Government Lies, Corruption and Mismanagement
More Than 620 People Work in One Building For New York City's Department of Education and "Earn" Millions
Mayor Bloomberg ended school boards and set up a new, secret government that is taking the public for a ride. Take a good look at the list we have of NYC DOE employees located at Tweed (NYC BOE Headquarters) and realize that kids are sitting on windowsills or on the floor so that these people can do whatever they do. We believe this is an outrage, and suggest saving more than $100 million for the kids of NYC by firing most of these people and the Parent Coordinators. Betsy Combier
Throughout New York city, public schools are plagued by a lack of supplies, rooms, chairs, desks, paraprofessionals, teachers, and just about everything else. We know that our public school system is failing our children, and we dare to ask "Where is the money?" The taxpayer's money, ladies and gentlemen, is going to the New York City Board of Education's militia and SWAT teams. What do all the people listed below have in common? Every single one of them can violate the law with immunity.Gwen Hopkins, for instance, is in the DOE Parent Engagement office, and she makes sure that any parent asking too many questions is removed from the PTA Executive Board of the school of his/her child. See the two articles on Booker T. Washington for reference. Susan Holtzman, DOE Public Records Access Officer, frequently violates the New York Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) by denying or stalling public access to records that are wholly or partially accessible under FOIL. For example, she has denied this writer access to a named teacher's Chancellor's Committee Report (which is the type of report generated by the Office of Appeals and Reviews after a hearing to review personnel matters such as an adverse rating, discontinuance of probationary service, or denial of certification of completion of probation) and the attachments to such report by stating, "The Chancellor's Committee Report is not a final agency determination and therefore, not releasable."
Another individual was denied access to various U-rating-related records when Ms. Holtzman stated, "In response to your Freedom of Information request for the names of teachers who received 'U' ratings for the 2002-03 school year, please be advised that that information is confidential and cannot be provided. Information pertaining to the reasons, facts, and conditions under which 'U' ratings are based, is also confidential and therefore, cannot be provided." Compare Ms. Holtzman's statement to an advisory opinion issued by Robert J. Freeman, the Executive Director of the New York State Committee on Open Government, and which was copied to Ms. Holtzman by Mr. Freeman:
We have asked her boss, Michael Best, to take her to task but he has never responded. Deputy Chancellor Carmen Farina has never told us where the $225,000 is that she received from the Annenberg Foundation in 1997, and, in May 2004 told a full room of unhappy parents that she had "evaluated" 12,000 children during the month of March after removing all the evaluators from doing evaluations. (This means that she "completed" about 520 evaluations/day). We suggest that the children of New York City would be better served if 90% of the people listed below were fired, and the money saved used for books, programs, and teachers:
DOE Employees Located at Tweed as of 10/11/05
Mayor Bloomberg also wants to keep spending $57 million on the parent coordinators, people who are politically important to the principals and who keep parents out of the principals' way. The Independent Budget Office suggests, in their report on the NYC 2006 budget options, making PAs at small schools part-time as a cost-cutting measure. The DOE wont hear of it, and wants to keep the patronage jobs as originally set up. (All parent coordinators are hired/appointed by the principals of the schools they are working in).
For example: Mr. Robert Cameron, parent coordinator of JHS 045, helped the Principal suspend a student accused of cutting a coat belonging to another student on January 17, 2005 at 10AM. At the suspension hearing (at which parentadvocate Betsy Combier represented the accused boy), all the witnesses and the staff, parents and students, admitted that the boy who allegedly cut the coat was a good student who, at 10AM on January 17 was sitting in his classroom taking the ELA exam. But Mr. Cameron insisted that the police report called into the precinct by the principal (a false report) stating that the boy had cut the coat at 10AM was valid, and the school wanted the boy sent to a suspension site for 1 year. Mr. Cameron would not comment on his false testimony. Parent coordinators throughout New York City are not helping parents, but are shielding the principals of their respective schools from interacting with the parents:
By DAVID ANDREATTA
The city Department of Education is standing behind its parent coordinators.
Despite a city Independent Budget Office call to save $12.8 million by making the position of parent coordinator a part-time job in small schools, education officials say they aren't giving it a second thought.
"This initiative has been enormously successful and it would not be prudent to cut it to part-time," DOE spokeswoman Marge Feinberg said.
Parent coordinators were introduced three years ago to serve as a liaison between parents and schools. The position pays up to $39,000 a year and exists at all of the city's roughly 1,400 schools.
But the IBO, a nonpartisan, publicly financed agency, said in a report last week that the department could trim fat by converting the position to a part-time job in the 613 public schools that have fewer than 500 students.
The report argued that "a lack of concrete responsibilities and measurable outcomes" raise questions about the $57.5 million the department spent on the position this year.
