Conlon should focus on school issues

| 28 Feb 2012 | 05:09

    I was shocked to read a recent petty, childish and vile letter to the editor written by West Milford Board of Education Trustee Matt Conlon about his board colleague John Aiello.It appears that Conlon violated school board Ethics Policy Code # 9271: Part D. “I will behave toward my fellow Board members with the respect due their office - demonstrating courtesy, decorum and fair play at all public meetings and in all public statements.”Part E. “I will refrain from inappropriate conduct in public meetings and in making public statements, refraining from any disparagement of my fellow Board members or others on a personal, social, racial or religious basis.”Also shocking was Conlon’s childish behavior at a recent school board meeting. When he didn’t agree with others on a discussion item, he got up and left.As he walked out, he said “nah, nah, now you don’t have a quorum to support your vote.”

    Conlon likely wrote his negative letter because he expects Aiello to run for re-election, although such information hasn’t yet been in any newspaper.Aiello has been the leader in advocating for full-day kindergarten, although Conlon bashed Aiello for that endeavor.Education research shows that more time in kindergarten provides children with more time for the basics to enhance their later progress in reading and arithmetic.Aiello also pushed to have a high-school SRO (Special Resource Officer), offered and paid for by the town council.But Conlon spoke against that at a town meeting.SROs are trained to decrease students’ bullying, drug and alcohol use, and other anti-social behavior.

    Aiello fought to keep local residents as West Milford school custodians and bus drivers, while other trustees wanted to outsource those jobs. Local residents would know the children and their families, and thus can help to provide children with appropriate behavioral guidelines.Having local employees also keeps our school taxes in the community.

    Aiello often speaks up for good educational policy, while Conlon dwells on politics and makes grandiose budget statements.As Aiello has a granddaughter in a West Milford school, he has spoken up for teaching a phonics approach to reading, as supported by current research.Others wanted to keep the old sight-memorization oriented books in order to save money.Aiello wants the best possible education for West Milford children.

    Rather than focus on education, Conlon’s recent letter to the editor highlighted Aiello’s past “puke-green” campaign signs.Further, he blamed Aiello for some past votes by the public against the school budget.I doubt that Aiello was to blame, as opposed to residents’ desire to keep schooltaxes low in the current economy.Finally, Conlon accused Aiello of providing a “reign of terror...over our children’s futures.”It’s amazing that Conlon thinks Aiello has such strong power over both the voters and the school children.

    As Conlon is a recent high school graduate and now a college politics major, it appears that he may be spending more time on West Milford politics than on his homework. Conlon’s letter to the editor certainly indicates that he didn’t learn some lessons taught in gradeschool and in most homes about manners, politeness, and respect for one’s elders.

    I do hope that John Aiello will run for school board re-election.If so, he will have my vote, and the votes of others who want board of education trustees who will work for high-quality education with the most “bang-for-the-buck” possible.West Milford doesn’t need trustees like Conlon, who focus on politics and on degrading their colleagues rather than on educational issues.

    Doris Aaronson West Milford