Week of April 1, 2001

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Diversity coalitions : One Thread

Messages for the current week of April 1, 2001

-- Anonymous, April 01, 2001

Answers

The first ad is great and I even wonder if you need the "Give Onteora a Chance" line. I also feel that the copy for the candiates should be made simpler. "Support Meg Carey and Tom Rosato for the Onteora School Board" may be simpler without the re-elect/elect wordage.

The second ad is way to wordy. The elegance of the first ad is it is singular and clear. We need to simplify the wordage.

The third ad is interesting but the most negative. We should be careful about when it is best to place an ad like that. It needs a little refinement - IMHO.

BTW- I will be sending the bbs password to Dennis Yerry. And if no objections to the other candidates for bbs admission,please do admit them with the address and password.

-- Anonymous, April 01, 2001


There is a regular BOE meeting on Monday at 7pm at the HS.

On Thursday there is a BOE meeting about the district capital project at West Hurley at 6pm.

The next SOS meeting is on Saturday at 10 at Judy's Kitchen.

Please bring friends and any interested parties. We desperately need to expand or we will simply not have the necessary people to do this properly.

-- Anonymous, April 01, 2001


Sharon and I would like to NOT have our telephone number published in the ad. If the candidates wish to refer a caller to us, that would be OK. Thanks.

-- Anonymous, April 01, 2001

I don't care for the slogan of "give Onteora a chance." Reminds me of that short-lived series of "give them a chance" signs meant to protect road workers a while back -- I'm sure I 'm not the only one whose immediate smart-ass response to those was to think "Oh, maybe I'll give them one chance in ten."

Freeman online articles:

office repair budget "Onteora school district voters will be asked to authorize spending $150,000 in district funds, supplemented by insurance money, to pay for repairs to the district office..."

Trustees to discuss total construction budgets

Barbara Clare replies online March 25 regarding the Civil Rights Commission's planned announcement on Indian Mascots "Must be an election coming up that Mr.Kemble decided to bring up Indian Issues once again. Get to the financial disclosures that have come up at board meetings and move on." Yet a little bird told us that the election signs for Perry and Johansen feature exhortations about the Indian mascot, or heritage, or somesuch. A split in CARE's ranks?

-- Anonymous, April 02, 2001


More ad copy... #1:

Focus on Education It Takes a Community

"The quality of the board is the strongest determinant of school effectiveness. If the board is functioning well, is organized, and has a clear vision, you have a prayer. If they don't, you have no chance. United States Secretary of Education, Rod Paige

Support a Positive Climate Vote for Meg Carey & Tom Rosato Onteora Board of Education election: Tuesday, May 15 2-9 PM

We need your help - call: 657-2914 or 688-2214

Sponsored by S.O.S. Support Onteora Schools

#2: FOCUS on EDUCATION It Takes a Community

o Create a Positive Climate on the Board of Education o Show Leadership and Vision Practice Cooperation Return Respect

o Support Student Academic Achievement o Help All Students Prepare for Higher State Standards Support Continuing Staff Development

o Invest in District Assets o Insure Quality and Value for Our Tax Dollars Upgrade Teaching Facilities Protect Transportation Flexibility

Vote for Meg Carey & Tom Rosato Onteora Board of Education Election: Tuesday, May 15 2-9 PM.

We need your help - call: 657-2914 or 688-2214 Sponsored by S.O.S. Support Onteora Schools

#3 Focus on Education It Takes A Community STOP! INTIMIDATION INVESTIGATION LITIGATION

Vote for Meg Carey & Tom Rosato We need your help - call: 657-2914 or 688-2214 Sponsored by S.O.S. Support Onteora Schools

We will run ad #1, or some variation in this week's WTimes and Townsman (if possible) We want to advertise on the Tinker St Cinema slide show...will be $75 month for 1.5 months, plus set-uup fee or $50-$75 dollare.