From Betsy Combier: Mayor Bloomberg uses his wealth and political weight to hurt children or those who oppose him:
February 18, 2006
City School Cuts Seem Pointed at Albany
By JENNIFER MEDINA, NY TIMES
When Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced this week that he was killing plans for dozens of buildings that were to be built under New York City's school construction plan, he blamed leaders in Albany for not sending enough money to the city.
But the schools that the mayor singled out were apparently chosen for a reason: They were in the districts of powerful lawmakers in Albany, including Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and several Republican state senators, signaling that the mayor is prepared to use his muscle to penalize lawmakers if they do not support his effort to get more school aid from Albany.
Of 21 schools that were to begin construction this year and are now being scrapped, four are in the district of State Senator Serphin R. Maltese, a Republican. Earlier this month, mayoral aides said that Mr. Bloomberg was so frustrated with Albany that he was considering supporting a Democratic challenger to Mr. Maltese in the November elections, even though the mayor is a Republican.
"I am extremely disappointed in this," Mr. Maltese said. "Obviously, this is something the mayor is putting a priority on. He's clearly aroused a lot of attention, but the way to deal with this is by negotiating at the table, not with political negotiations."
But the mayor is not only singling out Republicans. Three other schools shelved for this year fall within the district of Catherine T. Nolan, the new chairwoman of the Assembly's education committee. Meanwhile, the mayor has spared school construction projects in the districts of lawmakers with less of a stake in the fight.
Officials at City Hall appear to be convinced that focusing on schools in the districts of powerful lawmakers will prod legislators to comply with a court order requiring the state to give the city billions more in education aid.
But the move to coax lawmakers by threatening them with the loss of new school buildings could backfire, since communities are more apt to blame the mayor for the projects' being scrapped. Several Democrats in the Assembly and Senate have grumbled that they did not believe the mayor would really engage in a battle with his fellow Republicans Gov. George E. Pataki and Joseph L. Bruno, the majority leader in the State Senate.
And yesterday, Mr. Silver stood at the steps of City Hall with dozens of parents to protest the decision not to build two new school buildings in Lower Manhattan, including one that falls squarely in his district. "I don't know if it's a political decision, but I would assume that the mayor understands he has always had a partner in the Assembly," Mr. Silver said. "We are telling the mayor welcome to the fight. We've been at it alone for a long, long time."
For years, Democrats who control the Assembly have blamed the Republican-led Senate and the governor for the school financing problems. Mr. Silver and his members have also complained that Mr. Bloomberg has not done enough to pressure Mr. Pataki, who has repeatedly appealed the lawsuit, which was filed by the Campaign for Fiscal Equity.
A lower court has ordered the state to begin providing billions of dollars annually in additional operating aid for the city's schools and an additional $9 billion for school construction, and Mr. Pataki is appealing that decision.
In 2004, the Assembly held up budget negotiations for months to try to hammer out a deal for school financing. But last year, Mr. Silver and Mr. Bruno did not address the school financing issue in the budget while the case continued in court.
Ms. Nolan said the cuts were not welcome, adding that she expected to hear from parents furious that school buildings would not be built in her district. "It would be nice if the mayor helped us come up with a plan, supported it and we can implement it," she said.
But Mr. Bloomberg's tough stance this year has certainly begun to shift the terrain in Albany. On Thursday, Kevin Sheekey, the deputy mayor for intergovernmental affairs and one of Mr. Bloomberg's closest advisers, met with top aides to the governor and with finance officials in the Assembly and Senate.
"I am certain cooler heads will prevail and the city will get a deal this year," said State Senator Frank Padavan, a Republican who represents northeast Queens. Mr. Padavan said he was certain that the plans for an 805-seat high school building in his district could be restored. Referring to the meetings in Albany, he said: "We're beginning to move in the right direction. We'll certainly resolve this glitch."
Stu Loeser, a spokesman for the mayor, would not comment on the meetings in Albany, but he said Mr. Bloomberg would not quiet his demands for more money.
"The mayor is going to do what it takes to get the money that the city is owed," Mr. Loeser said. "The mayor has made it very clear, this is about accountability. Everyone says that they support the state providing the city the billions we're owed, but support doesn't build schools, money does."
From the time Mr. Bloomberg announced his $13.1 billion school construction plan in late 2003, he demanded that Albany pay for half of its cost.
The impact of the political fights are not lost on Maria Dilworth, a mother of three who is helping to organize a protest next week with the Cypress Hills Advocates for Education.
"Our children are being bused to an annex that is in a very old building, and we still have overcrowding," Ms. Dilworth said. "If the governor had done what he's supposed to do, then we wouldn't have this beef with the mayor. But he came out here and made us a promise. We intend to hold him to that."
and the Mayor retaliates against anyone who says anything that he does not like, or makes him look 'bad':
Opening the Door to NYC Education Corruption Part I: Update on Retaliation of All Whistleblowers
Mayor Michael Bloomberg as Co-Partner in Chief of the New York City Department of Education: Performance Review