Liveblogging School Board Meeting at Ward School

Written By: Robert Cox


The New Rochelle School Board is meeting tonight at Ward Elementary. They had a pageant and then Principal Regan did a slide presentation. He mentioned that there was going to be an 11% cut. I missed the part where he said 11% of what

Cindy Babcock-Deutsch says school district mission is to challenge students to the best of their ability. Not sure what that means.

Organisciak talking about Newsweek rankings. Board votes to reject participation in the rankings because they are simultaneously too subjective and too data driven. Not sure how that works in their mind but they all start to complain about Jay Matthews from Newsweek. As I spent the past year or so working for Newsweek I think I will make a few calls and see what they have to say about this. It is really quite bizarre — they are wearing it like a badge of honor that they are not going to allow themselves to be evaluated by Newsweek. Funny how they had no complaints about BusinessWeek which used standardized test scores as a key driver of their analysis which came out good for New Rochelle.

Board talking. Thanks to Mr. Regan.

Health Committee now also a “green” committee.

Board votes to refuse to cooperate with Jay Matthews education report for Newsweek because it is based on tests and subjective.

Organisciak talks about budget.

-11% cut to school supplies and materials
-vacancy control process in place
-insurance costs reduced by $200,000
District proposing a maitenance budget
– budget will be an increase of 3.75% for 08-09
-tax increase of 4.9%
-full day K still in the budget

Organisciak says if budget is voted down taxes may well go up more [apparently than the 4.9 figure]

Cindy Babcock-Deutschî says if budget voted down then increase will be bigger than proposed.

First budget meeting tomorrow night

I got up during the public comment period and asked several questions: how many other surveys like Newsweek has the District refused to participate in over the year (Cindy says none that she knows of), Is the 4.1% figure from past years and, if so, is that a fair comparison given the current economic environment, is the preliminary budget on the web (no), will it be made available to the public before the budget meeting (no), given the budget issues why did the district just approve $60 for a community relations person, has the board considered that last year parents were asked to put up over $85 per child for supplies and what impact a further 11% cut will have on those parents, how can you effectively negotiation with the unions when you show them the budget first then “negotiate” – aren’t you tipping your hand, has the district submitted a list of request for the stimulus package, where is that, how does it impact the budget, why is the district not enforcing the smoking laws at the schools.