BoE Meeting 4/8/2008 – Recap
It was a packed house for the final Board of Education meeting before the April 15 election. With no major school or administration presentation on the agenda, things moved quickly. The election ahead was referred to several times, along with further discussion of the budget, and one of the “Phils” breaks his silence! Read on…
Teacher Retirements = Fewer Layoffs
The board accepted notices of retirement from several teachers. That could help save the jobs of newer teachers on the list to be laid off as part of the new budget. Among the teachers retiring at the end of the school year: Irving Ortiz at the Brandt School, Lucio Gentile at Calabro, Margaret Sojkowski and Nancy Stinson at the Wallace School.
During public comment Teachers Union president Gary Enrico made a plea to save more teachers, and the board agreed more would be done with the budget to save as many jobs as possible. Finance Committee Chair Tricia Snyder stopped short of pledging every teacher would (or could) be saved. Enrico said he specifically avoided being the first speaker, lest he once again be described on Hoboken411 as “sprinting to the microphone” like he did at the budget hearing. (Sorry Gary, but if the shoe fits…)
School Board Candidates Ask Questions
School board watchdog and active Connors parent Maureen Sullivan asked about some budget issues, and inquired about the resignation of International Baccalaureate Coordinator Kate Dominique. Sullivan, an independent candidate for the board, was concerned about whether the program would continue in her absence, and Superintendent Jack Raslowsky indicated they would seek to fill the position.
Former Board Member Ron Rosenberg rose to ask why the district is paying a Bond Counsel when it is not permitted to bond under state Abbott School District rules. Apparently the district paid a bond attorney to tell them why they can’t bond at the moment, but may be able to if things change in the future. Trustee James Farina has been pushing the administration to find a way to borrow money to fix Connors.
One of the “Silent Phils” Speaks!
Also during public comment, Phil Campbell broke his silence and made some comments. Campbell said he supports the budget, called for greater accountability, and asked Raslowsky if he would support a mentorship program for graduating seniors. Raslowsky took the opportunity to stand up and give a speech, noting it is “election season”. While these were Campbell’s first comments at a meeting, he is still way ahead of Phil DeFalco, who did not attend the meeting and has never spoken his mind at any board meeting.
DeFalco is the only candidate in this year’s election to never have attended a regular board meeting in the board meeting room. He is also the only one to declare he would not send his kids to the Hoboken Schools even if he were elected to the Board of Education. Apparently he is counting on his smile, Italian name and #1 ballot position to carry him through. Sadly, in Hoboken this can be all you need.
Next step: VOTE Tuesday, April 15 from 2pm to 9pm. Every sitting board member agreed to support the budget on the ballot, even though Carmelo Garcia, James Farina, and Carrie Gilliard voted against it two weeks ago.