Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Barbato-Zavorskas Regain Control

Yesterday’s Matawan-Aberdeen school board election was a blowout by any measure. Despite complaints of ethical misconduct, Jan Rubino garnered 1105 votes, possibly a new record in local school board elections. Her running mate, Martin Ruprecht, won 986 votes to Ken Aitken’s 759. It may also have been the most divisive with a record 758 undervotes and write-ins. The proposed budget was defeated for the 7th consecutive year .Yet, the people breathing the biggest sigh of relief were never on the ballot.

Yesterday’s election only saw a 17% voter turnout, in line with historical norms. While Aitken ran a campaign of ideas, his opponents worked to get out the vote. (Although Aitken’s numbers were lower than his prior election bid, this was likely due to his name being last on the ballot, the loser’s slot.) In an election where organization matters more than ideas or principles, the “powers-that-be” have every advantage.

The Barbato-Zavorskas (Barza) wing has the organization. They have aligned themselves with the local teachers union, members of the town council, and activists in the PTO. Barbato and Zavorskas also have deep ties within the community. Zavorskas has been living in the same house nearly her entire life. Barbato has been on the school board for almost a generation.

The Barza wing thrives on voter apathy. As long as most of the township remains convinced that no school board will ever improve education or reduce taxes, they will not take the time to vote. Unfortunately, the voters have squandered a real opportunity for change. Dr. O’Malley’s appointment, opposed by the Barza wing, could have been a watershed moment. He may now be driven out like the former superintendent, Bruce Quinn.

Meanwhile, Aberdeen’s town council members are relieved that grassroot efforts are so easily defeated. Despite every attempt by the current school board leadership to increase citizen participation through public and televised meetings, they could not raise voter turnout.

Yet, I remain optimistic. Ken Aitken lost this election, not the ideals of creating a low-tax, high-performing school district. There were nearly 1000 undervotes and write-ins for the Matawan and Aberdeen candidates but only 102 undervotes on the question of the budget. The budget was soundly defeated 54.76% to 45.24%.

Additionally, I credit this blog with the record number of undervotes in Aberdeen. Hundreds of people chose to not vote for a second candidate rather than push a button for someone without honor.

The Barza Wing and Sobel Gang may be celebrating now but even they must realize that change is afoot. And when it comes, it won’t be a tinkle but a torrent.

For over seven years, the people of Aberdeen have been begging for a candidate who will reduce the tax burden and expunge the corruption. For over seven years, we have been seeking a candidate who will prepare our children for a competitive, complex, and uncertain future. For over seven years, Aberdeen has been searching for a candidate who actually fights for the people. And next year we shall have it.

Mark your calendars. Plans are underway. 2009 will be the year we take back our town and take back our schools.
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Anonymous said...

I am sure the first order of business will be to get rid of the committee meetings as a whole. I beg the neutral camp - Donaghue to not do this. We all know that every board member cares about our kids,community,and teachers, stop the divide. Every sign is blue in Holmdel, this is a good idea. Change is painful, democracy at its best. Please support our new Superintendant he's got his hands full in our community. I voted only for Ken Aitkens and am sorely disappointed that our budget failed. Marty Ruprecht is a great guy. You are wrong in your posting to claim that Krista Orchestrated the Kids Count, she did not do that, that was Bruce Quinn. Aberdeener, you hurt Ken Aitkens by publishing untruths. I hope that at the next elections the candidates show up. I could not vote for Marty or Jan because of this. (sorry no spell checks on here)

Aberdeener said...

Here's the link regarding Krista Ruprecht and Kidz Count.

I try to verify all my information before posting though I can make mistakes. Please tell me what untruths I have published and I'll try to either correct the item or remove it completely.

Anonymous said...

The Barbato and Zavorskas flavored kool-aid must have been given out like it was going out of style, to have accomplished this devastating win,which has drastic consequences.