Will work with Joan Schuman to help design a classy and effective ad. Ideas????? It aoppears the ad budget we need will be about $3500 including newspapers, signs and Tinker st., plus a sheet for hand-outs...Mailing? Other itemsneed to be budgeted for and added in the total, so we know our fundraising gaol. We have $150- plus anticipate anohter $300 to $500 that we can offer...Let's bring in the cash.

If someone calls and wants to know waht to do, so they can help, I suggest three things: 1. We need money 2. We need your vote and those of ALL your friends...organize to get out the biggest vote... 3. We need people to make phone calls to help get out even more votes.

More????

Tobe

-- Anonymous, April 02, 2001



I'm concerned about Meg's sign being white and red. While "Rosato" has at least a more appropriate roseate asssociation as a name, I'm wondering if it would fuel any "Red Meg" Commie associations in the more conservative voters of the community. I'd far prefer to see a navy or green for that reason, though one wouldn't like to have "green=Green" as a turn-off. Color is a language too.

-- Anonymous, April 02, 2001

First I think Meg's color selection is fine and will need to stand as designed. We simply cannot design by committee as it is too frustrating. And time is of the essence.

Secondly, I strongly feel the "It takes a Community" line is too much like "It takes a village" from Hillary's campaign. I'm afraid that will not appeal to the middle of the road voter who is the swing for this election. We don't need to appeal to our constiuants. We need to get them out to vote and appeal to the moderate voter. Keep it simple.

Thirdly, I feel that we need to not say "we need your help". Perhaps, "please call 657...to find out how you can help the campaign". "Want to Help? Call 657..."

There's my 2 cents. Now I got a meeting to go to.

-- Anonymous, April 02, 2001


I'm furious after another bully session at the meeting tonight, and believe anew that we need to name the actions of this board for what they are: attempts at intimidation, bullying, lack of courtesy and more...anyone else? I'm feeling like if we play it too sweet and positive, we lose our edge and don't let people know the reason we are outraged by the bad board behavior. Will anyone start writing letters to the editor naming it for what it is...nasty, shockingly nasty? Tobe

-- Anonymous, April 02, 2001

What happened last night. I could not attend. Colds in the house AGAIN! What a winter. Can I blame winter illnesses on the stupid board members? Anyway, what happened?

-- Anonymous, April 03, 2001

Please, somebody who attended, report on last nights' meeting for those of us who weren't fortunate (or unfortunate) enough to attend.....

-- Anonymous, April 03, 2001


Long and short of the meeting:

Hal's budget fugures...no additional teaching slots, bvudget goes up over 5% with taxes going up Maybe 8.4%...This is after returning fund balances of 1.9 million to offset the rise in prices.

This is it for tax relief...next year we will have NO large fund balance to give back...the year of J D's election...are you salivating yet?

Talk about transportation, with Mik Grehl getting his figures challenged again. Doan later went on a rampage over the figures used in the W Times article, attempting to refute every one...who knows the truth???

Meg asked for a Code of Condut to be established..marty shuffled her off saying get other examples...

Board moved to appoint new outside auditors. meg tried to get their resume's in hand so references could be checked BEFORE hiring, them. She asked for a week's delay as a courtesy...Marino chimed in and spoke about courtesy to a board member. They, with Perry leading the charge,blew by this and appointed the new guys...Randy Bullis' firm.

Surprise in Old Business...Doan moved to bid out the remaining District routes. Meg and mnarino talked about how these continual surprises were a bad way to do board business. Marty stalled for 3 days by adding this to the agenda for the Thursday's meeting (which is now at the High School) on capital projects.

At the beginnning public be heard, three speakers D Boyle. G Mcee and a third CARE supporter attacked the board for not choosing redistricting instead of committing to $5 million for Bennett improvements. Even though this was not an agenda item, Marty let them talk, and they all well exceeded two minutes...More of the usual... They claimed there had been no needs established before hiring ythe architects...bald faced lies and I caleld them that at the P Be Heard at the end of the meeting.

