC,
    I think Alvarez took a trip prior to even establishing the Mandarin Language program at Glenfield and Nishuane. The trip referenced in your minutes is at a later date and I am pretty sure this one was attended by Dr. Alvarez.
    Cary,
    I very much would like to serve on the capital finance committee and not in the form of a tax protest. I will send you an email shortly.

  41. Stu,
    I’d be very interested to know what sources YOU have that the trip was paid by the BOE. I note the relationship with HANBAN which sponsored “these delegations” predate Alvarez’s trip.
    But whether you agree or not on specific expenditures. I don’t think an elected board will necessarily make it better. justacitizen makes a good point.

  42. Actually, stu, for some kids MHS is far better than GRH because it offers more in the way of academic courses and programs, athletics, extracurricular programs etc. If your kid happens to be smart and able to rise above the chaos and focus on his work, MHS is a better option.
    That’s a big if, I’ll admit.

  43. Mind you, I’d rather we NOT be involved with Hanban – a function of the China Communist party seeking to spread “Chinese Values” to schools worldwide…
    But that’s another issue.

  44. stu,
    You are wrong.
    I said PLENTY of our kids go. Not some weakly stated, “similar mix of colleges and professions” as you wrote.
    Moreover, most schools DO NOT have many, or in some cases ANY kids that go on to the high level of educational institutions as Montclair students.
    To even suggest this shows a lack of understanding or knowledge about our schools. This alone should disqualify you from serving on any town Committee….
    Or perhaps it qualifies you.

  45. walleroo,
    My son, if he is anything like me, would suffer in the middle of the pack. I’ve heard it from students and parents that the middle has been neglected in Montclair. The honors/AP programming is strong as is the special education program. There is such major focus on narrowing the achievement gap (I absolutely hate this term), that those in the middle suffer. This problem seems not to exist in Glen Ridge. Have no fear for my move though. I still plan to maintain ownership of my multi-family dwelling in Montclair by renting out our currently owner-occupied unit so I’ll maintain my vested interest.

  46. An elected board would bring its own problems, not least of which would be the nauseating spectacle of campaigns for open positions. What we really need is to vote on the budget–at least to register approval or disapproval, making it slightly more difficult for, say, Alvarez to ram through pay increases in a deflationary year. But we’re not getting a chance to vote on whether we can vote on the budget but on the whole package. An elected BOE may be worse than what we have now, but at this point I’d rather throw a monkey wrench into the works than settle for more of the same.
    Fried’s proposal to reform the process by which board members are chosen strikes me as too little too late. If the proposition is voted down, I suspect this plan will never see the light of day.

  47. They key to this election is not who serves on the board or how they got there: it’s the ability of the community to vote on its school budget.
    According to the New Jersey Report Card, Montclair is high on its administrative costs as a percentage of budget compared to the state average. This is an area where voters could have input.
    It’s not really fair to compare the performance of Glen Ridge schools to that of Montclair; Glen Ridge is in a higher district catagory (an indication of socioeconomic wealth.) That has a direct correlation on performance. Glen Ridge has no low income neighborhoods, and very few low income students. Most parents are college educated.
    Our board of education is generally pre-selected by the CCC (an organization formed to select the ‘best’ candidates for office) and its members usually run unopposed, so it functions more like an appointed board, albeit by committee. That said, Glen Rdige has the option to vote down a budget if the residents deem it too high. It’s an invaluable right.

  48. “It’s not really fair to compare the performance of Glen Ridge schools to that of Montclair; Glen Ridge is in a higher district catagory (an indication of socioeconomic wealth.) That has a direct correlation on performance. ”
    Perhaps we could commission a study at Montclair state to correlate this to vacuum cleaner usage. Perhaps a superior education is just a few Hoover’s away?

  49. My kids are in elementary school and my impression is that the higher achieving kids get lost in the shuffle. Since the goal is to improve the system’s performance on NJASK, the system focuses on helping the kids in the “Partially Proficient” bucket and ensuring that the kids in the “Proficient” category don’t slip. The system isn’t so concerned about the “Advanced Proficient” kids as they are already where they need to be. I believe this is supported by the amount of funds dedicated to programs such as STARS versus SAIL.

  50. My experience in the schools is that what ever “type” the kids are, their parents think they get “lost in the shuffle” .

  51. This is the same dumb argument that always pops up.
    Look, if precious is better served somewhere else— send precious somewhere else.
    Who cares?
    But to make continued dumb statements (sorry walleroo) about the “Middle” is just that: dumb.
    And the idea that high achieving kids get lost is about the dumbest thing I’ve read here. (Unless of course, “high achieving” is what some parents believe their average kids are, and are SHOCKED when they don’t perform…..)
    But do you have any proof? Or are we just going on anecdotal evidence?
    But who needs proof BECAUSE if you care and love your kids, do what is best and SEND THEM SOMEWHERE ELSE!!!
    Rather than complain anonymously on a blog.
    ROC, I’m sure some pin-head academic will offer up such a “study,” because as you know, correlations are everywhere.

