New Rochelle residents have for years questioned why New Rochelle did not prosecute adults who participated in schemes to “wrongly enroll” students from outside the City in the New Rochelle public school system. Apparently New Jersey has found a way.
Plainfield superintendent of schools has been charged with helping the children of two employees illegally enroll in the South Plainfield School District. Steven Gallon was arrested at the Plainfield school board offices Tuesday morning. Angela Kemp, an assistant superintendent in Plainfield, and Lalelei Kelly, a program coordinator in the district, also have been charged.
After years of denying there any “wrongly enrolled” students in New Rochelle, Schools Superintendent Richard Organisciak has admitted over the past year that over 250 students have been either removed from the schools or blocked while attempting to wrongly enroll. Of the roughly 125 children that were allowed to enroll and subsequently removed, there was no report on how many years they had been wrongly enrolled so the 250 figure significantly understated the true cost of enrolling these students — mostly from New York City and Mount Vernon. Just last week, at a community meeting at Beth El synagogue, Organisciak again denied that “wrongly enrolled” students were an issue in New Rochelle, calling it one of the many “myths” in the district.
Most residents fail to understand that New Rochelle school officials want “wrongly enrolled” students in New Rochelle. None of the top administrators in the district live in New Rochelle or pay taxes here, same for the head of the union and the lawyers who negotiate with the union on behalf of the district. So, they bear none of the cost for these “wrongly enrolled” students. The benefits are obvious when you understand that the unions want these kids because that means more teaching positions and thus more dues for them. The administrators want these kids because it means more state and federal aid, especially because many of the students are eligible for various levels of extra state and federal funding. It is the same reason why the district has greatly expanded high school beyond the standard 4 year program. Adding a fifth or sixth year to high school education means more students at the school which means more teachers and staff to support them.
Perhaps if the district would get serious about the issue — filing criminal fraud and theft charges and seeking restitution from parents — there might be some hope for change but since the decision makers are all playing with other people’s money they have no motive to change.