Friday, April 17, 2009

A School Board Beauty Contest

(Note: Don’t forget to support the school budget on Tuesday, April 21st. Dr. O’Malley has cut spending $600,000 without gimmicks or service reductions.)

One of the new school board’s first actions will be to fill the vacancy following Ms. Zavorskas’s resignation. Although appointing a board member is an inherently subjective process, there is a growing consensus among the board that the process needs to be more objective to force us to focus upon each candidate’s qualifications. The goal is to select the person who would best serve the school district.

In that vein, several ideas have been floated which, in turn, raise interesting questions. The purpose of this post is not to promote any position but rather to hear the public’s views, at least from those willing to share them.

Below is a list of suggested criteria. The question for each criterion is whether it should be considered and, if so, how should it be weighted.

Voting Record
Last year’s election saw a 17% turnout in Aberdeen, near the historical norm. Approximately 80% of the residents have never bothered to vote in school district elections during the last five years.

Should a candidate’s voting record be considered? If so, how much should it weighted. Bear in mind that if a candidate’s voting record is weighted heavily, nearly 80% of the public would be virtually precluded from being considered.

School Board Attendance
Ideally, a candidate would be familiar with the board’s operations, its members, and some of the big issues the board has confronted over the past years. As George Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” To invite a board member who knows nothing of the past would be an invitation to repeat our past mistakes.

School board meetings also offer concerned citizens the opportunity to question the board leadership and meet with board members following the meeting.

Lastly, only the regular school board meetings are televised. Yet, many of the presentations and board discussions take place at the committee of the whole meetings, which are not videotaped.

Sadly, only a handful of people regularly attend board meetings. I would guesstimate that only a score of residents have attended more than three meetings over the past year.

Once again, heavily weighting this criterion severely limits the candidate pool.

School District Knowledge
Most people in our community have some general knowledge of the schools, either as parents or neighbors. Is that general knowledge enough or do we require more? For example, should that person have, at least, a passing familiarity with the budget process or employment contracts?

School District Involvement
Though I have not seen the list of candidates, I assume anyone applying for the open seat will have a record of community service. The question is whether that community service should include activities related to the school district and/or education.

A history of activism in education would demonstrate passion to help our students and an awareness of the issues.

Once again, on a proportional basis, few people have such a record and certainly not if we restrict the time frame to the last several years.

It’s no surprise the “standards” wing of the school board is mostly comprised of members with advanced degrees. Current and former members of the “progressive” wing mostly had baccalaureate degrees. The political breakdown suggests residents with advanced degrees feel a greater urgency to “raise the bar” for all students.

Still, lacking an advanced degree doesn’t imply a person is less educated or less concerned to see students achieve academic excellence. (Fair Disclosure: I only have a B.S.)

There is an assumption that, up to a point, the longer you live here, the more knowledgeable you are of what has been happening in the school district. Conversely, new residents are assumed to be less knowledgeable. As was the case earlier, we don’t want people who are ignorant of the district’s history.

Should length of residency be a factor? If so, what’s the minimum threshold before a candidate is penalized? (Fair Disclosure: I have only been a resident two years.)

Children in the District
Another question is whether parents with children in the school district should be given preference on the assumption they are more involved with the district and more invested in its success. If so, what of parents whose children have already graduated? Or whose children are too young to enroll (as is my case)? Or those who send their children to a private school because they want their kids to get a better education (as may be my case)?

Minority Status
The school board will have six men and two women members, all white. At least three members have special needs children. The one segment of our student community that, demographically, is under-represented is the African American community. Should we give special preference to someone who is black and can voice the concerns of that segment of our community?

If I’ve missed any criteria, feel free to add your own. I welcome your feedback.
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Anonymous said...

IMHO: Voting record- Should not be a factor and none of anyone's business, quite frankly.

School Board Attendence- Should not be a factor. For the reason you mentioned, severely limits the pool.

School Board Attendence--Should not be a factor. Talented people are busy people.

School District Knowlege- Actually, that should be a disqualifier! Just kidding. I would much rather get someone with a completely fresh perspective. So, no, should not be a factor.

School District Involvement--Should not be a factor. Such a person has preconceived notions. Again, I like an outsiders eye.

Education--Should be a factor. Would prefer someone with a degree in education, as opposed to, say, business or finance. Our goal is improved academics, isn't it?

Residency--I'm of two minds here. We need fresh attitudes, but we also need someone who will feel a duty to answer to the neighbors.

Children in the District- Not a factor, especially if they have an education degree.

Minority Status-A big factor! The board is way too white for our district.

Anonymous said...

Too white? Piss off Farrakhan

Anonymous said...

Clean up your act, pottymouth.

Anonymous said...

Voting record- Should be a factor, if you can't show up to vote it must not be that important to you.

School Board Attendence- Could be a limiting factor. I would hope you could pick out some of the school board members and know what goes on during meetings. If there is a candidate who starts showing up now and gets serious, I could vote for them.

School District Knowlege- It would be nice if they person has some knowledge, but shouldn't keep them out.

School District Involvement--Should be a factor. If you have never done anything in the past why is it so important now.

Education--Should be a factor. A degree or advanced learning would be good. I would also say if the person is well spoken and has some real world experience I could vote for them too.

