Monday, June 21, 2010

EASD: The Final Answer

Easton Area School Board meets tonight 
at the EHS auditorium 6:30pm

Posted by: Noel Jones

Tonight is the final meeting of the Easton Area School Board, after a surprise decision last Monday to refuse to vote to cut the jobs of 72 teachers, after having voted to ask for (and having received) permission from the Pennsylvania Board of Ed to do so.  The idea was to provide one more week in which administrators could meet with the teachers' union and hopefully come to a compromise that would share the burden of our district's budget crisis with taxpayers and new teachers. According to Colin McEvoy's article in the Express Times, as of Thursday, the administration had not yet met with the union.

The final meeting on the budget is tonight, Monday, June 21st at 6:30pm at the Easton High School auditorium. Also hanging in the balance are the jobs of 11 technology coordinators, some literacy coaches and crisis counselors. If you cannot make the meeting but would like to watch it on line, click the Easton School Board tab on the right side bar of this home page to go to the EASD site to watch the meeting streamed live.

What do you think should happen? Post your comments here!


Tim Pickel said...

The only certainty is that this moment, this meeting tonight, is the result of mismanagement by one school board after another. Outrageous teacher raises, over priced building projects, nepotism and unfit administrators are the reasons why we find ourselves where we are today.

Tonight and for a long time into the future, we all lose. From Fisher to Deeley to Vulcano, the arrogance and ineptitude is beyond one's comprehension. Hopefully they will all realize the magnitude of their ignorance, the damage it has done to this community and quietly go away.

Marty said...

Wow Tim, you said a mouthful! I left for work in Baltimore a few weeks ago, thinking that this was mostly settled. You can imagine my disappointment. So, has the Union met with the Board? Have the Administrators taken a Cut? They set up adhoc committees to look at cost saving ideas and came up with 2 million or so that would not impact the students at all. Did the Board accept these ideas? I haven't heard any more from these committees, certainly there is more that should be done. They will not go away quietly, Tim. They get re-elected time after time because nobody in the community runs for the job. Or goes to the meetings til we get really upset. By our lack of interest we let them do whatever they want. We can't even get rid of Vulcano! How sad is that?

Anonymous said...

I understand that Vulcano hasn't been at any of the budget meetings. Is that true? I see him other places. What about the internet and phone in votes?

Tim is right. These problems started years ago. The decisions today are a product of yesterday but their impact will be well into the future. Someone please tell me how you cuty 70 teachers from the high school and not have a further impact on grades. WE are talking 6 English teachers. WOW! 6 math teachers! Double Wow. At least re-instate the basics of Eanglish and math.

Dennis R. Lieb said...

I'm with Tim on this one. There has been too much water under the bridge over the past ten years - especially after the farmland purchase for the athletic fields and the black hole of a money pit that became. Any smoke and mirrors show to save us at this late date is akin to putting a band-aid on a chainsaw accident.

A bureaucratic purge - starting with Vulcano, Fisher, et al - is in order.


Tim Pickel said...

I just watched the live stream from tonight's meeting. What an embarrassment. I simply don't know what else to say except, if we continue to vote for any present member of the board, we deserve what was dished out to us tonight.

noel jones said...

I just heard from a resident who attended that in the end they decided to cut the 72 teaching positions anyway. I should have stuck with the yo-yo image.

Anon 3:29 you asked where Pat Vulcano has been and said that you have seen him other places. He has missed the last several budget and board meetings due to illness. I understand he was at the Northampton County Democratic Committee Reorganizational Meeting last week to vote for the County Chair of the party, and his arm was in a sling.

Marty, nice to have you back--you hit the nail on the head--until the public finds the desperate state of our school district "interesting" enough to run for office, the same people will continue to get re-elected.

Tim, I hear your frustration, but the Board is not the Borg--Jen Holzberger has been at every meeting and asking hard questions, as has Kerri Leonard-Ellison. Jen Holzberger had scheduled vacation months ago, never knowing that the budget process would get drawn out this long, and still coordinated with the technology department to join the meeting remotely. Considering the Board doesn't get paid a dime, I admire her commitment. It's very important to keep up with the meetings either by attending, or the web casts on line, so that we each know our board members, who we want to re-elect and who we don't. Kerry Meyers, Sarah Bilotti and Jodi Hess went back and forth on their position, Tim Reilly and Kerry Meyers missed a lot of the meetings or arrived late in the beginning of the process, but starting joining more consistently in the end. Pat Vulcano was there in the beginning but excused himself from the last several meetings due to illness. Jen Holzberger and Kerri Leonard-Ellison have been there, working hard the whole way.

If anyone who attended or watched more than a couple meetings has a different perspective, please post it here--it's an open forum!

Dennis R. Lieb said...

If Vulcano can show up at Dem Commitee events he can show up at the job he was elected for. I'll be short and to the point:


Tim Pickel said...


I understand that some of the board members are doing the best they can. I saw the emotion in some of their voices last night. I believe they really do care about the huge mess this school district has become.

This board did not arrive in the position they are in over night. It has taken years of mismanagement to get here. Too many present and past board members simply let the administration make the decisions and never questioned whether they were right or wrong.

So what do we end up with? We have building projects that are outrageous and in some cases, unnecessary. We have a teacher contract that is, percentage wise, higher than almost every district around. Most importantly, we have a divide between the board, administration, teachers and public that appears to be insurmountable.

I believe that all sides came to the table in this debate way too late. All of the ideas broached in the past weeks should have been taken up a year ago. In fact, they should start today, this minute, to start solving the problems this debacle has created. If you think this mess was bad, wait until next year at budget time.

I have never seen such disrespect shown via facial expressions as I saw from Pat Fisher last night. I wonder why she even is on the school board. She has distain for everyone involved. Other members are way above their head in this mess because they were only concerned with a small part of the picture, like the sports program. Vulcano, well what is there to say? He can go to a Democratic Committee meeting so that his wife and cronies can keep their pathetic hold on politics in Easton, but he can't show up for weeks in a row to vote on the matters at hand? Ughhh.

This is a mess created by all parties involved. Today, discussions should be started to fend off what certainly will be an extremely trying year to come. There has to be a sense of urgency.

Anonymous said...

admins talk about cost, union talks about jobs, but no one talks about the crappy education being offered the kids; hard to imagine it getting any worse, but it probably will. you can either put your vote where your mouth is and run for school board yourself, or remove yourself from the situation and homeschool your kids yourself. that's where these incompetents will feel it most, when the state pulls their money from them and gives it to someone who actually knows how to teach.
unless of course all you care about is football and wrestling; in that case, everything is fine.