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Archive for the ‘BOE’ Category

Maybe this is why no one will run for the BOE ….

In BOE, flog, Ridgewood Schools on March 26, 2009 at 5:18 pm

Maybe the constant assault by BOE flunkies not reasoned criticism is what has driven away all the potential candidates for BOE ,but I guess that’s what they want .

Nice to know that we have once again we have lowed the bar to have more in common with Camden than even Newark as a former BOE person once remarked .

Just think despite all this ,”you still can get a GOOD education” in Ridgewood (for $90 million we add…)

When will Parents and Tax Payers say this is enough ?



Anonymous said…
who is the expert? that’s kind of important to know – if it’s just some idiot parent, then i would discard these ratings.

11:08 AM

Anonymous said…
“if it’s just some idiot parent, then I would discard these ratings.”

And pray tell, who are you? The “expert” flack for the BOE? Your idiot slip is showing. The parents involved in helping Ridgewood students get better math are anything but idiots. In fact, from the information they have provided our community, they are far more expert than any of the administrators tasked with solving this problem. Smarter than Regina and certainly smarter than Nancy (show me the money) Schultz.

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pj heres my update ….

Anonymous said…
yes PJ it is amazing that the BOE allows these idiot morons to speka for them all the time …

its the same jerk over and over the BOE should put and end to this

1:36 PM

Anonymous said…aka flogger
or maybe the nattering nabobs of negativism really are “all bark and no bite”

1:36 PM

Anonymous said…
Yes perhaps the BOE will sponsor a blog made up to attack peeple for posting on this blog anonymously …oh they already do that with the flog better watch out Mr Rose they are after you

1:39 PM

Anonymous said…aka spin machine
The original post makes no sense.

Last year, Maskin & Lois were treated with MUCH greater respect than Brogan (“hair clips”) and Hutton (“caddy”). But I guess for you that’s what passes for “reasoned criticism” of the BOE.

1:41 PM

James Rose said…
I guess andrew cant take his own medicine ,but guess what I am just getting started ….

1:44 PM

Anonymous said…
I think the BOE has a resposibility to the comunity to fire the floggers and go straight

1:45 PM

Anonymous said…aka flogger
I love reading the Napolean-wannabes on here, demanding that we fire this person or that person.

The senseless bleatings from flaccid observers is hysterical!

1:51 PM

Anonymous said…
fire the floggers use the money for something educational ,now thats an idea

2:00 PM

Anonymous said…aka flogger
tell me again — exactly how much are the floggers getting paid by the BOE?

2:01 PM

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One of the four math program finalists is Primary mathematics. This is a Singapore program and is the gold standard for elementary school math.

In BOE, math wars, Ridgewood Schools on March 24, 2009 at 8:05 pm

One of the four math program finalists is Primary mathematics. This is a Singapore program and is the gold standard for elementary school math. A Blog Reader had this to say about the program and what it would mean for Ridgewood elementary students.

This is the Singapore program approved for Oregon and California.

I’ve always thought the right thing for Ridgewood to do is use what California’s been using, and now Oregon as well. However, I’m very concerned now because the Ridgewood parents might not choose it due to its lack of glitz. The parent community may not be savvy enough about math materials to understand why Singapore is superior to the others. I can only hope that the Ridgewood parents who go to look at the books will recognize this f act about themselves, and will do their best to find out the substantive truth, rather than get distracted by the glitz.

Here is some information on the Singapore site about Cavendish Singapore.

http://www.singaporemath.com/articles.asp?id=124

http://www.singaporemath.com/Oregon_Schools_s/171.htm

http://www.singaporemath.com/FAQ_Kindergarten_Math_s/14.htm

Students of Singapore Math are approximately two years ahead of other American students.

For eighteen months I taught all three of my kids daily, using Singapore Math. All of them had had an American education and specifically, some amount of TERC in school. Singapore is divid ed into two half-years.

My grade 2 child tested and placed at Singapore grade two (the equivalent of American grade K) before the lessons. After the eighteen months, he tested as ready for Singapore grade seven (the equivalent of American grade 9).
My grade 5 child tested and placed at Singapore grade three (the equivalent of American grade 1) before the lessons. After the eighteen months, she tested as ready for Singapore grade seven (the equivalent of American grade 9).
My grade 7 child tested and placed marginally at Singapore grade four (the equivalent of American grade 2) before the lessons. After the eighteen months, she tested as ready for Singapore grade seven (the equivalent of American grade 9).

You can see that the older the child, the more catching up they had to do, after years of an American math education.

My kids started out varying a great deal in their ability to learn math. Yet after the 18 months, all of them had become skilled in both mechanics and in problem-solving, and knew the basics of Algebra. In addition, all three had learned weights and measurements, both English and metric.

Ridgewood School District would be making a big mistake to reject Singapore Math, which is quickly becoming the gold standard. Just look at California, a state that’s been through the mill concerning “reform math,” and which now has its own version of Singapore Math. In fact, it’s this version that Ridgewood is considering.

After all, it is universally known among math education experts that Singapore is the top math-achieving country in the world. It’s hard to argue with that. Children don’t need glitz when they can instead feel the deep satisfaction of a lesson learned well. And what’s downright poetic about this is that because Singapore is less glitzy, it’s probably also cheaper than other programs. What a thought.

I do not recommend parents tutoring their kids at home unless they love the idea. It’s not easy. In my case, I have a math teaching license, and got a sick thrill out of teaching my own kids.

But if our district’s elementary schools get Singapore Math, the parents will be able to relax for the first time in years. I’ve heard some people argue that Ridgewood’s teachers are not equipped to teach Singapore Math, as it is more rigorous than American math, but I disagree. I believe Ridgewood’s teachers will take to Singapore Math like a duck to water. It’s organized and has good materials for treating teachers as lifelong learners. In my opinion, it contains the best of what reform math tries, but fails, to do. It is both traditional and progressive. It’s the blend that the board has been talking about, is more proven than Everyday Math, and will cease the uproar

Do any of the people posting here have any specific recommendations related to closing a $2.5 million budget gap

In BOE, new jersey fiscal crisis, Ridgewood Public Schools on March 24, 2009 at 1:36 pm

I believe that understanding the situation and “doing your homework” applies to all of the people who want to contribute to this blog.
The District’s budget is not hidden. It is completely transparent to everyone in the community.

9:54 – what’s he hiding? Read the budget and find it yourself. Then tell us.
5:51 – how much would your recommendations, as vague as they are, save in real dollars? Anywhere close to $2.5 million? Read the budget, find some money there that’s wasteful, go to the BOE meetings, and make your specific recommendations.
8:57 – define incompetent, specifically as it relates to all aspects of Regina’s job. How much, exactly, are secretaries paid? If you know, then let us all know, so we can address that situation. How many supervisory people do we have, exactly, in math? How does that compare with the other disciplines like English, Science, Foreign Language, etc. Do you know? And what are your recommendations – specifically – for cleaning up the patchwork administrative structures? Do you have any? If so, please share them, because we all really do want to hear constructive ideas.

And finally, 9:19, I ask you…do you have any specific recommendations to make? If you don’t have the time, then please make the time. Read the budget. Remember, being a member of the BOE is an unpaid, volunteer position, and those people make the time…if you want to contribute, then you should make the time as well.
11:58 – Specifics please. Do you know how much the budget is? Have you read it? Historically how much does Ridgewood get from the state? Can Ridgewood fund it’s own schools? How much of our budget goes to teacher’s salaries and benefits? If that number keeps growing at a faster rate than Ridgewood can fund it (and there IS a limit there – do you know what it is?) then what’s available to fund the rest of the budget?

People, people…help SOLVE the problems by understanding the issues, and the rules surrounding them.

And by the way, I know the answers to SOME of the questions I’ve raised…not all. I’m not criticizing the BOE or the District here…I’m asking those who are criticizing to please become informed.

Apple iTunes

NOW : Live Net Streaming of BOE Meetings

In BOE, Ridegwood Schools on March 22, 2009 at 11:37 pm

Dare we say a sign of more inclusive communication from the BOE ? In a very positive development :

BOE Goes Live:

Ridgewood Board of Education public meetings may be viewed on your computer as live Webcasts by pasting the following link into your browser:

http://www.web2.ridgewood.k12.nj.us/ilife/lhowells/boelive/

Or, link in via the BOE section of the Website under “Board of Ed Live Webcasts.”

After the live streaming event, Board meetings will be archived and can be found in the BOE section of the website under “Board of Ed Webcasts – Archived”.

The meetings will continue to be televised live on Cablevision.

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Daniel Fishbein, Ed.D. in his own words….

In BOE, Dr Fishbein, Ridgewood Schools on March 22, 2009 at 11:28 pm

EDUCATION CENTER 49 COTTAGE PLACE RIDGEWOOD NJ 07451
http://www.ridgewood.k12.nj.us/

The Ridgewood News
Superintendent’s Corner

February 2009
by
Daniel Fishbein, Ed.D.

