Monday, April 25, 2011

Letter From Theresa Minutillo on Kid's First Slate

Here is a positive message from Theresa Minutillo, current BOE member, on the progress that the Kid's First team has made and why voters should vote 3-4-5 to keep the momentum alive this coming Wednesday April 27th. School Board election hours have been extended (7am-9pm) to start earlier this year so voters can vote in the morning as well as the evening.

Here is Theresa's Letter....

It is such an exciting time for the Hoboken Public School system! Over the past two years, the residents of Hoboken have come out and voted for members of the Kids First team and have been rewarded with great progress for the schools, staff and students. I am writing to urge everyone to come out again and support Jean Marie Mitchell, Steven Feinstein and Cliff Godfrey to work together with us to continue the momentum.

One of the greatest accomplishments has been the hiring of Dr. Mark Toback, a seasoned, experienced Superintendent with a proven track record of success in public education. Due to the hard work of Interim Superintendent Carter, Dr. Toback has an opportunity to step into a district where “the house is in order.” The operations of the district are in full compliance with the law, all accounting books are in order, all positions have legal contracts and all policies have been lawfully adopted, on record and are applicable to everyone equally. The tax levy is the lowest allowable by law and all efficiencies and cost saving can now go either toward the new Long Range Capital Improvement Plan or right back into the classroom to support the staff and students!

Dr. Toback began only a few short weeks ago (March 8) and he has certainly hit the ground running. He has already reached out to district parents and established a parent advisory council, which has already met with him twice. With the full support of the Board, he has already fostered partnerships with Hudson County Schools of Technology, Hudson County Community College and Sevens Institute of Technology. Products of these partnerships will gain the district new opportunities for Adult Education, a Saturday Children’xs Academy, Dual-Credit electives and on-line college course work for our High Schools students.

Dr. Toback is working together with the new Director of Curriculum, Dr. Anzul, to expand Gifted and Talented programs for the elementary students as well as moving forward on instituting the AP Program in Hoboken High School in September. Recently, wonderful new hands-on science discovery materials have been ordered for grades K-7. Also, in keeping with the desire to treat all staff and students equally, a new Field Trip program has been set in place to ensure that all children, regardless of which district school they attend, have an equal ability to participate in field trips.

Dr. Toback has also begun to focus on the new District Long Range Capital Improvement Plan, which will, among other things, provide needed improvements for the Connors School.

We have come so far and we can’t stop now. With your help, we can all move forward together! Please join me in supporting Jean Marie Mitchell, Steven Feinstein and Cliff Godfrey on Wednesday, April 27! The polls are open from 7 a.m. - 9 p.m.

Let’s continue the progress! Vote 3A – 4A – 5A.

- Theresa Minutillo
Hoboken Schools Board Member
Vice President Hoboken School Board

My Comment: The absentee counts for the BOE election are well over 500 and that bodes well for Carmelo Garcia's slate. It is a holiday week so there are likely some legitimate absentee ballots that have been submitted but I suspect that the Frank "Pupie" (on clean Hoboken elections that is ) Raia Express is busy in the housing projects manufacturing votes the old fashioned way, by buying them at $40 a pop. Or perhaps this time no money has exchanged hands as Carmelo Garcia can put the fear in housing project voters into voting for him due to his power as HHA Commissioner. Now, I am not saying that he does but the fact that he serves on the School Board and is the HHA Commissioner certainly opens the door for potential conflict. People with normal moral compasses might recuse themselves from running but not Carmelo! Nothing like fear to drive the "Old Guard" votes out! Pretty close to good old Gulagesque intimidation Joseph Stalin style.

The sad part is that the voter apathy for school board elections is such that someone like Carmelo Garcia will likely win even though he has missed meetings and subcommittee meetings and even stepped early of other meetings he has attended. He overplayed his hand with the Paula Ohaus manufactured drama and seems to endorse the notion that rules are not meant to be followed and favoritism is the preferred method of running Hoboken Schools. How can a Superintendent manage if he can't establish order and rules that must be followed? These are questions that it seems that Carmelo Garcia can't grasp or he knows better and plays the game of "politrickery" anyway.

He also in the past has been part of the patronage mill which helped create a part time Curriculum position for $144,000 per year that allowed the guy to live in Texas as well as a part time HVAC guy at $70K a year whose job appeared to be to make a phone call when the AC unit broke. The $144,000 a year part timer? That indignant bastard is suing the Board for wrongful termination on a contract, a contract that was approved formally right before it had ended anyway. The nerve of some people.

On apathy, even people who I once considered ardent reformers rarely go to Hoboken BOE meetings. The number one enemy of educational reform in Hoboken is apathy. The only way to change that is to turn out in numbers and vote for the slate endorsed by Mayor Dawn Zimmer and the majority of good governance candidates as well. A victory over Carmelo Garcia would go a long way to send a message that the tired old ways of doing things have been left in the rear view mirror. The problem is he already has 400-500 votes as a head start.

Get out and vote people! Vote 3-4-5 and keep the momentum alive!

There is nothing nothing personal with respect to Carmelo Garcia, just the desire for proper policy and my personal disgust for "politrickery", patronage, and pandering. ◦