A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Lloyd Road Donnybrook at Crest Way

Charles Kenny and his Board out in Executive Session at 10 pm on Mon eve.

Outraged teachers and office staff stormed the Matawan-Aberdeen Board of Education meeting at Crest Way on Monday evening. They complained about a rash of notices administrators handed out late last week calling for the compulsory transfer of personnel between schools within our district. Public comments went on for well over an hour and a half until Board President Charles Kenny abruptly called for an executive session and pulled the Board into a nearby room to seek a short term solution.

When the meeting resumed after 10 pm, Kenny announced that the Board, with MRTA concurrence, had agreed to withdraw a thorny staffing array (Appendix 1A) from Monday night's vote in order to review their decision in light of the immense controversy. Kenny cautioned, however, that this did not signal weakness on the part of the Board nor a change of minds. Much thought had gone into the array and the Board might very well find it perfectly fine as presented. They might have even voted in favor of it on Monday evening if Kenny had pressed on, he argued.

So, where did this leave things? The Board could review the staffing array and leave it intact, in which case they could solidify their arguments in answer to the many questions posed on Monday night. On the other hand, after consultations the Board could end up amending or even eliminating the most hated of the planned staff moves. Keep in mind that the arguments were all one-sided on Monday evening; the Board's opinion on things was never revealed. One way or another, the array will come before the Board at its next stated meeting on 25 June 2012.

Overall, people wanted to know if the Board had seriously considered who would handle the transition at Lloyd Road Elementary with so many people in key positions leaving all at once. After all, the school is set to lose its principal and his office assistant, a guidance counselor, librarian, and 12 teachers, so who will guide the school through the more practical intricacies of operating the Lloyd Road school next fall when all administrative experience at that venue is gone?

We never learned the Board's rationale for moving so many teachers out of Lloyd Road after the district paid to train so many of them to use a new reading curriculum. People were irate that Board members didn't know how much they'd spent on the reading program training that they were seemingly now tossing down the drain. Likely the Board realized they couldn't justify pressing ahead with a vote without satisfactorily explaining the whole reading program training issue. The Board never explained why they thought kindergarten teachers could step into 4th grade teacher roles and vice versa. Ultimately, they didn't attempt to explain why this game of musical chairs was necessary in the first place. Beloved staff were being tossed around like rice at a wedding, and for what?

I was struck by how little of this drama was made clear in the mounds of paperwork handed out at Monday's meeting. The community at large could have had no idea what was up. Most in attendance had at least heard rumors of a brewing fight between the teachers at Lloyd Road and the MARSD. The uninitiated wallowed in nearly a hundred pages of seemingly detailed exhibits. Regular folks had no time or opportunity to learn what was buried in those pages. No matter; it would have required more statistical analysis than most could muster to find out what was really going on. Lucky for us, some of the teachers had crunched those numbers all weekend to assess the staffing changes being proposed.

Testimony from teacher after teacher revealed that the Board had waited until the last moment to hand out reassignment notices, seemingly hoping that Monday evening's meeting would come and go before an organized fight could be waged. But the word had gotten out on Facebook and the room was packed. The politicians on the Board huddled after it became evident that the Board's reputation was in the balance.

While I'm inclined to think it's always difficult to sort out who is right and who is wrong in these instances, the "resignation" of a string of key administrators in recent years and now this sudden effort to transfer  teachers and staff between schools suggests on its face that something is wrong.  As someone said last night, Somewhere along the line, the district has lost its way.


  1. Yes, the District has lost its way...

  2. http://holmdel-hazlet.patch.com/articles/oceanport-hires-former-principal-of-hazlets-lillian-drive-elementary

    It seems that administrators would rather make less money than work in MARSD.

    1. He's probably just accepting a job closer to home. He lives in Neptune. Not like he has a wealth of experience with MARSD.