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Saturday, August 20, 2022
Home Schools BOE Candidates Hendler, Reppeto Never Voted: Guest Column

BOE Candidates Hendler, Reppeto Never Voted: Guest Column

Charmian Neary is a parent in the Midland School District, serves on the school board finance and budget committee and organizes Friends of the Rye City School District every year, an ad hoc group of women who work to turn out the vote for the school budget. 

In a guest column for MyRye.com, Neary wonders if we should vote for candidates that can't find time to vote themselves. What do you think? Leave a comment below.

I am a parent in the Midland School District. I serve on the school board Finance and Budget committee.

I volunteer to get the school budget passed each year as well. In compiling call lists for this year I focused on those residents of Rye who actually voted rather than on those who were simply registered. I further limited my efforts to school board election voters, parents first. What I found was both surprising and illuminating and I am compelled to share the information publicly.

Two of the four candidates who announced their candidacy after teachers’ union president Jaime Zung’s call for candidates, Susan Hendler and Chris Reppeto, have never voted in a school board election here in Rye. A third, Steven Tuch, voted last year for the first time, as he is a recent Rye arrival. The fourth, a retired teacher and member of the union, Gwendelyn Hughes, has voted consistently.

Both incumbents, Josh Nathan and Laura Slack, have voted every time, as have their spouses. The challenger who announced his intentions well prior to the teachers’ union call for candidates, Ray Schmitt, has voted every time. In addition, Schmitt’s wife has been very active in the schools as a volunteer and has voted consistently as well.

I think it is crucial that voters in Rye know before the election this Tuesday the fundamental fact of who has voted and who has not. It is one thing not to attend board meetings. Although I have attended regularly for the last three years, I can understand that there are many ways to serve the community in Rye, and school board meetings, like city council meetings, are not everyone’s cup of tea. They can be mind numbing, and I’m being kind here. But they are very important, especially if, like me, you have a child for whom school is a challenge. I make it my business to attend.

Please remember that this board was freely elected by the voters in Rye. All adult citizens have the right and obligation to vote. Shouldn’t actually voting be a minimal qualification for standing to serve as a trustee of the Rye City school district?

Our children deserve more consideration than is evidenced by those who have never voted. I cannot support anyone who does not even support our school budget with the fifteen or twenty minutes necessary to cast a ballot at the gym, yet expects me to believe they will find the time and intellectual energy to commit 15 to 20 hours a week to oversee our $68,000,000 budget for the next three years.


  1. ENOUGH SAID!!! More proof as to why these individuals are running and why we SHOULD NOT VOTE for them!!! SSN ALL THE WAY!!!

  2. This is sad. Reminds me of Caroline Kennedy’s excuses for not voting. People don’t say mean things about her, though, and she wanted to be appointed senator not even elected. But there are other candidates besides Josh Nathan, Laura Slack, and Schmidt. (Did I spell that correctly? I’m not a supporter of Mr. S’s but he does deserve to have his name spelled correctly.)

    I still think the old board just isn’t up to the job of negotiating with the teachers. Even if they were capable, there’s just too much bad blood. You would think these board members would want to spend more time with their families. Makes you wonder if they aren’t getting something special in return.

    And I am very concerned that Laura Slack called in all her friends to give testimony about things that don’t really have anything to do with what it takes to serve on the school board. I hope she continues her good works. She lives in an awfully big house. She could probably take in a family that has lost its home because of the foreclosures.

    Mr. Doubting Thomas – I am unaware of anyone abusing the board. I’m sorry if that happened. I do remember members of the board abusing senior citizens. Sometimes it was just smirking, but we all saw it at home. And not being concerned with the enormous tax increases we’ve had to pay over the years. One friend has to have her children pool their money just to pay taxes on the home she raised them. But that’s been going on for a long time now.

    It’s funny that the seniors in Rye were made to seem bad because we didn’t want to vote for the steady increase in the budget over the past 12 years or so. The fliers from the parents organizations tried to get parents afraid that their children would lose books and sports programs. One parent said in 2005 “If you don’t vote for our school budget we’ll make sure you don’t get anything for the Rye Recreation.” But now, this same group of people want the seniors to be afraid of taxes going up because of the teachers. Do the teachers want an awful lot of increases? I think if the United Auto Workers are willing to compromise for the greater good, certainly teachers would be willing to too if someone on the other end was willing to listen and negotiate.

