New Rochelle Board of Education 2020 Begins with Many Unanswered Questions

Written By: Robert Cox

I read the following list of questions to the New Rochelle Board of Education at the first meeting of 2020 at the January 7th.

  1. I was told there would be an investigation into the violent incidents in January 2018 once Dr. Feijóo was on board so when will the investigation begin?
  2. The only statement made by you on EJ’s condition after he stabbed by Bryan Stamps is that he was NOT seriously injured. Will you correct the record? Will you acknowledge EJ suffered a lacerated lung, lacerated spleen, lacerated diaphragm, significant internal bleeding, psychological trauma, hours of emergency surgery, a week in ICU, months of convalescence, and that he missed the remaining 5 months of school?
  3. Given her egregious violations of security protocol why was your Medical Director granted tenure after January 2018? Why does she still have her job today?
  4. The School Safety Plan says call 911 but high school staff are directed to call school secretaries in an emergency. Can you explain the seeming contradiction? How is adding these extra layers to emergency response helpful?
  5. Board Resolutions on the School Buddy program have been used by certain board members as a “blank check” to enter a school at any time without specific, advanced approval from the Board, as required under the law. Your lawyers have claimed that Resolution 20-37 authorizes board members to do so. 20-37 says Board Members are encouraged to attend as many events as possible at their assigned school then lists examples of what it means by events: Meet-the-Teacher-Night, award ceremonies, concerts, PTA events. The “events” described in the resolution are all PUBLIC events. Board Members are allowed to attend PUBLIC events just like anyone else. What new authority do your lawyers imagine is granted under 20-37? If no new authority is granted under 20-37, on what legal basis are any of you in classrooms, observing students and teachers, inspecting facilities or interviewing job candidates?
  6. The public was repeatedly assured of full transparency with regards to the Apex Grade Inflation. You failed to announce the Apex matter was re-opened a month after the so-called complete and final report was delivered in December 2018. Last month you received a new Apex Report yet failed to release the promised complete, unredacted report. How are these failures consistent with the promised transparency on Apex? What happened with the State investigation?
  7. Regarding Proposed Board Policy 2300, will you strike the section on cameras, tripods, microphones and add a line that says the board will always come out of Executive Session in the same location they went into Executive Session?
  8. Board Policy 9340 refers to “members of the public” then “School District residents” then just “residents”. Is it the policy of the Board that only people who reside in the District can speak?
  9. Your policies say those engaged in fundraising must adhere to the District’s policies and regulations and that no fund‑raising activity will be considered if in violation of the law. That law is Regents Rule 19.6 which prohibits the direct solicitation of charitable donations from public school students on school property during regular school hours. Your fundraisers are not only illegal under 19.6 but illegal under Article 19 § 915 which prohibits the sales of soda, candy, gum, and other sweets from the beginning of the school day until the end of the last scheduled meal period, in any public school within the state. What is your position on fundraisers?
  10. Policy 1310, on the books since 1988, says employees are restricted from engaging in political activities during work time when they are to devote their full attention to their work. Why have you allowed certain teachers to violate this policy with impunity?
  11. Your home page lists the last answers posted about 10 months ago. What happened to the policy of posting answers to questions unanswered at meetings?
  12. The Board has claimed for years that a Policy Committee was reviewing or updating Board Policies. When might that be completed?
  13. Has SED acted on the waiver pertaining to loss of state aid as result of insufficient instructional hours at the two middle schools?
  14. Since Columbine, a parade of security consultants have recommended more interior and exterior CCTV cameras which might help deter anti-semitic graffiti, false fire alam pulls and employees monitoring those cameras in real time. Are you prepared to act on these recommendations and, if so, when?
  15. Board Policies 5165 and 1530 prohibit alcohol or tobacco allowed on school grounds. Should parents including board members send alcohol or tobacco products to school employees at schools?

The Board will not have credibility in enforcing its policies so long as it cherry-picks which policies to enforce. If you will not enforce each policy them amend them or rescind them.

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