The Aberdeen community as a whole has once again failed itself. The abysmal number of voters (1100 out of 5,000)voting for something so important is why the Aberdeen community who voted for Rubino and Ruprecht deserves what they are about to get. The rest of us are just collateral damage to the Z and B team. Not that we matter to them.

1) Divisiveness will continue as well as the executive(closed to the public) scream-fests that are a normal occurrence amongst the school board.

2) The accomplishments of the past year of improved test scores and a teachers contract where health care contributions have finally been obtained coupled with $2.2 million dollars in cuts seems to those who drank the kool-aid as being insignificant. This due for the most part is due to the "those bad men don't like us women" scenario falsely fed to the community, PTO's and all of the other associated or influenced civic organizations who were used (improperly and insultingly) to get the Z and B teams lies across to the voters.

Do not kid yourself the worst is yet to come, as now that Z and B team have the majority.

3)For the most part you can expect the divide and infighting to continue as that is what the Z and B group thrives on, and will continue to allow the "they pick on us" defense to continue.

Forget the fact that these same men who are very experienced in business as well as corporate companies where technology and real world experience counts for EVERYTHING. Unfortunately not enough for those who drank the kool-aid and voted from the party line and very questionable and orchestrated allegiances to Z & B.

So with all of this and unfortunately far more lies to defend against, a dedicated man like Ken Aitken is cast aside for a guaranteed repeat of low test scores, job and patronage give-aways, out of control spending and outright arrogant and egotistical control by the Z and B group. The same group who has failed the taxpayers and students when they had control. Such a negative effect they had that so drastically and improperly was defended for their misdeeds and out of control spending. This will have people in the not to distant future changing the RUBINO and RUPRECHT they allowed on their front lawns to be changed for FOR SALE signs, this as many of us will no longer be able to live in Aberdeen any longer due to the Z and B teams way of running a school district all the way into the ground.

I understand that our new Superintendent of Schools Dr. O'Malley will be needing a lot of Tylenol, aspirin and the like as his new job just went to being his worst NIGHTMARE in only one night. Next time you go to a school board meeting bring him a bottle.

If I am not telling the truth just look at the past, as history always repeats itself.

To all of you who voted for the red team THANKS FOR NOTHING !

Anonymous said...

This school board election took on more meaning for me for a number of reasons. For starters, I have two kids at Strathmore Elementary School. I've had nothing but positive interactions with Dr. O'Malley, which I had hoped would signal a new era of change. I was also impressed with the information made available via the MARSD website. What I found disturbing were the ugly comments and tactics used by the candidates and the letter distributed by O'Malley defending his appointment (a better choice of words could have been used to set the record straight). While I originally wasn't sure for whom to vote, I became convinced that Aitken was the right candidate. I was impressed with the fact that he appeared at Candidates Night, plus his voting record on the Board shows good judgment and the fact he has the interests of tax payers in mind. Like many, I did undervote. I picked only one candidate (Aitken) and couldn't bring myself to vote for one of the two others.

Anonymous said...

Ken Aitkin should have won this election. I am so tired of hearing people tell me they voted for the sign their neighbor had on the lawn or "Oh I know Marty and Jan from bowling". Aberdeen, you sold your children short. 4.4 cents of every $ we pay to federal income tax goes towards education, our government doesn't care about our child, and now I see that most of us don't either. Stop the friendship game and stand up for our children. Cathy and John need to go and we need people who are going to go the extra mile for the future of this community. Marty, your in and now you better not let our kids, (James, Signa and Carolina's friends) down. We are counting on you to make honest decisions and not follow the crowd.

Anonymous said...

Donaghue is not neutral-he just isn't intelligent enough to figure anything out on his own.

Anonymous said...

Finally someone gets it. That last post is right on. Power in his hands is dangerous.

Anonymous said...

Instead of fanning the flames of divisiveness, Aberdeener, you have the perfect platform to promote healing among our Board members (no matter who was elected) and cooperation with our new Superintendent. You should be fanning your flaming pen against the state of New Jersey who pits parent against teacher by NOT funding education in a fair and equitable way that makes it affordable for all. Using property taxes to fund education is just wrong. Since you are so eloquent why don’t you volunteer to represent our district in the fight to change things in Trenton instead of picking on all the unpaid volunteer representatives on the Board of Education? The election is over…let the healing begin.

Anonymous said...

I am glad we finally got someone elected who is going to give the proper emphasis to athletics.

It is so important that we help our most special needs student: our football quarterback.

For whose special needs require more care, attention, and of course money, than our quarterback.

We have barely begun to fulfill his needs, and those of the other tiny minority of student athletes,with a lighted stadium, uniforms, equipment, coaches, bus trips to away games and the like.

Yes, clearly we have not done enough. We have failed so far to graduate even one MARSD student who goes on to make a living as a professional athlete, and after all isn't sports what life is all about? We have failed in our primary purpose, but now we may finally reach our goal, now that we have a coach on the school board who will properly focus our resources on athletics.

To hell with all the frivolous spending on math books and reading lessons, finally we will give our needed concentration on athletics. For we all know that is our quest, our one true purpose and the reason for which each household eagerly pays an average of more than $6,500 annually per household in property taxes.

I am so glad we did not elect another "what about the students" whiner, with their "it's all about teaching our children to read and write, get into college or get good jobs". How sad when we all know that all that matters is sports. Nothing beats watching large genetic freak millionaires batter around a ball in a totally contrived contest designed to fill the empty space between beer commercials.

Viva la football !

Anonymous said...

When I awoke this morning to see the results of yesterday's election I was stunned and shocked. I spent the rest of the day numb. How can evil win so much? Did anyone hear the saying "Evil triumphs when good people do nothing". I thought, what could I have done to influence a better outcome? It's interesting that you have to be a good person to recognize it in others. I'm sorry Mr. Aitkens, I didn't do enough to spread the word so you could fight the good fight. I'm so sorry. I'll strive to do better for next year.

Anonymous said...

This election was and should be a major wake up call to the people of this community.

I read the e-mail exchange on Ken Aitken's website, where Jan asks him not to run anyone against her and she comments on how much she hates campaigning and talking to people.

Marty never showed up at Meet the Candidate night and only made himself available to a selective group of people via his tea party's.

Solicitations where made to teachers and principals for money to run a campaign and when questioned neither red team member thinks it was unethical.

A postcard is sent to peoples homes to make it look as if the NJEA is supporting the red team and no one thinks its unethical.

I would like to thank Mr. Aitkens for the time he spent on the board, and for running a campaign based on ideas and truths. Thank you for making yourself available to the public to answer questions and for never lowering yourself to the level of your opponents.

Most importantly, thank you for being there for the kids of this community. Your campaign centered on what needs to be changed to make our childrens educational experience the best that it could be. The red team focused only on getting control of the board.

Let's hope their control is used to make the schools better, and not used to get rid of the new superintendant.

Anonymous said...

The new superintendant should be held accountable just as the current board said. I personally think he is in over his head based on his experience, but should be given a chance. If he is not doing the job he should be gotten rid of at his salary.
They should also keep a close eye on the Business office and the new hire at that position. Has already cost us additional expenses. Not impressed so far. This could lead to huge problems for this district as it has in the past.

Anonymous said...

Would someone tell Aitkens to collect his signs? Sour grapes...just like this blog :(

Anonymous said...

I agree with the last blogger. PLEASE Mr. Aitken collect your signs. Earth Day is next Tuesday. It is your global duty. Also, thank you Mr. Aitken for your time served as a Board Member. You did a Stand-Up job.
Let's all put down the pitchforks and torches and hope that Rubino and Ruprecht will be clear-minded and fair. P.S. Jan has never sided with either "group". She has always done what she felt would be best for our community. Don't throw her to the wolves because she didn't want to be attacked by a few egotistical know-it-alls (Kenney, O'Connell ~ everyone knows and we're all watching)at a public Candidate's Night which, by the way, should NEVER HAVE BEEN SET UP AS A DEBATE. You are BREEDING attacks and hurtfulness. It's also NOT necessary for Board members that are not running for re-election to be attending Candidate's Night (they aren't candidates if they're already in office) OR for other Board Members to be displaying signs on their property in support of ANY candidates. It's just not in good taste and it puts those Board members in a bad light with the community. It's a school board election, not the presidency. Let's move on from here and try to put our wonderful town back together :)

Anonymous said...

