Wednesday, August 22, 2007

NJQSAC Rattles Board

School board members who were shocked by the headlines on state monitoring results spoke out at Tuesday’s meeting, some vowing to turn the district around and others challenging the state findings. Board member Vickey Sheppard called for an appeal, but did not get a consensus backing her up.

The report will be discussed in depth at a board meeting in September. Interim School Superintendent Peter Carter said state Commissioner of Education Lucille Davy is supposed to send him a bound copy of the voluminous report, which he and his staff will study once it is received.

Davy announced monitoring results for Plainfield and six other school districts Monday, and the full report is online here. The results showed that state monitors found Plainfield met only 8 percent of standards for Instruction and Program, 11 percent for Governance, 32 percent for Fiscal Management, 38 percent for Personnel and 61 percent for Operations Management.

I wrote an article for the Courier News that was published Tuesday and will be doing a follow-up. About 60 people attended last night’s board meeting, far more than usual, and several spoke about the NJQSAC report.

Carter took umbrage at Davy’s press conference comment that there was a “hole” in the top leadership, saying he must be the hole because, “I’m at the top of the administration.”

Later, resident Dottie Gutenkauf drew a laugh when she said to Carter, “You’re not the doughnut hole, you’re the munchkin.”

Actually, the administration is missing some key figures and a search has begun for a permanent superintendent. Currently, besides Carter as interim schools superintendent, there is an interim assistant superintendent who will also serve as interim principal at Plainfield High School and an interim school board secretary/business administrator. The district also needs a Curriculum & Instruction director and a supervisor of testing and evaluations.

Dottie, who for several decades has been what talk show personality Barry Farber might call the “mystic mainspring” of local school and city politics, patiently spelled out her name for Interim Board Secretary/Business Administrator Michael Donow Tuesday night.

Gutenkauf and several others offered to help the district in any way to overcome the NJQSAC findings. More later from Plaintalker after another press stint.

--Bernice Paglia


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