Children in the District- Factor. If they believe in our system they should put them in our school

Minority Status-A factor, the problem is when I attend BOE meetings I don't see the black population there. I would prefer we have an equal sample from the different sections in town, be it white, black, whoever. It would be nice to have some Cliffwood/ Cliffwood Beach people involved, who ever the color.

If someone is going to step forward, I would hope they start showing up to BOE meetings and listen to what is going on, they should have the childrens best interest in mind and care for the community!

NSectionJoe said...

Anonymous #1 says:

If they have never voted in an election that should not come into play.

How can anyone who has never been involved to the point to just minimally merely cast a vote for the process want to sit and be a deciding factor in the important education of children. They should have had to have gotten off their asses and been involved even if it was to cast a vote on leadership possibilities and the budget to fund that education. That at least should be a minimal requirement to be involved with a $64,000,000.00 budget in my opinion.

#1 Also says that you should not have to have attended school board meetings. No just pick someone who has no idea of the process and history of the school board and its true purpose. Right?

#1 Then says talented people are too busy. Just look at the talented people that are not running again this year. they were so talented they misled the public on hiring and patronage placements along with inflating the budget over twenty million dollars. That kind of talent we do not need as we cannot afford such talent. Thank you.

#1 Says a fresh perspective is needed. on this one I kind of agree. Just look at the fresh perspective our new school superintendent Dr. O'Malley has brought us. As for a fresh perspective on the board we will be getting that with a man that is involved and concerned and a woman who sees the needs and changes in a fresh perspective to repair and correct the problems and costs of our special needs students, who were wrongly manipulated for too long.

#1 Does not want someone with a degree in finance or business. That is exactly what is needed as our school district which is a $64,000,000.00 business, that has been run into the ground under Klavon and then Quinn. The academics that have soured and lied to the public have had their chance to placate the unions and now it is time to let academics run the classrooms and let the funding be handled more professionally.

Once again I point to the very positive changes by Dr. O'Malley in a very short time. The inflated budgets these past many years is proof we do not need academics budgeting for schools. The taxpayers have seen the light and the inflated budgets of the past need to be just that, in the past.

Finally and most disappointingly #1 The board is way to white for this district may be the most assinine statement yet. I am offended and that takes a lot to do. The one woman I have seen misuse the district was Ms. Barbara Williams. That disappointment still makes me cringe when I think of how she conducted herself on the school board. In my opinion she was a detriment to the community and not because of her color. She along with the departing members also were a travesty.

I think the qualified candidate needs to be just that, qualified. You have done a great disservice to yourself with that one line. The board is way to white for our district is insulting and all too telling of your true motivation.

The race issue was brought upon this board by those who now exit it. It was a disservice to the fine woman who was misused to satisfy a revenge motivated agenda, as well as those who justly supported her who were also misused. That did not start or end well.

Black, white, yellow, brown or red should not be the prerequisite for the vacant position on the school board, in my opinion. I cannot even believe it was suggested in that manner.

PlumberDave said...

Hear hear Big Joe. Once again well said.

Anonymous said...

Big Joe? "The one segment of our student community that, demographically, is under-represented is the African American community. Should we give special preference to someone who is black and can voice the concerns of that segment of our community?" The Aberdeener said the same thing as anonymous 1. Get off your high horse!

Anonymous said...

And anonymous 2 believes race should be considered "Minority Status-A factor, the problem is when I attend BOE meetings I don't see the black population there. I would prefer we have an equal sample from the different sections in town, be it white, black, whoever..." So again, Mr Big Joe, how's the air up there in the clouds?

Anonymous said...

And another thing! (In case you hadn't surmised, I am anonymous 1 and I left the last two comments also.) The Aberdeener simply asked to hear the public's views. He did not ask for a public donneybrook! You do allow for view's other than your own, don't you? So chill, dude. Raise the level and contribute your view, of course. I said how I feel about the matter of the BOE vacancy. If you feel differently, all power to you. But leave me my own opinions without stomping on them! Sheesh!

justrelaxwillya said...

I have to somewhat agree with all of the (not so brave) anonymous posters. Many segments of the population are under represented in leadership roles. They are also under represented at school parent-teacher conferences, monitoring and helping and checking with their students homework, performance, behaviors, attendance and more. Some of every color is guilty of that we would all agree. It is called a lack of parental involvement in their childrens education.

Many people of every color do not attend school board meetings to understand or be involved with the process that educates their children. Why? But to say one is less represented then another because of the make up of those elected by the community at large and who sit openly in front of the community for praise, input or rebuke is short sighted. Involvement of all of the community is needed and not merely with demands that color is the only prerequisite for fair and equal consideration.

I have to agree with some of Joeys points. It made us think. He pointed out what I agree is flawed reasoning as to qualified or talented people being too busy to attend, specific educational qualifications, residency or even being a parent of a child in the district as suggested by (anonymous) people as to what would make a good School Board candidate. The mere color of a person is not a reason to be qualified or considered in my book.

Just look at the candidates for council leadership this year if you want to see color or neighborhoods not being fairly represented in both parties. The same is said for our emergency responders while I am at it. To be considered fairly and to really be involved all colors and areas need to be involved and represented as a fair representation of a whole community. To demand or suggest a person of color is the only thing that will get fair representation for a specific segment of the community is just wrong.

