Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Hot Time at the Board of Ed Meeting

Tonight's Board of Ed meeting was supposed to be a low key affair -- over in a few minutes with just a few quick bits of business to handle. There weren't even any speakers from the peanut gallery so Hannya and Jason and the ReformED crowd didn't even get a chance to bloviate all of their "concerned citizen" malarkey and advise Dr. Brown of school "reform." But that's not to say there was any dearth of malarkey. On the topic of the Extinguished Educatrix Board members had their boxers in a knot. It seems they objected to the high minded folks at NYSED, John King and Katie Campos et al, imposing this lady (who was run out of L.A. by way of  a 200K + buyout) on Buffalo Public Schools and telling Buffalo to pony up her outrageous and exorbitant salary demands. "An unfunded mandate in the form of a persona non grata," as one wag put it.  Oh but it gets better. "Judy" as she 's been jauntily dubbed by all, only has to spend 25 days here between the opening of school and the end of December. Lacking any hard numbers we will use Florence Johnson and Mrs. Kapsiak's figures. Kapsiak reiterated that Board members only earn 5k a year and this woman is expected to make nearly that per diem. Here's a little sampling of the gnashing of Boardfolk teeth as the "Judy" Eliott debacle was tossed around like a South Park High baloney sandwich toward the end of A lunch :

"Judy" Eliott, complete with LA hair and buyout package not so much a favorite of Ralph and the Sisters. Click this text and see where she gave a keynote address, then click the green arrow and see who the sponsors are and I think you'll be able to figure out why charter school loving NYSED found her to be so the cat's arse 

Mary Pasciak: Johnson, re: the contract for the distinguished educator: I really am offended by how this is being executed. We never had an opportunity to discuss it. Everything is being done without our input, without our participation. We have a board that is dedicated to increasing student achievement.

This document is so cumbersome. When I read it, it's like I've given all my rights away as a board member.

I was elected to represent the interests of the children.  ( by taking trips and going shopping) If our attorney says we must approve this tonight, I will approve it, but it will be under protest. I think it's an absolute disgrace that everything that's done at this board table will be reported to the commissioner.

If the distinguished educator decides in favor of the two charter schools by an outside entity, but the board opposes it, who (prevails)?
Mary Pasciak: Johnson: If this is to be paid, why can't it be paid by state ed? If we do this per diem, we're paying the distinguished educator more than we're paying anyone else in this district.
Mary Pasciak: Hernandez: I knew this was coming. We all knew this was coming. We've been talking about the distinguished educator for months.

The problem I have, this was a document created at the state level and then just sent down to us.

The commissioner is asking us to approve a contract paying $190 an hour plus $275 a day for travel expenses, and we haven't even met this individual yet.
Mary Pasciak: Hernandez: We have to struggle with the position we've taken and the oath we've taken -- any time we allocate resources anywhere, we have to be cognizant of what the public will say about it. (Including this year's travel itinerary Ralph?)

If we approve it, we have to say we approved a document for an individual we haven't even met yet.
Mary Pasciak: Kapsiak: I wonder what would happen if we got criticized for our selection process of the superintendent. And here the state is asking us to approve a contract with someone we never met, never even had a phone call with. In my mind, that's not right.

Mary Pasciak: Licata is asking if the state set the salary. Attorney Chris Putrino said no.

Putrino: The initial request for compensation was significantly higher.
Mary Pasciak: Licata: Seems the most troubling aspect of this agreement, this individual, working from wherever, will be making determinations about what is best. I think this is a bureaucratic train wreck waiting to happen. This is ridiculous. This is a ridiculous exercise of power.
Mary Pasciak: Petrucci: Where's the money going to come from to pay for Dr. Elliott?

Smith: I don't have an answer. In one of the letters, the commissioner said they could assist with identifying funds to pay her. In one presentation, they said Title I funds could possibly be used to pay a distinguished educator.

Mary Pasciak: Petrucci: I did have a conversation with Dr. Elliott. She said she would make herself available for a conference call with the board.

State Ed declined our request for a conversation with them about the distinguished educator. But we could submit questions in writing.

