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Archive for May, 2008|Monthly archive page

BOE Human Resources Announcements

In Uncategorized on May 31, 2008 at 2:31 pm

C.

HUMAN RESOURCES
i.

New Positions for the 2008-2009 School Year

It is recommended that the Board approved the following new positions for Travell School for the 2008-2009 school year:

� .5 time Elementary Staff Developer

� 1.0 Special Education Teacher

The Board has received background information.

ii.

Resignations

Administrators

BROWNE, Monica � principal, Somerville School, effective July 21, 2008, or sooner, with six years of Ridgewood service.

BULGER, Brian � Director Human Resources, effective August 1, 2008, with four years of Ridgewood service.

Teacher

ANDERSON, Emily � fourth grade teacher, Orchard School, effective July 1, 2008, with five years of Ridgewood service.

iii.

Appointments

Administrator

NYHUIS, Jeffrey – Assistant Principal for Guidance, Curriculum and Instruction, effective July 1, 2008, through June 30, 2009.� Mr. Nyhuis possesses New Jersey Department of Education standard certificates as a Teacher of Mathematics, Student Personnel Services, Supervisor, and Principal. AP, 12m,

Step 3

$121,969

Mr. Nyhuis� credentials are as follows:

� Bachelor of Science.� Secondary Education, Mathematics, East Stroudsburg University

� New Jersey certification in Guidance Student Personal Service, Montclair State University

� Master�s Degree. Educational Leadership, College of Saint Elizabeth

� Interim District Mathematics Supervisor � 6-12 since November 2007

� 2006-07 – Assistant Principal, Ridgewood High School

� 2003-2006 � Guidance Counselor, Ridgewood High School

� 1996-2003 � Mathematics Teacher, Ridgewood High School

� 1995-1996 � Mathematics Teacher, Montville Township High School

� Coaching Experience:� Head Varsity Ice Hockey, Ridgewood High School 1996-2001, and 2005-2006; and Freshman Football, Ridgewood High School 1995-1998

Teachers

(2008-2009 salaries subject to negotiations.)

AMICUCCI, Jamie � leave of absence replacement third grade teacher, Hawes School, effective November 3, 2008, through June 30, 2009.� Ms. Amicucci possesses a New Jersey Department of Education, Certificate of Eligibility with Advanced Standing, Elementary School Teacher, and will be registered into the NJDOE Provisional Program. Class I,

Step 1, prorated

HOOGERHYDE, Michael � collaborative special education teacher, Ridgewood High School, effective September 1, 2008, through June 30, 2009.� Mr. Hoogerhyde possesses a NJDOE standard certificate Teacher of the Handicapped and is highly qualified to teach science. Class I,

Step 8

KAPLAN, Nancy � first grade teacher, Somerville School, effective September 1, 2008, through June 30, 2009.� Ms. Kaplan possesses a New Jersey Department of Education, Certificate of Eligibility with Advanced Standing, Elementary School Teacher, and will be registered into the NJDOE Provisional Program. Class I,

Step 1

SARNELLA, Mia � first grade teacher, Somerville School, effective September 1, 2008, through June 30, 2009.� Ms. Sarnella possesses New Jersey Department of Education standard certificate Elementary School Teacher Grades K-5. Class II,

Step 5

SMITH, Andrea � fifth grade teacher, Ridge School, effective September 1, 2008, through June 30, 2009.� Ms. Smith has completed the New Jersey Department of Education Provisional Program toward receiving her standard certificate Elementary School Teacher Grades K-5. Class IIE,

Step 2

One-to-One Special Education Classroom Aide

� Thomas Harney, Hawes School, effective May 30, 2008

Home Instructors

� JoAnn Berlin

� Connie Necel

Temporary Employee

� Nicholas Dimini, MIS Department, effective June 3, 2008

Television Camera Operator

� William P. Gallo, effective June 23, 2008

iv.