Joe put himself out there again while the rest of you hid in the dark. That says an awful lot to me as well. Yeah he has got a BIG mouth, so what.

Santa Fe Don said...

Thought I would get on and take a look before I cut the lawn. Wow! It is beat up NJoe day an I did not get the memo. So I just finished reading all the input. Here I go.

The last really stupid thing I heard someone say on the school board as they represented their section of our town was this;

"Our part of town does not get a lot of scholarships so at least we can get a football field"

MARS Board Member Barbara Williams

Her color had nothing to do with what she said. Her statement though was embarrassing to all people of color.

Anonymous said...

One idiot should not ruin it for everyone ( Barbara Williams ).

Anonymous said...

BIG mouths are intimidating and work to drown out other voices. Just sayin.

Anonymous said...

I agree, but we can't let one bad apple ruin the whole bunch.

Anonymous said...

I spoke to two friends in Matawan who are both voting against the budget. They believe that it should be lowered and if they vote against it, it will get reduced further.

Anonymous said...

I think you're all referring to Carolyn Williams.

Santa Fe Don said...

I don't understand it once again. You people jump all over the one guy who puts himself out there, without being anonymous, and if he does nothing else he makes us all think. I have to agree with him the anon#1 made little if any sense. I mean come on only an academic degree should Be considered. Then even whether you have children in the school district should not matter. The rest of the dribble was just as idiotic. But all of you jump on this one guy. I don't get it. Keep being anonymous and pat yourselves on the back for a job well done. This district has been mismanaged and the prerequisite for being on the board is now what color you are so certain groups can be represented. That is truly a flawed way of thinking. No wonder why the USA is so far down on an educational standard on a worldwide basis. But keep attacking this one guy every time he posts for speaking his mind.

Anonymous said...

This is anonymous one. I am not patting myself on the back. I am not calling anyone an idiot. I am expressing views which were very cordially asked for in the Aberdeener's original post. Just because my view's are not yours does not give you the right to name call. It is adolescent and not productive. I hope we can move on now so others can give their views on the matter which will probably be very different from mine! Wonderful! Life is good, and diverse! signed, anonymousone

Anonymous said...

Santa Fe Guy. I recommend we all remain anonymous on this site. Obviously, people take any opinions other then their own as an offense! And lash out very meanly! Heaven forbid if our true identities were known. Some personna's here get so inflamed, I can easily see them hiding behind trees, waiting in ambush, holding water baloons! signed, anonymousone

Anonymous said...

I agree as well, just read some of the hatred from some of the people and what they say they would like to do. I would not want to show up to my kids school or go to the store.

Jamaicanone said...

Was this Nsectionjoes post hateful? I must have missed something then. He pointed out the obvious as to anonymous1 having a, to say the least, confused slant of suggestions, with even more confusing and questionable ideas on what truly qualifies someone to be a school board member. The last time I looked someones color was not a prerequisite to be qualified to do anything but be alive and exist in ones own skin. And I am a person of color myself. Maybe it is me?

A. Leary AT said...

You are all just so politically correct from your anonymous places in the dark recesses of cyberspace.

At least joe is out there and I don't mean that his thoughts are spacey. Look at what he said a couple of times he showed how the race card was played just to have those leaving the school board do so just to leave the others in a similar state as when BARZA ran it into the ground. BARZA started this racist diatribe and remember that when they start telling you how hard they worked on our behalf just before they take their exit.
I say good riddance and thanks for nothing.

NewInTown said...

I spoke to two friends in Matawan who are both voting against the budget. They believe that it should be lowered and if they vote against it, it will get reduced further.

A lot of people in Matawan will be voting against it since THEIR taxes WILL BE going up.

We've heard that no programs will be cut, yet AP Chem IS being cut. I just don't get how the double talk is being ignored.

When the budget gets voted down and it WILL get voted down, then what?

Anonymous said...

If it is not race baiting why are.'t the hispanics, chinese/asian people screaming for equal representation. A person of color does not make them any more or less qualified. Has any race in Aberdeen not been equally represented and given all of the same educational opportunities? Give me a couple of examples of what Ms. Williams brought to the table. Every time I saw her she looked bored and out of touch. It was not because of her color, she, just was not a good board member. School board members just like politicians are not any better or worse just because of the color of their skin. Am I wrong now too?

Anonymous said...

I believe that if you push to get someone elected SOLELY based on the color of that persons skin, then that person will be nothing more than a token. If that's what you want, go for it. Otherwise, find someone SOLELY based on qualifications.

Anonymous said...

I think only 4 kids signed up for AP chemistry, are we to keep a program that only 4 want?

Anonymous said...

I think that choosing a black member of the community to fill the vacancy will insure that the Board is truly representative of our community. It is a deeply ethical consideration that does not change just because someone who sat on the board in the past happened to not be up to the job. Obviously, many here don't agree. But I hasten to point out the obvious, this blog can not be a scientific sampling of Matawan/Aberdeen views on the subject. It is a view of the handful of very opinionated and often disgruntled people who comment on this blog. signed, anonymousone

Anonymous said...