I'm really angry at the climate that goes on and on...I think we need to stop bullshitting around and call it what it is..Bullying, Extreme Hostility and plain Bad Board Behavior... Enough is enough.

Meg called for the board to pay some attention to bullying in the schools, Doan agreed (!) and then went on to ask for a special meeting to talk about Discipline...He wants more rules!

It seems that the Board has no credibility to talk about bullying, when they are the biggest bullies in the school-yard.

Can't we get anyone to wake up out there? If not, it's all over for five year at least!

Pissed me off. Tobe

-- Anonymous, April 03, 2001


Ad budghet info: Jim asked me to post what I know about ad prices... 2x4 " ads in W times=$92 each 2x4" in Ulster townsman = $48 each

I placed an ad in each one for this week...tried two different ads, #1 with the quote from Sec of Ed in Rownsman and # 2 with the list of good things we support in WTimes...thought we'd see if there was any appreciable response to eaither of these...like a test market.

Curry and I will be meeting with Joan Schuman to talk about ads/and the campaig strategy on Friday.

So newspaper ads at that level will be abouit $900 for six weeks.

Tinker St. Cinema (anyone Love or Hate that idea???) ad will run about $250 for the run (we need to get crackin' on this and hopefully Joan will help us figure out an effective and beautiful slide.)

Jim says he'll have sign costs by noon tomorrow...then we'll have the whole budget in hand...

Tobe

-- Anonymous, April 03, 2001


Please post the meeting archives in the thread "BOE Meeting Archives". Thank you.

-- Anonymous, April 03, 2001

SOS Meeting

Saturday - April 7th - 10am

Judy's Kitchen Rt. 28 Shokan

Please attend and bring all interested parties!!

We need to grow and now is the time.

We need more help. Please bring a friend. Thank you!

-- Anonymous, April 03, 2001


Things went very well at the Woodstock PTA tonite. Mostly I was calling attention to the upcoming election and its importance, but I did talk about our candidates, and their evil doings also. I intend to follow up at their May meeting.

A completely reliable source told me before the meeting that Fred Perry's sister did get an order of protection on him, which is currently in force. I will find out whether we can speak about it publicly or not, but, meanwhile, it may be confidential, but it's not a rumor.

-- Anonymous, April 03, 2001



Sorry, Meg and Tom: I mean their evil doings, not yours...... (Late night computer syndrome.....)

-- Anonymous, April 04, 2001

I am concerned about the use of negativity in our campaign. I believe that the CARE candidates will take care of that themselves. Keep in mind that Kathy Hockman and Mike Goodman are still a force to be reckoned with. Negativity on our part might back fire in the form of lost votes to Goodman and Hockman. We must focus on the experience and commitment to education that me and Meg will bring to the school board.

Food for thought "The future of empires lies in the education of our youth". Socrates

-- Anonymous, April 04, 2001


I also believe we must be careful about negativity...but we must tell the truth...Emphasize the wonderful educational insights and qualities that our candidates have but let's not forget the bad-board behavior and hostility/intimidation and poor judgment of the board majority led by Fred Perry...

Now, I'm not saying the official campaign should "go negative". But perhaps there are letter writers who can continue to remind people of the bad stuff that this board has done...new writers, new faces...are people willing to step forward and point to the record...For sure, CARE will try to run on their record as being a postitive thing, and will spin half-truths. I strongly believe we must not let them get away with half-truths and mis-information. I'm not eager to be the one to say the truth out loud, since I'm viewed as highly partisan (!) but if no else will do it, then I'm not sure what the choice is to get the truth out. Tobe

-- Anonymous, April 04, 2001


Tom: you and Meg, all positive, always. Our advertising: all positive at the beginning, and then we see what happens.

In a perfect world, we wouldn't have to do it, but we're dealing here with really bad people, and all I want to do is tell the truth, and let people decide for themselves. Soooo, I've got to say that I'd like to see some "truth" ads which lay it on the line....

What does everyone else think?