Changes of Assignment

LEON, Leila � from English-as-a-Second Language instructor, Benjamin Franklin Middle School, to Spanish teacher, Benjamin Franklin Middle School, effective September 1, 2008, through June 30, 2009, subject to appropriate New Jersey Department of Education certification.� Ms. Leon possesses NJDOE standard certificates as an Elementary School Teacher and as a Teacher of English-as-a-Second Language. Class IIE
Step 4

(2008-2009 salary subject to negotiations)

McCULLOUGH, Christopher � from art teacher, Ridgewood High School, to District Supervisor of Art, effective September 1, 2008, through June 30, 2009. Mr. McCullough possesses NJDOE standard certificates, Teacher of Art and Supervisor. Class AS, 10m, St. 1
$122,634
v.

Supplemental Work Beyond Contract for the 2007-2008 School Year

2008 Ridgewood High School Summer Work

� Laura Moore, guidance counselor, at an hourly rate of $52.67, not to exceed 38 hours

Special Education Specialist Services

� Lori Franklin, Occupational Therapy, at an hourly rate of $54.48

� Diane Spino, resource room teacher, Hawes School, at an hourly rate of $53.29, not to exceed five hours per week

vi.

Additional Substitutes for the 2007-2008 School Year

Teacher:

Suzanne Kellow

Secretaries:
Ann Haner* and Marianna Savastiano

* Related to staff member

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Dont let the facts get in the way…..

In Uncategorized on May 30, 2008 at 11:29 pm

Fact: Reform math is under national debate, a group of mothers in Ridgewood identified in their own schools a commonly known national problem.

Fact: President Bush formed a math panel with a group of professors and educators to look into the best way to teach math.

Fact: The Math panel found that our reform math programs don’t focus on basics, teach too many topics in a year without allowing time for kids to master them, and spiral back year after year to abstract concepts which are not as important as basic computation.

Fact: Local mothers in Ridgewood presented the BOE with letters from Professors from Stanford and NYU that said TERC Investigations was the worst possible math program a school could use to teach children.

Fact: Two math mothers gave up and one left the district. There are no more math moms. (And yes, one was threatened.)

Fact: The incumbent and running mate used their social connections via HSAs to gain votes and win the election. In private, the incumbent ran a smear campaign against the math moms and her opponents.

Fact: Other towns have gotten rid of reform math by leveraging parent complaints. Ridgewood does not seem to be able to do that.

Fact: No one will put their name on these comments because they are afraid their children will be hurt by it in school.

Opinion: The BOE election was lost because not enough parents in town knew who the candidates were and what they stood for. Not many parents realize that other districts give children textbooks, use flashcards in the classroom and still have gifted programs. The majority in this town trusts the schools, are apathetic to voting and are unaware that we get less for our taxes than comparable districts.

The schools will have to get much worse for all parents to realize that there is a need for dramatic change. Ridgewood parents are very polite and will need to really be getting the shaft before they all begin to speak up.

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‘the delivery system in mathematics education … is broken and must be fixed.’

In Uncategorized on May 30, 2008 at 11:25 pm

One of the principal messages of the [National Math Panel] report is that ‘the delivery system in mathematics education … is broken and must be fixed.’ Such a statement is hard to ignore, so it was only a matter of time before someone on the Hill would look into what it would take to fix the broken system. The first to enter the fray was the House Committee on Education and Labor which held a hearing on the report on May 21, 2008.”

Read the rest of Barry Garelick’s article on Education News.

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Assembly approves big changes in schools, orders cost-cutting

In Uncategorized on May 30, 2008 at 1:23 pm

Assembly approves big changes in schools, orders cost-cutting
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Last updated: Tuesday May 20, 2008, EDT 9:29
AMBY ELISE YOUNGTRENTON BUREAU

New Jersey schools would see major changes — including a mandatory 10 percent cut in administrative costs for scores of districts — under legislation approved in the Assembly on Monday.

But whether any of the legislation will become law is uncertain. None of the three bills has been scheduled for a vote in the Senate.

The Assembly also voted to move the date of school-board elections to November from April. In the same bill, lawmakers eliminated the voters’ right to approve multimillion-dollar budgets.

“The fragmentation of our voting calendar has resulted in voting fatigue,” said Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts, D-Camden, seeking to explain New Jersey’s typical school-elections turnout of 15 percent.