  3. Mrs. H –

    You are particularly clever in the way you comment on certain candidates in an offhand manner that leads the reader to a conclusion of an unfavorable characteristic of the individual. What in the hell does the size of Laura Slack’s house have to do with her candidacy? And the implication of current board members getting “something special” in return for their volunteerism – ever consider that it’s the simple gratitude of other residents, which is precisely why we saw so many individuals stood up to support Slack? What evidence do you have that she called in her friends to show support? And even if she did, so what? She obvioulsy wants to help, and the fact that she’s willing to stand up to the union’s greedy demands makes me happy that we have an elected representative who actually represents OUR interests. I wish Richard “Boss” Daley were alive to tell me how to vote multiple times.
    You also make the ridiculus claim that all that’s needed to resolve the union conflict is a board willing to “compromise”. We all know that teachers define compromise as the taxpayer agreeing to pay them more money, provide more benefits and decrease their workload. At what point and in what manner does the union compromise? This town is fed up with constantly increasing costs while services stay static, and tomorrow, a very clear message will be sent to the unions. The seven fat years are over, the seven lean years have begun.
    Nathan, Slack and Schmitt will win, followed by Repetto, Tuch, Hughes and Hendler, in that order. The budget will pass, with a margin greater than 150 votes.
    You heard it here first!

  4. Mrs.H: You have accused the incumbent members of bribery. If you do not have evidence to support that charge, you have committed libel. I would strongly suggest you either go to the District Attorney with any evidence you have, or retract your allegation immediately.

  5. You Go Scooter,
    Since we are all now on the attack,offense,defense we should ALL stand behind our words with our true identities. This will send the message home that we stand behind our beliefs 1,000% and we refuse to be pushed around. VOTE SSN and don’t be afraid to put your words out there with your name. That goes for you too Mrs.H. We have nothing to be ashamed of. Your name carries some respect. I know mine does, I have fellow residents contacting me to find out which way I am voting so they can vote the same way.

  6. My children told me about these nasty posts. And for that reason I will not use my real name – the people on the side of the incumbents have said hateful things on this board. They’ve called other people animals and confessed to vandalism. It’s still a club I don’t want to be a member of. It’s my first time experimenting with this – and my last.

    I don’t know where you get the idea I was accusing Mrs. Slack of bribery. She didn’t stand up for herself when she was accused of pushing her special interests. I wasn’t thinking of money, I was thinking of special favors in terms of selecting teachers for their chioldren. It does happen. It’s happened for years. I know I never got the ear of the superintendent when my children were harrassed for being Latino.

  7. I don’t know about all of the politics and dirty laundry that seems to be at the center of this election.

    I do know that one of the very best and brightest teachers at Rye High School, who tutors our children, has left our home in tears over the current situation. She has told me how demoralized the teachers are and how many feel that they will need to go elsewhere to be paid a fair and reasonable wage.

    I chose to move to this community to provide the very best public school experience for my son and daughter. I am utterly disgusted by the lack of integrity the current BOE has shown. This situation is ultimately most unfair to our children, who need and want top-quality, motivated, and engaged teachers.

    We all have to make sacrifices during tough economic times, but ignoring our community’s responsibility to our children’s future, under the guise of ‘good fiscal management’, is malpractice.

    If we lose some of our very best teachers because of the ineptitude and arrogance of the BOE, we will all face an even greater deteriation of our home values … as Rye becomes another victim of underfunding of public education.


  8. Mrs.H. You have accused a board member of accepting something of value in exchange for her performance on the board. The Penal Law defines this as bribery. If you are not prepared to make a sworn criminal complaint, I strongly suggest you check your homeowners policy to see if you are covered for defamatory acts.

  9. Per my previous post, here are the words of one Rye HS Teacher, taken from a letter she sent to some parents in the district:

    This coming Tuesday is the Board of Education Election and Budget Vote and I am writing to urge my friends to go and vote for change. This is a high stakes election. So many of you settled in Rye with your families because of the district’s nationally acclaimed schools. If left in office, the current board members will not deliver up the schools you thought you were getting when you bought your home in Rye.

