A thorough and efficient education is the law of New Jersey but it is also a mission statement which most do not respect or pursue. Most often one is supported to the exclusion of the other. Supporting school budgets or rubber stamping school administrators often becomes a litmus test which does not tolerate dissent or discernment, and thus one is treated very differently. The evidence:
1. Cooperation from the board and administration to look into solar energy supported by donations is met with our technology supervisor not being allowed to have a conversation with me on the subject.
2. Pleas for a full night devoted to our auditor's report is met with the auditor's report being scheduled within a crowded agenda, leaving very little time to discuss a $70 million budget. Important questions directed to the auditor are interrupted and answered by the business administrator. Think about that!!
3. Pleas for purchase orders to include explanations of purpose are mostly ignored even through it is required under our policy rules.
4. Budget questions either go unanswered for weeks or are answered only minutes before voting on the budget leaving no time to look into the item in question.
It gets worse and proves "pro education" is only an empty, political word.
5. When I encouraged the former superintendent to make a presentation for full-time kindergarten, only I and Barbara Carter spoke in favor. The rest of the board was silent except one board member who accused me of bullying the superintendent into making the presentation.
6. After the June 2010 public personnel committee meeting, I was kicked off the personnel committee and personnel meetings were no longer public. Why? Because it got in the newspaper that I wanted more elementary teachers than the superintendent.
Now here is the big one. 7. If we really want a thorough and efficient education, then make every employee feel they own their job, that they are significant. I have repeatedly argued for free and open discussions between the school board and the staff to learn first hand their needs, problems and their ideas. This is met with arguments that veil "the administration knows best."
To me this proves a thorough and efficient education has been abandoned for politics and justice has been replaced with cunning. A thorough and efficient education doesn't have to be a question of either/or. It can be both if we are allowed to think. And isn't that what education is all about?
John Aiello Hewitt This is my opinion and does not represent the West Milford school board.