He rejected critics’ arguments that a move to November — when voters are at the polls for general elections — would inject party politics into non-partisan school races. And he said that voters’ input on the annual spending plans was “part of a charade,” because municipal governments have the power to override their decision.

“In some cases, every single cent that [voters] cut can be reinstated,” Roberts said.

He pointed out that voters still would have to approve spending above a limit, and that decision could not be appealed.

Assemblyman Richard A. Merkt, R-Randolph, said he agreed with the change to November, but he argued unsuccessfully against taking away voters’ power.

“It’s fundamentally undemocratic,” Merkt said.

Senate President Richard J. Codey on Monday did not indicate when the measures might arrive in the Senate.

“These are important issues, particularly the matter of participation in school-board elections,” Codey said. “We’ll be giving these bills a thorough review when they come over to our house for consideration.”

The bills were designed to address New Jersey’s runaway property taxes, the highest in the country.

About 55 percent of homeowners’ local tax payments are channeled to school districts. In North Jersey, where the 2006 median tax bill was $7,169, that means $3,943 went to education.

Some lawmakers said some of the measures could harm smaller districts.

Assemblyman John E. Rooney, R-Northvale, said many in Bergen County could not afford a 10 percent reduction in administrative costs, because state law mandates a superintendent for each district and a principal for each building. Northvale alone would have to do without $80,000, he said.

“When you have a small school district of 500 [students] or less, the ratio of administrators to pupils is extremely high. It doesn’t make sense to do this ratio nonsense,” he said.”

The 10 percent reduction would be based on a complicated formula involving regional comparisons, per-pupil administrative expenses and a cost-of-living increase. By the 2011-12 school year, affected districts could spend no more than 90 percent of their 2008-09 administrative figure.

The third bill would eliminate the state Board of Education from hearing appeals in cases decided by the state education commissioner. Those appeals would go directly to the Appellate Division of state Superior Court.

Other areas of state government also are trying to reduce school costs.

Within weeks, the state Department of Education is set to approve a 205-page rulebook on how districts must design their budgets. The rules would empower executive county superintendents to override local budget expenditures they deem excessive; increase public review of proposed budgets; set policies on nepotism and pay-to-play; and encourage consolidation and shared services.

E-mail: younge@northjersey.com

7 Step action plan:for the BOE

In Uncategorized on May 30, 2008 at 11:34 am

(1) No “outsourcing” Board decisions to paid consultants.
(2) Encourage independence of the HSA & Federated.
(3) All three budgets (actual, proposed, and “working”) on the BOE website, all year long (not just the 10 days before April 15th).
(4) Flatten the administration hierarchy.
(5) Retain a lobbyist and grant-writer to get some funds from Trenton. (Maybe use the funds we save by firing some of the ‘educrat’ consultants).
(6) Unify our educational materials amongst the 6 elementary schools.
(7) Have the Board members engage in ‘benchmarking’ (comparing us to districts we aspire to emulate) instead of the “pie in the sky” (haphazard) leadership that lurches from fad-to-fad.

Simple, no?

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Federal probe targeting Bergen Democratic chairman

In Uncategorized on May 30, 2008 at 11:30 am

Federal probe targeting Bergen Democratic chairman
Posted by jappezza May 28, 2008 18:41PM
Joseph Ferriero, one of the state’s top Democratic power brokers, has become the focus of a new federal criminal investigation in connection with consulting contracts that were awarded by a number of municipalities to a company he controlled.

An attorney for the Bergen County Democratic chairman confirmed the probe late today, after subpoenas were sent to at least eight towns and a county agency. The subpoenas seek information about payments to a politically connected lawyer with ties to Ferriero.

In a statement, Ferriero’s attorney, Joseph Hayden, said: “A document subpoena has been served on Joseph Ferriero for records pertaining to a company in which he has financial interest, specifically, Government Grants Consulting LLC. He has promptly provided all records requested in this matter.

“He is confident that this inquiry will demonstrate no wrongdoing on behalf of the company. Further, this company has only provided services for one or two of the nine governmental entities reportedly subpoenaed by the government,” the statement said.