    One of the biggest failings of this board is that it has decimated the morale of the people who make Rye Schools great: its teachers. As some of you may know, Rye teachers have been working for two years under an expired contract. Negotiations with the school board to settle the contract have been at a standstill. In the past, when negotiations have stalled, the Board and the RTA (Rye Teachers Association) have agreed to hire an independent fact finder to investigate how other school districts in Westchester have settled their contracts. This same measure was taken last year to move the contract negotiations forward. The fact finder issued his report and claimed that Rye teachers were in fact “too generous” in what they were willing to concede in their contract negotiations. The Board then rejected the recommendations of this fact finder. Since that time, in an effort to settle the contract, the RTA has offered even deeper concessions to the Board, most recently at the Super Mediators’ meeting arranged by New York State. Dr. Shine and the RTA negotiating team arrived at the designated time. However, in an unprecedented maneuver, the Board members did not show up to the meeting to hear the RTA’s offer, thus wasting the tax dollars it cost the district to hold the mediating session, and sending a message of contempt that frankly shocked the faculty. Teachers are being fundamentally undervalued. You can imagine the climate that this has created in our schools.

    Certainly there is a contingency in this community that views the schools as a drain on its purse. The current board members see themselves as this contigency’s Robinhood: taking from the schools and giving back to the taxpayers. These pecuniary measures will appeal enormously to those in Rye who would like to save money at the expense of Rye schools, its teachers and ultimately, its children. But how does this parsimony appeal to you? The parent community’s vision for the school must be advocated before it gets trampled by a board that will underfund the schools, cut its programs, increase the student to teacher ratio, and cut per pupil expenditure. This is not what you moved your family to Rye for. There are candidates running for the board who have more than a skeletal vision of what Rye schools can offer your children. There are candidates who will not veer from the tradition of excellence that provided me with a top-notch education when I myself was a student in Rye. Please vote for one of them.

  10. It is truly insightful to see TEACHERS advocating for particular Board candidates. It is impossible for me to see a simpler picture of a vested interest trying to look after its own interests. “The children come first”? Give me a break. You must be a teacher as this can only be about the TEACHERS coming first. They want a bigger salary increase than the community is willing to support. Voting for Hendler, Hughes, Tuch, or Repetto is saying that you think the RTA / union is right and that the community should pay more / you’re happy to accept their bullying. Voting for the current Board members + Schmitt says that you believe in balance – balance of students, taxpayers, and employees.

    Mrs. H – I appreciate your willingness to contribute, but Bob Cypher is correct. You have slandered Laura Slack. NO ONE accused Laura of getting something for her service to the community, the students, and the district until you asserted that that was the case. And she did defend herself immediately when slandered by the teacher’s union president, Jamie Zung. While a quality teacher, he is also a union leader, fighting his corner in a malicious, capricious way that is out of line with Rye’s standards.

  11. The Children come first –

    How pathetic your tone is… This is the typical veiled threat that unions employ: “Either give us what we want or we will stop performing”. You’re also asking for change – How about this for change – the teachers who are unhappy with their current level of pay and benefits can bring about change by quitting their jobs, which will free up the opportunity for some unemployed lawyers and bankers to teach reality to our kids, and tell them how the world really works. These teachers are not educating our children in quantum physics or boolean algebra, and the way some of them communicate leads me to believe they either flunked out of Freshman English classes or learned English as a second language. Anyone with a decent college education can teach kids in Rye the current curriculum. The current teachers are not the educational equivalent of Tiger Woods, and last I heard, we’ve never failed to find replacement teachers for the occasional departure.
    I’d rather my child learn algebra from a former dealmaker who knows how to take a financial punch than from some wimpy teacher who gets all teary that she won’t get a raise at a time when many people are taking significant cuts in their take-home pay – or worse.

    You also claim that “we all have to make sacrifices during tough economic times”, but I guess the teachers aren’t included in that group, huh?

  12. I would venture a guess that those supporting the incumbents are the very parents who have access to board members for their personal agendas. Doubting Thomas, why are you posting about your own article?

    If one’s only concern is low taxes, then I guess the current board has proven experience. I think that the community has spoken about legitimate concerns and issues that are equally important. It is possible to have good governance, fiscal responsibility, ethics, excellent communication, and on and on…..

    However, it seems the current board has only one concern.

  13. Scooter,

    It is disheartening to see the lack of respect you have for the profession of teaching. Any old unemployed lawyer or banker could do it just as well?

  14. Well said everyone!
    I am not proud of what I am about to reveal and for the protection of my future High Schooler I can not put my name on this. When my kid,a troubled teenager was in his/her Senior Year he/she attended school maybe 40% of the time. Guess What….. RHS GRADUATED HIM/HER!! I am happy for this but what did my kid learn? Not one teacher failed him/her! Where is the quality of being a teacher in this?
    So I guess all the Teachers will be resigning soon and moving on to the Bronx to teach for all that great money NYC pays their teachers.