  52. ROC,
    My two kids, to date, are in different “tiers” and I know the higher achiever has, to some extent, been bored and unchallenged every year whereas my “middle tier” child is challenged and learning and I can see the wheels turning and the light coming on as she goes through the process. That is what education should be for our children.

  53. “Yes and elected mayor. Political accountability stops with him/her. More people will vote for mayor than in your typical BOE election.”
    Not true. Only 11% of registered voters voted for this Mayor, even the Appointed side admits that we should expect a higher percentage of voters coming out to vote in a BOE election.
    So, would you rather have 10-15% of voters choose, or one person (what is that .00005%)who was chosen by 11% of the voters (many who probably wish they could change their vote).

  54. “Fried says the most significant power he has as mayor is to appoint the school board which is why he has come out strongly on the side of an appointed board. “It’s the one thing the mayor has the power to do that distinguishes him from the other at-large council members,” says Fried,”
    No Sh**. Those in power will do anything to retain that power (including validating petitions and passing resolutions to tell the town how they should vote). Does anyone really trust a mayor so interested in “power” to really let anyone else have a say in who he appoints?
    He sure got the first two nominations in before he got around to talking about this panel (one which is still not in place)…council members stated they found out about the appointees by reading it in the Times. He has stated the panel will only give him recommendations that he can choose to follow, or not, at his whim.
    And the next mayor (who will most likely not be Fried) will not be bound by this.

  55. Who cares what the actual numbers are?
    The issue is DOES the community have the OPPORTUNITY to have a say.
    As Geddy Lee of Rush said, “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.”
    If you start down the bunny trail of using who and how many folks votes to determine whether and how you will hold elections, we are all in trouble.

  56. ” The appointed board will obviously carry the agenda of the mayor. This is much more dangerous than the potential of one or two out of the entire board having a splinter agenda. Especially when the mayor is such a fraud.”
    Not only will the BOE carry the agenda of the mayor, but so will the BOSE (as the 5 members include the mayor himself, and two council members he chooses, as well of course as the two BOE members chosen by a mayor), the only real check we have against the BOE.

  57. the borderline has to come somewhere prof. Why not vote on every BOE decision? Look of this were a well adjusted community I wouldn’t be so against an elected BOE.

  58. “The BOE positions are unpaid, and not political career stepping stones.”
    Wrong! Exhibit A: Renee Baskerville.”
    Well, that would make exhibit B: Joyce Michaleson, though I’m sure many others have gone on to other elected positions.

  59. you can see the kind of vituperative politics we will be opening the school system up to in this very thread here. People with various axes to grind will sink them into the BOE with relish.

  60. “”Let’s vote to ratify the budget and the BOE.””
    You can’t, it’s not allowed, you either have an appointed BOE and no vote on the members or budget, or an elected BOE with a vote on the budget. Those are the only choices in NJ.

  61. “Eh…let’s just move the baseball field 17 feet for 1 cool million.”
    That didn’t go through. ”
    Oh ROC, here you go again.
    It didn’t go through, not because of our appointed BOE…they tried their best to get that done. Remsen’s BOSE stopped it.
    I’d guess with the current BOSE appointed by Fried, and including him, we’d see this $1M project sail through if the BOE once again decided to try to push it through.

  62. “I would like to have an elected board and as you’ve been suggesting, a town vote on the budget (how does that get on the ballot?)”
    It IS on the ballot. Vote yes for an elected BOE and you also get a town vote on the budget. The two go hand in hand.

  63. I fear the tyranny of a Mayor. Over the tyranny of a few thousand voters.
    Look. I understand it may be worse.
    I just favor an elected or an appointed anything.

  64. Appointed board = By Mayor Bike Boy, for Mayor Bike Boy
    Elected board = By the People, for the People
    ‘Nuff said.

  65. I never thought I’d live to see the day when ROC joined the ranks of elitists who believe that ordinary people shouldn’t be allowed to decide for themselves how their own money is spent.
    The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse will be along any minute now.

  66. “sure mv…sure”
    As I said, the Appointed board advocates are saying we can expect a low turnout of 10-15%, the APPOINTED BOARD ADVOCATES. I’m simply pointing out that currently, .00005% of our voters (the mayor) who was selected by 11% of the voters, is making the decision.
    But you go ahead and continue to not read the post and then try to change what was said.
    I also noticed Cary corrected you and (as I had said) the ball field move was canceled not because the BOE canceled it, but because the BOSE did when the cost skyrocketed, though the BOE continued to spend the money you said they did not spend on other projects at Woodman including fixing up the existing field.

