Friday, January 14, 2011

Irene Sobolov on Maureen Sullivan's Misleading Email

Below is an email from Hoboken BOE member Irene Sobolov correcting misinformation spread by Maureen Sullivan in an email she sent about a request for a professional development trip requested by board member Frances Rhodes-Kearns that was voted down 7-1 a the last Hoboken BOE meeting. Here is her email......

Dear Friends,

It has come to my attention that an email from Ms. Sullivan has been circulating around Hoboken regarding, among other things, a supposed "fight against charter schools". I have included an excerpt from the email below.

I want to assure my friends that there is not now nor has there ever been any concerted, calculated, predisposed, thought out, planned, plotted, discussed, voted on, approved or any other "fight against the charter schools".

The email references a "trip" or Professional Development request made by one Board member. The email implies that the Finance Committee had already approved the request. Not true. The request was awaiting review from the full Board as it was an allowable and budgeted expense from a Board member for Professional Development. The request was for participation in the National School Board Association's conference regarding Federal programs,relations, funding and initiatives. A conference I believe is also open to Charter Trustees as they are members of the NJSBA.

At that meeting there was no overwhelming support for Mrs. Rhodes Kearns' request and it was denied for a variety of reasons by a vote of 7-1. (Garcia yes and Rhodes Kearns absent).

Most unfortunate is that the email implies the "trip" had already received approval that it's express and only purpose was to learn how to "fight charter schools. The email then goes on to say "As a board, we certainly have never discussed the idea of one of our board members going to Washington to fight charter schools" That particular statement is entirely true!! Why someone would want to imply otherwise is beyond me.
I hope if you receive further emails, read articles, hear things in the will reach out to me and we can discuss any concerns.


- Irene Sobolov
Hoboken BOE Board Member
Kids First Team Member

Excerpt from Maureen Sullivan's email:

 Last year, I led the charge against the board approval of a $3,000 junket to Chicago for board member Fran Rhodes-Kearns. I lost that vote, but later the county superintendent vetoed the trip. That didn't stop the board's finance committee from going ahead with approval for her to attend a two-day junketin Washington , D.C. next month to learn how to lobby members of Congress. If it's approved on Tuesday, it will cost taxpayers nearly $1,900, including $450 for a business class train trip on the Acela (specifically forbidden by state statute) and more than $540 in hotel charges.

Among the topics that she will be getting instruction on is learning how tolobby against members of Congress and the U.S. Dept of Education who "voice support for expanding charters... ." As a board, we certainly have never
discussed the idea of one of our board members going to Washington to fight charter schools. I'm not sure if the many Hoboken taxpayers who have their children in charter schools want their tax money going to fight those

The full email can be seen in this post on my site: