Monday, October 12, 2009

BOE Meeting Tuesday - 6:30PM

  
It is anticipated that the BOE will go into an Exec. Session at 5:30PM to discuss collective bargaining & pending litigation.

Instead of listing the copious number of interesting items shown on the BOE's jam-packed agenda, I'm going to comment on a few that really caught my attention.

Report of Official School Opening Enrollment ~~ Are the numbers still on the decline? When will our taxes start to decline proportionately?

Superintendent's 2009 - 2010 Goals ~~ Finding a new employer should top his list! It's time the BOE own up to what's happening behind the scenes, and start the search.

Whistleblower Update ~~ This should be very revealing on a number of different levels!

Student Trips ~~ One trip has seniors from Odyssey asking to go to Disney in Orlando, miss school, hire 3-4 subs while they are away AND they have shown NO EDUCATIONAL BENEFIT for the expedition, thus making this a VACATION AT TAXPAYER EXPENSE! In these hard economic times, the BOE's answer should be "NO."  Then there's the trip where Amy McCabe wants to join the Outdoor Adventure Group to go along to Salt Lake City Utah from Athena ... must be nice having relatives who can OK a trip paid for by the students! Again, the BOE should say "NO" to this group of glorified gym junkies. But then, standing up to anyone takes something our BOE has shown they don't have ... rhymes with "gall" ...

Public School Fire Safety Report ~~ I read through the entire document and it really caused me to take pause! In the category of "Major" violations, it's particularly disturbing to see noted little things like "Combustibles stored on a toaster oven" (No common sense??), "Fire Lanes not always maintained," "Emergency lighting or doors are inoperative."  Seems to me that SOMEONE could get burnt out bulbs replaced and doors working WITHOUT having to wait until the FD tells us it's an issue. Can't staff report it to maintenance as these problems crop up? DO THEY EVER? Then there's the part where the number of buildings inspected miraculously grew from 47 last year to 51 this year. How's that possible???

Swine flu ~~ Mysteriously lacking from the lengthy agenda is any mention of an update on swine flu. According to various news reports, a record high number of 19 CHILDREN died from H1N1 in the US just last week! So far, 76 kids under the age of 18 have died this year. Our normal annual death toll among children from flu is only 46-88 per flu season! Flu season has barely begun!

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

I gotta give you credit SCATS. You sure keep up on what's going on in this blue collar podunk 'burb. Nobody else brings up the kinds of things you do. Good job! I love reading this site.

Anonymous said...

Thats more proof that there is NO leadership in the GCSD in ANY department.They have lots of directors and management positions, and they all take the pay for the position,but not one of them earns it by doing their job!

Anonymous said...

Not sure why you picked out two of about 20 student trip requests, but the ones you picked have little or no cost to the district (students are paying their own way). Some of the trips you didn't mention do carry district costs, however.

SCATS said...

To 8:24PM ~~ I chose the trip from Odyssey because they may have to hire several substitute teachers as shown on the trip request form. Doing that will cost the district for a trip that has NO ACADEMIC BENEFIT.

amy moyer said...

I have an Odyssey senior who will be going to Disney- we are paying for his trip, not the district. And no, there is no educational value to this trip, just a good time to end their high school years.
My daughter went to Washington last year in 8th grade- the trip was jam packed w/ visits to monuments, landmarks, etc.. We also paid for this trip.
I would have a problem w/ both these trips if the taxpayers were footing the bill for my kid on either trip, but that was not the case
Amy Moyer

SCATS said...

To Amy ~~ As I said earlier, Odyssey's trip request form mentions the potential need to hire several subs while these kids & their teachers are away. The taxpayers will pay for the subs.

Anonymous said...

Enrollment is down 1000+ students from a few years ago. One thousand students is enough to fill one or two schools depending on the school.

Why aren't I hearing talk of closing, or mothballing a building or two to conserve resources?

I think the Board and District Office must still be using connected math! ;-)

SCATS said...

To 11:01PM ~~ Don't forget that district forecasts that enrollments were to surge upwards of 16,000 students never materialized. We built Pinebrook, added a new complex to Arcadia and added extra classrooms to most elementary schools based on those unrealized numbers. Since then, guess what we did? We built more! And coming soon, your voter approved EXCEL project will finally be started ... over 2 years after approval. I wonder what the BOE will have on their wish list for voters in May ... astroturf fields ... new locker rooms ... lots of goodies for sports nuts?