Minding the Budget Gap: Belt-Tightening and the Ridgewood
Public School Budget

No doubt you have heard that the Ridgewood Public Schools has projected a $2.5
million budget gap for the 2009/2010 school year. Since New Jersey statutory
regulations impose strict limits on the preparation, management and growth of public
school budgets, closing the budget gap can only be done by cutting projected expenses.

Approximately 80% of our budget is salary and benefits, so in order to close that gap we
must evaluate every line in our budget and attempt to make cuts in areas that have a
minimum impact on our classrooms. By law our budget can only increase at 4% of the
previous year’s tax levy or approximately 3.6% of our total budget for the previous year.

The following are answers to some frequently asked questions about the school
budget.

The Budget Gap

Q: Why will there be a gap in the 2009-2010 budget?
A: State law requires that every year districts use any fund balance (surplus) in excess of
2% of the total budget for tax relief during the next fiscal year. Over the past few years,
due to careful budgeting and budget management, the RBOE was able to provide
EDUCATION CENTER 49 COTTAGE PLACE RIDGEWOOD NJ 07451
http://www.ridgewood.k12.nj.us/

approximately $2.6 million in tax relief. Because of unanticipated expenses during the
2007-2008 school year, there will be only $700,000 in tax relief for the 2009-2010
school year, and an almost $2 million gap between projected revenues and expenditures.
The situation is exacerbated by the fact that our out-of-district Special Education and
Vocational Education tuition costs have also increased in excess of $500,000, or 16%.
Finally, other costs—insurance, employee contracts, energy, etc.—have increased at a
higher percentage rate than the amount by which we are permitted to increase our budget.
At this time we do not know how or when the Federal stimulus money will affect the
district.

Q: Where, specifically, is the district finding the $2.5 million to close the gap?
: This is an extremely difficult process because there is very little excess in the RPS
budget. The RBOE has always developed fiscally responsible budgets, which makes it
harder to find areas to cut. While other districts are attempting to save money by hiring
outside maintenance and food service contractors, the RPS district long ago implemented
those cost-saving moves.

We will close the gap by taking the following measures: reorganizing the
Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Department, as well as the Business Office;
eliminating positions in all areas of the district, including teaching, support staff and
administration; reducing co-curricular and athletic offerings; reducing staff development;
reducing capital/facilities maintenance projects; eliminating summer school and returning
teachers currently in non-teaching assignments to the classroom. Central office
administrators will not take any salary increases for 2009-2010 and a one-year contract
with the Ridgewood Administrators which includes a 1% reduction in the cost of
contract. Savings from breakage (the difference between a retiring, experienced teacher’s
A
EDUCATION CENTER 49 COTTAGE PLACE RIDGEWOOD NJ 07451
http://www.ridgewood.k12.nj.us
compensation and the amount that we budget to replace that person), will also help close
the gap.

Our goal is to meet our statutory budgeting requirements while minimizing
impact on students, continuing to provide excellent educational experiences and
improving overall as a district. You can understand that this is a very difficult budgetary
challenge.

The 2009-2010 Budget Process
It is the Ridgewood Board of Education’s mandate to present to voters a fiscally
responsible budget to voters every year.

Q: When does the budget process start?
A: School budget development starts in the fall (October) of the proceeding year.

Q: How does the process begin?
A: The process begins every year with projections of enrollment and revenue for the next
fiscal year, and input from the school and departments. The RBOE has been discussing
the 2009/2010 projected budget gap since the fall of 2008.

Q: How is the budget finalized?
A: The budget is developed by the district administration and presented to the RBOE for
preliminary approval. It must be submitted to the Bergen Executive County
Superintendent of Schools (ECS) by March 18th. The ECS reviews our budget and has
the authority to make line item cuts without appeal. The budget must be returned to the
BOE by March 30th. The RBOE is required to conduct its final budget hearing sometime
between March 30 and April 2nd. The BOE/Budget election is April 21, 2009.

Q: What about state/federal aid numbers for next year?
EDUCATION CENTER 49 COTTAGE PLACE RIDGEWOOD NJ 07451
http://www.ridgewood.k12.nj.us
A: We have yet to receive our state/Federal aid numbers for next year. We are hopeful
that aid will be flat and that the federal stimulus package will increase the amount of aid
that we will receive. We will not know our aid figures until the middle of March.

