Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Issues Related to Supt. Steve Achramovitch

It has been some time since I posted on this site. Just for the record, I am not SCATS, as some of you believe. My computer skills are non-existent and I am under strict orders from my wife to stay away from it because when I touch it, bad things happen. That said, on to the subject matter.

Back in February of this year, I assisted in the preparation of the document which follows. This was prepared for the express purpose of presenting it as a part of Steve Achramovitch’s June evaluation. I was informed that this document was included with other board member’s concerns about Achramovitch’s performance.

I recently decided to release this information to the press, which I did last night. I purposely held back, hoping that the board would tell the public that as a result of a negative evaluation, a majority of the board gave Steve notice to seek other employment as, on June 30, 2010, he would be terminated. It didn’t happen, thus my decision to go public. As you read these 14 items, bear in mind that Steve was defenseless and guilty as charged.

Joe Moscato

(The document Joe referred to contains 14 items and is posted in the comments area due to space considerations.)


SCATS said...

The following are issues of concern to me as they relate to the leadership of Steve Achramovitch:

1.School Visits……Steve promised prior to his hiring that he would regularly visit schools to find out what is going on. I have reports that this is not happening with regularity. For example, one individual said that he has visited her school only twice since he has been superintendent and one visit was but for a few minutes.

2.School Improvement Plans…….This has been a major initiative of Steve to reform our district. This is not a topic that is reported on by Steve to the board. We are in the dark as to the efficacy of the initiative. We do not know what results or problems or progress is being realized.

3.Schools of Choice/Signature Schools…..Approximately two years ago, the BOE passed a motion (5-3 in favor) asking the superintendent to study and report on the viability of this enterprise. He was going to establish a community task force. As of today the BOE has received no report on the status of the motion’s study. A task force does not exist. The educational or organizational value of continuing with this organizational scheme has not been reported or discussed with the BOE. The motion has been ignored.

4.Consultant Hiring……..Steve has engaged consultants at great cost to the district without a prior conversation with the board. The most glaring example is the engagement of O’Flavahavan Consulting on reading at a projected cost of $1.6 Million over 8 years. The BOE was not consulted ahead of time, data on success in other districts was not presented, the program goals were not outlined, and the implementation of the first year efforts got a mixed reaction from the district’s teachers.

5.Strategic Direction…….I do not sense that our superintendent has one in force for the district. I am unaware of any list that details the major issues within the district, what actions are planned to address these issues, what the status of these issue might be. There is not a focused effort to define problems, report out status to the BOE or the public. We just seem to bounce from pillar to post as circumstances warrant.

SCATS said...

6.Capital Plan……An overall capital plan does not exist that details the district’s needs (beyond EXCEL), timetable, nor cost of implementation. When discussing the superintendents goals in public session, I raised the concern that a plan needed to be added to his goals. My recollection is that he made a written note at the time but thus far has not added such a plan to his goals nor taken action to prepare one.

7.Loewke/Brill Report……This report languished without district action other than an inconsequential memo presented to the BOE by Mr. Schroeder. By Steve’s own admission he never read the report until it was brought to light in discussions involving structural failures at Longridge School. There was no action taken to address the concerns raised in the report or report on the status.

8.Contract Negotiations……This is especially troublesome with regard to GTA. The negotiating strategy (based on feedback from BOE members present at some meetings)appeared to be unnecessarily adversarial with a “just say No” approach. Counter offers made by GTA were not revealed to the BOE (according to GTA sources). As HR (Human Resource) experience was presented by Steve as one of his strengths as a superintendent, leadership in this area has not been displayed. He has repeatedly asked the BOE for “guidance” but has never (to my knowledge) suggested to the board a contract negotiating strategy that might yield a successful result given our circumstances.

9.Operational cost vs. Declining Enrollment……Steve has not “volunteered” a plan to bring expenditures in line with the continuing decline in student enrollment. Any progress in this area has only occurred while under pressure to present a new district operating budget.

10.English Road Pediatrics…… In discussions regarding reappointment of the district’s doctor, the potential engagement of this medical office was raised. There was a commitment made by the superintendent to discuss possible engagement of this firm. I am aware that no discussions were ever held with the principal doctor(s) of this practice as promised nor was there any follow up report to the BOE on this commitment.

