Monday, March 27, 2006

UNofficially Winslow Receives Email

----- Original Message -----
From:UNofficially Winslow receives e-mail
Sent: Monday, March 27, 2006 7:43 AM
Subject: Re: Board Meeting tonight

I am writing you to in hopes that others will read this and step up. I am a parent of a 5th grader who will start the middle school next year. We all know that there are concerns with both the middle school and high school but inspite of it all I am going to give the middle school a try. But....I heard that the school board is looking into ways to cut spending. Unfortunately, once again they are doing it at the expense of our children. The idea is to change the middle school time to be later. I agree that it should be but why not switch the times of the middle school and high school and see how that works. Instead their brain storm is to put both the middle and high school on the same schedule. This means that my 6th grader who not only has to ajust to middle school life, now will have to ride the bus with 12th graders!!!! Absolutely not! I am still upset that 6th graders are not still considered elementary! They are still babies! They are forced to grow up sooo quickly! This is only going to add to that. Please anyone who reads this and agrees with me please go to the board meeting tonight. It is at the middle school at 7:00pm. If you can't attend please call Dr. Schriner. We as parents need to voice our fears. These are our most precious gems, our children! Please help me stop this nonsense. Do you want your 11 year old child, grandchild, niece, nephew, or friend riding on a bus with 17 and 18 year olds? I know I don't. If this isn't stopped we are going to lose even more students. Winslow is a great town we need to stop this before it's too late. Please help.

C.J. from Cedarbrook

Thursday, March 23, 2006


Scathing report cites Winslow schools' many woes

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Courier-Post Staff

The chief administrator for the Winslow Township School District has sounded an alarm for a system in crisis.

The district's problems extend well beyond the $3.7 million budget deficit that Winslow is attempting to close by June 30, according to Michael E. Schreiner, who has served as interim superintendent since September.

This year, the district has struggled with poor student behavior abetted by lax discipline, meddling school board members, and the lack of a unified curriculum for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, among other things, he found.

Schreiner's "State of the District" report includes many of the same issues identified in recent weeks by the assistant superintendent, Daniel M. Swirsky, and the school board's vice president, Robert Bartolone, who made an impassioned speech at a board meeting last month.

When Schreiner, former head of the defunct Lower Camden County Regional school district that included Winslow, returned to the township last fall after five years, he was greeted warmly, but also with pleas for help.

In his "State of the District" report for the Winslow Township Board of Education and the community, Schreiner wrote that, upon his arrival, staff members criticized "virtually every aspect of the currently existing district."

Among the problems, he found that the Board of Education is "experiencing significant dysfunction" and creating "significant turmoil."

"This is a result of our Board of Education's tendency to involve itself in issues which are not the board's primary area of responsibility," Schreiner wrote. "Whenever Board of Education members stray from their primary responsibility of finance and policy, they tend to become a contributor to the problem rather than the solution."

These criticisms echo allegations made last month by Swirsky in an ethics complaint against Patricia A. Parker, president of the Board of Education.

Swirsky alleges that Parker, rather than the administration, is directing the schools. He said she intimidates and bullies staff in district headquarters and the schools. Also, Parker solicits complaints from the public and tries to resolve them on her own, Swirksy said.

Parker declined to comment. She said the board would discuss the report and perhaps craft a collective response. Her attorney in the ethics case could not be reached.

In his report, Schreiner said the district's "liberal and permissive" approach to student discipline has had "disastrous" results at its middle and high schools.

"In particular the high school became both chaotic and disorganized . . . Winslow High School was rapidly becoming an embarrassment to all concerned," he said.

Schreiner replaced the high school principal with Michele Ferner, a veteran administrator who had held the post when it was called Edgewood Regional High School. "Under her leadership, significant school climate changes have occurred," he wrote.

In his speech on Feb. 27, Bartolone acknowledged some progress on discipline, but called for "the implementation of more stringent measures which clearly send the following message: "You will not be victimized when you attend school at Winslow Township.' "

Bartolone said in an interview that Schreiner's report was accurate. Remedies, especially to Winslow's poor fiscal condition, could be difficult, he said.

A low fund balance, inaccurate cost projections and a $750,000 calculation error combined this year to create a $3.7 million shortfall in an $84.4 million budget, officials said.

Bartolone was elected to the board last year on a slate backed by Parker and the Winslow Township Democratic Party, but has since broken with that faction.

"That was just the group I thought had the best ideas at the time," he said. "I guess it didn't turn out that way."

Cindy Abbott, a home and school association leader at Elementary School No. 1, praised Schreiner's report and criticized the Board of Education.

"I think a lot of the community doesn't feel our best interests are being looked out for," she said. "Many of us feel that these people have other political agendas, rather than staying focused just on the school board."

Reach Erik Schwartz at (856) 486-2904 or

Thursday, March 09, 2006


Thursday, March 9, 2006

Courier-Post Staff

Next month's school board election will place before voters the school budget and 11 candidates seeking four seats on the board of education.

The large number of candidates reflects the turmoil the school district has had recently, including an ongoing state investigation of a $3.7 million deficit in the district's current $84.4 million budget and a recall campaign attempting to oust board president Patricia Parker. While Parker's seat isn't up for election, she is the target of ethics allegations by a top district administrator.


Friday, March 03, 2006


Three Winslow Township residents have formed a committee to recall Pat Parker from the office of Winslow Township Board of Education. Pat Parker is currently the Board's President.

Click Here to review(print) a flyer prepared by the Committee to Recall Pat Parker.