Anonymous said...

Scats at 10:31 bravo and snaps:)
Also wasn't that a student senior trip where that girl was missing a few years back. Why should our district put itself at risk of losing a student or a student becoming injured during a trip which has no benefit educationally and takes the students and their teachers...paid for by taxpayers....away during school time. Not only are we paying for the subs but the teachers and staff chaperones must be getting paid as if they were in school. Yeah they are responsible at all hours but they don't have to sign up for this trip do they?
And is there the possibility that the students are not paying directly for the transportation and lodging but rather it is deposited into a district fund and then paid to the various companies? Greece district is wholly liable for any mishaps. Why else would there be the need for district board approval? And there must be some adult presumably school staff that is facilitating this trip and that person must be paid for that effort.
On the other hand the 8th grade Washington trip (at least at Apollo and Arcadia middle schools) is tied into the curriculum and I have no problem at all with those trips. Sure there could be an accident on that trip or on a school bus but these trips have an educational value and we have to budget for those mishaps. "Good time had by all" does not rise to the level of district liability. Let them get together for a picnic in town that the district is not in charge of. Maybe that lady could sponsor that. Another name for that is graduation party.
And BTW why can't the senior trip have an educational benefit? Choose a different place than the magic kingdom and we wouldn't be having this debate. Lots of places to choose from.

SCATS said...

To 8:30AM ~~ How do you feel about student trips related to Phys Ed even if they aren't done during days school would be missed? I think the whole trip thing has gotten out of control, just like most everything else in this town.

Anonymous said...

I can't imagine a physical fitness activity that we could not do within our own district borders. Ok maybe downhill skiing would require a bus trip but that is more recreational and prone to accidents.

No I don't approve of student trips that prepare for iron man contests and triathlons or mountain climbing. Yhat is not part of the NY state ed requirements and could be done on students own time on their own and with students own money and parents. A healthy lifestyle can be maintained with enough rest and moderate exercise, balanced nutrition and less stress. These trips are not necessary. It seems like the unnecessary stress and lack of balance may be counter productive to a healthy life.

SCATS said...

To 11:21AM ~~ So then, you wouldn't send your kid to Utah for some "Outdoor Adventures" with a BOE member's relative? Tsk! Tsk!

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know the details of this Utah "outdoor adventures" trip? When you do a google search most sites are promoting white water rafting and mountain climbing and hot air balloons. What is the destination and what will the children be doing?
Is it the "splore" organization which has adventures with handicapped accessiblity? That is the 2nd hit on google when you put in utah outdoor adventures.
Who in Greece dreamed up this idea? Are the students making sure they are prepared to live in the wilderness just in case? Will this help them since we are in the bottom of the rankings for academics and they would be prepared for reality survivor shows?

SCATS said...

To 11:43AM ~~ According to the Student Trip Request form on BoardDocs the Group is called "Outdoor Education." They want to be gone from April
17th-24th, to Salt Lake City, Utah with a group of 10-20 students. The Phys Ed teacher is in charge. The others going include someone from the Pack, Paddle & Ski Company, and three people from Athena's Staff including Amy McCabe. It's been "approved" by the principal ...

Anonymous said...

Here is info about that company from an article about twins in business:
"Rick French and Randy French (age 39): (South Lima, NY) Thirteen years ago the twins started their own outdoor adventure company, Pack, Paddle and Ski. They have taken clients to 5 continents, numerous states and provinces to ride elephants, dug out canoes, spend winters in igloos, and howl for wolves! The twins are also nationally ranked U.S. ski racers."

Sounds like fun for those that think that is enjoyable. But even these people on their website do not call it education.

SCATS said...

To 12:22PM ~~ C'mon now! Howling for wolves could be useful at BOE meetings, or for future GTA activities if any of these students become teachers and get hired by GCSD :D

Anonymous said...

Disneyworld? why not, money is no object besides this is Odysee

Anonymous said...

Amy McCabe?! What's the matter, Coach Webb wasn't available?! If I didn't laugh about this, I swear I would cry!