11.Jakacovitch Termination……This individual’s termination was never fully explained to the BOE. A lawsuit now exists against the district. There is some belief that organized eavesdropping of phone conversations/emails is underway in the district. This eavesdropping practice may have triggered the termination after a phone conversation was monitored between Jakacovitch and former member C. Hubbard.

12.Uniform district wide application of the Code of Conduct……..There is no evidence that this policy has been uniformly implemented and enforced throughout our schools. Enforcement appears not to be a priority within the district. I believe this is leads to a poor classroom environment which in turn leads to an inappropriate learning environment.

13.School Violence…….Numerous violent and behavioral incidents occur within the district. The superintendent indicated he would establish a committee to study this problem. I am unaware of this having been accomplished. The BOE is left to our own devices to determine if the recent spate of incidents is abnormally high, what the root causes are, or what strategies might be employed to bring this under control.

14.Follow up……This is a continuing problem on Steve’s part. To illustrate may I remind you that after Steve’s evaluation sheets were presented to him, he said that he would respond to the various comments made therein. A number of months have passed since the evaluation was shared with him and a follow up response has not been presented to the BOE. Lack of follow up is not unique to this item.

Anonymous said...

Reading this one might ask why is Stevie II still here?

WE need to get a clear statement on termination

Anonymous said...

Just wondering why under #11, the BOE never asked questions? When is the BOE going to be held accountable for looking into things that are presented to them? I know of several examples where the BOE has been lied to this summer. Unfortunately for me, I would like to keep my job so I can not come forward at this time. I do know that there is potential for several more lawsuits. I have worked with these teachers that are being made examples of. The BOE is once again having the wool pulled over their eyes.

Fool me once, shame on me; Fool me twice, shame on you....

Many of these issues are not comimg just from the Super but from the same administation that has been there since Walts. They are attempting to do the same things again. There needs to be a complete overhaul of administration in the GCSD.

Anonymous said...

Kudos to Joe for doing this! Do you really think this will come out in the paper?

SCATS said...

To 12:34PM ~~ I can't answer your question. I have no idea what motivates this BOE (as a group of 9), other than the political puppet strings pulled by Boily. I'm unconvinced that Stenglein, McCabe and Smith are capable of independent thought outside the realm of sports. Tydings isn't much better and he's board Prez!

Anonymous said...

the newspaper would rather show picture of Auberger high fiving than cover local issues

Anonymous said...

Joe Moscato doesn't exist in the eyes of our local paper. And the media feel the same. He has burned way too many bridges for anyone to take him seriously.

SCATS said...

To 3:53PM ~~ The local news is controlled by political forces that simply don't want certain stories out there. Anyone who pays attention realizes this. It has nothing to do with Joe Moscato in particular. An example: I often hear something on the news once and then it vanishes, as if it never happened. That doesn't mean it wasn't true, because digging around usually shows me it is true as reported. But when the powers that be call in their favors, things get "taken care of" in that mafia-kind-of-way Greece is known for.

Regarding the Supt. ~~ Achramovitch's days are numbered unless Tydings allows himself to be used as Roger's patsy. It has nothing to do with Joe Moscato or his views.

Anonymous said...

Once again and again and again!!!!!

Greece continues to be in the bottom third and in some instructional areas in last place in Monroe County academically.

When is the BOE majority going to hold the Supt. feet to the fire concerning the low graduation rates and low standardize test results?

In Joe and Frank's list item #2 may and or maynot have anything to do with academic success. All other items are operational district items.

Each BOE meeting could have a 15 min. instructional program review.
A review of an instructional program test results.
Trends in the high school math regents results.
New trends in successful high schools.
Trends in successful school district.
Discussion of a new educational book.
Anything related to instruction.
When the BOE puts a priority on instruction it sends a powerful message the the Supt. and entire instructional staff.

The Supt. has a goal or two concerning graduation rate but it is written after he has a good sense of what the graduation rate is for the previous year.

In my opinion the BOE should write the goals for the Supt. Currently the Supt. writes his goals and the BOE with little or no negoiations accepts his goals.