-- Anonymous, April 04, 2001


Tom (part 2): do you mean that you and Meg shouldn't talk about the bullshit that's happening on the board? Or that you don't want to get involved with "order of protection" type stuff?

-- Anonymous, April 04, 2001

The signs are ordered - 500 and should be in hand by the 16th. They are white with black and red lettering. Start making inquiries as to where we can distribute them for the communities.

As to the negativity of ads. I say go positive. The negative ads should only hold the board accountable for their actions but not to editorialize.

Privatization of transportation increased costs to the district. I believe they plan to privatize and claim a savings. We must refute their claims.

Destabilization of the tax base by trimming the unexpended fund balance.Why are taxes rising 8 1/2 percent if they are so fiscally minded?

Why aren't educational issues being addressed by the board? This is the big one accoreding to many people I speak to about the board. Where are the concerns of the kids in all this?

-- Anonymous, April 04, 2001


I agree with Jim. We can deal with the misinformation and "bad stuff on the BOE but we don't have to be drawn into the demeaning/argumentative game of he said she said. CARE certainly has a market share on that. CARE has effectively used emotional issues to bring out the reactionary crowd who are willing to address these issues emotionally (so goes their vote) rather than with intellect. We should avoid being drawn into it.

What I am saying is that when for example Fred espouses his misinformation our/my response should go something like this; "Mr. Perry unfortunately is misinformed when he states (fill in the blank) the verifiable facts are (fill in the blanks) or Mr. Perry has misinterpreted the data and unfortunately this has caused misinformation to be circulated as fact. The verifiable facts available to all of us are (fill in the blanks).

RE: letters to the editor - I am aware of several well-known people who have expressed an interest in supporting our candidacy. They are willing to address the bad stuff and advance the ideals that we stand for. New names, known individuals respected in education and fed up with the current situation.

Re: "The order of protection stuff"- we need to be real sure of "Fred's sister", her motivation, back ground, mental health etc. before we/anyone takes it on.

RE: The bullshit going on with the board - I am willing to deal with this head on. This is the core issue of our campaign and the root of the extraordinary need to return to and focus on education.

We should deal with all these issues with fact, intelligence, compassion, and a firm understanding of what we want to get across to the voters.

-- Anonymous, April 04, 2001


Tom hit it on the head...now we need to be sure those who said they write letters start doing it...we need these voices that are respected to point the way. I like his approiach of calling it misinformation and then stating the facts...unfortunately they have us boxed in at board meetings, with the late hour public be heard...that leaves board members Marino and Meg to counter with facts at metings or letters or people breaching the rules at the next meeting to get info out early on...

In other breaking news of interest: Although I don't have details, I just heard that the NY State Commissioner of Ed will release his report on mascot use in NY Schools tomorrow. I am told it will basically say they aren't helpful, and should be removed...he isn't ordering them down, but calling on local school superintendents and board presidents top take the lead and hold local discussions leading to their change.

Good news, I should think. More will be revealed soon. Tobe

-- Anonymous, April 04, 2001


the CARE web site (which is old now) list what they consider baord accomplishments. I can only guess they intend to build their campaign around these points...here are some responses to their points. Feel free to add and embellish, so we all remember the salient facts and are ready whrn the bullshit surfaces.

Answer to CARE's list of Board accomplishments.

1. What Native American curriculum expansion? Who's curriculum is expanded? Have you seen any new currculum the board developed? What did the board have to do with it?

2. The retirement of so many teachers is what avoided the lay-offs; nothing the board did helped that situation.

3. Not all existing educational programs were kept...no elementary summer school, and no Academic Intervention Services for average students.

4. What drama club?? The school has long offered a musical every other year. This year is no different.

5. What school newspaper?

6. What moral (sic) and school spirit??? Those I talk to tell me teacher morale is very low, and there is a feeling of anger throughout the staff for being so disrespected by the board.

7. District is being sued because the Board used such poor judgement concerning the relocatables at Bennett and Phoenicia. By the way, we have used (leased) these buildings (four classrooms) for seven years, and when one uses a building usually one pays for the use...That's the value gained...Now the district owes money to the owner and is squatting in the buildings without paying for their use...Any wonder we're being sued? Bad board decisions based on poor judgment.