  67. “the borderline has to come somewhere prof. Why not vote on every BOE decision? Look of this were a well adjusted community I wouldn’t be so against an elected BOE. ”
    Nice, ROC brings up the argument the Appointed board people are using, it would be OK to elect our BOE if the voters in town could be trusted (so, is it, as per the ABC people, because we are too stupid or racist? Two of their more familiar charges).

  68. “I never thought I’d live to see the day when ROC joined the ranks of elitists who believe that ordinary people shouldn’t be allowed to decide for themselves how their own money is spent. ”
    Well, maybe ROC has a horse in the race?

  69. Technically mv, the BOE can’t spend any money. The BOSE can. So of course any stopped spending (or approved spending) is via the BOSE.
    My point to stu was that the filed was, in fact NOT MOVED. Which was one of his cited “fiascos”.
    Now if he or you or whoever think renovations were not necessary that’s another issue.

  70. “Well, maybe ROC has a horse in the race?”
    I do. The children I have remaining in the school system.

  71. ROC,
    Get the kids out while you can!!! Because in Montclair:
    Because high achievers get ignored.
    Kids in the middle get forgotten.
    Our system only seems to work for Special Ed and those at the low end of the achievement gap (re: Black kids).
    The rest are relegated to our terrible, expensive school system.
    Move to Glen Ridge while you can.
    Or pay up and get to a Private School!!!!
    BUT WHATEVER YOU DO– DO IT NOW!!!!

  72. stu, don’t be knocking the league of stay-at-home moms- this one was up way past her bedtime leafleting the town in democracy 🙂

  73. it’s true, the “league of stay at home moms”, also to a great degree known as the PTA, raise hundreds of thousands of dollars every year to provide important and needed improvements to the schools. I’ve found many of them supportive of the elected board idea, possibly because they see how much money is NOT making it into the classrooms.

  74. Sorry again woollyboo. It was not meant meant to be a knock against stay-at-home moms. I should have never made that comment. I’m just terribly disappointed at the League of Women Appointers.

  75. ” I’ve found many of them supportive of the elected board idea, possibly because they see how much money is NOT making it into the classrooms.”
    Viol√° walleroo. And when they discover they can’t squeeze much out of “administrative costs” ….
    Careful what you wish for!

  76. In a real democracy everyone has an equal say and vote. Parents, teachers, citizens, and even students to a degree are involved with the decision making process.
    I can all ready hear, “this is a republic.” Republics without the ability for the citizens to recall representatives have a built in democratic deficit. We need a vote of “no confidence”.

  77. Kit says it very well here, except that one fact she states is out of date – a few years ago Montclair was bumped-up to an “I” DFG (from a “GH”). GR has been a “I” for many years.
    Of course, the rest of her statement:
    It’s not really fair to compare the performance of Glen Ridge schools to that of Montclair; Glen Ridge is in a higher district category (an indication of socioeconomic wealth.) That has a direct correlation on performance. Glen Ridge has no low income neighborhoods, and very few low income students. Most parents are college educated.
    is still true, Montclair was upgraded to DFG “I” for political reasons – the state was looking to cut school aid to districts like Montclair (because it had already bled the existing “I” districts dry) – bumping it to “I” allowed it to do so.

  78. Justa writes:
    What happens if we vote down a budget?
    Schools would not shut down, and the final budget would be resolved long before the school year begins. This was discussed in a previous thread:
    https://www.baristanetnew.wpengine.com/2009/10/taskforce_gives_recommendation.php#more
    some excerpts:
    …the budget goes to the public for a vote, if it fails, it goes to the Council, which can make cuts. The Board of Ed can then appeal those cuts to the State. A few years ago (about five I think), the State Legislature changed the law to make it a little harder for the state to completely override the municipal cuts, but I’m told that there is still much restoration at that level.
    It’s also important to note that while the Council can suggest the cuts on specific line items, it can’t actually force the Board to make the cuts on those items, only on the equivalent dollar amount. What some Board of Educations do is they cut something much more popular with the public and say “The council forced us to cut X”, then the next year they use that argument to get the next budget passed…
    and:
    While I agree with Kit that there are serious flaws in the “Type II” system with regard to protecting the taxpayer, I think that having to submit a budget to a vote, and having to face a public election, does at least serve as something of a brake on spending.
    Also, another important – perhaps most important feature of “Type II” school districts is that School Bonding must also be presented to the voters…
    [Note: There are 2 basic types of school districts in NJ. Most towns (including GR & Bloomfield) have Type II districts. The proposal on the Montclair ballot is to change from a “Type I” school district to a “Type II” school district]

  79. Prof,
    “stu,
    You are wrong.
    I said PLENTY of our kids go. Not some weakly stated, “similar mix of colleges and professions” as you wrote.
    Moreover, most schools DO NOT have many, or in some cases ANY kids that go on to the high level of educational institutions as Montclair students.”
    Can you provide me with some factual evidence as a critical opponent of anecdotal evidence. Please try to make your evidence more credible than what ROC dug up.