This might be a silly question but what if the school budget is voted down? The worst that happens is the township gets together and tries to reduce it further, no? I understand that some classes may be cut or something else may also be cut, but in these economic times shouldn't we have a bigger reduction? I also understand this is baby steps in the right direction and we are talking about a zero increase across the board. However Matawan will see a slight increase in their taxes.

What is everyone's opinion, thanks.

Anonymous said...

Yes, we should keep a class open for only 4 students. Especially if it is an AP course. We want advanced students to stay in the district and not go to others schools, but we don't want to offer them advanced classes?

How do you expect to keep the advanced ones if we don't have the classes for them?

Why should my kids not get the education they deserve because only 4 kids qualify for the class?

Anonymous said...

"The worst that happens is the township gets together and tries to reduce it further, no? I understand that some classes may be cut or something else may also be cut, but in these economic times shouldn't we have a bigger reduction?"

Sure, I think we should cut the whole football program, that would save 1.000's of $$$. Why not cut all the sports programs?
Let's cut the special education programs and ALL the AP classes while we are at it.

That would save a whole lot of money. Why not double class sizes while we are at it.

You think all those things will lower the budget? So, what if things need to be cut, times are bad and education should be the first thing to go. BUT let's make sure those scores go up at the same time.

WooleyStBK said...

I want to thank Joe for starting up this conversation. Sadly no one has addressed his legitimate points other then to scold him for speaking his mind and putting it out there in a very up front way. No one can say he is hiding from anything he has ever said. Unlike the anonymous posters who are slamming him once again for his opinion.

Anonymous said...

This blog is sad, every time someone asks a question they get attacked. It is sad that people on here cannot respond with constructive criticism. It seems like a good question, do we need to be so sarcastic, did they say cut classes or double the size of classes? It was a question.

Anonymous said...

So if 4 kids qualify or enroll you think we should keep that class? There were 2 other AP science classes for them to take, I don't like turning away kids but what is the cut-off? Is it 2 students, 5 students, 1 student? What should be the minimum, I don't think 4 is enough in my opinion. I do feel sorry for the 4 but they can enroll in one of the other two AP classes.

Anonymous said...

Anonymousone, it seems that you yourself are both opinionated and disgruntled. It also seems more than slightly prejudiced that you would only want a black person on the board
The dems on the council have been doing this type of thing for years to pacify the black residents. Remember the councilman that used to sit on his lawn all day on Cliffwood Ave? He was a very nice guy but hardly an effective politician by any measure. But, the Dems needed to get a black guy in. Sounds like you want more of that.

NewInTown said...

So, if a kid wants to go to college chemical engineering, you suggest that they take AP Bio or AP Phyics? That should be OK for them? They should be satisfied with that because it is an AP course? How about a kid who plans on going into medicine, you suggest they take AP physics? That it is OK because it is still a science class?

Again, if you want to keep the advanced level kids how do you expect to do so if you do not offer them the classes they need?
All i see is people complaining about test scores, yet you have kids who ARE advanced and they are being punished because there aren't enough of them?

Exactly why my kids do NOT go to the HS.

Anonymous said...

4 kids are not enough to keep a class open, it would have to be more than that. I am sorry, but we can't fit the needs of ever student.

NSectionJoe said...

I just got home and would like to apologize for what has become of this topic. I felt my points were based on reality and truly apologize for what has occurred since my input. Please return to the subject of getting the best qualified candidate to help to correct the damage done by our exiting members.

We should all acknowledge the hard work of Dr. O'Malley in bringing us a true budget. As for the outspoken anonymousone I hope you understand that our differences should not have grown and been such a distraction. I would like to apologize if you were offended by my opinion. We should just agree to disagree and leave it at that.

My interest in the Aberdeener and his topics truly come alive when the subject of leadership and finances comes up especially with the 70% of our tax monies being misused and maligned.

I feel all of the taxpayers have been very negatively effected for years by school leadership. I truly feel a page has turned and we are soon to be a best seller for all of our students and most importantly the overtaxed taxpayers.

I thank you.

Anonymous said...

I guess we'll be closing a lot of the special ed. classes then?

Anonymous said...

I guess, so lets keep classes open for two kids than or 1. What is the limit?

Aberdeener said...

To the Matawan resident who will vote against budget, I am asking you to support this budget.

I agree we are still spending too much but the budget presented is an honest budget that cuts $600,000 from the prior year. If we vote against a budget that puts us on the right track, we risk having future budgets purposely inflated to account for the community's rejection. That's how past administrations used to budget.

Anonymous said...

Nope, I agree lets get rid of all the special education classes with small numbers as well as all the AP classes with small numbers.

Kids on both end of the spectrum shouldn't get anything extra. We should just educate the kids in the middle. Let the rest catch up or fall back. Money is the most important thing.

Anonymous said...

Who said cut all the classes, I read if there were 4 students that's not enough. I tend to agree, how can we keep these classes running?

Anonymous said...

Why is the open board seat creating a racial discussion instead of looking for the best qualified candidate? Everyone was welcome to run for the board seat during this upcoming election, but no one decided to run so we have two uncontested candidates. Now since there is a seat open which is to be appointed, it becomes an issue of color? I think all the board members currently sitting there now ran a campaign.

