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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Live-Blogging The School Board Meeting

True to the rumors I reported on here, the lame duck District 15 School Board voted tonight to approve a new teachers' contract, thus locking in 5 more years of bloated salaries and a lack of accountability, democracy be damned. The teacher's union turned out in force, as could be expected. The president of the board, Frank Parise, did not recuse himself from the vote even though his daughter, who is a teacher in the district, is a direct recipient of the provisions outlined in the new contract. I, and many others with whom I discussed the matter, think that it is a clear conflict of interest, and certainly does not pass the "smell test" - even if it were to come up in a district that isn't plagued with the rancor and enmity that exists here.

I also have to note that Mr. Parise mentioned yours truly, in response to the raising of a busing issue. He words: "I read all about it on Orthomom". My cheeks were burning.

267 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ooh. Where were you sitting?

10:53 PM  
Anonymous lta said...

I heard the OM reference. He wasn't being serious about your blog being a source of info for him. He was making a joke. Didn't you hear us all laugh? None of us view your blog as anythimng but a source of propaganda for the orthodox. Don't flatter yourself.

10:58 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Anonymous said...

Ooh. Where were you sitting?


Do you really think I would answer that? :)

lta said...

I heard the OM reference. He wasn't being serious about your blog being a source of info for him. He was making a joke. Didn't you hear us all laugh? None of us view your blog as anythimng but a source of propaganda for the orthodox. Don't flatter yourself.


Uh, no worries. I didn't flatter myself. I know that some may think my blog is just propaganda - but that's all a matter of perspective. feel free to stop reading any time.

11:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mrs. Mansdorf, where was your husband tonight? Why didn't he vote? What game is he playing? He didn't want to be seen as siding with the orthos over the teachers? We are on to you both.

11:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good heavens, Orthomom. That was some display by Uri Kaufman! Threatening "public school parents" for smiling and clapping to see that their kids' teachers have a contract to return to in September? Telling "you public school parents" that he knows what we are thinking? Chastising us for supporting the teachers who do so much for our children and who we tend to become quite fond of over the course of a few years? Yikes.
And then, there's Murray Foreman, howling abut how the public school parents are going to see plenty more cuts to public schools as punishment and retribution for passage of this contract!
The Orthodox Community came out in force and, emboldened by their numbers, really showed their stripes as enemies of the Public School and anyone who patronizes them. I am appalled, afraid, and a little bit embarrassed. Aren't you?

11:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did any of you know that the orthos hauled the school board into court this morning? The judge threw the case and the orthos out on their asses.

11:13 PM  
Blogger Somewhat Anonymous said...

Well this should have some interesting, if probably unpleasant, ramifications for the future of school board politics. After the election, many were saying how the new board would now have to govern, and would be held accountable if things did not improve. But with this exercise of (technically perfectly legitimate) dead hand control by the old board, the new board has a glaring issue that they can point to as an excuse for any shortcomings of the district for the next five years. In other words, the new board can keep running against the old board, because their policies as relected in the contract will still be very much involved.

From the teachers' perspective, I don't know that this contract will be good for them in the long run, as the new board, as noted above, will have every incentive to blame the teachers' contract for any future woes. Assuming that the political shift in the district is permanent for the time being, do you think the new board will want, or that there will be public support for, making concessions to the teachers after five years of blaming them (their contract) for anything and everything that goes awry with the district's finances?

It may be that the teachers felt they would get a bad deal (from their perspective) from the new board anyhow, so why not at least get five more years of a favorable contract. Or possibly they are betting (although I don't realistically see how given the demographics) that the "old board" will return to power before five years are up. Either way, I don't think I'm going out on much of a limb to predict that the (again, perfectly legal) manner that this contract was arrived at will be remembered when the contract comes up for renewal and will add to the general rancor in Lawrence school politics for a long time to come.

11:13 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...


Anonymous said...

Good heavens, Orthomom. That was some display by Uri Kaufman! Threatening "public school parents" for smiling and clapping to see that their kids' teachers have a contract to return to in September? Telling "you public school parents" that he knows what we are thinking? Chastising us for supporting the teachers who do so much for our children and who we tend to become quite fond of over the course of a few years? Yikes


Yes, Uri Kaufman made a mistake. The mistake was in not realizing that just about everyone he thought was a public school parent was a teacher.

And then, there's Murray Foreman, howling abut how the public school parents are going to see plenty more cuts to public schools as punishment and retribution for passage of this contract!

Don't lie. He said nothing about punishment or retribution. He didn't threaten either - he was essentially atating the obvious. He was pointing out that if a teacher's contract is signed for 5 years, without any scrutiny over whether it is fiscally sound, there simply will not be any money left.

11:17 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

somewhat anonymous:

I agree completely with your incisive assessment. I think you are right on the money with your predictions and analysis.

11:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The mistake was in not realizing that just about everyone he thought was a public school parent was a teacher."

First of all, the parents and teachers were sitting together for the most part. But more importantly, you're telling me where you come from its acceptable for a soon-to-be public official to address a crowd of constituents that way if he's not quite sure who they are and gets it wrong? You're telling me that is the way you want to be represented?

11:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

go to sleep people...get some fresh air and your heads clear, so maybe you will actually try to talk tomorrow morning and not acuse eachother.

11:30 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...


First of all, the parents and teachers were sitting together for the most part. But more importantly, you're telling me where you come from its acceptable for a soon-to-be public official to address a crowd of constituents that way if he's not quite sure who they are and gets it wrong? You're telling me that is the way you want to be represented?


I will admit that Kaufman did not have his most stellar evening - but his words were a far cry from the disgusting and blatantly anti-Orthodox rhetoric that was regularly spouted by former board member Anthony Licatesi in the past?

Did it ever occur to you that Uri Kaufman is astoundingly frustrated by the task set out before him? Coming into a job where he had every intention of doing the right thing, as he received the voters' mandate to do, only to have a sneaky move on the part of the outgoing board severely limit his options?

11:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was no court thing this morning....another lie.

And with the new LTA contract in place, it just means that more of the budget includes fixed costs. Add to that a state-mandate cap as a result of austerity and yes, the sad truth is programs will be cut, services will be cut, athletics will be cut.

But that's what your current Board voted for. These are the people that broke the system in the first place and as a going away present, prevented it from getting fixed for another 5 years.

11:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Licatesi didn't just threaten and insult me. Kaufman did.

11:42 PM  
Blogger Somewhat Anonymous said...

I think aby discussion and nitpicking over the actions of various personalities on either side is pretty much besides the point. As is obvious to pretty much everyone, there are two basic antagonistic constituencies, usually labeled as the "public school" and "private school" sides respectively. Think of them as quasi-political parties if you will. The old board is made up of 4 Public school party members and 3 private school members, and the new board will be 5 private school members and 2 public school members. Should we really be shocked when one of the board members of either "party" advocates on behalf of their side's position and argues with the members of the other party?

The above does not mean, as was thrown around during the campaign, that the board members in question don't represent all of the parents/children in the district, just as Congress or the President represents the whole of the U.S. population regardless of the party that is in control. So Uri Kaufman and company can act on behalf of the "private school" party and have there be no contradiction with his role as representative of all of the parents and children in the district.

Point of the above - Stop griping about the positions takes by individual board members that simply match up to the positions of the people who elected them. If you want to debate the underlying policy disputes, well and good, but the whole "how dare he say that" discussion is just completely pointless.

11:43 PM  
Blogger Somewhat Anonymous said...

OM - thanks for the compliment, nice to be able to put my Poli-Sci degree to actual use.

11:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only people that we will have to blame for cuts in services is the outgoing board. Nice job, a***oles. You gave the new board just what they wanted. An accountabiklity-free reign of power.

Goodbye football. Goodbye reading intervention. Goodbye track.

And they can just point the finger at the outgoing board and the teachers.

11:45 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Anonymous said...

Licatesi didn't just threaten and insult me. Kaufman did.


I admitted above that I did not find his actions to be admirable tonight. I think that he was obviously acting out of frustration, but that does not excuse his losing it. I would hope and expect to see more reasoned behavior from him in the future, even when presented with a situation as miserable as the one he was served tonight.

11:49 PM  
Blogger Somewhat Anonymous said...

As far as the Court ruling thing - I did hear someone mention that they (private school people) had gone to court for an injunction and lost. Basically, the board has the legal power to do what it did (sign a contract as a lame duck), and no judge was going to grant an injunction before the contract was even signed.

Even if the contract is a complete waste of school district money (and I have no reason to think it rises to this difficult to meet legal standard) and even if self-dealing questions could be raised WRT Parise (questions I believe are not legitimate), the new board would still have the remedy of going to court to void the contract after the fact - so no injunction was warranted.

That being said, trying for the injunction didn't cost the private school people much beyond court costs, so it made sense to give it a try, longshot or no. It is silly for anyone to make too much of the judge's decision here.

11:51 PM  
Anonymous Alumni said...

orthomom, do you remember the women from #4 school? The parent who spoke with the accent? She was so nervous she stumbled a few times but she finished nicely. Do you know that an Orthodox women in the rear of the auditorium loudly proclaimed that that women should learn how to speak english before she gets up and spouts off. A number of people heard it, along with other comments this women LOUDLY made. The people who said something to her calmly about how that just wasn't appropriate were yelled and screamed at by her husband...who by the way was probably just exhibiting displaced aggression since his wife was screaming at him most of the evening. Nice display all around!

Where was your hubby tonight?

Oh and by the way, the talk of Mr. Parise's daughter is classless. Mr. Parise didn't hire her. It is my opinion that hiring people who live in the district and have a vested interest in it's children and the community will be loyal to the community NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS! There are many teachers in this district that either live in the district or grew up in the district and although many are young and able to find other more stable districts they choose to stay b/c they UNLIKE YOU, YOUR ABSENTEE HUSBAND, THE CHRONICALLY ABSENT MR. FORMAN AND THE Deranged Mr. Kaufman all have invested their hearts and souls into ALL THE CHILDREN IN THIS DISTRICT!

11:52 PM  
Anonymous usually anonymous said...

I'm sick to death by all of this. Kauffman was an utter disgrace. After hearing that rampage, what should public school parents be thinking? I for one was hoping the new board would attempt to build bridges. While this still may be possible, it seems that Mr. Kauffman showed his true colors tonight. (although I certainly hope that I am wrong and that it was an aberration.) Regardless of what the previous board approved, the new board cannot blame the teachers contract on all future woes and act with impunity. Good political leaders take the situation given to them and attempt to better the situation. The blaming must stop and the new board needs to progress from here for the betterment of all of the district children, regardless of what occured tonight.

11:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, so we're clear, "Somewhat Anonymous" thinks its fine for a parent, attending a school board meeting, to be insulted and threatened by a raving lunatic as long as said lunatic was duly elected? And that its "nitpicky" for the insulted, threatened parents to cry foul when screamed at by a soon-to-be public official? At least Orthomom concedes it was not a stellar moment. We're going to be on the cover of Newsday again, aren't we.

11:54 PM  
Blogger Somewhat Anonymous said...

