Welcome to Laurie Goodman's blog. I use this space to share news and opinions about education and schools in Ridgewood, the state of New Jersey and the nation, in addition to other issues I'm personally interested in. I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, questions or opinions, too, by posting comments on any blog entry. Please observe basic courtesy -- keep your comments focused on issues, no personal attacks or bullying, please. Contact me directly at: lauriegood@mac.com

Monday, October 5, 2009

Board of Ed meeting tonight 7:30

The Ridgewood Board of Education will hold its meeting tonight at 7:30 p.m. (preceded by a closed Executive Session at 7:00 p.m.), at the Ed Center, 3rd floor. Highlights from tonight's agenda include
  • Discussion of Board and District goals for the 2009-2010 school year (a continuation of our discussion from July 20).
  • Various appointments, resignations, changes of assignment...
  • Recognition of National Merit and AP Scholars
  • Time for public comment -- got any comments or questions? Come on down!
You are invited to watch the Board meeting on Cablevision channel 77 or click here for the webcast (watch it live or watch it archived later -- the sound is better on the recording, rather than live, FYI)
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Anonymous said...

After watching a female resident and mother of a RHS student, obviously passionate in her comments, plead to the Board to develop a solution to the problem of student jaywalkers at Brookside and Ridgewood Avenues, I was again amazed at the stone cold, stonefaced reaction from the Board members.

Finally, the Board president said something incredibly inconsequential like "Yeah, we're worried about that, too," or "Oh yeah, we know that's a problem." Such gravitas.

Ya know what? Screw your over-parliamentary reliance on comment to members of the public. Has no one on the Board a scintilla of concern about the topic this woman raised?

What a bunch of cowards to allow her concerns to go basically unaddressed. Shame on all of you.

Laurie said...

As Mr. Vallerini said, we are aware of and care about the problem. As Dr. Fishbein said, we've been working on the problem with the police department and Mr. Lorenz at the HS. I'm not sure what else you wanted...more head nodding and "you're right, it's a problem?" Would that actually address her concerns any further?

Should we have brainstormed traffic enforcement solutions at the table? I’d rather have the police and HS principal and Village safety committee involved in those discussions.

Did you stick around to watch the subsequent discussion about public comments and Board response? We’re working on making this better.

Here's the thing: Board of Ed meetings are business meetings of the Board that take place in public. They are not intended to be public meetings where we engage in conversations with people.

BUT for the record, I've said many times that I want MORE dialogue with the public...I coordinated an open forum and we invited the public to come talk. Hardly anyone came. I hope we will do more public dialogue where community members can comment and ask questions. We’ve got 2 forums scheduled for the referendum (all questions will be answered on the spot!). HOWEVER, the public comment portion of the BOE meeting agenda is for us to HEAR public comments.

(Besides, on the Brookside issue, I personally disagree with the increased police presence, cones, tickets, etc. I think it is making the situation worse and less safe. But this is not an argument that I wanted to have at that table, in front of a community member who mentioned personal tragic experiences. I did not have any relevant info or data in front of me, and I also felt it would be disrespectful to the parent-speaker.)

If you have any constructive ideas for public-BOE dialogue (besides the not-so-constructive “screw your over-parliamentary reliance,” I would honestly love to hear them.

Anonymous said...

I have heard you speak about this before, Laurie. I do understand what you are saaying, and I you are right that the BOE meeting is not the right time nor place for a back-and-forth, but from the audience it sometimes looks bad...like the Board doesn't care. Maybe there is a better clearer way for the president to explain it to people in his introduction to the comment portion. He usually breezes through that like it's the obligatory fine print.

Anonymous said...

The problem lies in the fact that YOU, the BOE, is a local governing body. When you do not engage the public they get pissed. They view it as condescending. Which sometimes it is.

As for the police and Brookside, you couldn't be more correct. They have made it worse with their cones and squad cars parked in the way of cars turning right onto Ridgewood Ave. All that is required is a CROSSING GUARD!!!! Parents made traffic and drop off work quite nicely without the "solution" imposed by our local police dept.

Anonymous said...

As for the police at debacle at Brookside debacle, that was the RIGHT time to bring it up. Doing so behind closed doors or in private is bull. That is why the BOE is perceived as a bunch of cowardly losers. None of you will ever speak up. All appearances have to be as if you all agree. Healthy public debate is good. Back room deals are bad.

Laurie said...

I'm with you on healthy public debate. However, on this particular issue, as I said, I didn't think it made sense to discuss it without the police, the safety committee and/or the principal who has been instrumental in the current "solutions."

Anonymous said...

The principal has been trying to get the police to stop causing a bottle neck at 7:35am every morning they park their squad cars at the corner of Brookside and Maple. They have had their cars/SUVs parked up on the curb blocking sight lines for drivers, cones forcing traffic into a one lane mess and having coffe clutches chatting away without paying a bit of attention to traffic or students crossing Maple at the light.

They are simply put, a bother.