  80. Huh?
    I’m confused by your post.
    Were you proving the point about the poor Montclair education? If so, you make a good point as I have no idea what you’re getting at.

  81. Prof,
    I was referring to this earlier post of yours where you claim ‘(Our best can compete and usually win against those from any other school!)”
    Most towns print the list of recent graduates and their future plans. My claim is that our list does not differ that greatly than that of our neighboring towns, nor my own high school in East Brunswick which is of similar size, or Teaneck, for example. I bet 50% of the students in Bloomfield don’t fail their AP tests. I still stand by my original statement that the ‘great’ Montclair school system is mostly a myth. We are mediocre and pay our administrators an arm and a leg for this mediocre performance. We can do better, but not without some level of accountability.
    ————————————————-
    A simple test: at the end of the school year get the Montclair Times. They print what our graduate’s post High School plans are.
    In the list you will see plenty of our kids going to the best schools in the Country.
    You will also see some who plan to “work.”
    That is our great diversity: a good student can go here and get into the most elite colleges and universities. Or they can do nothing.
    So are our schools that good– YES. THEY ARE!
    (Our best can compete and usually win against those from any other school!)

  82. stuw, let me get this straight–you don’t have a child in the Mtc public schools yet you unequivocally know that it’s a mediocre district that would not benefit your child who you know runs in the middle? And you want prof to offer up some hard data as to why he feels the schools are good yet your “evidence-backed” conclusion that GR is better is based on the size of the backpacks the children are carrying? Move to Glen Ridge already.

  83. Tudlow,
    America #1. Right? How many kids do you have in the schools. Ask them how they think the schools rank. I have spoken with many seniors including last year’s valedictorian who aided the petitioners. He offered an interesting perspective on the school system. One which he was not aware of until he attended college this past year which provided him some perspective. Perhaps you should fine some.

  84. Again Stu,
    Look at the number of our student who attend elite colleges. And look at our diversity. These two numbers matter, though you clearly don’t seem to understand that.
    And are you really going to compare East Brunswick to Teaneck and Montclair?
    According to the Census, East Brunswick has a whopping 3% Black population and a 21% Asian population.
    Clearly from what you’ve written here- with no effort to support any of your claims- you have NO IDEA what you’re talking about.

  85. Right, I need a fresh perspective because I blindly believe that Montclair has great schools based merely on experience.
    Yet, you are spot on because you have ZERO experience with the school system yet you somehow possess this comprehensive knowledge of its mediocrity? And are not duped into the myth (unlike all the other dopey believers in this town) based on what the valedictorian of last year said? Now there’s some scrupulous data collecting.
    And you think that an elected board will somehow bring up the town’s mediocre school performance? Will they just bulldoze the poor people out of town to get rid of the achievement gap? (I know how you like that term.)

  86. Thanks for the clarification, Carl, I didn’t know that Montclair had been bumped up.
    Do you know whether the state unilaterally decreased the average income levels so as to garner more “I” districts? Do you know whether that change occured during the change in the funding formula for the Abbot districts?

  87. You don’t support diversity by pricing it out of our town.
    I don’t profess to have the census numbers to back this up, but in my 20 years here it doesn’t seem like there’s been any huge exodus. The mix looks pretty much the same as always, imho. And now with the various affordable housing rules, I don’t forsee a big change in the future, either.
    He offered an interesting perspective on the school system. One which he was not aware of until he attended college this past year which provided him some perspective.
    Stu, I’d like to hear what you mean, exactly, if you feel like sharing. Our schools stink? Our AP classes are easier than basic as Freshman 101 level courses (in other words, a joke)? Students are completely lost when they get to College Algebra? They slept thru 11th and 12th grade (or were out driving around to get lunch) and are totally unprepared academically? Or, they found that college GEs were so boring and redundant, that it was like being in HS all over again?

  88. tudlow and Kay:
    Don’t try to have an exchange with stu.
    S/he’s the type who hears one thing from one person and believes S/he has perfect knowledge.
    Funny how he didn’t care to clarify his silly comparison of Montclair to East Brunswick.
    But he spoke to “last year’s valedictorian” and he said……
    Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.