  15. scooter…what about those that have slandered Jaime Saracino….? Can’t take it when it is thrown back at you..

  16. And boy would I love to be a fly on the wall in the classroom when the person not trained, tries teaching. I actually think that several years ago a board member tried that and lasted 2 weeks…I am actually hoping that you get what you want and that it comes back to really bite you.

  17. “There are candidates running for the board who have more than a skeletal vision of what Rye schools can offer your children.”

    I quote the teacher Monica Goldstein’s letter above. She says that the RTA /change candidates have “more than a skeletal vision”…. I say that is not nearly enough for the citizens of Rye to entrust them with the fiduciary responsibility of overseeing our school district’s 68 million dollar budget.
    These candidates prior to this April…less than fifty days ago…were uninformed, uninvolved and uninterested. Please read what I’ve written above.
    Susan Hendler never even bothered to vote. Let me repeat that – She didn’t vote for the school budget – ever. How did the children come first to her? My understanding is her renovations on her new house came first…for three straight years.

    If she was too busy to vote, why would you endorse her “for the children?”
    I think it is really “for the contract”, sorry.
    As to Monica Goldstein’s letter – in which she, a self identified high school teacher, uses the word “contingencies” incorrectly, displaying not merely a typo but a lack of understanding of the word’s meaning – don’t you find it self serving for a teacher to endorse unqualified candidates merely because she will get a contract more to her liking? Is that really for “the children”?
    As I understand it the contract could be settled tomorrow, and although I am not privy to the terms currently offered, I don’t think anyone is truly crying over their “wages” in this economy. And no teacher is going to leave Rye over “low morale” as we certainly do not “underfund education”.
    Decent working class families all across this country would give a kidney to get the underfunded education offered in Rye.
    My son’s teacher is great. His teacher last year was great and the teacher before that. They make great money, they deserve twice as much, and in a free market they would make twice as much. In this economy however, no one with a secure job should be “leaving your house in tears” after tutoring your kids. I won’t even mention that leaving work at 3:15 every day allows her to make extra money tutoring…but “tears”, come on.
    Tell that to the 6% of our community who have lost their jobs.

  18. Fed up – Who slandered Jaime Saracino? Last I checked, there was nothing publicly said about her performance – other than the positive testimonials presented by parents, fellow teachers, and some Rye residents. What am I missing?
    Ignorance – Thanks for living up to your name. What article are you talking about? I have only posted on this board under what I hope is a pseudonym that accurately reflects my general skepticism about all posters. The fact that the majority of my comments address points reflecting support for the teacher’s contract (unfortunately) reflects my assessment that those comments are furthest from the truth. Your point about the board having only one concern is not as objectionable as some, but it surely reflects a lack of understanding that the Board’s concerns have clearly been quality of education / quality of the child’s experience / impact on the tax payer. There appears to be willful, continuous avoidance of the facts by the RTA supporters. There has been significant improvement in elementary school math curriculum and instruction with the middle school underway. Foreign language has been introduced to the elementary school. The high school is seeing a renaissance in the performing arts and all three schools continue to see attention paid to facility needs. What’s wrong with increase in quality of education not requiring an in-excess of CPI increase in spending?
    The above said, I do find the insulting remarks about teachers and staff to be objectionable. The teachers are professionals who look after our children day-in, day-out. I have seen more than a few teachers who go the extra mile. This includes an elementary school art teacher who puts in far too many hours for her family’s own good, but it’s great for her students. It also includes a phys ed teacher who goes beyond her job description to fill in the cracks where they are seen. And what about the middle school foreign language teachers who go out of their way to make sure that their kids are keeping up with the material, reach out to the parents to offer help, etc.? While there will always be exceptions, and some wonderful exceptions have appeared over the past 6 weeks, Rye’s teachers are, on the whole, going about their jobs in a highly professionally, caring way. That does not mean , though, that the union toughs should get away with their attempts at election manipulation and community bullying.

  19. many have….go back in the posts…there have been many inferences and much has been said to many around her. Maybe you are just out of that loop but it has been said.

  20. Comments stating “anyone with a decent college education can teach the curriculum” are why we have problems to begin with. It is people like this who, because they attended a school, feel they can teach in a school or better yet, serve on a school board. Do you feel because you’ve been to a doctor/dentist/lawyer etc. that you can cure patients/ fill a cavity/ or argue a case! Give me a break! The children do come first and so should the teachers. Stop the madness!