Q: What does this mean for the Ridgewood Public Schools?
A: The district is and will remain fiscally sound. A commitment to excellence in
education continues to be our primary focus when developing the budget. We must
balance the needs of all students and all aspects of the educational process…all the parts
that as a whole that make Ridgewood special and excellent.
It is important to remember that Ridgewood is not alone in having to make hard
choices. Most districts throughout the state are facing similar financial challenges and
have to make the same kinds of difficult budgetary decisions.
Please take the time to familiarize yourself with the proposed 2009-2010 school
budget when it is presented to the public at BOE or other local meetings. For the sake of
our town, our schools and our children, go to the polls and vote on April 21.
We are facing tough financial times in our country, state, county and schools, as
well as in our homes. I look forward to working with the community to maintain our high
quality school system during these difficult times. Please feel free to contact me if you
have questions or suggestions, or e-mail budget10@ridgewood.k12.nj.us.

Consolidating the art and music supervisors and departments: How much does this really save us?

In BOE, new jersey fiscal crisis, Ridegwood Schools on March 21, 2009 at 4:58 pm

Consolidating the art and music supervisors and departments seems like a political decision the Board of Education is making so they can say that cuts are being made at all levels.

How much does this really save vs. the impact it will have on our children? I wonder if the Board has even looked into other ways to save this nominal sum… Why are the arts always the first curricular area to suffer?

Are the arts something that we as Ridgewood residents are willing to sacrifice? It seems that this is one of the very aspects that sets Ridgeood schools apart from other school disticts. In the past the math and science departments used to be combined. They were seperated for a reason. Really…does a music supervisor know anything about successful art education and cutting edge Web 2.0 technology taught in advanced multimedia classes?

If you don’t want to see the art and music departments turn into the substandard norm that other school disticts have, it’s time to act. Cuts that directly make our children suffer should not be made. Let the Board of Ed. know, as I have, that this distruction of one of our most shining programs is not representivite of what this town wants or needs.

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BOE to Formally Announce Cost Cutting Measures on March 23

In BOE, new jersey fiscal crisis, Ridgewood Schools on March 21, 2009 at 2:37 pm

Excerpt from BOE Budget Summary:

“The administration has proposed consolidation of the supervision of the music and art departments; we are also eliminating 6.64 secretaries, 6 teachers (these teachers will be replaced with teachers who currently have out of classroom assignments), 9 aides, and one half of the lunch aides. In addition, we are cutting in all areas of co-curricular activities, including athletics. We are also making cuts in professional development and substitute allocations and are forced to use a restricted capital reserve account to make needed facility repairs. This list is not complete but does reflect the crisis we are facing. Also, the administration is committed to taking a hard line towards the renewal of contracts for maintenance and custodial services, purchasing services, energy management services, and health benefits.”

It is a sad situation when the weakest member of the BOE goes unchallenged

In BOE, math wars, Regina, Ridgewood Schools on March 20, 2009 at 11:19 am

It is a sad situation when the weakest member of the BOE goes unchallenged. But hey, would you really want to be the only member on the BOE that had a brain in your head and actually used logic to make decisions.

Jack Carrol lasted one term and gave up on these folks. All but one is employed in the private sector. Shelia rules the BOE, working behind the scenes to manipulate the outcome. Ask former BOE member Mark Bombace, he will attest to this.

No, sane people reject working in such environments. Unless two people can be elected at the same time, as a slate, in order to protect one another, there is no sense in running to be the odd man out.

It is unfortunate but that is the political reality. Our BOE is totally out of touch and is radically to the left of center. It is easier to affect change from the outside than to be on the inside at the moment. Witness the debate over math. The math mom’s have won the war of public opinion regardless of what the BOE does.

Everyday Math has been chosen by Regina and Dan for our grade schoolers. But at what price to their credibility. Ask around, everyone knows these people are inept and foolish. We just hire tutors for now. But you wait, when the kids do miserably on their SAT’s in a few years, then we’ll see the backlash. Ridgewood parents are patient and compliant for the most part. That is until you mess with their child’s chances of getting into collage. Oh, the chickens will come home to roost and then we’ll see the real fireworks.

The truly sad thing about this venture, is that none of these BOE members have kids in the system that are now being thought this dumb, dumb math, so they really don’t care. How’s that for representative government.

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no one is willing to serve

In andrew and sue, BOE, BOE elections, flog, Susan Sherrill on March 20, 2009 at 4:23 am

it seems that there just isn’t anyone willing to step up and actually join the Bd of Ed and help solve the problems.
There are just people who want to complain.
Complaining about how things are, without being willing to jump in and actually provide solutions just isn’t helpful.

It really is too bad that not one person who reads this blog, or complains about the schools, the school board, the superintendent,etc.wouldn’t sign up to be on the board. It looks like lots of bark but no bite.
What a shame.

or….

Its like a party no one wants to attend ,no wonder PJ ,since the BOE has done everything in its power to discourage dissent . Lets face it they have led a concerted non stop attack on the math moms including that silly nonsense about chasing away that loser superintendent who was run out of town at his last job.