  89. Kay,
    He did not say that our schools stink, so much as he claimed that they could do a much better job with the achievement gap and the middle (not my words, but his). He felt the AP offerings were excellent but he also felt that the best teachers were working with the best students for the most part and this was hurting the middle. He also eluded to the self segregation in the high school and couldn’t believe how the school essentially goes from black to white as you climb the stairs.
    As for perspective, I think he felt significantly more challenged in his freshman year at college than at Montclair, but this is to be expected of any brainiac in any school system.
    I’m not the greatest writer, as you can all surely tell, and I’m sorry if it comes across that I appear anti-diversity or anti-Montclair. This is not the case at all. I just FEEL that people tend to think that whatever they have is the best so the status quo becomes acceptable. I’ve lived in Montclair for a mere 16 years of my 39-year old life and have really not witnessed much improvement in the school system over this time. I really think that the board has become complacent and is way to easy on the administration and what they are paid for their lack-luster performance. If you disagree, that is fine. This is just my opinion on the matter based on what I have read in the Montclair Times, witnessed at town council meetings and have heard from the students.
    And Tudlow…it’s fun to put me down and quite honestly, I’m pretty thick-skinned so it’s no big deal. So besides focusing your efforts on pushing me to move, what are your observations that represent the superiority of our school system.

  90. This is all a red herring. Whatever you think about our schools the issue is whether they will get worse with an elected board or not.
    I don’t think being on the BOE is an easy job. In fact I believe the has (or is going to) require training for BOE members. If we make these positions nice and dirty, screaming, acrimonious, bitter political positions we’ll end up with the same one-term poor quality “leaders” we get on the town council. People will either make significant changes and leave because of what will surely be hate-filled acrimony. Or perhaps worse, be amiable whichever-way-the-wind-blows types who are more concerned with being popular than accomplishing anything of substance.

  91. Prof,
    I’m sorry that my parents didn’t raise me in Uber-Montclair. I am aware that East Brunswick is very different than Montclair, but you speak like Montclair is above all other school systems since it has diversity. I chose to live here for its diversity as I experienced a bit of a culture shock when I attended college and really enjoyed sharing a room with two African Americans. But go on. Keep on putting me down and not presenting a single argument besides a familiar list that every town publishes displaying where their graduates are going in the fall. And I don’t have perfect knowledge nor do I believe that anyone does. I believe in consensus through debate such as what we are participating in here. Quite honestly, I think you need to only look in the mirror if you want to find someone who feels they have the perfect knowledge and not just regarding this topic.

  92. stu,
    Despite what I’ve written, you last post was well stated, clear and heartfelt.
    So I’m sorry if I was too personal or direct or whatever.
    I enjoy exchanging with you even though we disagree.

  93. Thank you Carl.
    A question for you and others: will the BOSE still be necessary with an elected Board? If so, doesn’t that weaken a newly elected BOE and keep much of the power with the mayor and council, even more so if the budget is voted down?

  94. Once again, ROC is correct. We can acrimoniously debate the quality of our schools. The real issue is appointed vs. elected and whether that will have an impact upon spending (perceived waste since the budget is what really brought this to the forefront) and the current quality of the schools (whether you think they are good or bad.)
    As a taxpayer without kids I am very tempting to just vote for an elected board so we can vote on school budgets. But, I also care about public education, and the town in which I live so I have real doubts about what school quality would be in a few years – especially if I just look at the small sample of posts here and on the ‘cooler. Scary.

  95. “This is all a red herring. Whatever you think about our schools the issue is whether they will get worse with an elected board or not.”
    Ha, nice one, how about, whether they will get better with an elected board or not.

  96. Prof,
    I actually do have proof that the high achievers at the elementary and middle school levels are getting lost in the shuffle. (Since my children have not attended the high school yet I cannot speak to the quality of its programs) I’ve seen the budgets; I’ve spoken with teachers and principals; I’ve had district administrators confess that SAIL, the district program for “gifted and talented”; is underfunded and broken; and I’ve volunteered my time to help the district strengthen the program. I have also benchmarked our state and district spend and results against districts throughout the country. If you have proof to the contrary I would love to see it.
    Now, different schools in the district do better than others in addressing the needs of those students but it is in spite of the district’s efforts rather than because of its efforts. It is also a testament to the administration and teachers in those schools.
    Having said all of that, I am the product of public schools which were very diverse (there was a military base in my town) and want my children to experience the same. That is why we choose to live in Montclair rather than Chatham or someplace like that.

  97. Roc, why do you believe an elected board must result in a lower caliber of board member? Or be expensive (other than the cost of an election.)
    The requirements for training and time commitments are enough to weed out the dilettantes. What kind of agenda would you be concerned about?
    As far as the cost of the April election, I have often thought municipalities ought to join to get the State to allow school board elections in November, so as to increase participation. It has been discussed for years. I suspect the schools would be opposed to the change — not because of politicizing an election, but because the traditionally poor turnout benefits them.