The subpoenas issued last week by the U.S. Attorney’s office did not mention Ferriero. Instead, they sought information about payments to Dennis J. Oury, an attorney with close ties to Ferriero who does legal work with government agencies throughout Bergen County.

But while the initial round of subpoenas made it seem as though Oury was the focus, two people familiar with the investigation said it was really centered on Ferriero. Oury and Ferriero are partners, along with Leonard Kaiser, executive director of the Bergen County Utilities Authority, in the consulting company.

It is not clear exactly what federal prosecutors are looking into, but Ferriero holds the reins of a political machine able to raise huge sums of money, and long considered an arena for “pay-to-play,” the practice in which companies seeking public work donate to the political officials who could have a hand in awarding contracts.

A Lesson our BOE Needs to Learn

In Uncategorized on May 29, 2008 at 2:07 pm

Thomas Sowell, the eminent writer and classical economist who is presently a Research Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institute, seemed to be explaining the reasons behind our Board of Education’s many recent blunders. In today’s New York Post, Sowell writes:

“It would be hard to think of a more ridiculous way to make decisions than to transfer those decisions to third parties who pay no price for being wrong. Yet that is what at least half of the bright ideas of the political left amount to.”

Is this misgiving at the heart of Mrs. Botsford’s determination to have a university determine how to solve our District’s math woes? Is there a better explanation?

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Around the Village

In Uncategorized on May 29, 2008 at 12:12 pm

May 31st,Graydon Pool Opens Welcome in the “Dog Days of Summer” at Graydon Pool on Saturday, May 31st The Ridgewood Department of Parks and Recreation and the Village Council will welcome in the new summer swim season with an opening day celebration on Saturday, May 31st beginning at noon (rain date will be Sunday, June 1st). Peter Spink will provide live music for adult enjoyment. Fun entertainment and gifts for the children will add to a full day of swimming, playing in the sand, bocce, shuffleboard, volleyball, basketball, and more. The evening will wind down with a movie on the beach beginning at 8:00 p.m. (bring a blanket and flashlight). You won’t want to miss the classic “My Dog Skip”! New amenities at Graydon Pool will include spray fountains in the kiddie area, shade-kites. Adirondack chairs, and a diffuser aeration system. The Water’s Edge Cafe will be open through the day offering lunch, dinner, snacks, beverages, and desserts, with plenty of seating under the trellis or umbrellas. Admission is free to all Ridgewood residents. Don’t miss out on the fun!

June 5th Tunes in June Kasschau Shell
RHS Band will play at the Kasschau Shell, Veteran’s Field at 8PM on June 5th. Bring your chair or blanket and enjoy free music under the stars! Rain site: Campus Center, Ridgewood High School, E. Ridgewood Ave.

June 22,Farmer’s Market Opens
Sundays, starting June 22, 2008 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Ridgewood Train Station Parking Lot For more information call the Chamber at (201) 445-2600

June 26th, 50th Anniversary Show Kasschau Shell
June 26 at 8:30pm Reminisce will perform Doo Wop music at the Kasschau Shell, Veterans Field. Bring your chair or blanket to enjoy this free concert under the stars! SPONSORS: The Ridgewood News

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Bolger Rules the Roost at Ridgewood Village Hall

In Uncategorized on May 29, 2008 at 3:33 am

In a bone chilling display of the immeasurable power local philanthropist and real estate magnate David Bolger commands, Village Council member Jacques Harlow was publicly rebuked this evening by Mr. Bolger’s attorney, Thomas Wells when Harlow suggested that Council members should have input regarding architectural and engineering plans related to the Bolger funded Pease Library renovation project.

Attorney Wells brashly informed Councilman Harlow, Mayor David Pfund, and Deputy Mayor Betty Wiest that Mr. Bolger was “calling the shots” with respect to the renovation project, and that “Mr. Bolger’s preference” was to deal with one individual (Village Manager James Ten Hoeve) and not the entire Council.

