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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Arrogance ad nauseum...

Guest View: New Hartford School Board acted in public’s interest

Let's correct Ms. Luker's statements that the New Hartford Board of Education always follows the Open Meetings Law.

Concerned Citizens has been videotaping all New Hartford Central School board meetings for several months now and those meetings are available on our YouTube channel.

It was at Concerned Citizens insistence that school board agendas and handouts, to include complete minutes of prior meetings, are now posted on the school’s website prior to all meetings. Before our intervention, all the public was given were school board summaries which are totally useless and not in keeping with the Open Meetings Law.

Furthermore, if Ms. Luker is so big on Open Meetings Law, why doesn't she speak up so that people in the audience can hear what she is saying. She has a habit of talking so low that most times our camera doesn't even pick up what she is saying. We have asked that a microphone be placed on the table, but we're told the school does not have money in their budget right now for such an item.

Regarding Mr. Nole’s contract extension…

As we already blogged, Mr. Nole had until December 31, 2013 to send a letter to the school board asking to extend his contract for an additional year; that is, instead of his contract ending in June 2015, it would end in June 2016.

Assuming that Mr. Nole did indeed send a letter to the board by the deadline, the board could have taken action in any one of three (3) meetings; January 14, February 4, and February 25.

However, they took no action until the February 25th meeting which was three (3) days prior to Nole’s contract deadline for an extension. Truth be known, it is our guess that Mr. Nole sent a letter to the board long before the December 31, 2013 deadline so there were several other meetings where the decision to extend his contract could have been discussed and voted on.

The question is why? Why did the New Hartford Central School Board wait until the last minute…

Particularly, if, as Ms. Luker stated in her guest editorial:
…the majority of the board believed that the continued success of our district – in light of recent changes in curriculum and upcoming changes in administrative personnel — would be best served by stability at the top. Superintendent Nole has successfully led this district through very difficult times and, with numerous challenges ahead, we felt that “staying the course” would be in the best interest of the citizens of New Hartford.
Why did the board wait to approve the extension? Ms. Luker even states that “the majority of the board believed”. All that is needed is a majority vote. Ms. Luker wants us to believe that they had a majority vote, but they decided to not act on the extension until the bitter end.  It just doesn't make any sense and certainly doesn't sound like a complete vote of confidence for Mr. Nole!

Concerned Citizens was standing outside the library when Ms. Soggs was helped into the room by Vice President Jadhon. It was obvious that Ms. Soggs was quite ill.  Prior to the start of the meeting, we overheard Ms. Luker and other board members trying to figure out how to get a vote without a personal appearance. However, the Open Meetings Law does not permit voting in absentia.

Overall, the executive session lasted about an hour and ten minutes. However, Ms. Soggs was not ushered in until almost the end of the executive session. We do not believe that Ms. Soggs had much, if any, time to be part of the deliberative process that evening. It is our belief that she was merely brought in at the last minute to vote; probably because it was determined that the votes of the three (3) dissenting board members could not be changed no matter how long they continued with their executive session. Thus without Ms. Soggs' vote, Nole's contract would not have been extended.

Clearly, there is more to this story that isn’t being told to the public. New Hartford School Board President Luker is so arrogant that she probably does not even recognize the fact that the tone of her guest editorial is offensive to the taxpayers of New Hartford Central School.

Luker's seat is up for grabs this May. It’s time to send a message to the school board!  There is still time to file your petition!


Anonymous said...

Rodger Potocki's comments on the O.D. website relating to Ms. Luker's comments tell a much different story.

The NH School Board is out-of-control and being run by an inept individual who knows nothing of protocols. One only has to listen to how she conducts her meetings. She knows nothing of the Open Meetings Law nor how to conduct meetings. How was this woman elected President?

There is evidence of collusion and back-door dealings going on. Time will only tell what else has transpired. One thing for sure is that Ms. Luker's days are numbered as a school board member and president.

The time for CHANGE is upon us and we must elect community minded board members who are not tied-in to the school administrators. Teachers deserve board members who are concerned over their welfare and that of those students they teach.

Anonymous said...

I am deeply saddened by your ignorance. Collusion and back door dealings are taking place but not by the School Board. You profess to be concerned citizens, but your lack of concern for what is best for our students is evident. As an educator and parent, I find your "rants" self gratifying and vindictive. Stick to the facts and stop clouding the issues with your half-truths. Ms. Luker has had no hidden agenda and is a "thinker". She has dedicated many hours to moving our educational process forward.

New Hartford, NY Online said...

Anonymous said,

I am deeply saddened by your ignorance.


Our ignorance??? That's a pretty strong word. It amuses us that an educator would have to resort to insulting our intelligence to try to make a point.

Just because we don't drink your Koolaid doesn't make us ignorant about any subject. Trust us...Concerned Citizens is made up of well-educated people.

And isn't it amazing, now it's for the children...

How many excuses is the school board going to give over the protocol followed for Nole's contract extension. We think we have heard five or six excuses so far.

Please, any contract can be amended and in this case it could easily have been amended to extend the extension vote to anytime in the future so that further discussion could have taken place.

By the way, it is obvious that there is dissention on the board regarding the contract extension otherwise it would have been an unanimous wasn't though!

Have a good day!