As many of you are aware, there has been great upset and concern regarding the Clarkstown
Central School District Board of Education. There are many different facets involved, so I have decided to focus my blog on what I consider to be a very important topic. Whether or not you have children in the school system, you need to be aware of what is happening-if you live here, you are paying taxes and you are being represented by your BOE!
Here is a recap of some recent events:
Week of 3/7: cancellation of a BOE meeting that was to introduce the CCSD budget--it gets rescheduled for March 16 with no reason for cancellation given by BOE President, Mr. DeGaetano.
In the interim, three executive sessions are held by the BOE. Rumors and speculation swirl in the community. There are too many unanswered questions here.
On 3/14, a large crowd of residents waits to find out if the BOE will open to public session after their closed door executive meeting--they did not. Again, no reason given, no "thank you for coming, thank you all for your concern..." just a brief remark by Mr. DeGaetano and then he bolts out of the room. You can find the video on YouTube. Perfect example of disrespect for the community. March 16--BOE holds an "open community forum" at South HS in West Nyack
, but cancels the budget presentation from the agenda. Now, I sat through this entire meeting and got zero answers. While community members were very clear on their thoughts during the open forum, no questions asked received any answers. There was too much "no comment, I can't answer that, we will get back to you, our attorney isn't here, we cannot discuss personnel matters." So the community continues to speculate....will Dr. Keller-Cogan be fired? What's happening with certain elementary school principals? Why are we not getting a school budget overview? However, I must correct myself and mention that Mr. John LaNave did wind up presenting the proposed budget and he did answer any questions that there were. Too bad more than half the people were already gone because it was so late at night.
Here's my overall concern:
1--Our school board seems to be divided when they should be united, working together to serve the community and our children. There cannot be any distractions due to personal conflict within the board, or with Dr. Keller-Cogan.
2--The enormous lack of respect shown by the BOE President, Mr. DeGaetano, has to end. His words and actual body posture are disrespectful and unacceptable. If I treated my friends, clients and business associates in this manner, I would have no friends left, no one would care to do business with me, and I bet someone would take action against me.
3--The BOE President usually speaks to the community like we are nothing.....you are in an elected position, your job encompasses working for us, not your agenda.
4--Stop behaving this way and then apologizing...we are tired of it--it's disrespectful....as a gentleman stated at the last public forum, "Your apologies are too little, too late."
5--Try answering like this..."We are unable to provide the answer to your question right now, thanks for asking." Then tell us when and how the information will be disseminated. Be consistent about it.
6--Oh, and by the way, there were plenty of questions asked that were not personnel related and they should have been addressed and answered. It seemed like it was talking to the wall for three hours....not so good.
So, I chose to remain in this school district because of the overall high quality. I am very thankful and proud that my children attend this school district. But, to be represented by this board is not something to be proud of right now. Pull yourselves together and understand that you are serving the public, not your own agendas and treat us with the respect we all deserve. No hidden agendas you say? Well, then take a shot at properly and consistently communicating with the community and maybe that type of speculation wouldn't arise.
Stay tuned, I will be following this closely, continuing with the meeting scheduled for this Thursday @8pm.