When Ms. Williams was on the board (and BOARD PRESIDENT), the demographics of those in attendance were the same as they are today. I ask why this appointed board seat is becoming a racial issue.

Peter said...

So this years threat (scare tactic) is if we don't vote for the budget the administration and board will go back to purposely inflating the budget. That is saying that many current board members have been purposely inflating budgets for years. What kind of faith should we then have in these people who do such a thing. These elected officials should do whats right for the community, not the administration and the unions. We have a board of education to oversee that administration doesn't purposely inflate budgets. We have a board of education to negotiate a better deal for the taxpayers with these unions. This budget is still inflated and needs to be cut for years to come. We need to ask why does it cost so much more to educate kids here in New Jersey but they don't get more education. Why the high number of kids who get diplomas but can't pass the High School Proficiency Assesment. Continue to vote against more money until it is proven that our students are performing better, and hold them accoutable when they purposely inflate budgets.

Aberdeener said...

Peter, I share your frustration over the high spending. But the political reality is that if the budget is again defeated despite cutting spending and a 0% tax levy increase, the taxpayers will have saved maybe $40 per household this year but will lose during future budget negotiations.

I will be fighting hard to cap spending, reduce out-district placements, and increase non-tax revenue but if the public rejects this year's budget, I'll have a much harder job convincing everybody else to craft tight budgets.

As for holding board members politically accountable for spending increases, I have yet to see board members being held politically accountable for anything.

Anonymous said...

This is for nsecjoe. I understand from a neighbor that frequents this website that you work for the town. Firstly I am a resident of Deerfield Lane. I would like to ask about the corner house coming out of the D section onto Church St. That home has a large pile of stone in the driveway for a long period of time now. Could you look into this for me as the stone has not moved in over a year. How long can it be there? Thank you.

Anonymous said...

One commenter asked: :Why is the open board seat creating a racial discussion instead of looking for the best qualified candidate?" Because the Aberdeener listed 'Minority Status' as one of many criteria for the vacant seat in his orignal post. The commenters here are focusing in on that because they don't want to consider it as a factor. signed, anonymousone

Edgeviewted07 said...

Of course minority representation is important on a school board. So to is ones qualification and involvement in ones community and school board. We presently have sitting board members elected in what has been little more then a popularity contest, who never voted before. We may have similarly candidates proposed to fill the vacant school board seat that similarly may have never been involved in the district or who may have never been registered to vote or even voted. We need to pick the best candidate that is all, and that candidate should not be forced.

Unknown said...
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Unknown said...
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Anonymous said...

So there is a difference between Strathmore and Cliffwood? Why, are you more educated? A better human? More involved in the community? Wait I know you paid more for your house, your neighbor's think so and so does Granola Mom. If you don't think there are drugs or bad kids in Strathmore think again.

Thanks for stereotyping Granola Mom.

ProudGrampa said...

Granola Mom you can't be serious. Do you really believe the stuff you put forth? I can't.

This whole topic just shows all of us how "politically correct" most people try to be and are then most often not even close to being correct. The political part of the equation is like all politics, just self serving and idiotic.

Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

I live in Cliffwood Beach. I certainly do not think that I am better because my "house costs more than yours". I doubt it did.

Once again, my comments have been misunderstood, misrepresented, and made to look like I am some sort of ignorant racist. I give up. I won't be posting here again.

The "trolls" win. Flame on.

billbradley73 said...

I only lurk on this blog, but had to comment. There are some mean and hurtful people who read this blog. I am embarrassed for you and ashamed to have to call you my neighbors.

Anonymous said...

Vote the budget down in this overspending school district. This is a one shot ploy by Dr.O'Malley to say he got a budget passed and than ask to have his contract renewed before his current one is up. Then we will get our yearly increases no matter what and he gets a long term contract with salary increases every year. Don't be fooled by this one time stunt. He will be looking for at least five years and we will be paying the max allowed by the state every year. He has a contract now, lets see what happens over that term, and then decide if spending goes down and performance goes up.

Anonymous said...

He won't be around that long. He is just using this as a stepping stone on his resume. I give him 1 more year if the budget goes down and 2 if it passes. He will be looking to move on to bigger and better districts.

Anonymous said...

At the very least, a candidates voting record should be required before allowing someone to run for the school board. If you couldn't be bothered to merely cast a vote in the past years you've lived in the district, why should you be allowed to run for the school board.

I also believe you should have at least 1 year of attendence at either school board meetings and/or committee of a whole meetings. As a resident that watches the televised school board meetings, I feel somewhat informed as to what is going on in the district, but I know I'm missing information as well, especially since the committee of a whole meetings aren't televised.

And a minimum of a Bachelor's degree.

I do not think a degree in education is necessary. I would like to see a variety of people with expertise in varying areas. Yes, we do want financial experts, it is about education as well as budgets!

As far as race, that should NEVER be an issue. ALL board members should be there for ALL students, regardless of race. If a board member in not concerned with the benefit of the whole, they should not be there!

Aberdeener said...

