Thursday, December 16, 2010

Greece School Board Hits A New Low

During the last two months, the school board for the Greece Central Central School District appears to have hit a new low. Despite a heaping plateful of topics that beg for their attention, they've departed from the practice of holding several meetings each month. Instead, they tried to make do with holding only the regular monthly meeting and a phony 'forum' on school choice. 

Maybe that would have been workable, had they actually done something. But they did very little, aside from rubber stamping everything. In fact, both the Nov. and Dec. regular monthly meetings seemed to have been tailored to look like meetings of the Greece Town Board, the "closed, clubby & corrupt" group of Supervisor Auberger puppets. In record time, School Board Pres. Frank Oberg had them plow through the monthly agendas with next to no discussion on any topic. The votes also mirror the Town Board's with "yeas" across the board, no matter the topic.

Even a new contract was approved for the Teamsters union without a pause in the meeting action of dispensing with the agenda in record time. There was not one single word of discussion before it was adopted by a vote of 8 to 0. No one told us what issues were overcome, if any, to reach agreement. No one told us what benefit to the district this proposal brings. No one told us how much this package would cost taxpayers. We've been given no clue about any changes at all.

Have they forgotten the scathing words in the Comptroller's report about how this method for doing the district's business is not OK? Why are they thumbing their noses at policies many of them helped create? Why has Frank Oberg become the very sort of person he ran for office to defeat? Has he been intimidated into conforming with the status quo? It appears he has.

Yes, the Greece Board of Education has hit a new low, and Frank Oberg has led them there. And what he hasn't told us matters very much: Our interim Superintendent O'Rourke is very ill and is missing time at work to care for his health.

Instead of playing hero, why don't we allow/urge this poor man to go take care of his health and step down? Certainly we can manage, since we're doing nothing anyway.


Anonymous said...

I know that I am going to be persecuted here for saying what I'm about to say, but I'll do so and show myself the door. I am the proud parent of two children who presently attend Odyssey. I have been totally pleased with the experience at the school to date and my children are thriving. That said, I admit that the way this school is filled and perhaps even it's existence is a slap in the face to taxpayers as a whole. To be honest, I feel I can admit this now as my children have just about finished their time at the school. Like some others here, I also used to defend the way the Greece went about selecting children there, as well as Pine Brook, yes we got them there years ago as well. Knowing now what I refused to acknowledge then, I was looking out for my family first, pure and simple. I do not necessarily apologize for that either, but denying it would be dishonest. I’ve seen the discussion of the racial make-up of Greece’s different schools here and elsewhere, and it’s more than a valid issue. My son plays an unmentioned sport at Odyssey. Following a game against another Greece school years ago, he actually mentioned that he had no idea so many black people lived in Greece. I was floored, but the statement made me think. Now when I see the statistics about how the schools breakdown, frankly I’m embarrassed I ever defended it. I’m not intending to come across as something I’m not here, but just thought I would share the thoughts. It’s a great school, as was Pine Brook, but I admit it’s that way for a reason. The people who try to praise the school because they have "developed a new system of learning" or "figured out how to reach our kids" are not being honest with themselves, or anyone else. Odyssey has done one thing right above all else in my opinion: It’s gotten rid of the distractive kids for the most part. Those who believe that classroom distractions don’t go hand in hand with the economic demographics or in some cases the racial demographics of a student body have been living under a rock. I also realize that’s really not a credit to the school so much, as it is the system. I see the few writers on this blog who attempt to defend Odyssey and the other lottery schools, and I’m reminded of myself years ago. My advice to them would be to try to get the best for your children, but be cautious in vocalizing your support for what’s in place. With the enrollment in Greece as low as it is today, this method of filling schools is more that obsolete. Just one person’s thoughts.

Anonymous said...

An absent superintendent suits them very well. They are all getting to have the prestige of being on a board of education without doing anything. And this board does not have to say yea or nay since frank tells them to vote with a show of hands. We don't even know who was absent from the meeting for those 8-0 votes since the radio started after the amended agenda was talked about and then they voted on that amendment. We don't know what the amendment was.
And the interim superintendent if he is very ill should have no trouble stepping down or the board asking him to leave. Unless there is a gap in his health benefits since he is medicare age and we are providing the cream in his doughnut. If he steps down and stops working he would maybe not be able to get healthcare insurance for this terrible condition. So the board is remaining mute for pity.

SCATS said...

To 9:34AM ~~ Thank you for saying what we already know to be true! Coming from a school-of-choice insider, it makes a huge difference!

Charlie Hubbard said...

First of all taking board meetings off channel 12 was a terrible idea - if you are proud of what you are doing, put it out there for as many to see as possible.

I listened to Tues. nights meeting to hear about 2 items. A contract was approved and early retirement for teachers was 'again' approved.
Because contracts are 'the' most important thing the board does for several reasons I was looking to hear about any changes ect. via this new contract - NOTHING. What is the new cost - NOTHING.
Early retirement is now (finaly) a hugh item with the state as we now know (finaly) how the retirement funds are running short and more taxpayer $$ are needed. Early retirements are a big contributer to this problem and I was hoping to hear this recognition from the board - NOTHING. We now know the extra $$ needed in the retirement system comes out of our state-aid check FIRST therefore having a direct impact on the local tax levy. The dicussion on this item? NOTHING.
Disappointment would be an understatement.

Am I down on this board? - you bet I am - since Aug. when this board approved an increase in the tax levy *WITHOUT* voter approval. The concern heard from this board on the DISRESPECT shown to voters? NOTHING - not one board member voiced concern.
One needs to wonder if an approved budget by the owners of this district is of ANY concern to these people????
Sad - truly SAD.

Anonymous said...

This budget will again, be going down
in flames come May.

Anonymous said...

The Board meeting are still on Cable Channel 12. I watch them. They are usually on the Tuesday night the week after the meeting.

SCATS said...

To 7:24AM ~~ Do you know what time they are on? How about Town Board meetings? I've tuned in the week after and haven't seen either one ... I gave up ... but maybe I didn't know when to watch.