Thursday, June 29, 2006

Greece: What Makes Us The "Dysfunction Junction"


As witnessed many times on this BLOG and on the news, Greece often gets "bad press." Some complain that everyone just loves to hate this town. They say that we are treated unfairly by the media, that people don't recognize or appreciate the "positives" we offer and that our image suffers as a result. Some worry that housing prices will plummet every time Greece gets another publicly-made bad rap. Others are concerned about the impact it has on local businesses.

Yes, our self-esteem as a community and school district DOES seem to be down around the level of a gopher's hole. We definitely get at least our fair share of public scrutiny. Suspicion runs amok with each breaking story. Finger-pointing is our very own Olympic sport. Gossip, rumor and innuendo are right at home here, probably because most of these seem to have at least a nugget of truth to them. But the question becomes, is our reputation deserved?

We're not going to answer that question, because we think it's up to each resident to decide for himself. But we are going to give you a noncomprehensive listing (in no particular order of importance) of some reasons why Greece just might not be held in such high regard. Feel free to add to our list with own ideas ... but please remember we can and will edit if we must :)

1) In Greece, every effort is made to control public discussion, especially when it concerns politics, controversy, taxes, public spending, development, hiring, firing and most any other topic that 10 or more people gather to discuss. Case in point - "a community forum" typically means you must write your question/concern/idea on a card and hand it over to a moderator who will lump it together with 7 other "similar" cards, thereby not only watering down what you wrote, but ensuring there can be NO two-way discussion of the exact thing you are interested in!

2) Open Government seems to be defined as: "We'll tell you the general topic of our closed door meeting IF any of you find out we're having one ahead of time."

3) We don't recognize valedictorians/salutatorians for a stellar academic performance because the students who didn't quite make it by 1/1000th of a point (and their parents) will feel badly.

4) We do recognize top athletes who win a race/game/competition by 1/1000th of a second/point/goal because it means $$$ to them and their parents and great positive publicity to the town/school district.

5) We've made achieving a "B average" worthy of a mention in the newspaper, thereby rendering Honor Roll Lists to look more like attendance sheets.

6) "Nepotism rocks!" could be our local HR motto.

7) Though we're bigger than many cities with some 96,000 residents and multiple zip codes, we're doomed to remain "just a town." (Does anybody know why this is so?)

8) Getting actual satisfaction about any complaint is directly proportionate to the number of people in positions of power that you know on a first name basis.

9) Getting recognition/an award is directly proportionate to the number of people in positions of power that you know (or that your parents know if you are a student) on a first name basis.

10) Public officials are so worried about what the community is plotting against them that they resort to installing secret video cameras and microphones to overhear what the audience is saying.

11) Public officials are so worried about what the community is plotting against them that they resort to having citizens arrested for "loudly sighing" during public meetings. (Too bad they don't do this to public officials who leave the room or drift off to sleep and snore during the meeting!)

12) Shifting the focus of discussion from an uncomfortable topic (and perhaps putting it right back on YOU!) is a required skill for all the town's and school district's "powers that be. "

13) The use of scape-goats (like CARE, the teacher's Union, PTA etc.) is considered SOP.

14) Defensiveness is the typical reaction to any bad news reported in the media. "The law permits an assessor to have his own business on the side ... It wasn't MY job to determine the assessment base!"

15) Lying is another typical reaction to any bad news reported in the media. "We're not going to suspend/fire the Superintendent ..."

16) The inability to accept ANY constructive criticism or to laugh at ourselves ensures us all that the dysfunction will continue ...

Sunday, June 25, 2006

BOE Exceeds Budget For Legal Fees By Over $600,000

Lawsuits & Resignation Blamed

Ken Walsh: "We didn't have any alternatives... As a board, this was a process we needed to go through and needed to seek legal advice for, and that is expensive."

D&C Article

Friday, June 23, 2006

CONGRATULATIONS GREECE GRADS !!!

You've Survived the GCSD :)

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

NY Regents To Ban "Aversive Behavioral Interventions"

Ban to include skin shocks, noxious sprays, sleep deprivation & other measures

D&C Article

Monday, June 19, 2006

"Brain Drain" of Top Students Causes Annual Woes

Best & Brightest Leave State After HS

D&C Article

Sunday, June 18, 2006

School Violence Reports ...

Are Suburban Schools Really Safer?

D&C Article

Friday, June 16, 2006

Athena MS Raises $7000 For Ill Classmate


Bradley Pentycofe & Family Helped In Fight With Leukemia

Seventh-grader Erik Olsen, 13, offered nearly $100 he got for his birthday in January."I talked about it with my parents and brought it in... I knew he needed it and the money was for a good cause."

D&C Article

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

DONLON "VINDICATED" TO GET JOB BACK


Three Others To Get Cash Settlements

Moscato: "This unwarranted action should never have been initiated. After tonight, Mary is going to be vindicated."

D&C Article

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Steroid Testing Of Teens ~~ Has the Time Come?


New Jersey To Begin Testing School Athletes

Sticking Points: costs, confidentiality & logistics

D&C Article

Sunday, June 11, 2006

*** BOE Meeting Tuesday ***


Exec. Session Planned at 5:45PM - "to discuss employment history of particular person(s), pending litigation and collective negotiations."

Regular meeting at 6:30PM - to include discussions of:
New York State School Report Card
Withdrawal of 3020a Charges
Adjust Interim Superintendent Contract – Vacation
NYSED Special Education Focused Review
Approval of Textbooks - Math
Barnard Feasibility Study Update
Second Reading, Policy 8370 Sensitive Films
Superintendent Search Update

Relocation of Community Education
Volunteer Assistant Assets Coordinator Position
Goal – spending for 2006-2007
First Read – Policy 5662 Wellness Policy

Update of Technology Plan

AGENDA

Olympia Class of '95 Plant Tree In Memorium

Alumni Pay Tribute To Classmates Killed By Drunk Drivers

D&C Article

Friday, June 09, 2006

BOE MAY WITHDRAW CHARGES AGAINST DONLON


BOE Will Vote Tuesday On Dismissal Of Charges Against Her

Ken Walsh: "I think that from time to time, the decisions made by past school boards must be questioned and this is an opportune time to re-evaluate this one.We've gotten advice from our attorneys on the merit of the case and we're going to act on their advice and the will of the board."

D&C Article

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Parma Residents Don't Want Greece Soccer Complex

Anger Towards "Mighty Greece" Flares Over Huge Complex

D&C Article

BLOG Administrators' Note: Greece residents/taxpayers, sports fans & BOE members should read this article very carefully! Parma's opposition is for the very same reasons Greece residents do NOT want a lighted football field!!
(Not our opinion, but a matter of record following decades of trying)

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Five Greece Schools Make State List

Autumn Lane, Craig Hill, English Village, Lakeshore & Longridge Are Closing the Gap In State Test Scores For English & Math For Two Years In A Row

D&C Story

Where Are We In The Search For a Supt?

Weeks ago, the BOE approved hiring a search firm to find us a new leader? What is the status of that effort? Have there been any applications? Is a process in place for interviewing & selecting from the potential pool of candidates?

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Community Invited To Summit Meeting Thursday

Communication Is Key To Ongoing Process

Ken Walsh, BOE President: "The community needs to be able to ask questions and get answers. The trust level is increasing, but we've got a long way to go."

D&C Article

Saturday, June 03, 2006

PTA vs. GTA


Should PTAs Support Union/GTA Candidates? Any Candidates?

Anonymous said... lets think about this-wouldn't you be just a little stressed if you didn't have a real boss and didn't know who the next one was gonna be and if your benefits were being questioned and the professional develpoment you thought you signed on for was removed?I feel sorry for our teachers but after all it was them and the GTA that endorsed the motley crew of HMO to begin with... 6/02/2006 8:18 PM

Anonymous said... Mr. Yeara has got it right!! PTA has nothing to do with supporting the teachers. They are about...? anyone? $$$$ they say thaey are about more but the biggest events are social events fundraisers or getting volunteers to run the social events or fundraisers. meetings to talk about the success of the social event or fundraiser.A Strategically placed can in the Schhool Lobby or at rotary or chamber of commerce businesses that says donate here to buy supplies for underprivledged kids or donate to supplement supplies for the students... could easily replace the entire group. 6/02/2006 10:16 PM

Anonymous said... The PTA groups in the local schools do grant money to the classrooms and those people do give alot of time, passion and commitment to our children.They should not be criticized. BUT, what is alarming is the leadership of the so called executive council of the PTA. They have been around for too long and its time for a change. They do control alot of money-I just heard that a portion of "school pictures" goes directly to them. Is that true? The powers that be at the Council Level are even going as far as taking credit in the last BOE election and are lining candidates up for next year. Until the makeup of the Council changes or they open their minds to new ideas and become more inclusive of the community they will have a very difficult time getting support. Many of the parents in this town have had enough of the Council and the divisions they continue to create-and with our money. 6/03/2006 1:18 AM

Anonymous said... I just read Yeara's comments about PTAs. I'm rather shocked to see someone put into print that it is the "duty" (implied) of PTSA to support union backed candidates for school board elections! Since when are PTAs supposed to be backing ANY candidates? Isn't this the very activity that makes them dysfunctional? There's more than enough politics in GCSD without saddling PTA with this "duty." We should be telling PTA to get out of politics and stay out! Maybe then they could do more than bake cookies & hold fundraisers, like they do in other school districts! 6/03/2006 1:15 PM