Now since not only the Presidents Commission and the State of New Jersey have sided with the math moms the Ridgewood BOE and its sycophants stand as the only supporters of dummy math in the free world.

Not only were threats made against the math moms but the BOE planted with help of the late editor of the Ridgewood News that misinformed story in the New York Times which is nothing but fiction .

My favorite antic has been the BOE again aided buy Susan whats her name and the HSA’s setting up the phony counter blog ala andrew and sue or flog as its called here run by one or two total losers of dubious distinction spending there days planting misinformation on this blog and around town ,This is disgraceful and perhaps criminal behavior for public officials and second rate editors to condone. I know that pathetic ass andrew will now rattle off some smug lawyer comment but the fact of the matter is the guy doesn’t know his ass from his elbow even on his best day.

Its obvious that the flog has no interest in the welfare of the people of Ridgewood .It just another part of the BOE hit machine. This very same group of clowns was behind the stupid attack on my name sake James Rose and his former home .

My two suggestions are :perhaps the BOE can find some time to focus on the education of our children for a change and Andrew will you please come out of the closet ,its time to tell your wife .

thanks again

James Rose
ps the Math Moms have clearly won so let the BOE rest in peace hey Camden cant get anyone to run either..

MY ISSUE IS FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS

In BOE, First Amendment, Joan Lipkowitz, Joseph Vallerini, Regina Botsford, Ridgewood Schools, world language Department on March 16, 2009 at 12:15 am

Thanks to the prior poster. But let me make this clear, my wife will NOT lose her job no matter what is the fate of elementary school language program.

MY ISSUE IS FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS.

Here is a copy of an e-mail I sent the Board and Administration this evening:

As you are aware, last Monday, March 9th, I spoke of Mrs. Regina Botsford’s behavior in dissuading the World Language Department Chairperson, Joan Lipkowitz, from attending that night’s meeting, and through her, dissuading numerous High School language teachers from coming to that meeting. Whether her behavior was intentional or not I cannot say, only she can answer that. The fact remains that language department personnel were not present because they felt intimidated.

During the week I had email correspondences with Mr. Vallerini. In one of these correspondences, he wrote “I believe fully that anyone has the right to speak, but I know that others do not agree with my perspective. Clearly this is an issue that is under the control of the superintendent.”

Mr. Vallerini concedes that there is internal disagreement about freedom of speech in this forum. I urge any Board members who believe that Ridgewood Schools’ personnel do not have the right to attend and speak at public meetings to reconsider their positions. It’s my opinion that under the First Amendment neither the Board, nor the Superintendent, nor any of his staff have the right to limit attendance at public Board meetings.

At another point in this correspondence, Mr. Vallerini wrote, “Please understand that the Board has no authority or ability to direct the superintendent about how to handle this. That’s his job. Ours is to assess his performance in his job.”

According to the district’s web page titled “About the Board/FAQ” it states that among the Board’s roles are “Setting district policies and goals.” One of these goals is surely to insure that all federal and state laws are complied with. Dr Fishbein is in effect the CEO of the school system, but that certainly does not give him the right to ignore the laws and Constitutions of New Jersey and the United States. He must not allow his Assistant Superintendent to create the impression, intentional or accidental, that employees cannot attend, nor speak at any public meeting. Such a prohibition would be, I believe a clear violation of the First Amendment.

On Friday March 13th, I met with the Superintendent in his office at his invitation to discuss the concerns I raised at the meeting on the 9th. I proposed that the he issue a memo clarifying that all school system employees have the right to attend and speak and are welcome at all public Board meetings. This would incur neither expense nor loss of face. Immediately, he rejected this proposal. He stated that this problem was cause by others, who I took to be Mrs. Lipkowitz, who seems to be the designated scapegoat. He indicated that she must handle any “miscommunication” she had started. This was her problem and she must clean it up. This was disappointing; I sought and continue to seek, leadership, not bureaucratic finger pointing.

Later in the day, there was a letter from Dr. Fishbein stating “I spoke with Mrs. Botsford and she reported to me that no one was told they must not attend the Board meeting nor was there any discussion of what would happen if someone did attend the meeting.” This explanation was both perfunctory and unsatisfactory.

Both Mr. Vallerini and Dr. Fishbein have indicted they support teacher’s First Amendment rights. What I ask for are meaningful steps to reassure teachers and other staff, in writing, that their First Amendment rights are respected by the Board and the administration, so that we can avoid this kind of miscommunication in the future.

Jeffrey Morrison

GigaGolf, Inc.