“A Legacy Shattered”: Parents of Jersey City Charter School Protest Board’s Removal of Principal

This is a press release written by parents from The Ethical Community Charter School (TECCS) after a virtual school board meeting where the 150 parents participating were told that Principal Marta Bergamini will not return. Jersey City, NJ – Last night parents and staff of The Ethical Community Charter School attended the monthly Board of Trustees meeting with hope of news on the return of Principal Marta Bergamaini. After waiting three weeks for an update, …

Tonight the Lakewood School Board Will Approve A Budget It Can’t Pay For.

Later today at its public meeting the Lakewood Board of Education will approve a budget of $204 million that assumes the state will kick in a loan of $60 million. In addition, the Board will request that Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet defer the repayment of prior year DOE loans. The Board will also approve attorney Michael Inzelbuch’s annual compensation of $750,000. A few notes: If the State approves the $60 million loan, Lakewood’s unpaid annual …

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 …

NJEA’S Palace Intrigue: A New Report Shines Light on The Mayoral Candidacy of Sean Spiller.

Three weeks ago a reader asked me an intriguing question: Is Sean Spiller, candidate for Mayor of Montclair and NJEA Vice President, actually running for the “Montclair Ideal” (as his campaign literature claims) or for the “NJEA ideal”? If Spiller wins the mayoral election, he would not only be Chair of the Montclair Board of School Estimates (which approves the district’s budget) but he would also appoint the members of the Montclair Board of Education. …

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. …

The Hidden Agenda Behind The Segregation Lawsuit (Plus a Personal Disclosure)

On Friday Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson made an important ruling in a lawsuit filed against the State of New Jersey by the New Jersey Coalition for Diverse & Inclusive Schools (NJCDIS), the Latino Action Network, and NAACP New Jersey State Conference. The lawsuit charges that New Jersey’s school districts are unacceptably segregated (they are) and proposes several remedies, including district consolidation, expansion of magnet schools, expansion of the state’s program that allows students to …

Senator Steve Sweeney Wrote a Letter to Ed. Comm. Lamont Repollet About Lakewood. Also, How Much Does Inzelbuch Really Make?

In August Senator Sweeney wrote a letter to Comm. Repollet asking, among other things, whether the DOE has considered auditing Lakewood, NJ’s most insolvent district, and what he thinks of Board Attorney Michael Inzelbuch’s $600,000 annual salary (plus benefits) which, he notes, is “six times higher than the national average.” The Senate President is likely displeased by the discovery made by the Asbury Park Press that Inzelbuch actually was paid $715,000 last year. David Sciarra …

King Repollet Goes to Ghana (And Other Misadventures of the New Jersey Education Commissioner).

As we continue this ongoing series that deals, in part, with how Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet’s tenure at Asbury Park School District (APSD), as well as Assistant Deputy Carolyn Marano’s, was a harbinger of the current decline in standards and oversight at the State Department of Education, it’s worth looking at a peculiar event in April of 2017. During Spring Break two years ago, Asbury Park Superintendent Repollet, with a contingent of companions, travelled to …

In Jersey City the Teacher Union Is Bargaining On Both Sides of the Table. Last Night One Ethical Board Member Tried to Uphold District Integrity.

I was a school board member for twelve years, including nine years as president. I thought I’d seen it all, including fraught negotiations with unions. I remember one particular negotiating session that commenced at 5 pm and concluded (successfully!) at 3:30 am the following morning. I ran home, got the house in order, packed lunches, got my kids ready for school, and was back in the Central Office by 8 am to sign a Memorandum …