Consolidation Anxiety Disorder (C.A.D.):
The Executive County Superintendent of Monmouth County, Carole Knopp Morris, seems well ahead of the curve. While ECS’s have til March 2010 to present consolidation proposals to the DOE, Morris is already recommending 12 different feasibility studies. Here, courtesy of the Asbury Park Press, are the various consolidations under consideration.
Reaction has been predictable. Here’s a selection:
“We have to look at that, because there’s a lot of people that could be affected,” said Asbury Park Board of Education member Adrienne Sanders. “We have to weigh the pros and cons.
“I really think they have to hear from the parents and community, also,” Sanders said.
“When you do a study, you really need all the stakeholders at the table.”
“I don’t necessarily know if regionalization is the answer,” said Tom Foley, president of the Millstone Township Board of Education, a kindergarten-to-8th-grade district.
Hmmm. Is that high-pitched noise whining or heels dragging?
And, C.A.D. (we’re looking it up in the DSM) micro-version:
Stow Creek Township School District, which serves about 135 kids, is biting the bullet and proceeding with an agreement that would merge it with Greenwich Township, which serves 80 children. Residents are unhappy, yet resigned. Reports the Asbury Park Press,
Most, however, told board members that while they did not necessarily like the plan, they realized it was the only option that would likely keep the school open once the state starts forcing small school districts to regionalize.
The Herald News reports that hundreds of teachers in Paterson held a rally in support of their union during some tense negotiations with the district over their yet-to-be-signed contract.
In their now-expired contract, which ran from 2005-2008, teachers got raises of 4.75%, 5%, 5%, and 5.25%, i.e., 20% over four years. According to the Herald’s sources, the union wants a 16% raise over the next three years, and is irate over the district’s proposal that teachers contribute 1.5% of their salaries to cover health benefits and increase instruction time.
Waiting for the Other Shoe:
Bordentown Regional School District says it is not nervous about the new State high school graduation course requirements, which include 3 years of math, 3 years of lab science, and a half a year of economics. What worries them is the possible addition of “personalized learning plans.” The DOE is considering an I.E.P.-ish document that would follow non-special-ed students from middle school through high school. Central Jersey quotes a D.O.E. press release:
”Personalized learning plans will be instrumental in discovering how each child learns best and in what subjects and careers he or she holds an interest,” said Commissioner Lucille Davy in a press release. “These plans will expose a student to new opportunities and actively engage parents, teachers and counselors in education decision making.”
Bordentown Regional School District Superintendent Constance Bauer explains her concerns:
”I would hope at some point we get some direction on what exactly will be required,” she said.
As Trenton School District Circles the Drain,
The Trentonian reports that 157 students at Trenton High West presented the administration with a petition asking for
• Toilet paper, towels and soap, now lacking, and new dispensers wherever they are broken or missing.
• Adequate receptacles for used sanitary napkins instead of the small boxes with an inadequate capacity.
• Repair or replacement of toilet stall doors now broken or missing.
• Clean drinking water instead of the hot, brown fluid gushing from hall fountains.
When they got nowhere, the enterprising students went to the Trentonian, armed with pictures and other documentation. After various mishaps, like the reporter getting booted from the building, there were hugs all around and promises of functional toilets. What exactly is going on in Trenton?