I believe the voting record should count for something. If a person never voted for a candidate or on the school budget (which accounts for over 2/3 of our property taxes), it was either because he was lazy, ignorant of the issues, or just didn't care. I don't find any of those qualities befitting a BOE member.

Anonymous said...

I think there should be a disclosure of voting records of all candidates before an election.

Aberdeener, Are you aware of school board members that have not voted in past school board elections? Or is it an issue with appointing some one to fill Zavorkas' seat?

Anonymous said...

Isn't it against the law to disclose or scrutinize an American citizen's private voting record!! My Grandparents are turning in their graves right now!

KimsMomsHusband said...

All the best to the candidates and the budget. Please remember that Dr. O' Malley at least tried to do the right thing. The unfortunate thing is that the inflated budgets and scams put forth by prior board members and un-certified superintendents is history.

Anonymous said...

I believe such a disclosure would be quite newsworthy! Go ahead. Try it.

Aberdeener said...

A voter's ballot is secret, not the fact of whether he voted. Voting records are public to protect the process - i.e. to keep the dead from voting early and often.

Every organized campaign, including my own, orders a voter history from the county. It costs $20.

Anonymous said...

Really? I wonder if that house a commenter asked Joe to check out, you know, "the corner house coming out of the D section onto Church St." has voted in BOE elections? I certainly hope so, for their sake. Whew! I'm glad I do, too. Now that I know my election history is accessed by people in power and used to advance their own agendas, I'll make sure the "concerned parties" see my signature nice and bright on the register page. Should I wear a brown shirt too? Nice country, America.

Anonymous said...

Cliffwood Beach cleanup is on Saturday, if you care for your community get out there and help!

Anonymous said...

Nice try by everyone trying to change the subject.

The issue is those who want to hold an elected office that haven't voted in the past. It certainly is a relavant issue. It is amazing how people think they could just ask the townspeople to cast their vote for a candidate, and not think a candidate's past voting participation is relavant.

Anonymous said...

This is NOT MEANT negatively, but:

1. Nsection - since you routinely talk about 70% of tax money being misused and wasted by our district - should we surmise that you too will be voting against the budget?? Yes it is down 600k which is good, but by your own words, that too, is way over the top?

2. Aberdeener- why would you be so much against ALL out of district placements - all districts send some students out of district to accomodate specific needs - yes it is costly but why is so worng ALL OF THE TIME?

3. Granola Mom - just so you know - Flame on - is a derrogatory statement in some circles as well

Anonymous said...

On a terrible anniversary of 10 years ago and seeing the front page of the APP talk about schools spending money on security, I wonder why our district would get rid of our head of security.

Eliminating the position is the better word. I like the fact that our district has a liason between the police and the goings on in the district's buildings. I have heard from a officer friend or two that the head of security has been a great help in many instances. I also know the head of security performs several other duties.

Let us not forget that the officer in the HS is the DARE officer only by job description. Little to do with security.

I am all for saving money, but to eliminate the head of security for the district is not the place to cut.

Aberdeener said...

I have never said, nor would I ever say, I was against "all" or even "most" out-of-district placements.

Why do people think they can win an argument by misquoting, misrepresenting, or prevaricating?

If your objective is honest argument than be honest. If it's something else than you're simply embarrassing yourself.

Anonymous said...

Aberdeener, I was more asking if you were against ALL placements and did not word my comment correctly. And I have read many other posters on here who have nothing but bad things to say about out of district placements.

I am sorry if my commented portrayed you wrong. What is your opinion?

Aberdeener said...

My apologies as well for assuming the worst. My position is that many of the students placed out-of-district would be better served by appropriate in-district programs. Unfortunately, these students need to be sent away because our district never sought to develop in-district programs for them.

The goal of every special education program should be to provide the student a strong enough foundation so that he no longer needs special education. That's why schools work so hard to mainstream students whenever they can. Unnecessarily sending a child outside his community does a disservice to him.

When a student is sent out-of-district, we also need to remember that he is still our responsibility and ensure he is advancing.

The candidates for Director of Special Services suggested that, in time, we could halve the number of out-of-district placements.

Anonymous said...

A few things -

The fact that you don't show up to vote in a school board election should not in any way be considered when looking for school board members. This is a small group that shows up to vote to begin with, and I'd feel much more comfortable knowing that as a community we were getting more people involved as ambassadors for our school district than the same group of people who whether they'd like to admit it or not - have their own agenda (and I'm not trying to be negative here) If you don't start thinking outside the box, then you are going to turn into the very same people that you ousted to begin with. Who cares whether they voted in the past? The idea is to get more people involved right here right now. if you want a better turnout it makes no sense to limit your pool of applicants just because you are interested in whether they voted in an election that occurs at odd hours with no one running against the incumbents. District needs a marketing facelift without looking/sounding pedantic.

You need good people that are interested in the schools and willing to donate their time and experience to move this district forward. Parents vote, it's time to get the rest of the community involved.

Anonymous said...

In defense of Granola Mom:

Visit and you will see that to "flame" is to send nasty or insulting messages in an online discussion.

A "flame war" is what was started against her: "When an online discussion degenerates into a series of personal attacks against the debaters, rather than a discussion of their opinions and positions."

