Thursday, May 19, 2011


On May 18, 2011, I addressed the Winslow Board of Education in regards to a few items that came to my attention within the last week. Below is a copy of the public comments that I made.

The first item I would like to bring to your attention is the projected reduction in medical staff at the schools.

According to the 2011-2012 budget presentation the nursing staff/medical assistants are to be reduced by 4 individuals. I have been looking at the 2010-2011 School Nursing Services Plan and I noticed that there is one Nurse at schools 1-5 and the RDS, and two each at school 6, Middle School, and High School. I have a daughter at the High School, and in the event of a medical emergency involving one student, I am concerned that there will not be a medical professional to take care of her or any other student. I can (almost) see the need for only one medical professional at the lower elementary schools with enrollment under 400. I find it difficult to justify only one medical professional at schools with twice the enrollment… or in the case of the High School, more than 3 times the amount of students. I would like to recommend the reinstatement of all of the medical professionals as they were missed on last week’s “Appointment” list.

I would like to also address the issue of the privatization company of Aramark (privatization company) that was brought up last week and their contract. I don’t know if the solicitor was finally able to give the Board an answer to the question so I investigated it myself. I found on page 7 of the contract with Aramark the clause titled “Termination: Force Majeure.” It states the terms that the contract can be terminated and can be put into effect within 90 days from the initial written notice for termination.

I was also looking over the Bill Lists for Aramark for the months of January to April and it shows that there are many additional bills over and above the contracted amount which lowers the saving substantially from the $1.3 million that was shown during the Board’s presentation of the budget from having worker’s employed by the district. One of those bills includes mowing the repairs, asphalt, and mos lawns ($37,544.78) while another includes the cleaning of ducts, hoods, fans, and filters at various schools ($3,420.00). There are others in that four month period totaling over $90,000.

My final comment has to do with a recent listing the available position of Principal of the High School. I am sorry that Mr. Jackson will not be there next year as my daughter still will be there. He is a hard-working, respected and dedicated professional. I don’t think the changing of the Principal at the High School will change much in the demeanor in the High School unless you make additional changes as well. I would recommend bringing back a “Twelfth” grade Assistant Principal to alleviate some of the time constraints that are being put on the principal by doing both roles; Principal and Twelfth Grade Assistant Principal. Additionally, I recommend bringing back (4) Hall Monitors to assist in reducing the traffic in the corridors during classes and this will also reduce the amount of “incidents” and discipline referrals that are very time consuming for the Assistant Principals to handle.

While considering Hall Monitors, I would suggest including the Middle School in that recommendation. If the Middle School had hall monitors, it may even alleviate some difficulties later in the H.S.

I hope my suggestions are helpful.

Ellery Karl
Winslow Township Resident since 1982

Sunday, May 15, 2011

UNofficially Winslow Receives E-mail

----- Original Message -----
From: Joe & Beverly Mellon
Sent: Sunday, May 15, 2011 1:37 PM
Subject: For posting on UNofficially Winslow

I would like to wish the new BOE members the best of luck and request of them that they do not forget why they were elected. To bring the Winslow Schools back to the family school dist that it once was.

I also hope that the new members look into Dr. Ann Garcia now owning two charter schools, one in Vineland and one in Millville. My question is, how can this BA of Winslow Schools have the best interest in mind for our school dist when she is running two of her own charter schools.

I also hope they look into the contract with Aramark and Mission One and bring quality people from the township back to work once more.

Best of luck.

Joe & Beverly Mellon
----- Original Message -----
From: UNofficially nWinslow Receives E-mail
Sent: Sunday, May 15, 2011 9:49 AM

Well said!

UNofficially Winslow Receives E-mail

----- Original Message -----
From: UNofficially Winslow Receives E-mail
To: mhtml:%7BB8464A3A-AC25-429F-8001-0C0050485325%7Dmid://00000010/!
Sent: Saturday, May 14, 2011 6:57 AM
Subject: Board of Education Election Results
Thank heavens the clowns are gone. Yanez and the other clowns (but especially Yanez) were just completely and utterly clueless. Goodbye and good riddance!

I wish the new candidates luck. Please stay focused on learning and understanding the district and never lose focus of the mission: CHILDREN AND LEARNING!

Concerned Resident of Winslow


Thank you to Mrs. Yanez, Mrs. Tutt, and Mrs. Mitchell for the dedication to the children of the district and the education of our children. I hope to continue to see them at school functions.

One of the things that were accomplished during the tenure of these individuals was the putting the school policies on the Internet. I hope this continues as well as is updated to include the community policies which are not on the website yet.

Welcome and congratulations to the new board members; Ms Davis, Ms Dredden, Mrs. Masciocchi, and Mr. Gidwani.

I would like to make a recommendation on a change of policies.
1. Change Public Comments back to Public Participation. This would help in the communication with the Board of Education. Instead of waiting for a response after the Public speaking is over, an answer could be given. If there is an additional question that arises from the answer, the public would not have to await the next board meeting to ask it. Other changes to this policy would include the elimination of the five minute time limit and the elimination of the (newly implemented) elimination of the not allowing the “yielding time to another individual.” This would be more in line with “Robert’s Rules of Order” which is normal parliamentary procedures.

2. Change the policy on Addendums. I feel that there should not be any addendums. The use of addendums gives a hint of secrecy to the public and I have been informed several times by this administration that they are “transparent.” Examples of this hint of secrecy include last year’s (2010-2011) reorganization meeting. The addendum included extending the contracts to some one year employees (Dr. Carcamo and Dr. Garcia). These contract extensions had plenty of time to have been included in the regular board agenda and should have been there so that the public would have an idea and be able to share their input.

Another example of this was the March 2, 2011 Board of Education meeting where there was the (surprise) initial presentation of the budget (with yellow folders) and a vote on the addendum for the initial budget.

In the past, I was told addendums were a necessity for emergency items. Neither of these were emergency items that could not have been in the regular agenda and these are only two examples. There are many more that can be found in the addendums.

Previous to that, I was told that the addendums were because not all of the items were submitted in a timely fashion and rather than have them wait for the next meeting, they were included in an addendum and not the inability of the Board Secretary to get the work done in time. After the recent article (May 8, 2011 – Courier Post) reporting the fact that the Board Secretary had two other jobs, it helps me to understand why there may not have been enough time to complete the duties in our district.

In all cases, I was told that the Administration was transparent

Suggestions/recommendations for the new Board of Education
In 2006, I believe it was CAPA that recommended the elimination the Assistant Superintendent in our school district. This was done (when Dr. Swirsky was the previous Superintendent,), but later it was reestablished to include the duty of Curriculum Coordinator. (How many people are now responsible for curriculum coordinating in our district? – Language Arts, Mathematics, Special Education) I would like to recommend to either post for the position of Assistant Superintendent (or not have one!)

Although the Winslow Township School District may have the most intelligent and hard working Business Administrator/Board Secretary, I would like to recommend the posting for that position and interview additional candidates. Perhaps we could look for one who would be dedicated to our school district instead of spreading themselves too thin in other jobs.

I would like to recommend the posting for the position of Human Resource Director as our current director took on the position since retirement to help us out of our immediate needs. If she is still interested in the position and coming out of retirement, she can still express interest and apply for the position.

I would like to recommend the posting for the position of solicitor for the district. While Parker-McCay may be an excellent law firm, it was brought up at a board meeting (March 2, 2011) that the Winslow Township Board of Education was billed $200,000 for their services in 2010-2011 and this was “flat” from the previous year but the district was getting better advice than from the previous solicitor(s). The school year was not over yet and the billing was not yet complete. There are also many times that the solicitor will still be called upon due to litigation in arbitrations, negotiations, and other matters which had not yet come up. It seems to me that either the recommendations/advice of the current solicitor is either not as good as stated (or else there would not be so many litigations) or the good advice is not being followed by the school district’s administration and recommendation to the Board of Education.

I would like to find out whatever happened to the posting for a Grant Writer in this district? I recommended that to be done to save money two years ago (2009) and it was greeted as a good idea. I asked again two more times since then and both times I was told that it would be revisited but I have never seen the position posted. Is it still being considered?

I look forward to the new Board of Education addressing these issues and their wisdom in acting upon them.

Ellery Karl
Taxpayer and resident of Winslow Township since 1982