  98. Kit writes:
    Thanks for the clarification, Carl, I didn’t know that Montclair had been bumped up.
    You can hardly be blamed for missing it, it did not get a lot of press.
    Do you know whether the state unilaterally decreased the average income levels so as to garner more “I” districts?
    If you look here:
    https://www.state.nj.us/education/finance/sf/dfgdesc.shtml
    You will see that it’s not just income levels – DFG is based on several factors. I have never been a supporter of the DFG system, so I am biased, but I’ve always felt that it could be easily manipulated for political purposes, (In fact, for that reason, I predicted that Montclair would get bumped up to “I” for political reasons years before it actually happened). I have been to many presentations and read a number of reports on this subject over the years, and I’ve never come across any evidence to counter my suspicions about exactly how DFG’s are determined.
    Do you know whether that change occured during the change in the funding formula for the Abbot districts?
    As I recall, Montclair’s DFG change pre-dates the funding formula change by a significant amount of time, but I have been unable to confirm the date.

  99. justa,
    You have experiences that you believe reinforce your point of view.
    That personal experience is just that: personal.
    But who cares, I’m not gonna defend this school system.
    If you don’t like, go somewhere else.
    Hell, I hope more folks continue to pay taxes and send their kids to private school– we could use the money.
    All I know is what I see come graduation time: many of our kids go on to the most elite and selective schools in the Country.
    But so is Montclair: a VERY CLOSE person to me teaches in our district. One week she’ll show me a kid she taught who ends up on the police blotter, the next week a kid who is going to Princeton.
    Go figure.
    The bottom line here is ALWAYS the parents.
    So you can spend Newark money— 20k/per kid and get NO results or you can spend a quarter of that and get great results. The difference is sadly, the community, culture and parents.
    Things that no elected or appointed board can control.

  100. Justa writes:
    A question for you and others: will the BOSE still be necessary with an elected Board?
    I’m pretty sure if you switch to Type II, there will no longer be a BOSE
    If so, doesn’t that weaken a newly elected BOE and keep much of the power with the mayor and council, even more so if the budget is voted down?
    I don’t see how that would be the case, I would think that the opposite would be true, elected Board Members don’t answer to the Mayor (believe me – I know 😉 ).

  101. So, you’re saying that,as per ROCs post, they (the schools) can’t get better with an elected board, only stay the same or get worse. Sorry, i disagree.

  102. Well said, prof.
    But I’d add…..
    EVERY school district can point to some kids who go on to great schools. Irvington sent kids to Brown and Yale, Newark sent kids to Cornell. High-achieving kids will ALWAYS do well, in large part due to the factors you cited — parents, community, etc. The true measure of success is how well they do with the rest of the kids.
    Of course, in Montclair EVERY kid is talented and brillant and any failure to “achieve” must be laid at the school’s doorstep. Additionally, the litmus test of success seems to be “what school did he/she get into”? While a Harvard degree certainly opens some doors, can it really be said that kids who don’t get into schools deemed “good” are doomed to failure? Can it be said that kids who elect to work in a family business or travel for a year or two or join the Air Force or simply chill for a time are living, breathing testaments to the “failure” of the school system?
    I think that the Montclair system does a nice job, but like any system it is not perfect and there are folks working there who shouldn’t be. But I love this “I know someone who knows someone who says it sucks” or “I sell T-shirts at fundraisers so I know what happens there” expertise.

  103. There are currently proposals in the legislature to move School Board elections to November, however, a good argument aainst moving the school board elections to November is the timing relative to the school year.
    You all should also be aware that there are a number of proposals in the hopper (some of which are supported by the administration) that would significantly weaken the power of the voters to reject school budgets

  104. From Cary Africk, another example of how the schools decide to spend our money. As the parent of two in the system, this isn’t where I’d choose for the BOE to spend my money…
    Last April, during the discussions of school spending, I was very encouraged to
    read about Federal Stimulus money that was targeted for Montclair’s schools.
    I tried to determine what the funds were going to be used for, thinking that
    perhaps they could help with the tax burden, or be used to rehire much needed
    aides, professional development for the teaching staff, etc.
    Although I had read that the money could be used for Special Ed and other IDEA
    programs, I was told that the money was very “targeted” and that there was
    little latitude for its use.
    Therefore I was very surprised today to read in the Star Ledger that at least
    some of the money, $65,000, is being used for motivation speakers for the
    football team.
    See:
    https://tinyurl.com/yhmwwuu

  105. An elected board will result in lower quality board member?
    Interesting idea. Is there someone on the Board currently who is a scholar in education issues? I must have missed it if that’s the case.

  106. Prof,
    For what it’s worth, I’m putting my money where my mouth is and plan to move by the Spring. Unfortunately, the congress keeps artificially supporting housing with the new subprime (FHA) so prices are staying higher than I would like them too. I can only hope that they end this ill-fated tax credit and housing will finally fall to levels that are more realistic. I suppose, we could always rent as well.

  107. Thanks Carl. I checked that Census Bureau link you provided and confirmed that a BOSE is purely the function of a Type 1 school district.
    My point about keeping the power with the Mayor is if the electorate rejects a school budget. Then the Mayor and council would have the final say.

  108. Carl has made a VERY important point and I hope people don’t overlook it:
    In an Elected Board situation the voters get the say on bonds, and thus “big projects.”
    In Montclair, the voters would have decided the new $35MM school.
    Maybe that’s the REAL motivation for wanting to keep the appointed board? The schools need LOTS of money in improvements. It’s a lot easier to get $5MM when you don’t need to get a vote!
    Not saying the money shouldn’t be spent, but it might be “nice” for people to know how much money is being spent. And there’s nothing like a vote on a bond to focus people’s attention.
    Six or so years ago, before the big school expenditure, the schools also spent about $15MM on a series of “upgrades.”
    Total school/town debt is probably about $200MM now.
    Cary

  109. Cary,
    And lets not forget the BOE has not yet funded the cost of the new furniture and staffing for the new school, that is another $5M according the BOE at a meeting 3 years ago
    or does it include the cost to renovate Rand which with the asbestos issues of these old building is another un-budgeted $3 to 5 M, (according to the BOE Consultants)so we are looking at a $45 M new school
    Bob

  110. Not so long ago, I was a supporter of an appointed BOE, pretty much following the thought pattern of the mayor: picking the best from a basket of dedicated, skillful candidates etc. pp.
    However, having watched my taxes go up 25% in the last 5 years *and* experienced first hand our school district as a parent and spectator of BOE meetings (PTA liason), I am now a convinced opponent of an appointed BOE.
    Thats said, I totally agree with the Mayor that he has little power compared to the other council members, once he looses the power to appoint the BOE. Maybe its an indicative that we need a change in that structure as well. The current system seems suited for preserving the status quo and making little changes.
    Is that what we need?

  111. me think everbuddy shud move out of mountclair. mountclair bad taxes bad corzine bad. need savyour name of cristy him good him remove all taxes an soshulest commie stuff. get rid of schools post office and cops them soshulisum. then good time will roll an cristy be hero an repudlicans triumf. yay.

  112. The real reason no one ever wants to discuss incompetence or failures of the school system is the property value conundrum. “Our schools MUST be good to justify the high prices we all expect to get on our houses.” Typical self-interest, trying to protect an investment.

  113. Snappyguy is right – the collusion between greedy realtors and wealthy school moms to maintain the perception of “top rated” schools went on for decades and masking incremental deterioration in the quality of education AND quality of life while taxes rose. How?
    Lesson 1 in Sociology 101 – In a democratic system, a dedicated, well-organized and focused minority can often “overrule” or “manage” a diffused unorganized majority. (Prof-Sara Palin) THAT IS what will happen in a school board election. Check out whether Newark schools benefitted when they made that change. (Note-I am disgusted with this rubber-stamping BOE)
    There are TWO real tax problems – BOE overspending on administrative costs and COUNTY GOVERNMENT with duplicate services and political patronage jobs & contracts. Back in the mid-90’s, hunreds folks from a truly diverse cross-section of town – welfare recipient to wealthy businessperson – participated in Montclair 2020, a visioning excercise about what we wanted the town to be like by 2020. There were literally hundreds of ideas. However, there was only ONE idea that received a 100% UNANIMOUS APPROVAL VOTE – ABOLISH COUNTY GOVERNMENT. I say at least intensify review of duplicate services, expenses from political patronage jobs, and other waste.
    Goal – Return to excellent quality education and a high quality of life for ALL residents in exchange for reasonable tax dollars.
    Approach: Stay focused on the problem; not the personalities or the pontificating.

  114. Is it true that Frank Alvarez makes as much as Joel Klein, who is over a few million school kids in NYC?? What a joke. If a NYC school failed to have an asbestos action plan in place as required by federal law for decades Joel Klein would have been looking for a new job a long time ago.
    Instead Frank gets a raise.

  115. According to New York magazine, Klein made $250,000 in 2005, so I would guess he’s making closer to $300,000 this year.
    More than Frank A., but not that much more considering how many more schools he manages.

  116. nana,
    Perhaps you should enroll in MHS’s History course to understand that your ill feeling about the rule of the minority is enshrined in our Constitution.
    And what does Palin have to do with this other than your blind hatred of the woman?
    Surely you’re not saying it was her who out-played THE GREATEST COMMUNICATOR of his generation. The man with the GREATEST POLITICAL ORGANIZATION the world has ever seen?- Obama who also has a Democrat Senate and House?
    How could she- a rube from Alaska- derail his Health Care scheme? How could she convince DEMOCRATS to not support Obama?
    You libs have made her into Superwoman!!!