If you knew her, you would know that she is one of the least racist or prejudiced people (who participated in the Day of Silence, for the person who inferred she was homophobic) in the area.

The personal attacks that happen on this blog are one of the saddest things I've seen. If this is what someone gets for speaking out loud here, no wonder no one runs for office, shows up at meetings or votes.

NSectionJoe said...

Good morning on this school board election day. I will address the following one at a time.

To the person who has concerns in regards to the house in the D. section it will be checked out. I will let you know there are certain allowances for construction work and such materials, which do include generous time frames for such work mandated by the state. Please feel free to call my office at anytime at 732-583-4200 X196 in regards to any problems, questions or concerns you may have regarding property maintenance issues in Aberdeen.

As for the school budget I will be voting NO on the budget unashamedly. Of course my reasons are many and personal, no different then any of us. The fact that Dr. O'Malley has made great strides this year, are ones that I respect and appreciate. The history of this district goes far beyond this budget though. The historical over funding of certain programs and departments coupled with many patronage positions and as we recently found out questionably certified and even perhaps unqualified individuals being placed or protected for many years, has damaged the confidence of the public in many ways.

The unchecked costs of the past has caused many seniors and others out of their homes and away from family and friends. That example and many more are the additional costs that our Dr. O'Malley cannot cure in one budget. Too often financial decisions are made during big election years that may be good for the sitting majority but is far more detrimental down the road and most often far more costly. The present political uses of pension deferrals, layoffs, furloughs and more are questionable tactics when far too often the obvious and politically protected are left untouched. That mindset must change. The monies that can be cut are staring leadership right in the face, but politics gets in the way each and every time. In these historically significant and damaging economic times budgets like this one that I will vote NO on are a start, but they are also only a quick fix to a huge and deeply entrenched problem. I commend Dr. O'Malley for his and his teams fine work but the damage done still has a price to pay from an abused public.

On the subject of the school security officer. Yesterday was the 10th anniversary of Columbine and in our district I think a complete and total review of the purpose and specificness of the position, duties, responsibilities and its singular purpose needs to be the priority. I also feel that some school leadership has detracted and wrongly had input or oversight of the position that has been counter to its true responsibilities and importance. No one ever thought a situation like Columbine could ever happen there. The preventative measures that need to be taken by security professionals, should not be dictated to or interfered with by educators. Teaching children and protecting them are two different subjects that require separation and specific actions.

Finally the voting record comment insinuation will not be responded to, as it was ludicrous.

In closing Hi Mark.

Anonymous said...

If you want quality board, you need members that represent the entire community - not only a very vocal minority. Some of the best boards I've worked with were comprised with people from all walks of life and they all brought something to the table. What actually saved one of the boards I worked with was requiring that every board member bring a new member on board that was unrelated with the organization. Talk about new perspectives! I say look at their community service. Leave voting records out of it. If your main gripe is not enough people vote or attend the meetings then it's time to re-evaluate what your mission is. Is it serving the few or serving the community? Everyone wants these schools that do well - it increases their property values for crying out loud. You have an amazing opportunity to fix things, turning this into an exclusive "club" isn't the answer.

Anonymous said...

"You need good people that are interested in the schools and willing to donate their time and experience to move this district forward. Parents vote, it's time to get the rest of the community involved."

Yes Anon, we need good people that are interested in the schools, but how could they claim to be "interested" in the schools, if they couldn't ever be "interested in voting in the past"? It doesn't make sense.

I'm for getting every citizen involved and concerned with the school district. But if one has never been concerned enough to even vote, how is it a benefit, to have them run for an elected BOE position?

Anonymous said...

It is NOT an "exclusive club". Every citizen in the town has the right and duty to vote.

However, I do like the rest of your comments and insight on boards. Interesting points.

Anonymous said...

You first have to answer the question of why they haven't "bothered" to vote in the past. How can you make them "interested"? You already have low voter turnout. If you resort to calling people lazy, uninterested and therefore not qualified to hold a seat on this board you are basically alienating all of the people that you'd really like to get out and have cast their ballots. These are people you want to get involved in the process. IMHO - I would want someone that has a history of volunteerism - and not limited to the community they live in either! If I were looking to get more people involved I surely would not turn around and come up with reasons that would deem them "unfit" to serve. That already sets a very negative tone, and I'm sure that isn't the intent. I'd use a board member application that asks pertinent questions on what their specific interests are, where they've volunteered and what is their vision when it comes to serving on this board.

Aberdeener said...

What would be a legitimate reason to not vote in school district elections?

Anonymous said...

I don't know whether legitimate should be the key word here....

When you have incumbents that run with no opposition people may feel there is no need to get out to the polls. They miss the big picture. That is not being lazy - that is being misinformed.
Do not assume that everyone understands the intricacies of the Board of Education. And if they don't it is not up to others to ascertain what the legitimate reasons are. Board Members should actively seek to inform the community of the process/mission. That is true for any Board! I think when candidates run unopposed they miss a great opportunity - they should get out there and walk door to door introduce themselves and campaign the budget they are seeking to pass. If you are seeking more public participation you need to understand that you won't get it by excluding the very people you want to involve in the process.

Aberdeener said...

I'm sorry but I don't understand your argument. The question is whether the school board should consider a candidate's voting history. Many have responded no because people may have good reason for never having voted in a school district election during the past several years.