To the best of my knowledge there are no BOE goals. How in the world can we have an organization of 2,000employees and almost $200,000,000 budget without goals? How do you know where you are going or when you have arrived?


Doug Skeet

Anonymous said...

3:53's comment proves there is undue bias in our media. We're told only what gets sanitized and approved by the corrupt, clubby government we keep in control.

Anonymous said...

"Just for the record, I am not SCATS, as some of you believe"

... WE still believe!!!!

Anonymous said...

There is no question in my mind but that we have a board of nine members who all "go along to get along." There is no Joe or Charlie on the board to ask the tough questions and demand some answers. This group is so civil it is sickening.

Three of them have no clue what is going on, one is a complete wishy-washy jerk, one knows the questions and answers but is afraid of offending someone if he speaks up, one is skillfully guiding the whole bunch to his bidding, and hopefully, at long last a couple of the women on the board are beginning to see the picture after two or three years.

They must stop this executive session nonsense. They must bring their votes on anything before the public. Roger Boily is stalling this issue in the hope of getting three new board members to see things his way in the spring. We can't let this happen!

SCATS said...

To 5:00PM ~~ Say hello to Santa, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny for me.

Anonymous said...

I don't know about joe in particular.
However I do know frommany sources that ordinary citizens who complain and are perceived as dissenters are dismissed as troublemakers and have no access to reporters

Anonymous said...

I don't think we should put eduction on the back burner while one member of the board salvages a job for his good friend and golfing buddy.

They care NOTHING about education. It's all about keeping everything secret and behind closed doors.

The public elects the board to represent them, the Super is the board's only employee and, therefore, is the employee of the taxpayers who should be kept informed at all times of the super's job status. When he completely fails in his assigned duties, it's time to let him go and no one man should be able to stop that. It is the board's responsibility to not let that happen, even if it forces them speak up for what is right!!!

Anonymous said...

What 7:09 says may very well be true. Certainly I am sure it happens. But another common scenario is for the D&C to pay some notice to a situation but then the Wicked Witch Magnuson gets a hold of it and sanitizes out any serious negativity about Greece. Then she shuts the door on further reporting.
What many have not caught on to is how the Rotary appears to have manipulated the WHAM13 news reporting so that the Greece election issues pretty much dropped off the radar screen of Channel 13. I had to watch Channel 10 to hear anything remotely negative about Greece for 6 weeks or more before the elections. Don Alhart makes no secret of how his Rotary activities are a huge part of his persona. So guess who called guess who and that was the end of serious reporting about the Greece scandals. Funny how Sean Carroll and Patrice Walsh just never had another Greece story before Novemeber 3rd.
Welcome to another controlled media outlet in Monroe County. It is getting a bit scary.

SCATS said...

To 7:49PM ~~ I got the impression that for the few weeks just prior to the vote that Ch 10 stepped away from reporting about Greece the way they previously had been, too. Suddenly, Berkeley Brean was reporting on swine flu instead of GPD. Ray Levato and Thalia Hayden were reporting on stories they had much less familiarity with than Brean. I've seen this sort of thing time and time again. It's pathetic, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

If Joe Moscato is so considered with the GCSD why did he resign from the Board?

That was the worst thing he could have ever done for his political future.

Just ask Xarah Palin.

His resigning says quite a bit about his character and what his true motication is.

Captain Obvious said...

In response to Mr. Skeet's posting, I would like to point out that the Walts era high-level instructional administration is essentially still in place. Do not expecte change.

From the district's own website...

Dr. Ann Mitchell, Assistant Superintendent
Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment

Carol Pallas, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment-Elementary Schools

Deb Hoeft, Ed.D.
Assistant Superintendent of Special Education

Thomas J. Mariano
Director, Mathematics and Science

Diane Boni
Director of English Language Arts PreK-12

Beverly Ziegler
Director of Physical Education, Health and Wellness

SCATS said...

To 5:33AM ~~ We've explained that fully several times in the past. Apparently, you were too inebriated to understand. DO NOT DRINK & BLOG!

Anonymous said...