  117. Thanks, Stu for the feedback. That kind of reinforces my own opinion, based on the experience of a recent HS graduate that I know well… she was in the ‘high honors’ track and probably would have fit better in a lower track… when got to college, she didn’t do very well and is now waiting tables and going part time to community college. All I am saying, is that she was probably closer to being a ‘middle of the road’ student, and if the school does tend to gloss over that segment of its population, it’s no wonder she was so ill-prepared for college. I have heard about (and witnessed) the self-imposed segregation – sad, but certainly no easy solution for that.
    As for achievement, doesn’t this have more to do with parental support and encouragement at home, than with race or economic background? And if so, since you can’t legislate high personal standards or encouragement… we will most likely have an achievement gap until the end of time.
    …$65,000 is being used for motivation speakers for the football team.
    Now, I am all for school sports, but this is puzzling to me. If they can’t maintain their grades, they get kicked off the team – no?
    Meanwhile I toured the new facilities on Tuesday nite during the Middle School sports program open house… very nice…fancy equipment … I wonder how the art room and music studio look… hmmm.
    Finally, whatsup – thanks for making me laugh out loud!

  118. $65,000 federal money for a “motivational speaker” is an absurdity. It’s quite a damning indictment of the Democratic “Stimulus” package indeed. I am sure this is just the tip of the iceberg of completely wasted money which has ballooned the deficit from 500 billion to 1.4 trillion.

  119. by the way, this guy is getting paid $50,000 for 12 classes. Which works out to $4166 per hour.
    NIce work if you can get it.

  120. I have to say I am weakening too.
    Now this is mostly federal/Obama insanity borrow 1.4 trillion for crap like this. But someone at the district had to also think “hey! this is a good idea!”

  121. MHS’s History course?….What history? If its local history, especially Fourth Ward History….its all been plowed over, thrown in the rubbish or erased by the BOE.

  122. Whatever your position on the stimulus package, the fact remains that the town got this money. And this is how the BOE spent it? Right now? Why are football players being singled out and if their grades are that bad why are they even allowed to play? I think we got more than $65k too, wonder what they will do with the rest.

  123. Whatever your position on storing 50,000 gallons of gasoline at the public library is, who was smoking in there!

  124. Not quite. But nice try. The town wasn’t about to give it back and say sorry, we don’t agree with this bit of legislation.

  125. Oh, gurl. Step one in getting your kids not to blow their money is NOT giving them $500 in cash and telling them to spend it right away!
    Here’s how it went down:
    $65,000 lands, (THUD) on the desk of Alvarez. Tagged for “early-intervention programs” and part of the Obama’s stimulus. The rule is it has to be “early-intervention” and, like all stimulus money, SPENT NOW (the whole idea of “stimulus”).
    Alvarez calls a meeting:
    Alvarez:
    “So what do we got ready in the way of early-intervention programs guys, we got $65,000 one-time federal dollars”.
    Lackey:
    “well, we don’t really have any one-off program plans, chief. We got lots of ideas for continuing, unionized, long-term, continuously funded stuff. But nothing ready to go for a quickie one-time program. ”
    Alvarez:
    “We gotta spend it! Use it or lose it, people!”
    Lackey #2:
    “Oh, I might know of something”
    Alvarez:
    “Yes? Ok. You, GO!”
    Lackey #2:
    “Coach was yammering on about some ‘motivational speaker’ idea he had for the guys. That could maybe be a one-time thing”
    Alvarez:
    “Great! You (speaking to Lackey #3) get the guy on the phone!”
    (dialing…)
    (Lackey #3 mumbling in background on phone, Alvarez speaks over mumbling to Lackey #1)
    “See? This is exactly what I was telling you about, fast paced, decision mak….”
    Lackey #3:
    “Excuse me chief, he says he could come up with something for 50 grand over six months – meeting twice a month”
    Alvarez:
    “Great!! Can we pay him up front?”
    Lackey #3:
    “he says yes”
    Alvarez:
    “We still have 15 grand left. Can he also do something in the elementary schools for 15 grand?”
    (mumbling on phone)
    Lackey #3:
    “he wants to know ‘like what?'”
    Alvarez:
    “I DON’T KNOW! Something motivational! 15 Grand.”
    Lackey #3:
    “he says ‘yes’ chief.”
    Alvarez:
    “Done!”
    (quietly to self)
    “Alvarez, old boy, you’ve done it again!”

  126. ROC,
    You do realize that your evidence is not admissible unless you received permission from the lackey and the super prior to recording the conversation.

  127. Oooh! ooh! I know!
    $15K left over to design another PowerPoint presentation about SAIL (not actually *do* anything, mind you) – so that they can pretend like they’re addressing the needs of high achievers!
    Early intervention, to prevent the smart kids from getting TOO much intellectual stimulation in school.

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