Monday, April 11, 2011

A Resignation: The Curious Case of BOE Policy and Political Timing

Last week Hoboken Schools were saddened to hear that highly regarded Paula Ohaus had resigned from her post as head of the Hoboken High School Theater program and as faculty member. Having seen several Hoboken HS theater productions myself I have to say that I think she did a wonderful job preparing the kids for elaborate productions that were very well executed. With that said her not so sudden resignation has upset many of the kids and parents that supported the program. Deja Vu moment: Didn't we go through this last year right before an election?

Hoboken Patch, fed by the ever eager Board member Carmelo Garcia who likes to flaunt personnel matters to the public when it suits his political needs, to the ever willing Claire Moses, who helped turn this resignation into a political issue reported last week. The report had Theater Director Paula Ohaus resigning last Tuesday after saying she feels "harassed" and "targeted" by Peter Carter and his administration.

What we do know is that she met with a school official and several sources have indicated that it was with Walter Rusak whose assignment ends this June. She then shortly thereafter resigned. Peter Carter has already left and with Walter Rusak setting to go anyway, the timing of Paula's resignation seems to beg the question, was it politically motivated or just a personal decision on her part?

Her action and timing of the resignation put Dr. Mark Toback in a difficult position. On the basis of Paula's remarks to Hoboken Patch, he doesn't seem to be the source of the "harassment" and "targeting" and yet he is the new guy and loses a valuable resource to the schools his first month in office. He made remarks that the theater program will go on last week but that hardly seems to satisfy Paula's ardent supporters.

Question: If violations of school policy are to occur (hypothetically), is a school administrator guilty of "harassment" for doing their job and point out to employees transgressions of policies? Or should certain favored resources have the rules relaxed in their favor as afterall, if it is for the greater good i.e. the children, rules be damned every now and then?

These is an interesting question and certainly warrants discussion. While I am disappointed when employees that have great impact on on our children leave, when they resign, it is ultimately their choice. Or is it? In this case if Peter Carter was really the issue it doesn't make much sense to me that she would resign now since the last vestiges of his administration will be gone come this summer. She could have had a fresh start with Toback. Here is hoping that cooler heads prevail and that some solution can be devised to have her come back should she so desire without affecting the morale of all the other Hoboken HS faculty who are expected to follow the rules of school policy.
Anyway, below is the current BOE policy with respect to out of district children participating in all extra cirricular activities. This was a topic of contention during the last play. If you agree with the current policy, fine then follow it. If you disagree, fine then change and then enforce it. We need to have the drama on the stage, not in the BOE Board meetings where students are used as pawns come election season. Shame on Carmelo Garcia for manipulating the children's emotions for political gain. Disgustado! I wonder what "independents" Peter Biancamano and Frances Rhodes-Kearns have to say about his despicable behavior? Hopefully they didn't make a full blown "Pupie" pact.