Anon who likes the caps lock key - Leaving aside the actual underlying discussion, and ignoring anything about the personalities involved, I have to take issue with your last sentence. The "public school party" does not care primarily (which is not to say they don't care at all) about "ALL THE CHILDREN IN THE DISTRICT." What they do care about is preserving the institution of the Lawrence Public School system and to seeing that those public schools provide a wonderful education, complete with all of the extracurriculars and other secondary items that anyone could wish for. They do believe that anyone who opts out of Lawrence's wonderful schools (and even according to their worst critics, they're still pretty good objectively) is pretty much on their own as to the quality and sufficiency of their education, and that the public schools should have priority over those who willingly opt-out for any funds being spent.

Note: the above is a generalization that likely does not apply to every public school party member, but I think it fits pretty well.

12:02 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

usually anonymous said...

I'm sick to death by all of this. Kauffman was an utter disgrace. After hearing that rampage, what should public school parents be thinking? I for one was hoping the new board would attempt to build bridges.


Well, it's hard to build bridges when the outgoing board is busy burning bridges - as well as carpet-bombing the whole landscape on the way out.

That said, as I said above, I think that Mr. Kaufman did not have his best moment this evening. I would hope for better in the future, regardless of the difficulty of the circumstances he may be facing.

12:05 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...


Oh and by the way, the talk of Mr. Parise's daughter is classless. Mr. Parise didn't hire her.


That has nothing to do with it. I simply think that, especially when the eleventh-hour signing of this contract is so hotly debated and a source of so much enmity, everyone should be stepping very gingerly. The fact that there is even an appearance of impropriety or a conflict of interest means that recusing himself should have at least been a consideration - and not one to dismiss out of hand as you are doing.

12:09 AM  
Blogger Somewhat Anonymous said...

Anon 11:54 - I expressed no opinion at all as to the propriety of anyone's conduct here. I chose not to engage the issue at all. I think its all beside the point, and discussion of it distracts from the real underlying issues (unless you think that the main issue at stake in all of this is that Kaufman et al are too mean to be proper board members or somesuch - I doubt that's the case though).

For the record though -yelling and screaming at public events (and private ones) is generally to be frowned on. So no, I'm not fine with it.

Note: I was not at the meeting, and so did not see the outburst(s) in question, as such I'm not really the person to be discussing them dontcha think?

12:10 AM  
Blogger Goy Guy said...

"Coming into a job where he had every intention of doing the right thing, as he received the voters' mandate to do, only to have a sneaky move on the part of the outgoing board severely limit his options?"

I'm not sure what the right thing is here, but I'm not quite sure how this will severely limit anyone from doing the 'right thing' in the future. If they want to. It's water under the bridge. The teachers contract issue being settled should give the new board plenty of time to do the right thing on the other issues that will come in front of them. And there are plenty of issues.

Since I'm sure the new board didn't think they were going to get the teachers to agree to a pay CUT, or to work all summer for free,or give up their pensions, what's the big deal? (I agree it was sort of sneaky)

"After the election, many were saying how the new board would now have to govern, and would be held accountable if things did not improve. But with this exercise of (technically perfectly legitimate) dead hand control by the old board, the new board has a glaring issue that they can point to as an excuse for any shortcomings of the district for the next five years."

Looking for excuses already, are they? ;-) Since the relationship between teacher salaries and educational shortcomings is, lets see now....nothing, I don't see the point. Unless we're only talking about money here, and not education.

Anyway, one chapter closes and another opens.

Let the games begin.

12:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"That has nothing to do with it. I simply think that, especially when the eleventh-hour signing of this contract is so hotly debated and a source of so much enmity, everyone should be stepping very gingerly. The fact that there is even an appearance of impropriety or a conflict of interest means that recusing himself should have at least been a consideration - and not one to dismiss out of hand as you are doing."

Hard to argue with that...

12:14 AM  
Blogger Somewhat Anonymous said...

I don't think that recusal was called for given the circumstances, especially considering the size of the contract compared to Parise's daughter's benefit from it. As I said in an earlier thread, people ostensibly knew that his daughter was a teacher when they elected him, and it is part of the board's duty to negotiate contracts with the teachers. Forcing him to recuse would seriously affect his ability to perform his job, so I don't think its called for here.

That being said, its not a complete non-issue, especially considering the touchiness of the situation. I still don't see that as requiring recusal though

12:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Somewhat Anon you apparently felt you knew enough about it to comment and call me the nitpicky one. Perhaps, since you weren't at the meeting, you shouldn't belittle my concerns about it, dontchathink?

12:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Om sounds very reasonable. I'm glad that someone can admit that people make mistakes without thinking their side has infallibility. We can think the board misbehaved, as well as think that Kaufman misbehaved, without betraying our allies.

12:16 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

As I said in an earlier thread, people ostensibly knew that his daughter was a teacher when they elected him, and it is part of the board's duty to negotiate contracts with the teachers. Forcing him to recuse would seriously affect his ability to perform his job, so I don't think its called for here.


No. It wouldn't impede his ability to do his job. It's just this one vote. Which, ostensibly, won't be an issue again for 5 years.

12:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The new board should immediately retain the services of a forensic accounting firm.I still maintain the millions was stolen from the district in the past.Who ever heard of not reconciling million dollar checking accounts?Who ever heard of the books showing vendors names different from what is on the chec?.Do this and I think MR.Parise will have to hire Ben Brafman(ORTHODOX).

12:19 AM  
Blogger Somewhat Anonymous said...

goy guy - I meant financial shortcomings primarily, but depending on what is actually in the contract, I could see the lack of certain accountability measures or performance incentives as being blamed for lagging educational performance as well.

As for "looking for excuses already" - unless you think the political debate will just end, the "public school" candidates will have to make some allegations about how things aren't being run well by the current board in order to support their candidacy next time (unless you think "my opponent is dong a great job, throw him out and vote for me" is good campaign slogan). I'm just pointing out that there is now a powerful ready made talking point to use to counter those allegations. Isn't politics wonderful?

12:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

mr and mrs mansdorf were at their sons wedding tonight. Leave them out of this. Have a nice day and mazel tov

12:23 AM  
Blogger Somewhat Anonymous said...

anon 12:15 - For the last time, I was expressing my annoyance with the pointlessness of that entire line of discussion in relation to the actual issue, not taking either side on something I have no interest in judging or direct knowledge to judge (but see may statement for the record in my previous post to you).

12:23 AM  
Blogger Somewhat Anonymous said...

I'm no fan of the old board and don't know more than a basic amount about accounting, but I can think of a very obvious reason why checks and accounting records would differ - If the contractors bank account is in the business's legal name (an LLC perhaps) but the contractor does business under a different trade name I would expect that the check would be made out to the legal name but the trade name would go into the books. Any accounting types (Sephardilady?) care to confirm or reject this?

12:26 AM  
Anonymous alumni said...

I saw the exchange between the couple in the rear of the auditorium and the people sitting back there. The Couple was out of line. Mr. Kaufman looked like he was off his meds. The man who referred to the CSE Parent as part of 'my community' instead of realizing that we are all part of ONE community, and the 'shut up' comments coming from members of the orthodox community....very loudly i might add, when certain speakers went up....all this shows where the problem lies. The disrespect all came from one faction.

12:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

By the way, all the contracts were approved tonight, Mr. Forman voted for all of them EXCEPT the teachers. Once again, the one contract that affects teachers that have a direct impact on the children of this district.

12:31 AM  
Blogger Krum as a bagel said...

Building bridges? After this dirty trick? Please. All these teachers go on this site and spout these transparently disingenuous platitudes that might sound nice in the classroom. Can you tell me the last time the public school community "built a bridge"?

12:33 AM  
Blogger Somewhat Anonymous said...

Final point (for now) on what I said about people's actions at the meeting being largely irrelevant here.

If Uri Kaufman were replaced on the board by someone with the exact same policy outlook but a calmer demeanor - would any of you public school types feel less aggreived about the changes that the new board is going to make?

Similarly, if everyone on the private school side had been on their best behavior tonight(as they should have been) would you think that its ok to divert/allocate/whatever some of the public school budget to their kids?

I think the above demonstrates why I can think the carping about who said what to who is not really important in a discussion of school board policy, without condoning improper conduct at the same time.

12:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

by the way - I believe she sat in front of me- "orthomom" If she was there!
and at one point when her hubby was clapping for the wonderful children that Steve Clements has had the privilege to teach, she put her arm on his shoulder to stop his applause!
Lovely!

12:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't get it. I'm a parent, I attend a school board meeting as is my right and civic duty, I clap in acknowledgement of the great job my kids' teachers did, and I get ranted at and threatened by someone sitting at the Board dais? I get called a "public school parent" as if it were a pejorative term by a soon-to-be public official? I think that's a pretty big issue and not a nit-pick; you of course are welcome to disagree.
Weren't you the same person who justified "us" v. "non-ortho" and advocated last week that noblesse oblige dictated being civil to non-orthodox, as long as things don't get too friendly? Your fears should be allayed as of tonight.

12:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

" Anonymous said...

by the way - I believe she sat in front of me- "orthomom" If she was there!
and at one point when her hubby was clapping for the wonderful children that Steve Clements has had the privilege to teach, she put her arm on his shoulder to stop his applause!
Lovely! "

(eyeroll) Oh yes, I saw her too. She was the one with "ORTHOMOM" written on the back of her t-shirt.

12:38 AM  
Blogger Somewhat Anonymous said...

Anon 12:31 - why does the fact that teachers are the ones that have a "direct impact on the children of this district" have any relevance at all. Granted teachers are extremely important and all - but surely it is still possible to overpay even such pillars of our children's future? If the contract isn't good for the district (as opposed to the teachers) then it should certainly be voted down, important position or no.

Besides, its not like the teachers were going to go out on strike if the contract wasn't passed.

12:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had the "privilege" of being approached by a man of the orthodox persuasion tonight.

We exchanged views on the issues.

He asked what I expect the "new board" to do-
I said " What is right for ALL children."
He asked if I could not see the changing demographics of the area.
I replied - "I am not blind- I see it. But our numbers are not that far apart right now." He argued - "but they are."

I asked "What do you want for my children- one school for K thru HS?"
He replied - "NO 3!"

To have such audacity to think that our numbers will dwindle to those that would fit in just 3 buildings has me incensed!

I have given the new board members the benefit of the doubt - till tonight!

There are no more HIDDEN AGENDAS!
They are pretty much out there for all to see.

I scoffed at those who said
"They want us out and they want to take over."

But maybe...

12:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What really makes no sense? Both public and private school parents agree they want our teachers to be held accountable to improve results (remember that once 40% of our freshman failed 1+ course at the HS?????)

Why are public school parents pleased with this new contract? There's no monetary incentive to improve results. No merit-based pay. No annual reviews to get the worthless teachers out of the classroom. No incentives to give higher raises to those teachers who are doing a great serice to our children.

None of that. We got 5 more years of the status quo. Step and rasies with no incentives to improve results. I'm sorry, but the board failed ALL of us. Not public school kids, not private school kids, they just failed.

And every time there is a complaint over the next 5 years about why no significant improvements have been made, we should be sure to announce the names of the Board members who voted "yes" for this contract.

It's clear that Fitzsimmons is not part of the solution. Let's get him out and find a REAL forward-thinking business leader to get this fixed.

12:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, anon. Because anonymous claims of unwitnessed conversations with another anonymolus member of an identifiable group are very credible evidence of...anything.

12:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh there were witnesses.
Uri Kaufman was standing there as well as another man who said he came to Lawrence from Belle Harbor.
And another of my neighbors who came to my defense when this young man asked me
"Do you really believe we get all that is mandated?"


The "STATE" mandates!
The public schools are at the mercy of these mandates as well...

12:52 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...


Anonymous said...

What really makes no sense? Both public and private school parents agree they want our teachers to be held accountable to improve results (remember that once 40% of our freshman failed 1+ course at the HS?????)

Why are public school parents pleased with this new contract? There's no monetary incentive to improve results. No merit-based pay. No annual reviews to get the worthless teachers out of the classroom. No incentives to give higher raises to those teachers who are doing a great serice to our children.


I completely agree. I have been saying all along that the lack of performance incentives in the contract makes mediocrity or flat-out failure an acceptable option for our students. It isn't. It shouldn't be.

The high school has a 10-to-1 student/teacher ratio. Why hasn't that shown an upswing in scores? Why did the high school fail to meet state standards in so many categories?? Because there are no consequences, except another 5-year renewed contract.

Is this helping the district children?

12:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"
(eyeroll) Oh yes, I saw her too. She was the one with "ORTHOMOM" written on the back of her t-shirt."

LOL. Did you miss the big "O" on the front? Or the cape?

12:54 AM  
Blogger Somewhat Anonymous said...

anon upset about the meeting (pick a name please?) - I don't think that its that big a deal in the context of the fight over what direction to take the district in. This is not the first time that people's passions on either side have boiled over and unfortunately it likely won't be the last (see previous posts for all relevant disclaimers as to propriety of said conduct). As to being called a "public school parent" - its an accurate enough description of your local political leanings, basically the same to me as being called a Democrat or Republican at this point. I mean, your candidates ran as the "public school candidates" right?

Yes I'm the same guy from the previous thread, although you've read so much into my previous statements as to completely distort them. I never said or implied anything about noblesse oblige being the reason for treating people with civility. All I said was that being civil and polite is the proper way to act to everyone - which should hardly be controversial. I did point out that kids learn form their peers and that as such it may not be in the interest of a parent who wishes to inculcate certain religious values to allow their children to have close friends whose beliefs were antithetical to such values. I am not looking to revisit that debate though, given how out of control certain people got last time. That being said, from where things are now in community, I'd trade some distance for some additional civility anyday (that would be to increase civility at the expense of distance - not the other way around for the people who like to yell at me).

12:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was at the meeting tonight, and had the pleasure of sweating with a diverse group. Nobody jeered, and nobody was nasty. One religous man asked a young public school parent about the teacher cap, she explained, and he agreed. Mr. Kaufman had a temporary lapse of judgement, or sanity. I am not sure what his point was, but freedom of speech. Mr. Forman cowardly bashed the teacher contract after the vote, and yes nothing was truly accomplished. One thing I can say we all agreed on; the middle school need air conditiong.

1:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it is time we ask the state for help. Too many agenda's and the tensions are running too high.

1:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

DUH!
Like we have not begged the state to come in numerous times.
Like we have not written tons of letters begging them to see that we are a unique district.

As far as STATE goes- no one wants in on our headaches.

Mr. Suozzi is too busy working on his governor's campaign platform to help us!

1:05 AM  
Blogger Somewhat Anonymous said...

anon 1:05 - I'm curious which side is asking the state to step in. And what do you think the State would do if they did? This is not an aspect of things I'm all that familiar with.

1:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not true, talks with the state have occured and the school was assured they would step in when more evidenc is in place

1:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm curious which side is asking the state to step in.

I am on my children's side. I am a mother. I think the whole do and pony show is sad.

1:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Believe it when I see it happen!

1:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

believe what?

1:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That the state is going to step in!

But hey- I believe in Santa Claus!
So you never know!

1:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hmmmm- here is a thought.
Maybe orthomom is not a woman at all.

Maybe she/he is that young man with the questions that approached me.

Maybe this whole site is a ruse!

Maybe it is time for me to go to bed.
Kids will be getting me up early tomorrow .
'nough said. (for now ;))

1:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

just as soon as the state steps in to void this new contract

It's unfortunate that the kids got shafted tonight and the majority of the board couldn't care less.

Everyone in the district knows we are saddled with a lot of dead weight on the district's staff.

What justification could the board have for not tying in performance.

As much as I hate the union getting salary increases, I wouldn't have been opposed if they were tied into performance.

How can the majority of the board - all "public school" electees, not give a crap about the performance in the district?

SHAMEFUL!

1:21 AM  
Blogger MDmom said...

good lord! whatever happened to checks and balances?

1:31 AM  
Blogger Somewhat Anonymous said...

mdmom - Private school parents were one election too late to stop this contract. Nothing wrong (legally) with the board acting as it thinks is best and binding the district to its policy preferences before it leaves power.

1:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...

There was no court thing this morning....another lie."

Really? Would you like to see the court papers?

All I'm asking is that before you post something, at least take the time to ask a reputable source. If you had taken the time to ask any of the board members who were served, they would have shown you the papers.

Also, Orthomom, your IP address is traceable. 'Nuf said.

3:24 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...


Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...

There was no court thing this morning....another lie."

Really? Would you like to see the court papers?

All I'm asking is that before you post something, at least take the time to ask a reputable source. If you had taken the time to ask any of the board members who were served, they would have shown you the papers.


All i'm asking is that before you post something, at least take the time to see who wrote the comment. I said nothing about the court case one way or another.


Also, Orthomom, your IP address is traceable. 'Nuf said.


Huh? By who? My blogging host? Good luck geting that.

7:24 AM  
Anonymous usually anonymous said...

I should add that Mr. Foreman's comment to Mr. Kopilow was extremely rude. (something to the effect of, "that was so good I think that you're starting to believe it yourself.") Also, I couldn't help but notice that none of the Orthodox people sitting near me bothered to clap for anything unless it was stated by an Orthodox person. (the brave woman who attended many CSE's, not withstanding) They couldn't clap while students were being honored at the beginning of the meeting for their charitable work? How about comments made by parents for bringing the community together? securing the safety of students deteriorating schools? emphasis on the fact that it's all about the children, and the squabbling needs to stop for their benefit? not a clap to be seen from the large contingent of Orthodox sitting near me. This, I found to be one of the most disturbing elements of the night.

7:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"There was no court thing this morning....another lie."

Really? Would you like to see the court papers?"

Exactly right. There was a court hearing. They went before the judge yesterday, Fitz and Kopilow were there. The judge threw the case out for having ZERO merit.

7:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, let us all be real. For years districts have tried to include performance raises Not happening anywhere. What is this really all about. I myself will be putting a call into the state today begging for help. Let them come in and investigate, everything. The audit showed no wrong doing. Those of us who braved the heat last night read the agenda and saw the thousands of dollars paid in special education to all our children. So when the state is done and find that it is not the teachers fault,not the boards fault. Who are you going to blame them. Don't site fiscal responsibility, because that is crap. The public schools will never be gone get used to us.

7:51 AM  
Blogger Goy Guy said...

"For years districts have tried to include performance raises Not happening anywhere"

Really, that is beating a dead horse. I used to think that was a good idea until I really thought about it. It sounds good but it's impractical and unfair to the teachers. Lets face it, some kids are smart and some kids aren't. Some parents make sure the kids study and some don't.

If the pay is directly based on student performance, then who decides who gets the smart kids in their classes, Or the kids whose parents hire a tutor. Or the kids whose parents speak english. Or the KIDS who speak english.

It'll be like when the coaches are picking little league teams, only worse since actual money is at stake.

Never going to happen

8:02 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

For years districts have tried to include performance raises Not happening anywhere.

That has to do with resistance from the teachers' unions - not because it doesn't actually work. And unions look out for the best interests of their members - not the children they teach. We all saw that up close a few weeks ago when Steve Clements was happy to pillory a student of his in order to weakly defend his own kind.

Those of us who braved the heat last night read the agenda and saw the thousands of dollars paid in special education to all our children.

Please. The Special Ed provided to Private school children is a drop in the bucket of this massive bloated budget. The statistics speak for themselves. Public school children receive special ed at a rate far higher than private school students. Don't try to evade the truth. The biggest slice of the budget right now is salaries.

8:03 AM  
Blogger Charlie Hall said...

'not because it doesn't actually work'

The idea of pay-for-performance for public school teachers is at least 20 years old. I'm unaware of any evidence that it has improved objective outcomes. (Please show some if you have any.) The major predictor of performance on standardized tests is the demographics of the parents.

8:08 AM  
Anonymous HW teacher said...

Listen. Lets all be honest here. I am the first to be supportive of the new teachers contract, being one myslef (in a different district though). But don't deny that the vacating board wasnt sticking it to the community who just voted by signing it at their last meeting and after the election. If everyone would just admit the truth maybe things would be easier in the district. The board did what it had to do to get the teachers a good contract, as they had promised in return for the union's support of the PS candidates. Was it sneaky? Maybe. Was it necessary to get the teachers a contract? yes.

8:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay this special ed thing is another poor excuse. A religous woman last night spoke and said the truth, yeshieva children are not give special education because they don't qualify. Public school children are sent for evaluation when they can't read. Most public school children go privately to evaluate. The public school numbers will continue to go up. Also, in that special ed number are the religous children in the public schools. Which increase every day. Did you ever think the number goes up because of the religous children in the public schools, or would that be against your , let us get rid of the public schools.

8:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What massive bloated budget. The busing budget? Teachers who have seniority, with higher salaries that are there when we had to lay off young teachers due to budget cuts. Bloated budget, give it a rest, even if we spent the rest of the years on austerity, the private schools will get what the law allows, read it it might enlighten you and your negative comments.

8:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, and as far as the state, both sides have begged for help. After the audit they felt, when no wrong doing was found it would end all disputes. Public school parents are begging for it. Why wouldn't they. State special education has been reviewing and watching, no charges made. Once the state finds no wrong doing, who is everyone going to blame. If you want to send your children to private school, then move to queens where the taxes are far less. We all know what happens when one group tries to get rid of another. Shame on all of us for not thinking of our children. P.S. I saw a lot of men last night, where were the women. I would have much rather they be there as they at least have our childrens interest at heart.

8:20 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...


The idea of pay-for-performance for public school teachers is at least 20 years old. I'm unaware of any evidence that it has improved objective outcomes. (Please show some if you have any.) The major predictor of performance on standardized tests is the demographics of the parents.


Well, the proposals for performance based raises are always dead in the water due to teacher resistance. When test scores continue to nosedive, what I DO know is that the system isn't working. And the demographics answer doesn't necessarily apply as well as one would think in this district. We heard a lot of screaming about the high numbers of minorities and how they were the ones bringing down the test scores in the public schools - but that doesnt relate to the actual test scores, where the subgroup of white students did badly as well.

8:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Honestly, I don;t know why people think public school paremts are all in support of the new teachers contract. Many of us were very angry at the teachers or the way the picketed this year, and most of us HATE Clemets. So the vocal majoprity from last night was probably more teachers than paremnts. Many of us were caught by surprise byu this contract signing also.

8:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, does anyone read the paper, Everyone talks about the high school scores, no one mentions the #5 school number one in the county. # 2 School in the newsday as top minority elementry in the county. #6 school went up 40 points. I guess by giving praise, you would have nothing to complain about.

8:29 AM  
Blogger Arnold Spender said...

The following is a repeat of a posting that I submitted weeks ago -- but neither Dr. Mansdorf nor anyone else responded to it. Hopefully I can get an answer now.


I believe the Orthodox members of the board were elected because people had confidence that regardless of whether or not they had children in the public schools, they are responsible people with a broad concern for all of the community's children -- be they in private or public school.

I was told that the board of ed voted to return some of the tax payers monies to them. But my source alleged that the board was acting irresponsibly because, for example, the high school auditorium is currently unusable because its roof leaks (or has some other problems?) and that the money should have been used for that purpose. Are people trying to slander the board - or is there some basis for the allegation?

8:30 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

P.S. I saw a lot of men last night, where were the women. I would have much rather they be there as they at least have our childrens interest at heart.

I agree and I do have the children's best interest at heart. What bothers me is that people talk of bridge-building, and I think this move on behalf of the outgoing board is the furthest thing from that.

8:31 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Anonymous said...

Okay, does anyone read the paper, Everyone talks about the high school scores, no one mentions the #5 school number one in the county. # 2 School in the newsday as top minority elementry in the county. #6 school went up 40 points. I guess by giving praise, you would have nothing to complain about.

8:29 AM


I mentioned that a few times, most notably in my recent post on the subject of test scores. The positive is good, but the negative can't be ignored. Let's look at it this way. The elementary schools, which I am hearing have unacceptably large class sizes, have better scores than the high school, which has a 10:1 student/teacher ratio. How to deal with that discrepancy?

8:38 AM  
Blogger YMedad said...

So, no one recognized her burning cheeks?

9:15 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

YMedad said...

So, no one recognized her burning cheeks?

9:15 AM


:)

9:20 AM  
Blogger Charlie Hall said...

'the proposals for performance based raises are always dead in the water due to teacher resistance.'

That hasn't always been the case. Three counties in Virginia adopted systemwide merit pay plans in the 1980s. (In Virginia, the school system is a part of *county* government, which produces massive economies of scale.) I'm familiar with what happened in Fairfax County, because I was living there when the plan was adopted. I think that system was the largest experiment to date with pay-for-performance; if anyone knows of any other, I'd love to know. The teachers associations (technically not a union, because there is no collective bargaining for public employees in Virginia) supported the plan and tried to make it work. It helped that there was not the history of antagonism between the administration and the two teacher's associations that is present in many areas; the superintendent who had just retired at that time had spent his entire career in the district. (His final salary was around $145,000/yr. and he was worth every penny.) IIRC, the plan included objective measures of success and merit bonuses substantial enough to be meaningful. But Fairfax County has an excellent school system and by the objective measures adopted by the system, too many of the teachers deserved the merit bonuses. It wasn't quite Lake Wobegon, but most of the children really were above average. The system had to drop the plan because it would have caused taxes to increase and that was politically untenable (despite the fact that property taxes there are a small fraction of what they are in the NY suburbs). The teachers associations were not happy with the broken promises and their lack of enthusiasm has been communicated to teachers in other parts of the country. (Would voters in your district would approve the tax increases necessary for a meaningful merit pay plan? If I paid the kind of taxes you pay, Orthomom, I'd be seriously sceptical.)

'When test scores continue to nosedive, what I DO know is that the system isn't working. '

If I knew would *would* work, I'd become an education administrator and do something about it. The empirical evidence seems to be that high teachers' salaries are necessary, but not sufficient, to produce good educational outcomes.


'The elementary schools, which I am hearing have unacceptably large class sizes, have better scores than the high school, which has a 10:1 student/teacher ratio. How to deal with that discrepancy? '

This is not an uncommon situation. It isn't clear that small class sizes affect outcomes much. What is the enrollment at the high school? Small high schools tend to require small class sizes in order to offer electives. (This is another example of where there are substantial economies of scale. How large are the Orthodox high schools? Compare their tuitions to the per-student cost of the public schools. There are reasons why the public schools are less expensive.)

Would there be support for merging the Lawrence school district with neighboring districts? How about creating a county-wide district in Nassau County like the one in Fairfax County, Virginia?

10:21 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Compare their tuitions to the per-student cost of the public schools. There are reasons why the public schools are less expensive.

Local Public schools are far, far more expensive than the local Yeshivas in terms of per/student cost.

10:25 AM  
Blogger Somewhat Anonymous said...

The orthodox high schools have a higher per student cost than the public schools? As high as tuition has gotten, are there any schools over 20K per student? My high school was certainly much cheaper than that, but it didn't offer a lot of the extra-curriculars or the wide variety of courses (including many APs) that the public high schools do. This was a more right wing place though than other local schools.

10:28 AM  
Blogger Somewhat Anonymous said...

CH - I wouldn't mind completely abolishing the school board and letting education be handled by local goverment like everything else. But I'm not sure that's what you meant, and I haven't thought through the possible pitfalls much.

10:29 AM  
Blogger Charlie Hall said...

'As high as tuition has gotten, are there any schools over 20K per student?'

In my nbhd the local MO HS charges $21,000 per student. (There are three non-religious private schools that charge around $30,000 per student.) The figures I found for the NYC education budget was $16,513,763,014 (including pension and debt service) for
1,055,986 students -- that's $15,638.24 per student. I guess I mistakenly extrapolated regarding the situation in your area. I apologize for the mistake and regret the error.-

My points regarding merit pay and economies of scale still stand, however.

'completely abolishing the school board and letting education be handled by local goverment like everything else'

Interestingly, Virginia has moved in the opposite direction: Back in the 80s there were no elected school boards, while today most school boards are elected. They do not, however, have independent taxing powers -- they are still dependent upon the county governments.

10:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Charlie, the public school out here spends a full 10k more per student than by you. And the ortho private schools cost about 10-13k. Big difference.

11:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone know whether the new Board will be empowered to lay off teachers under the new contract? In other words, even if the salaries have been increased, can costs be cut through layoffs? Would be interested to hear any concrete information on this point. Thanks.

11:21 AM  
Anonymous New Resident said...

As a relatively new resident of the five towns and a private school parent, I decided to attend last night's School Board Meeting to see what all the hub-bub about the school district and board was about. What an eye-opener.

Allow me to make just a couple of points:

1. I was shocked at the paucity of public school parents in attendance. Understandably, the teachers showed up in force and a couple of token PTA parents as well, however, one would think that parents of the "children" whom should have been the focus of last night's meeting would care enough to show up and question whether the teacher's contract was in the best interests of the "oh so dear" children.

2. Admittedly, I do not know the intricacies of the teacher's contract in question and I suspect most others in the crowd (other than the teachers) were in the same position. Why did the board (and specifically the negotiating team) not feel it necessary to take some time and explain the contract's terms. No doubt a rational discussion could have ensued that would have educated everyone.

3. With respect to the sale of the Number 1 School and the use of the proceeds, didn't the voters already speak and decline to establish a specialized "capital improvement" account? Why are we being asked the same question again? Someone please correct if I am misunderstanding the facts.

4. Also, with respect to the $100 "tax break" the sale would provide residents of the district if the funds were placed in the general account, according to my math there would have to be in excess of 200,000 households in the district in order for the sum to be only $100. Assuming there are 10,000 households the average figure wold be closer to $2,500--that is real money to tax payers.

5. I am not excusing Uri Kaufmann's remarks.

6. Why did the Board President find it necessary to cut short only the private school parents during the commenting period?

7. The private school parents did clap when appropriate, including during the Rock and Wrap presentation, the appointment of the new Director of Art and the numerous comments made about bridging the community (even if those speaking did not really mean it).

8. Finally, in response to comments like this from Alumni and others

alumni said...
I saw the exchange between the couple in the rear of the auditorium and the people sitting back there. The Couple was out of line. Mr. Kaufman looked like he was off his meds. The man who referred to the CSE Parent as part of 'my community' instead of realizing that we are all part of ONE community, and the 'shut up' comments coming from members of the orthodox community....very loudly i might add, when certain speakers went up....all this shows where the problem lies. The disrespect all came from one faction.

12:29 AM

I would just ask, how do they characterize comments and catcalls made by the "public school" faction of GO BACK TO BROOKLYN?????

11:47 AM  
Blogger socialworker/frustrated mom said...

Wow you got alot of comments in one day! No need for me to say further.

12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would just ask, how do they characterize comments and catcalls made by the "public school" faction of GO BACK TO BROOKLYN?????

It's very simple, New Resident. Those are ok because they are directed to the private school parents. In fact, one of the commenters on this thread acknowledged:

Licatesi didn't just threaten and insult me. Kaufman did.

See, that's how it works. Insults, incivility, dirty tricks are ok if they are directed at the private school community, who, no matter what the situation is, are always required to keep trying to do things like "build bridges" that the LTA-supported board members repeatedly burn.

Welcome to the neighborhood.

12:02 PM  
Blogger Somewhat Anonymous said...

Further Note on per student costs and private schools: In figuring the cost per student of the yeshivas tuition probably makes a decent proxy, but it is not going to provide a correct figure. One needs to add donations (generally solicited tzedaka and things like building funds and dinner ads) as well as any poriton of the public budget that is allocated tot he school through books, busing and the like. Of course then you have to subtract out all of the scholarship kids whoi don't pay full tuition. Limudei Kodesh is a trickier question - should it be subtracted out to properly equate just the cost of a secular education in the yeshiva?

None of the above changes the fact that the local (FT) public schools are still far more expensive, but I figure we may as well make the comparison with the right metrics

12:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Go Back to Brooklyn - THATS GREAT!!

12:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


1. I was shocked at the paucity of public school parents in attendance. Understandably, the teachers showed up in force and a couple of token PTA parents as well, however, one would think that parents of the "children" whom should have been the focus of last night's meeting would care enough to show up and question whether the teacher's contract was in the best interests of the "oh so dear" children.

2. Admittedly, I do not know the intricacies of the teacher's contract in question and I suspect most others in the crowd (other than the teachers) were in the same position. Why did the board (and specifically the negotiating team) not feel it necessary to take some time and explain the contract's terms. No doubt a rational discussion could have ensued that would have educated everyone.


Unfortunately, the public school kids were shafted the most last night, but the leadership of the public school parent body clearly has their vision too clouded by anti-Orthodox sentiment to even care.


3. With respect to the sale of the Number 1 School and the use of the proceeds, didn't the voters already speak and decline to establish a specialized "capital improvement" account? Why are we being asked the same question again? Someone please correct if I am misunderstanding the facts.


Good question. For the same reason that they can pass a sweetheart teachers' contract that runs contrary to the interests of everyone living in the district and attending the schools. BECAUSE THEY CAN



4. Also, with respect to the $100 "tax break" the sale would provide residents of the district if the funds were placed in the general account, according to my math there would have to be in excess of 200,000 households in the district in order for the sum to be only $100. Assuming there are 10,000 households the average figure wold be closer to $2,500--that is real money to tax payers.