But when New York State Education Department did the same thing to teachers on the APPR and tried to jam absent students into the mix so teachers can be duly disciplined for the failures of these MIAs and their absentee parents, Board members sniffed and acted put out. They tried to paint the BTF and Phil Rumore as self serving renegades for refusing to sit there and take it from a rookie commissioner who never even broke up a hallway fight but thought he was going to strut into Buffalo and tell us what's up. Well it looks like the BTF has set the precedent. The Board decided to roll the dice and refused to sign Judy's contract according to Ralph Hernandez "in contempt" of NYSED's edict.  I hearken back to the infamous line delivered by Mae West in My Little Chickadee when the judge asks "Madam, are you trying to show contempt for this court?" Mae takes a beat and breathes "No, Your Honor, I was doing my best to hide it."  And so are we.  $190.00 an hour plus $275 a day for hair gel and parking. Get Real NYSED


  1. Quite an interesting turn of events. I couldn't help thinking the same thoughts as I followed the live blog of last night's meeting. It seems the Board was insulted and angry about being railroaded and extorted by Albany. Gee, is that what they refer to as Karma?

  2. Kapsiak: Tell State Ed, if we have to have this individual, we not have her as a part of this board. We make $5k a year. She makes almost that much in a day. Please. So you take that back

    I have added above one of my favorite comments from the Board meeting last nite. Here we have the crux of the problem. The Board ladies are only making $5000. plus trips, shopping, dinners. She might as well have whined " Waa waa, it's not fair." SO OFF POINT in terms of the arrogance of NYSED.
    I urge everyone to try and catch this meeting on TV. Hilarity ensues.

  3. Pineapple PrincessJuly 25, 2012 at 11:06 AM

    The real reason why "Judy" was not appointed earlier in the year was because she was waiting for her contract to be bought out, like many other traveling vagabond administrators. You know this. Then, during this summer she is currently making more benjamins by speaking at the Voyager conference/training institute. As soon as that paycheck cashes, she'll rush right up here to bail us out, and collect some outrageous cash from the dolts in Buffalo, all thanks to Commissioner King. He's really got our backs! I am sure Judy would ditch this gig in a heartbeat if the money was better somewhere else, but thanks to her friend John (King) there IS no better money than that of the third poorest city in the nation. Let's all give a big welcome to Judy. Oh, and an aside to the Board: Do it for the children! Kinda like what you all were telling the teachers when they were being pressed to sign a ridiculous evaluation plan designed to make every teacher in Buffalo "ineffective". That is the plan of the Albany Charter Cartel (NYSED) so that they can privatize this district and "run it like a business". Chameleon Charter Management Organization, anyone?

  4. Anon - do you think their next buffet will consist of Sour grapes, whine and cheese ? It's a little like the difference between when the kid curses out the bus aide or teacher and then does it to the Principal. The latter always seems to have swifter and more effective consequences than the former. I like that King is continuing his pattern of disrespectful hubristic contempt for Buffalo be it the teachers, the Board or give it time and Dr. Brown is going to get it too. King is making a real horse's ass of himself and there can only be one explanation for his cheeky petulant misbehavior : he thinks he can get away with it.

  5. Dark D - I had the same notion. Kapsiak and FloJo are being outstyled by this fancy white chick and they HATE it. They are also being backhanded by the same guy who walked in here last spring and informed them that THEY were James Williams boss, he was NOT their boss. None of them knew this because J Dubz was sending his lawyer Kelleher in to tell them he was the big dog. So King all ready hates these people or at best holds them somewhere beneath contempt and now he is shoving their noses in it b forcing this consultant hack on them and demanding they pay her like a starting QB on a playoff team.

  6. Could Buffalo workers be King's field hands on his "plantation? Small persons given any authority often internalize "power and expertise" . Rights of "concierge" follow thw fantasy. THis is especially devastating when the "Lord of the manor" is a pawn for politicians.

  7. He is playing the overseer card just a tad these days and he has about the same willingness to meet people halfway. Cuomo is finding out the hard way what happens when you stack your deck with yes men and neophytes. It doesn't work.