-- Anonymous, April 04, 2001


Tom and Meg shouldn't touch the order of protection against Fred with a 10 foot pole. We should confirm with our source who knows her that it might be OK to see if the Freeman or Sanders wants to pursue it, if anything.

Whatever Fred's relative's state of mind, motivation or situation on this, it seems she has, however, at this point, convinced a judge that her worries are sufficiently serious. Not knowing the workings of the family court system or whatever bench issued it, I don't know how easily it is confirmed, or any of the other confirmatory practicalities.

-- Anonymous, April 04, 2001


"School newspaper" means I have to drive all the way from Olivebridge to Boiceville (no copies sold in Olivebridge or Shokan) and plunk down my money for the Ulster County Townsman to read the column that the Middle School has there every other week. That's not what I call a school newspaper. My daughter who goes to the school knew nothing of it, they don't even get a hard copy. I talked with Colleen Scanlan, who assembles it, and she'll see if it could get up on the web if they can get someone to type it up.

-- Anonymous, April 04, 2001

A ten foot pole might not be long enough...

Did the board write the articles?? How come they claim responsibility for it happening...'cause it's on their watch...well, modular mess up...on their watch...moldy building...on their watch...litigation with Erat...on their watch, higher transportation figures...on their watch...possible 8%+ tax hike...on their watch...and remember this is the end of give backs from the fund balance...as we Red Sox fans love to say, "Wait 'till next year."

now to sleep with dreams of bare walls and bare floors in the gym...lucky that the mainenance people want to sand the floors anyway this year...no extra cost associated with the floors in that case.

he he he.

-- Anonymous, April 04, 2001


BOE meeting tonite: how can any building development proceed without knowing where the 6th grade will be in the future? This is an educational issue that this board of litigation hasn't had time to consider: the need for and nature of the middle school....The Bennett addition assumes the 6th grade is staying there, so if the bond passes and it gets built, it will lock the entire district into leaving the 6th grade in the elementary schools, without ever really deciding that this is what should happen. It's a real problem, since Bennett must be added to, but how much? This is going to be a big campaign issue, and, unfortuately, the lack of focus on education has left us in a bad place to deal with it......

-- Anonymous, April 05, 2001

Last night I attended the West Hurley PTA meeting. I was warmly welcomed and invited to participate in their discussions. Some of their main concerns are as follows:

Capital project - West Hurley is concerned about the impact that a failed capital project for Bennett will have on the WH school. They support this project even though, at this point, the project doesn't address their needs or the needs of the other schools. They also support a physical separation of the HS and MS. They are reluctant to advance a broader project, which they feel might jeopardize Bennett s chances for success and result in redistricting, which they oppose.

Transportation: WH PTA feels that a move to 100% contracted transportation is not a good idea. They sited several examples of how Dist. Trans. provides services and benefits that contract does not. E.g. the response to the bus rollover by Dist. Trans. and Kingston schools inability to control contract drivers and ongoing complaints about late arrivals. One Kingston run has been arriving 20 min. late for several weeks. One long time member openly criticized Fred Perry with an unveiled posture of disgust and exasperation. Specifically she was referring to Fred's insistence that it was Mike Grehls budget that resulted in an increase in trans. costs this year, as if the BOE had no part to play in it.

Budget - They support the budget presented by Hal last Mon. but understand that this is a status quo budget. There was some discussion about the unexpended fund bal. reduction to 2%. They are uncomfortable with that. They also understand that this 2000/2001 budget could not have worked with out the windfall provided by the retirement incentive and the interest earned on the investments of the fund balance.

Bottom line - They think very much like we do on most issues. I came away with a very positive feeling

-- Anonymous, April 05, 2001


Tom-Sounds like a great meeting.

Please keep your ears open for any senior activities which the candidates could attend. It would be best if a member of the senior group brings the candidates along to introduce to the group.