Candidates night is absolutely the right way to go and moderated by the league of women voters. We elect board of education members. We need to know what they stand for. I know everyone of them cares about children, they would not do it if they did not. I am greatful for what the boys accomplished in one short year. It is too bad that they could not hide their disdain for the previous boards lack of accountability. It was just like Rogers, his obvious contempt for for those who did not know or agree made the public dislike him. The board has to remember that they need the community to support for what they do before they do it. (the big issues) Not an easy job. Please, I beg of you board members watch your ethics, just because you think its in the best interests of students and the community, you need to hold the highest standards of ethics. The community is watching you and taking note, when you are not. We want to support you and we know that all of you truly care about our children. Thank you to all of you! Please support our new superintendent ! I agree with previous blogger, with Aberdeener advocating for change in Trenton perhaps our kids would have a chance. Great job Aberdeener. A fan.

Anonymous said...

also, agreeing with the previous blogs. i do support candidates night, but NOT a DEBATE. happy to hear what the candidates stand for but hate that they start off their possible term fighting and not agreeing. leaves a bad taste in everybody's mouth. Reserving judgement on the new super. not sure if he understood what he was getting into or his lack of experience. now that the budget was defeated (expected) let's see what happens...
just a note to aberdeener, appreciate the site and the hard work you do in trying to keep everyone aware. hopefully, you too, can calm down, take a step back, discontinue the bashfest and move forward...

Anonymous said...

hey, what's this red team, blue team, barza stuff? you all sound like angry teenagers. get over yourselves. at the end of the day, we're all on the same team...

Anonymous said...

Is everyone really on the same team? Interesting comment, you must have not been reading the Aberdeener's postings and all the blog responses. Gee......

Anonymous said...

For all of those of you that are so afraid to see an actual debate, or discussion of ideas, here is Webster's definition of it...

"1. A discussion, as of a public question in an assembly, involving opposing viewpoints.
2. deliberation; consideration.
3. to argue or discuss( a question, issue, or the like)"

If any candidate, (red or blue,), cannot stand in front of the public and debate their views, or defend their past actions, THEN, they have no place in running for election.

And if my fellow citizens and fellow parents of children in the Matawan Aberdeen School district are so ignorant to not know the difference between a "debate" and a "fight", you're a major part of the problem as well.

Thank you Ken Aitken for all you did, and tried to do for my and all the children in this district. I am so sad to see what happened in this election.

And to my fellow voters, read for yourself, investigate for yourself. There are many state web sites that provide unbiased information about education and rankings of schools. It doesn't take much work or effort on your part. They all compare school data to comparable (DFG) districts as well as the state average.

Stat here:
Search New Jersey School Report Card.

And for those of you who like to make excusses or blame others, OR SO EASILY BELIEVE OTHERS when they tell you it is the children that don't speak english (ESL children) in their homes that are bringing down the test scores; the real facts are 1.6% of the children in the Matawan Aberdeen School District are LEP (Limited English Proficient). However 9.7% of Matawan Aberdeen High School students are STILL BELOW PROFICIENT on the HSPA for Language Arts. And an ASTONISHING 29.3% of High School Students ARE STILL BELOW PROFICIENT on the HSPA for MATH!

Tell me, are you still going to so easily believe what others tell you? I'm sure you really care about your own children. And I truely hope some of you actually care about other people's children.


Thank you,
From a concerned mother of children in this district.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, on my previous comment, I didn't use spell check either, I meant to say "INVESTIGATE" FOR YOURSELF