Correct. Actually, it amounts to around 20% off everyone's current property tax bill. It's pretty simple math:

$27 million / $91 million
= 30% (approximate reduction of next year's budget)

30% x 2/3 (approx. school district portion of property tax bill)
= 20% off your tax bill

So assuming that tax bills in the district range from $5k to $50k, the savings will range from $1k to $10k per household.






6. Why did the Board President find it necessary to cut short only the private school parents during the commenting period?


A good point, and as much as Uri Kaufman's remarks may have been out of line, there was no good reason for Parise to give him the runaround when he asked to say a few words.



7. The private school parents did clap when appropriate, including during the Rock and Wrap presentation, the appointment of the new Director of Art and the numerous comments made about bridging the community (even if those speaking did not really mean it).


Yes, that's what I saw too. Those private school parents who were following the agenda did clap at the right times, when deserving individuals were lauded.

12:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

See, that's how it works. Insults, incivility, dirty tricks are ok if

Yet we all do nothing to change it. Licatasi was wrong, two years ago now kaufman was wrong. Are we even yet. Nobody seems to realize that this is about the kids, not the adults and there agenda. Let us stop now, ask the state to step in restructure and go on with life. Anyway the best part of last nights meeting was when kaufman yelled, it broke up the heat stroke we were all getting.

12:19 PM  
Blogger Somewhat Anonymous said...

"Nobody seems to realize that this is about the kids, not the adults and there agenda"

Umm.. see my comments above from last night about the general silliness of whining about the various personalities involved (on either side) when discussing the substance of the matter

"Let us stop now, ask the state to step in restructure and go on with life"

What can the State do to help matters (aside from send more money - that'd be appreciated by both sides I'm sure)? And what justification would they have for stepping in - nothing that is going on has been outside the regular and legitimate democratic process, rancorous as it may be.

12:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so annoyed and disturbed by the rancor on both sides of the equation. At the end of the day we are all neighbors and have to find a way to coexist. I personally was upset and offended by the Parisi assertion of a conflict of interest. While he might be partial to his daughter, I highly doubt that he would have acted any other way if his daughter was not a party to the contract. As far as the rancor from the teachers and some of the parents from the public school, you should be ashamed of yourselves. You call yourselves teachers and examples. Striking outside a jewish private school and calling names is not the way we should be teaching our children. If you spent half the time teaching that you do with your vitriolic rants our kids would all be in Ivy League colleges.
Finally, shame on all of the parents, public and private, and on the schoolboard for allowing a labor relations dispute spin into an ethno-religous dispute. You are falling into the hands of the teacher's union. They played you all. What a shame!!! And the one's that will be hurt most are the children. What have they learned? What will they learn? May god have mercy on us all.

2:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"shame on all of the parents, public and private, and on the schoolboard for allowing a labor relations dispute spin into an ethno-religous dispute."

This has absolutely nothing to do with religion or ethnicity. I just went to an open school board meeting and clapped in support of my kids teachers. I was harrassed and threatened and called a "public school parent" as if that were a pejorative by an elected official of the public school board. A security guard had to step in and ask him to give up the mike. Was the elected official wearing a yarmulke? Yes, he was. Was he acting as his religion would dictate? Its my religion too and elected oficials ranting at consituents who disagree is not in the rulebook. This has nothing to do with religion and everything to do politics. Shame on him for this hideous public display. Shame on those who egged him on and fueled his tirade. Some "leadership" and some way to take the reigns of a school board.

2:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"This has absolutely nothing to do with religion or ethnicity."

if for a second you think that you would be reacting this way if the candidate was asian, christian, african american or buddhist then you are deluding yourself. You are correct that this about politics but you are wrong about the type of politics. THis is about the politics of hate.
To be clear and fair, I didnt absolve the behavior of Kaufman or of others involved. In fact I feel that because they are identified by some of the bloggers as the "Ortho" candidates, he has to be even more careful to present the proper image. But for you to say that the hatefulness that has brewed in the community and stirred by the Teachers is anything other then an anti-orthodox jew bias is false and delusional.

2:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't understand the phenomenom by which, in talking about school politics, people claim to know what I think, how I will act and what I would say. Uri Kaufman ranted about that during his tirade, saying "I know what you public school parents think!!!" I've never met Mr. Kaufman and I am quite sure he's not my mind reader. You don't know me and you have no right to tell me how I would feel if I was attacked like Mr. Kaufman attacked me by a public official of another ethnicity. Let me tell you and Mr. Kaufman: first and foremost, I feel hurt and betrayed by this individual, who used his office to spew hate and venom at me, his constituent. The asians, buddhists and blacks didn't do this, he did.

3:11 PM  
Blogger Somewhat Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:18 PM  
Blogger Somewhat Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:24 PM  
Blogger Somewhat Anonymous said...

You feel hurt and betrayed by Mr. Kaufman? Hurt I understand, but how do you feel betrayed? Did you go into the meeting thinking his views as to the contract and the budget were other than what he revealed them to be?

3:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i heard something interesting today.

Your hubby was at a wedding last night? During the board meeting?

3:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Betrayed because the majority of voters entrusted our schools to someone who has showed himself to be a hate-filled person unable to control his rage at ME for clapping at a public meeting.

3:27 PM  
Blogger Somewhat Anonymous said...

anon - and therefore what exactly? How does his conduct affect anything about the school district and the board's policies should be moving forward?

If there's no point, and your just venting about your deeply felt hurt and betrayal, why are you relentlesly bringing it up to the rest of us, none of who are defending the actions in question (even if I think your rhetoric in reaction is a bit overheated).

Yeah I know that asking what the point of something is as part of a blog discussion is kinda ironic. Work with me here.

3:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a point, Somewhat, and its this: the tone of our interactions is diseased. We need leadership, not rhetoric, and not tantrums which only cause drama and hurt. I think even you and I might agree on this point. And that may be the "good" of blogging on the topic.

3:44 PM  
Blogger Somewhat Anonymous said...

Anon - I think we all pretty much agree on this, that's why I was asking about your insistence in repeatedly bringing it up. But here's to a more civil tone in school board discussions.

3:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anonymous of 3:27

whoever orthomom is, she's probably not mrs mansdorf as the mansdorfs married off a child last night and the pictures show that both (imagine that !) were there.

in other words, give it up

3:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous,
The reason we cant read your mind is that you are not capable of original thought but rather are only able to spew the talking points of the teachers union. When you can think on your own two feet then feel free to write in and share YOUR opinions

4:05 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Anonymous said...

i heard something interesting today.

Your hubby was at a wedding last night? During the board meeting?

3:27 PM


Yeah, my hubby was at my son's wedding. I skipped the wedding to blog. We all have our priorities. Or just maybe, you're barking up the wrong tree.

4:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous,
The reason we cant read your mind is that you are not capable of original thought but rather are only able to spew the talking points of the Rabbi. When you can think on your own two feet then feel free to write in and share YOUR opinions

4:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.newsday.com/news/local/longisland/ny-lilawr214790321jun21,0,2005252.story?coll=ny-linews-headlines

4:29 PM  
Blogger Somewhat Anonymous said...

Seems like a fair article, focuses mostly on the facts of the issue, not the personalities involved.

4:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How can Orthomom be Mrs. Mansdorf? She has made it clear she is a Red Shul chick and Mansdorf is about 15 years too old for us Young Turks.

4:53 PM  
Blogger Somewhat Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I AM A PARENT OF A TEACHER AND I HAVE NEVER SEEN SUCH DISRESPECT, CHAOS, MISINFORMATION, AND MISGUIDED FOCUS AT A MEETING THAT IS SUPPOSED TO BE IN THE CHILDREN'S BEST INTEREST.

THIS WAS MORE OF A RACE WAR.
YES, I SAID IT OUT LOUD.

STOP ALL THE CRAP AND SAY WHAT YOU MEAN.

IN SHORT. THE JEWISH PEOPLE WANT TO HAVE CONTROL OVER ALL OF THE SCHOOLS IN THE FIVE TOWNS COMMUNITY. IT SEEMS FROM THE COMMENTS THAT NO ONE HAS SEEN, READ, DID THE MATH,
OR UNDERSTOOD THE CONTRACT.

SMALLER CLASS SIZE -THAT WAS THE BIGGEST PLUS IN THE CONTRACT AND WAS THE MAIN REASON THAT THE TEACHER AGREED TO IT.

THEY WANT TO CREATE THE BEST LEARNING ENVIRONMENT FOR THE CHILDREN.

DON'T TRY TO MAKE IT ANYTHING ELSE.

5:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Half the teachers in the District would like the best for the children and the other half, including the union leadership couldn't give a crap about the children. This is hardly a secret, and obviously no one expects a teacher or a teacher's family member to admit this.

What I would like to know is what percentage of the district's teachers live in the district (and how much effort the teachers expend to fill the room and rabblerouse at the Board meetings).

7:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am deeply saddened by thought of your lack of compassion towards the children in the community. It is a disgrace to say that you live in this community and as far as your husband goes for being on the school board...well enough said. I think it's disgusting how this is all about religion...none of this is about the children. You should all be ashamed.

9:13 PM  
Anonymous alumni said...

What I would like to know is what percentage of the district's teachers live in the district
***********************************

i can help here with those in the high school. Can I include those who might not live in the district but are products of the district and whose family still live there and pay taxes?

25 at least in the high school
and one of the administrators

9:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't believe what this community is coming to. Shouldn't this be in the best interests of the children...ALL CHILDREN...I am a graduate of Lawrence High School and received a wonderful education, thanks to all of the intelligent and caring teachers that I had, however i am completely disgraced by what your group is doing to our district...thats right OUR distict. You should be more concerned with what you are doing to OUR community then worrying about the teachers getting their contract.

9:36 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Anonymous said...

I can't believe what this community is coming to. Shouldn't this be in the best interests of the children...ALL CHILDREN...I am a graduate of Lawrence High School and received a wonderful education, thanks to all of the intelligent and caring teachers that I had, however i am completely disgraced by what your group is doing to our district...thats right OUR distict. You should be more concerned with what you are doing to OUR community then worrying about the teachers getting their contract.

9:36 PM


Comments like this just serve to make it very clear to my readers what kind of attitudes we are up against. "Our" district? "Your group"? Lovely.

9:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thats right, our district because you unfortunately made it a race war...

9:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i can help here with those in the high school. Can I include those who might not live in the district but are products of the district and whose family still live there and pay taxes?

25 at least in the high school
and one of the administrators


So at least 3/4 of the teachers don't live in the district?

9:47 PM  
Blogger Somewhat Anonymous said...

"I can't believe what this community is coming to. Shouldn't this be in the best interests of the children...ALL CHILDREN...I am a graduate of Lawrence High School and received a wonderful education, thanks to all of the intelligent and caring teachers that I had, however i am completely disgraced by what your group is doing to our district...thats right OUR distict. You should be more concerned with what you are doing to OUR community then worrying about the teachers getting their contract."

The public schools don't serve all of the children. Making the Lawrence schools the best in all the world wouldn't affect half the children in the district who do not (and largely CANNOT) attend. To serve all of the children, funds must be spent to service the private school community as well, where possible.

9:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To anonymous who wrote:

I can't believe what this community is coming to. Shouldn't this be in the best interests of the children...ALL CHILDREN...I am a graduate of Lawrence High School and received a wonderful education, thanks to all of the intelligent and caring teachers that I had, however i am completely disgraced by what your group is doing to our district...thats right OUR distict. You should be more concerned with what you are doing to OUR community then worrying about the teachers getting their contract.
9:36 PM

I can spot at least 3 spelling and grammar errors in you post. You make a great case for your "wonderful" Lawrence education.

9:53 PM  
Blogger Somewhat Anonymous said...

anon 9:36 - oh com eon. yuo cant holld typos on a blog asgaint someon

9:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I can spot at least 3 spelling and grammar errors in you post. You make a great case for your "wonderful" Lawrence education."

Wow if i think about mistakes, it was a certain 4 people being voted in on the school board.

9:57 PM  
Blogger Somewhat Anonymous said...

"Wow if i think about mistakes, it was a certain 4 people being voted in on the school board."

That wasn't a mistake, we really meant to do it.

10:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So at least 3/4 of the teachers don't live in the district?
***********************************

and do you blame them? wouldn't they get treated like Mr. Parise's daughter? Seems to be a problem with living in the district and teaching in the district. Meanwhile at least you know those teachers will be loyal to the children

10:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Picking on spelling errors is like making comments about PTA presidents needing to keep their mouth shut until they can speak english.

10:31 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...


and do you blame them? wouldn't they get treated like Mr. Parise's daughter? Seems to be a problem with living in the district and teaching in the district. Meanwhile at least you know those teachers will be loyal to the children


That's ridiciulous. Mr. Parise's daughter got no untoward treatment whatsoever. Questions were raised whether Mr. Parise should be voting on an issue that directly affects his daughter's salary or whether he should have recused himself. You assertion that it somehow has something to do with Mr. Parise's daughter living in the district is irrelevant. I don't care if she lived in Elmont, Valley Stream, or Long Beach. I care that her father is one of the key negotiator and signers of the contract.

10:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But it does have something to do with his daughter. She is or was NOT a part of this. I'd bet that most teachers in the district didn't even know she worked there. Who cares? Do you think she is the first teacher in the district to have a relative on the board? Do you think she'll be the last? Do you think no one in the district is related? GET REAL! This community goes back more than the 5-10 years that some of you know of, there is more history then YOU or any of your community members will EVER know. Last night I sat there and realized that I can name more board members then ANY of your posting allies, fact is, I can name more administrators too. One of your posters mentioned James Hunderfund's salary in another district? Does his name sound familiar? What about the name Ronald Friedman? Both moved onto other districts from Lawrence. Come on, now, when you have an idea of who's who then speak to us about things. Parise's daughter should NEVER have been brought up EVER. Wait, let's go back and talk about the discussion a few years back about the $40,000 award given to one of Dr. Sussman's sons by the Bus Company. Does your blog go back that far to discuss that? Did you even live in the district back then?

Mr. Parise's daughter shouldn't have been discussed! Period, end of story, you needed someone to point a finger at, you choose someone who has said NOTHING!

Another sign of your disrespect to the teachers of this district no matter where they live!

10:54 PM  
Anonymous alumni said...

If the board members felt that Mr. Parise shouldn't be on the negotiating team they had one full year to do something about it. That would include Mansdorf, Sussman and Forman. One of them could have taken his place at any time.

10:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Mr. Parise's daughter shouldn't have been discussed! Period, end of story, you needed someone to point a finger at, you choose someone who has said NOTHING!"

That's completely wrong. You run and are elected as a public official, and you open yourself up to scrutiny and conflict of interests. That's just a fact of life. That's like saying it would be irrelevant to tell a story of a president of a university presenting a huge scholarship to his son. If he was on the committe that votes, people would say that he should recuse himself. This is same deal.

And no one would have criticized or brought Parise or his daughter up had he recused himself. They had the majorit without him. He should have just done that.

11:00 PM  
Blogger Somewhat Anonymous said...

anon 10:54 - The community predates my moving here and therefore what exactly? I have less of a right to participate in the democratic process under which the schools are run? Less of a right to an opinion about how the district operates? Do my kids (who also weren't around way back when dontcha know) have any less rights to fully funded bussing because I'm a relative newcomer to the neighborhood?

I don't think your line of argument is going to go very far.

11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

\" alumni said...

If the board members felt that Mr. Parise shouldn't be on the negotiating team they had one full year to do something about it. That would include Mansdorf, Sussman and Forman. One of them could have taken his place at any time."

He shouldn't have been voting. Negotiating is a diffenrent story.

11:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

not with you it won't b/c you don't care about the entire community or it's history, you care about yourself and what you can get.

11:04 PM  
Blogger Somewhat Anonymous said...

anon 11:04 - well I care about my kids getting access to available funds for their education. I guess you have a problem with that?

11:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

momof4 says:
I care that her father is one of the key negotiator and signers of the contract.
**********************************

does it matter that he was a negotiator or doesn't it?

And Dr. Sussman should have said no thank you to the 40K donation to his sons already paid for education.

11:07 PM  
Blogger Somewhat Anonymous said...

I'd like to note the irony that the people who emphasize how much they care about the "entire community" seem to have major problems with fully funding things for the private school kids (who are around half of the local children I believe). The public schools do not serve anything close to the entire community, so focusing on them alone will leave a lot of people out.

11:08 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...


And Dr. Sussman should have said no thank you to the 40K donation to his sons already paid for education.



This is stupid. No one is saying she shouldn't take the salary outlined in the contract. Simply that her father shouldn't have voted for it. Sussman didn't vote for his son to get the scholarship.

11:10 PM  
Blogger Somewhat Anonymous said...

anon 11:07 - Surprise! Those of us on the "private school side" (AKA the pillage and burn the public schools side, take your pick) are of differing opinions on the Parise recusal thing. I've never thought it was a big deal at all actually.

11:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well I care about my kids getting access to available funds for their education. I guess you have a problem with that?
***********************************
I have a problem with bussing students outside of a 15 mile limit. Actually I will admit this, POINT BLANK. I have a problem with bussing, public and private. Other districts where students go to private schools do NOT provide transportation. Other districts have already slashed there in district budgets. How about we all focus on that, maybe we can agree on that and their will be plenty of money to go around.

11:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Other districts where students go to private schools do NOT provide transportation. Other districts have already slashed there in district budgets. How about we all focus on that, maybe we can agree on that and their will be plenty of money to go around."

Not districts with programming and sports that this district has. You must be kidding us with that argument. You can;t fight to keep the bowling club and say busing is negligible. If a district is rich enough to spend a budget like ours, canceling bussing is not even an up for discussion.

11:14 PM  
Blogger Somewhat Anonymous said...

anon 11:11 - so I'm supposed to live in the district, pay exorbitant taxes towards education of the local children, and then be told that sorry, I can't access even a small portion of those funds because I send my kid to private school. Why would anyone settle for a deal like that?

11:14 PM  
Anonymous dazed said...

I'm sorry, I'm confused. What is it that you think the private school children should be provided funds for? Are we just talking special education or do you believe that because you send your children to private schools that a portion of the tuition should be set aside for them? I agree that classified students in the yeshiva's deserve funds, I believe that textbooks should be provided, but what else do you think needs to be set aside for private school students?

11:15 PM  
Anonymous missing olgc said...

I paid my children's tuition to OLGC.

11:17 PM  
Blogger Somewhat Anonymous said...

dazed - the law in NY (although not the Federal Constitution) limits the funds allocable to private school kids to a few specific items, including books, special ed and bussing. I think those items (and any I missed) should be maxed out.

Ideally I'd like to see a voucher system that paid some portion of private school tuition as well, but that's so far from becoming a reality its not even worth discussing.

11:19 PM  
Anonymous dazed said...

so then I'm really confused, what aren't you getting? Look, I have nothing against the changing face of the community but I know that Lawrence provides so much more than other districts. For instance, in the district I live in (yes that makes me a teacher), my district doesn't provide special education services to the private school students, my district doesn't provide bussing, I watch those kids get on public transportation every single morning. The text books I'm not sure about. The voucher system isn't something the Lawrence Community as a whole can do anything about. Unless you can say, 'My child needs this and by law you have to provide it and you aren't', what do you want? Seriously, look into the districts within a 15 miles radius of Lawrence and see if those districts are doing 1/2 as much for their private school students as lawrence does.

11:28 PM  
Anonymous Somewhat Anon said...

I can;t believe we are going to go back to Sussan;s kid getting a scholarship. The State Auditor looked at it and found it was above board. Is it his fault that all of the other kids in the school and their parents were too lazy to even APPLY for the scholarship? There was proof that the high school DID repeatedly tell students about the program. But nobody applied. Blame the other parents for leaving perfectly good money laying there.

Get back to the truth of the situatiuion. NO ONE is happy with how the LTA has behaved, nor how the teachers have failed to improve results, with high school english failures across the board.

Why the lame duck board did what they did, we'll never know. All we can do is start to fix things. We will need to cut ancially programs and activities and all of the stipends - those are not locked into contracts. We'll have to fire personnel that do not directly impact the classroom.

And, nextyear we should remind the ENTIRE community the 4 people we have to thank for putting the district into near bankruptcy.

CAN SOMEONE TELL ME HOW WE CAN AFFORD TO PAY THESE CONTRACT RAISES AND CLASS SIZE LIMITS ON 4TH YEAR OF AUSTERITY? Break out the red pens and pink slips becuse there will be loads of cuts and firings this summer.

Thanks John F.

11:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone realize that there are Many private school students receiving special education services from the district? Lawrence is one of the only school districts on Long Island that is willing to send teachers to the private schools. In any other district, your child would have to find their way to a public school for those same services. Those same teachers are spending hours testing said students, writing reports on educational performance, and sitting on CSE meetings to discuss with each parent the options that they have. In addition, all private school students are entitled to (and using) district textbooks and transportation. This is what the school tax money pays for. Other district teachers are making just as much if not more money than the Lawrence teachers who are training and educated professionals. They are required by state laws to hold AT LEAST a Masters degree and are also required to pass several state certification exams which they pay a few hundred dollars for. It saddens me that a teacher is no longer respected as a professional but rather looked upon as an enemy! If everyone would just stop looking at their own interests and take into account what other people are saying, there can be a mature agreement on ALL matters involving the district. But at the rate things are going it looks as if people calling themselves adults on both sides are behaving like children and acting out of spite. Please, just take the time to think about how you would feel if you were on the opposite end of whatever this "arguement" has become. Who cares about religion or school setting? It at some point needs to become about the children first. That's what school is all about after all!

11:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh gag me, you decided to send your child to a private school, you are responsible for the tuition. That is not the responsibility of the tax payers, the tax payers pay for PUBLIC SCHOOLS, if you choose not to take advantage of that it's your responsibility to pay for their tuition. What next? Do you want us to pay for their sleep away camps?

11:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can;t believe we are going to go back to Sussan;s kid getting a scholarship. The State Auditor looked at it and found it was above board. Is it his fault that all of the other kids in the school and their parents were too lazy to even APPLY for the scholarship? There was proof that the high school DID repeatedly tell students about the program. But nobody applied. Blame the other parents for leaving perfectly good money laying there.
**********************************

Where's the crock? Funny how this award was never awarded before or again. It went to one student and only one student and amazingly it was awarded to Dr. Sussman's son. Plus, it was an supposedly because he was on an athletic team.

Bring up Parise's daughter, you get thrown with Sussman's son, eye for an eye

11:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

CAN SOMEONE TELL ME HOW WE CAN AFFORD TO PAY THESE CONTRACT RAISES AND CLASS SIZE LIMITS ON 4TH YEAR OF AUSTERITY? Break out the red pens and pink slips becuse there will be loads of cuts and firings this summer
**********************************
salaries are protected by the contingency budget.

11:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"but I know that Lawrence provides so much more than other districts. For instance, in the district I live in (yes that makes me a teacher), my district doesn't provide special education services to the private school students,"

I find that difficult to believe as it is required by law to provide all district childen with spec ed.

You are wrong, or lying.

11:38 PM  
Anonymous amazinggrace said...

missing olgc said...
I paid my children's tuition to OLGC.

Amazing, I paid for my son's military academy. But now I'm supposed to use my taxes to pay for a child to go to private school? I would never have expected that from my neighbors.

11:41 PM  
Blogger Goy Guy said...

Somewhat Anon said:
"The public schools don't serve all of the children. Making the Lawrence schools the best in all the world wouldn't affect half the children in the district who do not (and largely CANNOT) attend. To serve all of the children, funds must be spent to service the private school community as well, where possible."

First of all, so if Lawrence has the best schools in the world and you don't go there, it doesn't matter? How about the half that go there? What about them? I get it....

Secondly, there is not ONE kid in the district that CANNOT attend the schools if they so choose. The door is open, head on down. There's plenty of room in the pool for everyone. Hey, think about it, its FREE! You get a great education, plenty of electives and AP courses, and sports teams up the ying-yang (bet your yeshiva doesn't have a golf team) with dozens of acres of fields to play on. We'll even throw in a few more Jewish holidays to close the deal.

What do you think, no orthodox kids ever went to a public school? I understand that you are afraid that somehow they will corrupt all the non-orthodox kids, like people thought when they had to integrate the schools in the south. But it turns out that wasn't the case. If you have ever attended a public school, and gone in the lunch room, the story is right there in front of you. You see, educational integration turns out not to lead to the dreaded social integration. All the black kids sit over there. The spanish speaking kids sit over here. Over there in the front are the Jewish kids. Back over there are the kids who came from Catholic school.The south asians with their colorful dresses have a table on the side. Don't worry, your kids are completely safe from social interaction outside the classroom.

Charlie Hall said:
"The empirical evidence seems to be that high teachers' salaries are necessary, but not sufficient, to produce good educational outcomes.

The idea of pay-for-performance for public school teachers is at least 20 years old. I'm unaware of any evidence that it has improved objective outcomes. (Please show some if you have any.) The major predictor of performance on standardized tests is the demographics of the parents."

A wise man, that Charlie Hall. One more time for those who missed it:
The major predictor of performance on standardized tests is the demographics of the parents.

Got it everyone? Great. Let's call it a day.

momof4 said:

"Questions were raised whether Mr. Parise should be voting on an issue that directly affects his daughter's salary or whether he should have recused himself. You assertion that it somehow has something to do with Mr. Parise's daughter living in the district is irrelevant. I don't care if she lived in Elmont, Valley Stream, or Long Beach. I care that her father is one of the key negotiator and signers of the contract."

Unless you believe that Mr Parise would have voted against the contract if his daughter didn't work there (not too likely) than you are just picking on him unfairly on this issue. However there ARE plenty of other things to break his chops about, so I think it would be better to stick to those :-)

11:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey everybody! Stop assuming that public school parents are allied with the teachers union on this. We aren't! I think that if its a choice betwen the highest salaries on the Island and cutting a reading recovery program (a choice we had to make 4 yeard ago or so), the program should win out. Unfortunately, that isn't what happened. We cut reading recovery and the teachers got a raise. The teachers have played this beautifully. They made the public school parents believe that what is good for teachers is good for students. Well, that is not so, at least when it comes to doling out the pieces of the pie of money. There is only so much pie.

11:43 PM  
Blogger Somewhat Anonymous said...

anon 11:31 - So your position is basically that you support the institution of the Public schools (which, I might add are deserving of support) over the provision of benefits and services to "all of the children." A large portion of the community CANNOT send their children to the public schools for religious reasons. When they hear that the board expects them to pay taxes towards a wonderful school system, and then threaten to deny them even the small amount of services they could legally get - well then they get mad and elect a new board.

11:45 PM  
Anonymous dazed and not annoyed said...

but I know that Lawrence provides so much more than other districts. For instance, in the district I live in (yes that makes me a teacher), my district doesn't provide special education services to the private school students,"

I find that difficult to believe as it is required by law to provide all district childen with spec ed.

You are wrong, or lying.
___________________________________

Well, let's see, I live in a district that has NO private schools at all within it's boundaries and the majority of its residents send their children to schools about 15 miles away. Some of the schools that they are being sent to have their own special services. Plus, calling me a liar isn't very nice, I've been nothing but respectful.

11:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First statement:
"my district doesn't provide special education services to the private school students,"

Second statement:
"I live in a district that has NO private schools at all within it's boundaries "

Uh, OK. Well. if not quite lying, then not quite telling the truth with your first statement either. You pretend your district somehow makes an (illegal) choice not to provide spec ed, and then you admit there are no private schools that would make your statement relevant.

Whatever.

11:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

there is NO student in this district that is denyed services. Each student is fully evaluated and it is determined whether they are entitled to services or not. It would be unethical for any student to be denied services based upon an actually NEED. It is actually the opposite, if there is ANY DOUBT AT ALL the student is given services whether testing finds taht they were eligible or not. There are too many people wasting the district time and resources having students tested when there is no apparent educational deficiency! Maybe this is where your wasted money problems are lying as well. I am appauled that anyone would accuse Lawrence of denying services based upon religious beliefs!!!!!!

11:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

goy guy? I think you really need to drop on into Lawrence High School. 30 years ago there was a clear division along race and creed lines but that is no longer the case. Heck, don't come in, just watch the kids crossing peninsula boulevard in the morning.

11:51 PM  
Blogger Somewhat Anonymous said...

dazed - Just to be clear I do not expect any sort of action from the new board on anything like a voucher program. I was just giving full disclosure of my views on the ideal allocation of education funds.

Over the course of the elections we have had here, there have been many threats to cut bussing and other funds to the private school kids. Living in Lawrence entails payment of exprbitant taxes towards the education of children. As I said, I would like to get the small peice of that money that I am legally permitted to get. It isn't illegal for the board to deny those funds, but, as we have seen, it makes for very bad politics.

11:51 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...


Unless you believe that Mr Parise would have voted against the contract if his daughter didn't work there (not too likely) than you are just picking on him unfairly on this issue. However there ARE plenty of other things to break his chops about, so I think it would be better to stick to those :-)


Hey, we can agree to disagree. I think had Mr. Parise been concerned about unecessary negative attention, a recusal would have been a smart move. Like I said, whether he would have potentially voted the same way whether his daughter was employed by the district or not is not really at issue here. She is, and it makes him potentially voting with a conflict of interest. I am entitled to my opinion - especially as I mentioned a few times, that the reason I think a recusal or at least an attempt to address the issue would have been wise is due to the extreme levels of tension in this community - not any real belief on my part that Mr. Parise's daughter's employment changed his vote.

11:54 PM  
Anonymous dazed said...

Uh, OK. Well. if not quite lying, then not quite telling the truth with your first statement either. You pretend your district somehow makes an (illegal) choice not to provide spec ed, and then you admit there are no private schools that would make your statement relevant.


Please do your homework, see if there are districts that are small and don't have any private schools within their boundaries. Then reread my statement that the schools that the parents picked had special services in place. Perhaps it's time to lobby the yeshiva's to provide you children with all the services they need. I mean the tuition is exhorbitant what the heck are they doing with your money?

11:54 PM  
Blogger Goy Guy said...

anon 11:51

Well, that was one of those tongue in cheek things, you see. I went to Lawrence 30 years ago and can say that attending an integrated school was really quite a good experience, for me at least. (we were somewhat divided socially, but there were no PROBLEMS) That's why I don't hate everyone whose not like me.

But every school population, public and private still has its little groups.

11:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Perhaps it's time to lobby the yeshiva's to provide you children with all the services they need. I mean the tuition is exhorbitant what the heck are they doing with your money?"

A few points. The Yeshivas should not be providing special ed if the students are entitled to be receiving it from the district, and most DO have special ed services, but the district are kicking some portion in for it. That's called the law. And just so you know? Tuition in the local Yeshivas is much much lower per child than the public school spends per child. Like, I'm paying 10k for my son in 7th grade. In the public schools, we would be educating him for 25k.

12:00 AM  
Anonymous dazed said...

somewhat anon, I am asking you to please tell me what you have been denied, specifically! Threats are threats as we have seen there are threats flying all over the place. I agree that if you are legally entitled to bussing and textbooks you should get that. Isn't there a state mandated cap on the distance though? As much as rumors fly on your side, the rumors fly on our side. We have been told that Orthodox parents have requested that transportation be provided out of the county, sometimes to Westchester. I heard recently that an orthodox couple requested a one to one aide to accompany them on a vacation to california so that their child could get his services, the couple expected the district to pay for the flight. Rumors, some things are so outlandish we aren't stupid enough to believe them.

But please, tell me what you've been denied, other then the already discussed special services

12:01 AM  
Blogger Somewhat Anonymous said...

Goy guy - First of all my general point was that supporting the public schools does not equal supporting "all of the children" I was not opposing high quality public schools.

I was waiting for someone to challenge me on the contention that many private school kids can't attend the public schools (indeed that is why I emphasized it). Obviously the public school doors are open to any resident of the district. You make it seem though, like it is no big deal religiously to send Orthodox kids to school in a completely secular environment. I think that you will accept that it is people's strongly held religious beliefs that are keeping them form taking advantage of the generally high quality (and free) schools that we have in Lawrence. Of course some orthodox kids have and do go to public school, but the vast majority do not and would not. Most orthodox parents, due to their religious convictions, would not think of sending their child to public school unless faced with absolutely no other choice (and many even then). This is enough for me to count it that they CANNOT send their kids to those schools.

Also to those of you harrassing dazed - knock it off, he's asked only respectful questions so far

12:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lawrence provides more special education services than most other districts. They do more than most districts. Do you all know about the upcoming law? That now, the district that your child attends schoolin will be responsible for the services. So, if you live in Lawrence but you send your child to a private school in Far Rockaway that their special education services will now be the responsibility of the NYC school system?

Have fun!!!!

12:06 AM  
Blogger Somewhat Anonymous said...

dazed - Well given the choice, why should I vote for the person who threatens to cut off my kid's bussing funds when I have an alternative?

You seem to think that I am alleging foul play on the part of the board. I will leave that to others as I have minimal personal knowledge of the situation (and I feel the same way avout rumors that you do). I don't know why you are assuming that I have to think the old board is bad/evil/whatever in order to want them replaced. I think that the new board will do a competent job of managing the public schools while also providing the maximum amount of services to the private school community, which I support on both personal and policy grounds. So why shouldn't I vote for the new guys?

12:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

alumni said...
If the board members felt that Mr. Parise shouldn't be on the negotiating team they had one full year to do something about it. That would include Mansdorf, Sussman and Forman. One of them could have taken his place at any time.


Actually, Parise wasn't on the negotiating team. And what a balanced "negotiating team" that was - Raquet, Kopilow and Greenbaum. What a hoot! Out of the 7 members of the board, 4 of their candidacies were financed by the LTA, and go figure - 3 out of those 4 ended up on the "negotiating team" and the 4th (whose daughter is a teacher in a school likely to be closed) casts the deciding vote in a contract that grants salary increases and protects jobs (like his daughters).

This really doesn't leave much to the imagination.

Doesn't anyone get it? Nobody in the district (other than the teachers and lame duck school board candidates) thinks the teachers need to be the highest paid on Long Island. But they got their raises anyway,and the roop "erupted in applause" (Newsday) Where's the public outrage?

12:12 AM  
Anonymous dazed but clearing said...

thanks somewhat, as I said, I am a teacher, I welcome all children into my classroom.

I am also pretty vocal so if anyone can tell me what you aren't getting and should be getting I will certainly look into it (not that I can do anything about it)

I was at the board meeting last night, I spoke to a number of orthodox members, we all agreed on the need for Air Conditioning, tension aside, I believe that we all have our feelings and we are all entitled to them. I just wish we could do something to get over this us and them situation. Plus, I can tell you I'm not the only teacher who feels this way.

12:12 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Anonymous said...

Lawrence provides more special education services than most other districts. They do more than most districts. Do you all know about the upcoming law? That now, the district that your child attends schoolin will be responsible for the services. So, if you live in Lawrence but you send your child to a private school in Far Rockaway that their special education services will now be the responsibility of the NYC school system?


Not sure you're stating that correctly. There is a Federal law coming into effect this school year, which mandates that the district the school is in will have to provide the services. However, the services will still be paid for by the school district in which the student resides, and the student still gets evaluated by the district he lives in. So the service providers might be changing, but not who is footing the bill and approving services. Not exactly as you stated above.

12:12 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Guys, seriously. Keep it civil. No ad hominems. Attack comments - not commenters.

12:14 AM  
Blogger Somewhat Anonymous said...

anon 12:12 - And all of those supposed conflicts are perfectly legal - if you think they are improper anyways, well then vote them out - which is exactly what was done.

12:19 AM  
Blogger Goy Guy said...

12:00 AM said:
"Tuition in the local Yeshivas is much much lower per child than the public school spends per child. Like, I'm paying 10k for my son in 7th grade. In the public schools, we would be educating him for 25k."

But are we comparing apples to apples here.? ALL public schools in areas like LI will ALWAYS provide more services at a most likely higher cost than a private school. They will have better paid, better educated, more qualified teachers, more programs etc. This will hold true even for private schools with higher tuition. (And believe it or not they do exist)There are VERY FEW school districts on LI that suck. Out of over 100. Very few. And Lawrence isn't close to being one of them.

It costs more but in many ways it's better.I HATE my school tax bill like the rest of you, but it's not like the kids don't get a good education.

Now that being said, there's waste. We all know it. Eliminate it where you can. But the cost of putting a kid through public school will always remain much higher than most private schools, face it.

12:19 AM  
Anonymous dazed and now tired said...

you can vote for the new guys, if you feel threatened, but is it right for the threats to be thrown back? Didn't Mr. Forman do the same thing that was done to you? Was the bussing cut? or was it just an empty threat? Last year the empty threat was the Bond program at the high school, each year the empty threat is summer school, the orthodox community isn't the only section of the community that gets threats that if you don't pass the budget this will get cut, that will get cut. Please don't blame those threats on the children or the teachers, they don't make them.


and to the anon from 12:12

please realize that the Lawrence teachers are NOT the best paid teachers on Long Island, are some of the salaries very high? Yes, there are many teachers who have been in the district for over 25 years and have more than a masters degree and 30 credits. If it was possible to start over with first year bachelor degree only teachers the salaries wouldn't seem so high but then again, you wouldn't have a diverse well educated staff, I think you'd have chaos.

12:20 AM  
Anonymous dazed and worried said...

momof4

I believe what that anon was trying to say is that even though lawrence will identify and request services for the students living in their district and attending school in Far Rockaway that the NYC schools will not provide adequate services. I for one have questioned this and I fear that our students (yes the orthodox ones) will get short changed b/c we will no longer be providing the services they need, we will have to rely on NYC and other districts. I'm sure we will pay them but I also wonder if we will ever get a paid for the services that we are providing to the kids attending yeshiva's in lawrence but residing in NYC. What a nightmare that's going to be.

12:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"please realize that the Lawrence teachers are NOT the best paid teachers on Long Island, are some of the salaries very high? Yes, there are many teachers who have been in the district for over 25 years and have more than a masters degree and 30 credits. If it was possible to start over with first year bachelor degree only teachers the salaries wouldn't seem so high but then again, you wouldn't have a diverse well educated staff, I think you'd have chaos."

Not arguing that the teachers are diverse and well-educated. But they also happen to be among the highest paid in the county.

12:26 AM  
Blogger Somewhat Anonymous said...

dazed - I was not at the meeting, so I have no specific idea what you are talking about. Assuming that he said something about the new contract leading to cuts in other things - I don;t see that as an improper threat, but rather a statement of fact. This gets into the OTHER major issue in the elections, whcih is whether the schools are being managed properly, and money spent wisely - but I don't have the expertise or knowledge to discuss more than basic talking points on that issue without drifting into conjecture.

Again, I am not looking at the threats of cuts as malfeasance, just as a rational incentive to vote for the other guys, so the remoteness of the possibiity their actually occuring has minimal bearing on my thinking. I see no reason that, given a choice of two sides, I shouldn't vote for the one that will likely do more to benefit me and my community (with the important caveat that I don't think that they will be doing this at the expense of ruining the district schools). Why would anyone pick the option where they get a worse deal?

12:29 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...


I believe what that anon was trying to say is that even though lawrence will identify and request services for the students living in their district and attending school in Far Rockaway that the NYC schools will not provide adequate services. I for one have questioned this and I fear that our students (yes the orthodox ones) will get short changed b/c we will no longer be providing the services they need, we will have to rely on NYC and other districts. I'm sure we will pay them but I also wonder if we will ever get a paid for the services that we are providing to the kids attending yeshiva's in lawrence but residing in NYC. What a nightmare that's going to be.


I agree. There's actually a suit in the
works on behalf of NY State for a statewide exemption to this new law. The demographics of NY State are such that the new law will make things untenable for both providers as well as the student's home districts.

12:30 AM  
Blogger Goy Guy said...

"Most orthodox parents, due to their religious convictions, would not think of sending their child to public school unless faced with absolutely no other choice (and many even then)."

And people with strong religious and other convictions should be commended for the sacrifices they endure to raise their families as they see fit. As we all do.

But their ARE sacrifices. The most concrete ones being very hard earned money, and narrower educational experience. The burden of paying high suburban taxes on top of major tuition costs, however, IS a self imposed burden. Ya want to keep out of the stinking low tax city, you have to pay the dues like the rest of us :-(

12:33 AM  
Anonymous dazed said...

I agree that there is waste, it's been proven by the idle threats that money was there. I implore you though to consider using the money from the sale of #1 school for improvements in the buildings. There is more than the high school auditorium that needs repair.

12:35 AM  
Anonymous dazed going to bed said...

and with that i'm going to take myself to bed, i have to tell you that i rather enjoyed this exchange tonight and I'm not going to bed angry as I have for so many nights. At least 3 of you have soften me (goy, somewhat and even momof4).

But mom? it's evident now that you are not Mrs. mansdorf, perhaps it would help to ease the tensions if that came out.

Good night everyone!

12:40 AM  
Blogger Somewhat Anonymous said...

goy guy - Well since keeping the orthodox kids out of the public schools confers a tremendous benefit on the local school district's finances by relieving them of the need to educate those kids, I think its only fair that some of that benefit be shared by the private school parents.

12:41 AM  
Blogger Somewhat Anonymous said...

dazed - wait, that whole Mrs. Mansdorf thing was actually taken seriously on your end? Sheesh. I though it was just started by someone who was trying to be annoying.

12:42 AM  
Anonymous dazed and confused said...

ok, well now i'm dazed and confused. I know I thought that orthomom was mrs. mansdorf.

12:45 AM  
Blogger Somewhat Anonymous said...

dazed - well as you said upthread, all sorts of rumors fly around. This is pretty funny though in a twisted sort of way.

Next question - Who is owed an apology, OM, Mrs. Mansdorf or both?

12:51 AM  
Anonymous dazed said...

Honestly? If orthomom and Mrs. Mansdorf are not the same person both are owed apologies. Ortho needs to apologize to Mrs.M for letting people believe that she was her. People who ranted at ortho mom (and I assume some got really nasty b/c she had to delete comments), most likely did b/c they felt she was the wife of a board member. I honestly believe that things might not have gotten so heated if people thought that orthomom was 'just a mom'.

and with that i really have to go to bed, a pleasure and enlightening. thanks again.

12:58 AM  
Blogger Somewhat Anonymous said...

dazed - G'night. OM made clear numerous times that she was not Mrs. Mansdorf - its just that no one believed her. Besides, I'm not sure that she thought the "mistaken identity" thing was any more genuine than I did.

Night all.

1:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Actually, Parise wasn't on the negotiating team. And what a balanced "negotiating team" that was - Raquet, Kopilow and Greenbaum. What a hoot! Out of the 7 members of the board, 4 of their candidacies were financed by the LTA, and go figure - 3 out of those 4 ended up on the "negotiating team" and the 4th (whose daughter is a teacher in a school likely to be closed) casts the deciding vote in a contract that grants salary increases and protects jobs (like his daughters).


Is this true? Did Parise actually appoint Raquet, Kopilow and Greenbaum to be the "negotiating team"?
Doesn't that elevate the concept of self-dealing to a whole new level?

1:48 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...


dazed said...

Honestly? If orthomom and Mrs. Mansdorf are not the same person both are owed apologies. Ortho needs to apologize to Mrs.M for letting people believe that she was her. People who ranted at ortho mom (and I assume some got really nasty b/c she had to delete comments), most likely did b/c they felt she was the wife of a board member. I honestly believe that things might not have gotten so heated if people thought that orthomom was 'just a mom'.


Scroll up. You'll notice I made it quite clear that I am not Mrs. Mansdorf, as did other commenters. People just believed what they wanted to believe.

Also? Didn't delete one comment from this thread. So I guess it didn't get quite as nasty as you suggest.

6:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I still believe OM is Mrs Mansdorf. One of the writers of the big Newsday articles asked to meet with OM. OM declined stating, 'you would undestand if you know who I was'.

OM take your hood off!

7:44 AM  

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