Click Here to review(print) the recall committee's accusations, Pat Parker's answer, and a copy of the actual petition that you can sign and return by U.S. Mail.


Let parents help in Winslow

To contact Winslow Township School District officials, visit or call (856) 767-2850.

Reprinted from the Courier-Post Editorial-Opinion page.
Friday, March 3, 2006

The Winslow residents who attended Monday's school board meeting should be applauded for trying to help solve the district's financial crisis.

The district is making some painful cuts in nonteaching staff to close a $3.7 million deficit. Poor financial management and decisions last year by the school board and former business administrator J. Chris Oberg and Superintendent Lawrence A. Hobdell helped create the problem, said Interim Superintendent Michael E. Schreiner. The district is laying off a dozen members of the support staff to cut expenses.

District parents have a right to be concerned. But these parents want to do more than complain. They want to work with the district to improve operations. That's commendable.

The school board members didn't respond Monday to the residents who asked to work with the district. But they should seize this opportunity to involve the community in its efforts to reach fiscal stability and meet future educational needs.

For starters, the board should follow up on the suggestion by board member Robert Bartolone to include residents in the search for a permanent superintendent. The advisory and volunteer role for interested residents and parents should be expanded where possible.

The school board can only enhance its ability to meet the needs of students by letting interested parents get more involved in meeting district goals.

Winslow residents offer a wide pool of diverse talents to help meet the needs of students. The school board ought to find a constructive way to tap into this resource.

Thursday, March 02, 2006


Recall Parker
Thursday, March 2, 2006

Isn't it amazing that, for the first time in years, the Winslow Township school district's budget is approved by the voters and now the school board, under the mismanagement of President Patricia Parker, is laying off support staff and cutting much needed programs?

Parker has not supported a budget in years and brags about it. She has no children and seemingly couldn't care less about ours. Her mismanagement is costing our children important educational opportunities. We cannot afford her lack of leadership.

Winslow residents have the opportunity to correct the mismanagement and lack of direction by recalling Parker. Petitions are being circulated throughout our community. Show you care and get involved; take our schools back from this petty politician.

She just appointed her political party's chairman, Barry Wright, to the school board. This is the same person Winslow Township voters removed from the township committee in November. Yet she has the gall to say her appointment of Wright is not political.

Our children's education is too important to leave to Parker and her political cronies.


REPRINTED FROM 3-2-06 COURIER-POST Winslow official lodges complaint

Winslow official lodges complaint

Thursday, March 2, 2006

Courier-Post Staff

The top full-time administrator in the Winslow Township School District accuses the school board president of multiple legal violations, including racial discrimination and intimidating employees, in a complaint filed with the New Jersey School Ethics Commission.

Assistant Superintendent Daniel M. Swirsky is claiming whistleblower status which, under state law, protects him from retaliation on the job.

He alleges that Winslow school board president Patricia Parker violated the state's ethics code for school board members and the state Sunshine Law.

Swirsky said the district, which is trying to close a projected $3.7 million deficit and has been without a full-time superintendent and business administrator since last summer, is in turmoil at a time when it should be engaging in "a public discussion of our future."

"As a district, we're nonproductive," he said in an interview. "We have a school district that's being directed by the board president, as opposed to the administration."

Once the document is served on Parker, she'll have 20 days to reply.

Swirsky, 57, of Allentown, Monmouth County, declined to provide a copy of the complaint. He said he wants "to give Pat an opportunity to get served and then have a candid discussion in the press about each of the items."

Parker, a retired educational administrator who worked in the former Lower Camden County Regional High School District, did not return calls for comment. She joined the school board in 2004 and became president last May.

The ethics code for school board members requires them to limit actions to "policy making, planning and appraisal" and "not to administer the schools."

Swirsky alleges that Parker is often present in school buildings and the central office.

"She's constantly intimidating and bullying and harassing administrative staff and school staff," he said. "We operate in an environment of fear now."

Another part of the code mandates members to "refer all complaints to the chief administrative officer." Parker is "soliciting complaints from the public and attempting to resolve them on her own, based on her own directive and interpretation," Swirksy said.

Also, the code requires members to "vote to appoint the best qualified personnel available after consideration of the recommendation of the chief administrative officer."

Swirsky, who is white, said: "I'm alleging in my complaint essentially that she's exercising reverse discrimination. She only wants people that look like her, and she talks about us as "regulars.' She calls us "regulars.' "

Parker is black.

Allegations Swirsky made against Parker under the state Sunshine Law include: continuing board meetings past midnight, thereby limiting public access; approving items discussed in closed sessions without then deliberating the matters in public; and altering meeting minutes after the board approved them.

Swirsky, who has 25 years of experience as an administrator, came to Winslow in 1999 after working in Princeton as interim superintendent and Livingston as acting business administrator.

He was hired by Winslow's former superintendent, Lawrence A. Hobdell, one person Parker has blamed for the district's financial problems.

Swirsky said he submitted his name to become Winslow's next superintendent.

The board's makeup would probably have to change significantly for it to select Swirsky. That's possible, since 11 people have filed to run for four seats on the nine-member panel on April 18. A group of residents also has begun a recall campaign to remove Parker from the board.

Reach Erik Schwartz at (856) 486-2904 or

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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

----- Original Message -----
From: UNofficially Winslow Receives Email
Sent: Wednesday, March 01, 2006 6:14 AM
Subject: recall

I appreciate this blog and the information here. Yesterday I was able to print a copy of the petion from your web site. The signed petition is on its way in hopes of freeing the school board of greed and incompetence.