There's no issue of exclusion. It's all about selecting the best candidate for the school board.

Also, this year there's no race but what about last year, or the year before that, or the year before that? How about the budget question that's on every ballot? What about the bond issue?

Can anyone give me a single good reason for a school board candidate to have a long history of not voting in the school district?

Anonymous said...

I think to sit here and come up with a list of reasons you deem as legitimate for not voting in a election is a pointless endeavor. I was merely offering my comments/opinion, not an argument. If every idea that is contrary to yours is an argument then you have some very difficult days ahead of you. I can't say it any simpler - your laundry list of criterion is gives the impression that you mean to exclude people you deem as unfit to serve on a board. I'd let the voters decide that for themselves at election time.

Anonymous said...

The two candidates running today are running unopposed. The Aberdeener will appoint a third member because that seat had been left vacant by someone who no longer had the fortitude to fullfill their term. That should be another criteria. Exceptional fortitude! Something very much needed apparently, since they'll be challenged for every idea that is original to themselves.

NancyGWV said...

Hey Aberdeener I got one for you to look into. How is it that one of the candidates running for council does not even live in Aberdeen? Is it just more political trickery and let the voters be damned. Check it out. If you catch him in a lie please tell him Nancy said hello.

THE TRUTH said...

What is GWV Nancy?

Anonymous said...


Your response to the director of security being let go and the position being eliminated makes no sense to me. They are eliminating a position that HAS IMPORTANCE in this day and age. He also performed several other duties as well.

What does the comment about educators in security matters mean here. The director of security is not a teacher nor a DARE officer.

Anonymous said...

NewInTown, guess you were wrong from your earlier post about how the budget will get voted down, go have some crow!

Anonymous said...

I looked at the last comment and find the ANONYMOUS person very confused. Joe did not mention the security person being let go. He did however hit the nail on the head as to how the position was interfered with. I don't know if it was overseen or manipulated by administrators, principals and others as that would have chipped away its usefulness and true purpose. Many of us know from the inside what goes on and we also know that the previous post saying that "he also performed several other duties as well" was probably his downfall. As they say too many cooks in the kitchen. As far as the comment about "administrators being involved" too often within the walls of all schools DARE and other such measures get manipulated, maligned and worse at the expense of security that is so needed. I think on this subject Joe was right and you need to reread his last post. I think it made sense and was very truthful and right on the mark. I work in a school system and I know exactly what he was trying to point out to us.

fromoneinsideschbldgs said...

Rich was let go and deservedly so. It is not that the position was not important. Unfortunately it was the way it was used or in this case misused. Michelle, Joel, Mike and others were all over this man and he never really got to do the job. The interference and minimization of his role caused the elimination in my opinion. If it was dollars and cents maybe. Look for additional input to come from O'Malleys new buddies in our local police departments. See who retires and then gets the exact job that they just let Rich go from.

Play ball said...

Political hacks and crooked administrations 1 Taxpayers 0. In case your keeping score.

O'Malley is the new kid on the block and the budget was a given with a zero increase out front. I still think there is an awful lot of waste and pet projects to cut apart. And don't get me started on Gorilla Joe and his stranglehold on vats amounts of monies wasted. Equal funding for all programs in this district has been a joke.

Good riddance to the departing board members i can tell you that you will not be missed. Bon Voyage!

Anonymous said...

On your other post, V-DAY, you mentioned there were some write-in candidate votes of about 50? Curious as to who they were for. I didn't see any names listed in the APP.
PS..Congrats once again! looking forward to your swearing-in on Monday night!

NewInTown said...

Yes, I was wrong about the vote. I was also wrong about people seeing through the BS that was thrown out to the public about the budget. I overestimated people. I will enjoy it though when I see the O'Mally followers jump ship.

Anonymous said...

The followers might jump ship but he will still be the captain at a nice salary when they give him his new five year contract. And of course we are stuck with the bill or have to pay to get out of it.

Anonymous said...

No, actually I think he is going to jump ship and leave his followers afloat at sea wondering where they went wrong shocked that such an awesome guy would do that to him!

Anonymous said...

People on here will find something to compalin about no matter what, get a life people. Now you are attacking O'Malley?

Anonymous said...

Someone attacked O'Malley? Where? I didn't read anythig like that.

Anonymous said...

Attack away. I talk with him and he is just laughing at all of you as he continues to prove his detractors and the BARZA crew wrong day after day!

Anonymous said...

I agree, First it was the three amigos (BARZA) that voted NO to him. Then Helen Rappaport, then Barbara Cholewa, then Zavorskas, then the budget. Remember, this was the young guy with no experience! How does it feel now. Should have quit while you were behind! Keep up the good work Dr. O'Malley, I'm behind you.

Edgeviewted07 said...

For the most part the anonymous or not so anonymous BARZA supporters are circling their wagons. It will wear thin soon enough. The facts about the BARZA school board history and Kauff can be laughed at all they want. Both are despicable and soon to leave us very soon. Look for it Norman it is coming.

F U Kauff.

Anonymous said...

Now that the new board is in place when are they going to pick the remaining board member and give the reasons for doing so.