Erik - I read an email from Curry regarding a public website. Tom has suggested this and if it is easy to do, please consider it. We would like to have a site setup which can publicize the candidates profiles. It would be great if it could also be email interactive so that people could pose questions which the candidates could answer every day or so.

-- Anonymous, April 05, 2001


Tom: WH rocks! Are they prepared to work hard for their beliefs, I mean, on the election? Please appear at the WES pta meeting on 5/1!!

-- Anonymous, April 05, 2001

Good news, tom...Now we need a cadre of w hurley parents to do phone work and get the vote out...who can we count on?? Tobe

-- Anonymous, April 05, 2001

time to crank up the letter writers...please ask all your friends who have not written recently to drop a short letter to the Freeman, W Times and Townsman saying at a minimum Focus on Education, Vote for meg and tom... Tobe

-- Anonymous, April 05, 2001

Latest Freeman article on the Commissioner's report regarding the mascot.

-- Anonymous, April 06, 2001

I had a short discussion with Mr. Fred Perry last night after the BOE meeting. Perry told me that he only recently decided to definitely run after he read the mascot decision by Mills. He was ecstatic because he felt this gaurenteed him the election as it would bring out the mascot supporters again.

He also went on to tell me about how the Shaw investigations uncovered $100K in double billings in the district and that the $30K spent on Shaw was well worth it.

He also went on to bet me a dinner (which I gracefully declined)that the transportation department did NOT loose money this year and, in fact, private contracts SAVED money. He feels confident that this will come out in their favor when Grehl and Snyder present the numbers.

Another issue that must be resolved is to not let them spin that they found $2M in the budget. In fact, there has been between $1 and $2M in the budget at the end of every year for 10 years and it has been then reinstated into the following years budget as revenue. After trimming this years budget, there will be no $2M left over to reinstate as revenue next year. So taxes are likely to dramatically increase.

Presently the proposed budget is about a 5 1/4% increase with taxes at about an 8 1/2% increase. That is with no new programs or teachers, only $100K for new grounds equipment. Now imagine if that $2M was not "found" this year? What would the tax increase be then? If $3.5M is 10%, then $1.75M is 5%. $2M is about 6%. Add that to the 8 1/2% and taxes this year would likely increase by a whooping 14 1/2%!!!

This is where their "fiscal responsibility" is leading us.

The voters would never approve such a high number and contingency budgets seem to be the way of the future.

-- Anonymous, April 06, 2001


letters to the editor also need to point out that last night Fred Perry lead those voting against providing a safe and separate middle school for our district. His short-sightedness and tunnel vision helped defeat a plan to keep vulnerable middle school students separate from high schoolers, as has been asked for by many, many parents throughout the district. Let's remind them over and over who betrayed their trust.

PS Did you catch Joe Doan's comments to the effect that none of this matters anyway??? After very eloquent explanations of the educational reasons from faculty and staff of reasons to provide for a separate middle school. Of course to him and the known nothings like Glenda McGee, educational research doesn't matter...They vote only for the pocketbook, not the students.

Focus on Education....

-- Anonymous, April 06, 2001


Good meeting today at Judy's.

I passed out four pages dealing with history and issues for those who need talking points or letters to the editor points. I will post them here for all to use. Please feel free to add, delete, etc. and make good use of these...Please pass them on to friends by email, or print them and circulate them widely. This is all information that needs to be known. It is almost overwhelming in its detail, but within it I hope there's something for everyone. It is VITAL that people write short letters to the editor this and every week for the Townsman and W Times, and Freeman...W Times and Freeman can be emailed to and the Townsman can be dropped off in Woodstock at the Eckert Pharmacy... W Times can be dropped off at the Sunflower health food Store...deadlines are Mon 4PM for letters...Freeman will only print short ones, and shorter is always better...one or two points makes for a good letter.