The only response to Wells’ tirade was calmly made by Pfund, who conceded that it indeed might be beneficial to both sides if Mr. Ten Hoeve acted as the Village’s “point person.” However, he politely informed Wells that Council members would be providing input on the project via Ten Hoeve, and expressed his view that further project updates would be presented to the entire Council during future open public meetings.

Needless to say, Wells did not appear pleased by the Mayor’s remarks, and stated several times during the course of his project update presentation that he was “personally tasked by Mr. Bolger to speed the process along,” and asked for the Council’s assistance in removing as many bureaucratic roadblocks as possible (including a expedited Planning Board review of architectural and site plans).

The Fly was left with the distinct impression that Mr. Bolger wants a contractual funding agreement and all project plans reviewed, signed, and approved prior to the new Village Council’s investiture on July 1.

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The Valley Hospital “Renewal” and COAH

In Uncategorized on May 29, 2008 at 2:16 am

The planning board wants to give Valley Hospital all it desires through a Master Plan amendment. The costs to the Village of affordable housing must be considered. The Village has a material deficit in outstanding COAH units and the major projects contemplated will increase the deficit to 260 units.

Creating affordable housing in high cost, fully developed areas is cost prohibitive. Ridgewood has limited multi-family zoning and conservative estimates of $300k per unit for land and development equals $78mm. Ridgewood used to pay other towns to absorb our requirements, but the State has removed this option. We’ve been able to defer our COAH obligations by claiming hardship, the inability to create these units in a fully developed area.

There are three distinct COAH costs that Ridgewood taxpayers could bear due to the Valley Expansion: direct and indirect COAH costs and historical deficit costs.

Direct COAH costs.

Hospital growth should not create COAH requirements, but the concern in Trenton for affordable housing has resulted in limiting, or eliminating, the hospital exemption of prior years.

The cost of building 120 units to meet the COAH requirements of Valley’s Expansion are significant. Building this many units, with some market rate units blended in, will be difficult to build within the Village’s current zoning. The additional costs for water, sewer and other services must also be considered.

Valley is certainly lobbying hard in Trenton to get the COAH requirements dropped. The fact remains, however, that the sheer enormity of Valley’s plans, paired with the significant increase in permanent Valley employees that will result, will convince Trenton that Ridgewood should bear more COAH requirements. It is critical that Valley be held fully responsible for this and not, as has been suggested, be allowed to pay the Village a set amount to take on this massive open ended liability.

Indirect COAH costs.

Families with school-age children are most in need of affordable housing in New Jersey. Should families relocate to Ridgewood to use our affordable housing, the children will pour into our school system. If each unit houses one or two children, it is possible that 240 children, or more, will enter a system that is already near overflowing. While taxes paid by landlords would cover some of the costs (assuming no tax break for building the units), the rest would surely be borne by Ridgewood taxpayers. Schools will need to expand to accommodate the 4% increase in student population. Ultimately, the expense level for Ridgewood residents will rise sharply, and Valley, using its non-profit status, exempt from property taxes, would shift the burden to us.

Historical Deficit Costs.

This issue may present the greatest cost to the Village of Valley’s expansion. The Village’s professional planner said that approving Valley Renewal and other high profile projects in town would undermine our historic defense for not meeting our COAH requirements. By relaxing our zoning standards for these projects but not for affordable housing, we weaken our own case. To open the Village to this degree of financial and litigation risk for the benefit of Valley Hospital’s business is unacceptable. The Village’s historic deficit stands at 140 units. If Ridgewood must find the land and develop the units this amounts to $42mm and we, the taxpayers, will bear this cost.

Some will take issue with my assumptions but the Ridgewood taxpayer should be frightened of the probable outcomes that a liberal statehouse, rampant expansion and the Valley Renewal will bring.

Valley’s current proposal would increase density at the current site by 73%, add considerable parking spaces and increase employment. These three dimensions are significant parts of the COAH formulas to determine requirements. The storage facility has already been approved, so there’s not much we can do on that front. The parking garage proposals incorporate COAH units to mitigate the direct requirements it will generate. That leaves us with Valley’s Renewal, which is still before the planning board and can still be impacted if enough residents are concerned about this and the other negative impacts.

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