In Asbury Park, A Call for the State Fiscal Monitor to Resign

Last night the Asbury Park Board of Education held its monthly meeting –with a bit of a twist. Since mid-March all meetings have been held remotely: For the required public participation, people email in comments that are read at the appropriate time by an administrator and anyone can dial in to listen. But this time the Board decided, COVID-19 be damned, to meet in-person. Why? Because since meetings have been held remotely, community participation has …

Why Can’t We Fix Asbury Park? Thirteen Years of State Oversight and Still Circling the Drain.

I’ve spent a fair bit of time recently on Asbury Park Public Schools at the behest of residents and staff members who have asked me to weigh in on the proposed 2020-2021 budget that the Board will approve on Thursday.  People are alarmed: They’re looking at a 22% school tax increase and, judging by reports of last week’s meeting, which I reported on here, Board members seemed fairly clueless about the details. Why? Because in …

Asbury Park Residents Decry School District’s High Spending and “Top-Heavy Administration.”

On Wednesday night the Asbury Park Board of Education held its monthly public meeting. Sort of. While other districts are finding creative ways to include residents in public meetings while maintaining social-distancing — people in my district, for example, can choose among GoogleMeet, live-streaming, and phoning into a conference line — these options were too cumbersome for Asbury Park. Instead, there was only a listen-only telephone number and an opportunity to email questions.  And this …

Asbury Park Sources Clarify Loaded Gun Incident

Since the Asbury Park High School incident when a student brought a loaded gun into the school — past a metal detector and a security staff that was, according to April 29th School Board minutes, gifted $250,000 for “increased costs of security” (I was told the money was spent on “Gestapo-like uniforms”) — I’ve received more information from people familiar with the matter. We already know how students sneak weapons into the high school. (See …

Who Keeps Students and Staff Safe at Asbury Park? A Behind-the-Scenes Look at What Parents Don’t Know.

Thursday’s post described an incident where a student brought a loaded gun into school, despite the presence of metal detectors. In the aftermath, Principal Kathy Baumgartner was suspended with pay, pending an investigation (more information on this tomorrow) and the student was charged by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office for “unlawful possession of a weapon and weapon possession at education institutions.” In that post I said, based on the information available at the time, that …

Asbury Park High School Student Brings Loaded Gun to School; Community and Staff Kept in the Dark.

I have a scoop that I wish I didn’t have, courtesy of three anonymous sources, all staff members at Asbury Park Public Schools. An Asbury Park High School student brought a loaded gun to school. One source said this happened for three consecutive days; another said it was one day. This student sat through classes with the loaded gun until another student told Principal Kathy Baumgardner (photo above).  Asbury Park High School has metal detectors …

Asbury Park Spends $42K per Student and Still Can’t Get the Job Done: Highlights from the Recent State Audit.

Once again it’s time to take a look at Asbury Park Public School District, which spends more per pupil ($42,382 total a year) than almost any other district and is the former post of Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet. This past November the New Jersey State Legislature’s Office of the State Auditor completed an analysis of the district’s functioning that spans from July 2016 (when Repollet was still superintendent) to December 2018. The auditor, Stephen M. …

Leaked Memo From NJ Department of Education Offends Staff Members

A MESSAGE ON BEHALF OF CHIEF OF STAFF KELLIE LEDET Dear NJDOE Employees: This Sunday, February 23rd at 11:00 a.m. Commissioner Repollet will be speaking at Saint James AME Church in Newark as part of a special Greek/Pan-Hellenic Sunday program. Congregation members who are also members of the “Divine 9” have been invited to attend the service wearing their Greek paraphernalia, and they have encouraged us to extend this invitation to members of the NJDOE …

Murphy and Repollet Want to Unlock Career Doors for NJ Students But They’re Getting Two Things Wrong.

Yesterday New Jersey Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet sent out a tweet celebrating the state’s new jobs initiative, “Jobs NJ: Developing Talent to Grow Business in the Garden State,” which will “ensure all New Jerseyans have the education & training necessary to access high quality employment.” A press release from the Governor’s Office adds, “Here in New Jersey, we’re creating new pathways for success after high school,” said Dr. Lamont O. Repollet, Commissioner of Education. “Schools …

Four Ways that Education Law Center Reveals Its Hypocrisy.

Education Law Center is having a temper tantrum. In a letter to the New Jersey Department of Education, the law group, which operates as an arm of NJEA, calls for “the NJ Department of Education (NJDOE) to immediately end the unauthorized practice of allowing charter schools in poor urban Abbott districts to operate separate preschool programs outside the districts’ universal ‘Abbott Preschool Program.’” Why? Because “only Abbott districts are allowed to operate high-quality preschools” and the …