Current or old business is important. Remind voters about secrecy, bad judgments, etc.; climate in the district, Focus on Education: Vote for Meg and Tom...get friends to write...if anyone needs help constructing a letter, I'll be glad to help.

Here's the information as I have it:

Starting in the early-1990's there was a major movement to improve the Onteora District. The schools were becoming more accessible. Parents, active members of the student body, staff, faculty and community were working together to help the schools live up to their potential.

Board members, teachers, and others were actively involved in designing and holding training sessions for improving teaching and the atmosphere within our schools. People were actually working together, and the spirit was exciting. Those working for school improvement saw the efforts made by so many in all parts of the district taking root.

For many years, under the educational leadership of Superintendent Hal Rowe, progress was being made. Strides were made in upgrading teaching, building strong faculty/staff and community relationships, introducing a new schedule for the high school, and reaching for educational excellence.

Shared decision making was introduced and Onteora was a state-wide leader in opening schools to greater parental involvement and governance. Onteora was seen as the public education jewel of the Hudson Valley.

In May 2000 lack of support for the budget by some board members and candidates supported by their political action committee, C.A.R.E. led to a budget defeat.

In a reactionary political sweep, a new board majority was installed. The board atmosphere immediately changed to one of bullying, hostility and attempted intimidation.

The newly installed board majority refused to make any significant cuts in the defeated budget before re-submitting it to the public. It was their responsibility to shape the budget the way they wanted it, yet they were unwilling to cut programs that would bring the budget down to the level they claimed they wanted. Refusal to accept budget responsibility coupled with bad decisions based on poor judgement led to a contingency budget for the district.

The district was saved from extreme financial plight only because many faculty members took the state incentive for retirement. Even with a $250,000 windfall, the contingency budget made it necessary to cut valuable programs. The district lost summer school for elementary school students, summer pre-K was canceled, and any hopes of extra academic support services for average students were dashed.

The board majority tried to force drug-sniffing dogs into the schools.

The board majority removed the Kingston Freeman and Woodstock Times as official papers, leaving residents with little official coverage of the district from the two smallest circulation papers in the area.

Onteora suffers with a Board of Intimidation and a Board of Litigation, not a Board of Education. Administrative union negotiations are at a standstill. We are in litigation with at least two vendors.

Secret actions and extreme use of executive sessions have lead to wasteful spending for a special counsel.

Dr. Hal Rowe is under attack by the board majority. We can look forward to at least $100,000 being spent on hearings in a politically inspired attempt to have him removed when he is in the final years of his contract.

While great attention is being paid to investigations, no attention is being paid to education policies. The board majority insists on micro-managing the affairs of the district, while ignoring the sound research-based pleas of faculty and staff for a safe, separate middle school facility.

In the latest budget presentations, The Director of Secondary Education was unwilling to support the recommendation of the principal for four new high school teachers. This would have given the high school smaller class sizes and increased academic services. It appears that no teachers were requested out of fear that the board budget-cutters would be unhappy with any increased spending in the academic area. The board climate of hostility to any real educational progress keeps students hostage to the board majority's political agenda.

Even with a bare bones budget, and no additional services, district residents will be saddled with significant tax increases. Next year, when there will be no fund balance to add to revenues, taxes are expected to spike considerably higher.

Attacks continue on district transportation flexibility while bussing budgets continue to rise.

Attacks are being stepped up on Special Education through the hiring of Special Counsel David Shaw. Because of this hostile approach it is anticipated that district costs for litigation by parents and expensive hearings will skyrocket.

The board majority delayed a student representative from sitting on the board by 2 months. The reason given in prepared speeches by Joe Doan and Marty Millman: "The board is too dysfunctional." The hidden agenda was a failed political attempt to have a student more to their liking elected to the seat.

Fred Perry was quoted in the NY Times and local press blaming the mascot issue on "strange looking Rastaferians." This brought wide-spread ridicule to the district, causing harm to its image throughout the country.

The trial of Onaje Benjamin was an outgrowth of the highly charged atmosphere surrounding the Board of Education elections. Conflicting testimony was heard whether Fred Perry told his opponent, Donna Boundy on election night: "Take your mascot and shove it up your ass." The audio portion of videotape from the evening indicates this is what Perry said.

The board majority revoked the district's policy barring a race of people from being used as a school mascot. They showed disrespect to the Assistant Attorney General Tanya Washington after all her hard work in the community seeking compromise and common ground on the mascot issue. The board majority ignored the Attorney General's warning that the district might be in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This places federal funding for the district in jeopardy.

Joe Doan and Marty Millman interrogated 27-year employee Kathy Aley with total disrespect, leading to strong faculty and staff demonstrations against these high handed tactics. This bullying board behavior caused the district to lose this valuable employee as internal auditor.

The board majority continues with more bad-board behavior. Secret off-agenda items are brought before the board late at night for sudden action. This deprives the public of any opportunity to comment. These rushed motions make for bad decisions based on poor judgement without proper time for study. This is another example of board majority bullying tactics.

Remind voters that:

The board is supposed to focus on student achievement and policy issues.

Previous Boards:

Installed shared decision making...opened schools to parents and community stakeholders...changed hiring process to include students, parents, staff and community members.

Opened budget process to the public

Began mentoring programs

Instituted far-reaching staff development programs

Secured "Drug-free Schools" grants and training programs

Built a cooperative, respectful, and forward looking board

Set a tone of participation and dignity for the district

Respected staff and administration and allowed them to do their work

Supported development of academic intervention programs

Supported development of a new school schedule for middle school and high school reflecting the need for more academic classroom time.

Previous boards were open to new ideas that were good for students and staff.



-- Anonymous, April 07, 2001


A very good meeting yesterday! Despite the holiday, there was good attendance, including some new faces: Melissa, Pat ___?, Marino, Mike Grehl, Tom, Curry, Jim, Betsy, Meg, Tobe, Morty, Ted, Mr. Cassidy, & Erik.

Morty reported that we can have poll watchers. He wants to organize at a meeting on 4/21, and Curry will try to get the Woodstock Com. Cent. This will be a training meeting, also for outreach, and informal meet the candidates. Hopefully: Sat, 4/21. 11 am, Woodstock Community Center, stay tuned for confirmation.

There will a special registration day Tues, 5-8, May 8, at your elementary school polling place: this is the last chance to register. Absentee ballots should be asked for for those that need them asap. Erik will try to reach students who have turned 18, including recent graduates.

Mark, from Marker Tech, has donated $1200 for 500 signs, which are being printed by Bob, at American Signs, at a substantial discount. We all need to reach out and do more fund raising.

Tobe & Curry reported on their meeting with ad wiz Joan Schuman. Newspaper advertising has begun already, and an ad will be placed at Tinker St Cinema. Everyone is strongly urged to write letters to the newspapers, spead at public be heard, chat in parking lots, email friends, and generally urge everyone to get involved now!!!

Mike Grehl talked about the difficulty in coming up with meaningful numbers for the transportation budget: it's spread out all over the place, so it's difficult to compare to private contracts. We agreed, however, to stress the big numbers: the 5-6% budget increase rather than the $500,000 savings promised by Joe Doan.

I bet I'm missing somethings: anybody??

-- Anonymous, April 08, 2001


Note new thread for the www.onteora.net site. Please direct any further discussion of that site to that thread (Jim, if you are starting an April 8 thread today, maybe you could cut and paste this there too?)

I can set up another bbs here on greenspun for the candidates to answer questions -- public, rather than private like this one -- if the candidates are willing to be responsive (and if a number of us are willing to take the responsibility to be moderators to remove crank messages).

Meg and Tom, are you interested? (Happy birthday, Tom!

Please everyone note this: While Ted (Edward Ripley-Duggan) and I have desks 12 feet apart, we have totally separate online lives, so please cc us separately if needed and don't assume that because we are here together 24/7 that everything gets passed on to the other, as it doesn't.

-- Anonymous, April 08, 2001


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