Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Carter: DOE Report Faults District

In a conversation Monday, Board of Education President Patricia Barksdale directed my attention to Interim Superintendent Peter Carter's latest letter to the community.

Carter promised a monthly letter and this second one since his advent in June did not contain good news. Read it here for yourself.

The district was evaluated earlier this year under a new monitoring program called New Jersey Quality Single Accountability Continuum, or NJQSAC. The state Department of Education looked at five aspects of district functioning - instruction and program, fiscal management, operations, governance and personnel.

Carter says that in a June 27 exit interview, the Lead Monitor (unnamed) and County Superintendent Carmen Centuolo revealed aspects of a report that will be made public later this month.

"Let me not beat around the bush, the district has received a poor evaluation," Carter said. "The state found deficiences in every aspect of the school district."

NJQSAC replaced an older monitoring system that decertified the district in 1988. The district has never yet achieved full recertification. Now it appears there will be much more work to be done. Under the legislation that produced the new monitoring system, remedies can be as far-reaching as state takeover if improvement does not take place.

But Carter says, "The good news is that repair and recovery is imminent. In fact, the post 6/11 team of Carter-Donow-Rusak have already righted several wrongs."

I leave it to the reader to decide what to make of the "post 6/11" tag. June 11 was the day Carter took over after the emergency meeting on Friday, June 8 at which Carter was hired and in turn recommended to the board the hiring of Michael Donow as school business administrator/board secretary to replace Victor Demming, who resigned as of June 1. On June 19, the board approved Carter's recommendation to hire Walter Rusak as assistant superintendent through December.

There will be a lot more to learn in coming weeks about the school district's situation. Plaintalker will try to keep readers informed of meeting dates, times and locations. Once the report is released, either as Pressgrrl or Bloglady I will be writing about it.

--Bernice Paglia


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