F.U.S.E. President Marty Daly got a cool reception Tuesday when addressing a gathering of teachers and administrators at the annual Superintendent’s Conference at New Rochelle High School. Each year the District officials, School Board members, teachers and other district personnel are required to meet at the New Rochelle High School auditorium for what is officially the first day back at school. Daly was participating in a panel presentation which included Superintendent Richard Organisciak, School Board President Cindy Babcock Deutsch, and ALMS Principals Williams Evans, speaking in his capacity as the President of the Administrators and Supervisors Union.
In what appeared to be a departure from his prepared remarks, Mr. Daly acknowledged the recent controversy spawned by this blog and a recent Journal News article about that controversy. He characterized this blog as a discussion about “a divide between the north side and south side schools” and ended his remarks by claiming to speak for all in attendance, stating “As we all know there is [no divide]. There is just one City School District of New Rochelle.” His remarks were greeted with what some described as an uncomfortable silence. As Daly continued to peer around the jam-packed silent auditorium, looking for support, there was a feeble smattering of applause. Most teachers remained silent. Some shrugged their shoulders while others were seen mouthing the words “no”.
Readers will recall it was Daly who went on the attack shortly after the Journal News story ran last month, using the comments section to question of the rights of parents to make critical comments about the District online or in the press.
The same article sparked strong, defensive responses from the Co-President of the PTA, the Superintendent of Schools and the Mayor, among others. In a Journal News Op-Ed, Mayor Bramson condemned those who see a north-south divide in New Rochelle, accused the newspaper of “playing with fire” for reporting on the controversy and defended the District by noting that he attended the public schools in New Rochelle and is sending his own children to the public schools in New Rochelle. Bramson failed to mention that he grew up in the North End of New Rochelle, attended the “advantaged” North End schools and lives there now so his children will also be attending these same schools. As a result, some have accused Bramson of being both disingenuous and hypocritical at the same time: defending the District against claims of problems in the South End schools by stating he is sending his own kids to public schools while hiding the fact that the schools his children will attend are not the same South End schools at the heart of the controversy.