Does Joe think he should get more votes than the rest of us? My concerns have been ignored for years. Welcome to the club!

Huge NO votes are the only thing that get board attention (and then only for a limited time).

See ya at the voting booth.

SCATS said...

To 9:50AM ~~ I think you've missed the point. Getting the situation with the Supt. out into the public for open discussion and handling after months of behind the scenes whispering, meetings, agreements and such goes a long ways towards giving the BOE a shred of credibility, something GCSD seems to have real trouble accomplishing. When the Supt. himself openly acknowledges he is a lame duck to others, then it's beyond time to inform the community about what has happened and why.

SCATS said...

BLOG Administration rejected publishing an off topic comment related to the Democrats, elections, etc.

Note to MoronsRanting ~~ Your village is looking for you! Please go back. The elections are over.

Anonymous said...

this does not appear to be the same letter that was up this morning. What gives?

SCATS said...

To 10:28PM ~~ The letter is the same minus a name that I was asked to remove. I did so after consulting with all concerned parties.

Anonymous said...

The fact that Achramovitch has been asked to seek other employment after June, 2010 is common knowledge. When this occurred in June of this year, his cabinet was told and they immediately spread the rumor. He, himself, has acknowledged this. Now, I think the only people who don't know are the taxpayers and they should have been told FIRST. I think it's time that the board announce this in OPEN session and do as the law requires.

You would think that because the President of the Board is a lawyer that he, at least, would read the law and insist that they do the right thing. But, again, he is controlled by a member of the board and I think he should be a man, if not a lawyer, and do what is required.

Joe Moscato said...

It seems my posting of the 14 items that demonstrated the incompetence of our superintendant has back fired and now I am being portrayed as the bad guy. I find this somewhat confusing as those now pointing fingers at me, were the same board members that encouraged me to release a document that I helped create and had in my computer file since last February and was my property. If I was still a board member, the content of that document would belong to the district, that's the law. However, because of the gross incompetence of this board, I planned on releasing it myself as its content was mine to do with as I please.

So to those stalwarts of futility, now running for cover on this board, I say this, had you done the right thing last June and gone public with your decision to terminate Achramovitch, this would not have taken place. I refuse to take the blame for your failures to this community.

Make no mistake, from this day forward, I will cease to care what happens in this school district. The board could care less and as far as I am concerned Steve can stay on for as long as he wants and our district will sink further into the depths of the academic abyss it is now in.

An apt description of this board would be, never have so few done so little for so many.

Anonymous said...

The superintendent should sanction his cabinet, especially CP because she was quoted as telling the news. This was a violation of confidentiality and it shows how the Walts' crew handles confidentialnews. I feel sympathy for Steve A.

SCATS said...

To 11:21PM ~~ For what it's worth, several people have reported that Steve divulged the news himself.

Anonymous said...

You need to look no further than the time the board spent on the hockey coach fiasco to realise how ineffective this board is.
Someone said recently the board should be working on cost and quality. All indicators are they spend thier time on everything but. I could say the same about the unions. I could say the same about administration. I could say the same about the building administators. But in the end, no leadership.

SCATS said...

To 8:01AM ~~ Actually, I'd say the hockey coach fiasco points up how ineffective the Supt. is! The ONE TIME this guy did the right thing, he ends up getting smacked down for it! He became a lame duck the night they reversed that decision. That night, it became obvious that EDUCATION is not the top priority in GCSD, too. Sports is #1, make no mistake about it.

Anonymous said...

What Joe has confirmed is what most of us have recognized for some time, the cowardice of this politically controlled board. Apparently some of those on the board who wish to see Achramovitch gone lacked the guts to do the right thing themselves and, instead, knowing that Joe had helped prepare the 14 items and had his copy of that document, encouraged him to make that document public.

Instead of hiding behind closed doors in executive session, they should have come out in public, voted individually and shown everyone that Achramovitch's contract would not be renewed. Instead of doing the right, simple thing, they spend hours of effort to try and conceal what everyone knows.

My advice to Joe is to give up trying to do anything to get this board to move forward. They would rather wallow in secrecy behind closed doors so that no one knows what cowards they really are. They don't care about anyone except their own behinds, so why should you???