  21. The teachers were put first. They were looking for something above first! They blew it 2 years ago.
    Sorry…time to move on to where we are at today not 2 years ago. The economy is in the tank.Come back to the table in better times and just maybe you might have a better shot. Every one somewhere is being effected in some sort of manor by the economy. Pay cuts, salary freezes,layoffs,businesses closing all over the place,etc,etc,etc. But no….not our teachers. Oh the poor teachers. It must really suck to “have a job” in todays society that pays an avg. of 87,000 plus per.
    If the children came first you should of signed on the dotted line 2 years ago!
    If the children came first the tactics being used by the teachers in the presence of the children should have never taken place!!!
    Shoulda Woulda Coulda!!!!

  22. I have a question for the lawyers out there – slander is, as I understand it, a spoken defamation or falsity. Libel, on the other hand, is the falsity or defamation in writing. So when Mr. Cypher noted that another writer may have libeled a board member I would agree with that but others have claimed these statements to be slander. Is this an inaccurate use of the term?

    Second question of lawyers – are citizens who stand for election “public figures” under the law? And what are the boundaries of criticism, insinuation and accusation for public figures as they relate to the mud slide we are seeing on this election? Why would blog comments be potentially “actionable” if public figures are the targets?

  23. Tedc – very good points. I have certainly used slander and defamation without differentiating between writing and speech. Also, your point about public figures is equally valid. And so there is probably no legal recourse for the board candidates about whom unproven assertions have been spoken and written. But that does not make what has been said on this board – whether about an individual or a class of employee – as well as in rumor mills, in board meetings during the public comment period, etc. right. While the tactics used may be acceptable to the national political parties, they have no place in civil society – which is what, until this campaign, I viewed Rye as being. I feel very sorry for those of my neighbors as well as the union members who have felt the need to insult members of our community whether elected officials or not, raise barriers within the community, and generally roam far away from fact in the short-term interest of a labor contract or seeing their candidate “win”. Anyone who wins based on the muck that has been raised (and here with I refer to the union-endorsed / encouraged candidates) is going to have a heck of a time establishing their credibility on the board.

  24. The improvements mentioned by Doubting Thomas…does the board of education deserve the credit or the administrators?

  25. Both deserve credit because they both worked on them. But frankly, the math stuff would never have happened without a board that pushed the administration and several teachers to make the change because there was a belief that the status quo was “good enough”. And that seems to be the primary motivation for this board’s activity; e.g., the status quo is not good enough.

  26. HEY…. Where did my Laura Slack sign go???
    Better go call Commissioner Connors for protection.
    OOPS….MY BAD…Can’t-I live on Midland Ave.

  27. Has anyone actually thought through Susan Hendler’s recommendations for reducing costs in the district? I have and they make 0 sense.
    #1 – take a two week break at the end of December. Implied savings due to letting staff take off and not having to have the building’s open. As there’s a mandated minimum number of days of instruction, this idea would have 0 savings because the school year would need to be extended to match make up for the added days off in December/January. Strike 1
    #2 – add full day kindergarten and reap the benefits of state funding for so doing. Given that the state does not come even close to fully reimburse for the costs of full day kindergarten, this suggestion is guaranteed to actually increase costs. Strike 2
    #3 – close the schools over the summer to save on air conditioning and operational costs. I believe that the schools are already largely closed over the summer and for the most part, they are not air conditioned. So again, 0 save here. Strike 3.

    Posted by: DoubtingThomas | May 15, 2009 at 12:46 AM

  28. That Hendler lady involving the police and keep changing her story is what I don’t like.

    Posted by: Don’t involve the police | May 15, 2009 at 01:24 AM

  29. I think Mrs. Hendler crossed the line when she attempted to involve our police department after the fact with her silly and implausible tale of trampled bushes & missing signs. My friend in Sanitation said that Mrs. Hendler’s signs on lawns remain, but they have removed those she has her housekeeper place on public property. The area outside the sidewalk does not belong to the homeowner.
    Additionally I understand the reporter for the paper did some further digging and none of these “incidents” have been reported to the police.
    I don’t know that we’ve ever had a candidate pressured to leave a race, but maybe Mrs. Hendler is trying to spin it that she is more of a threat than she truly is.
    I understand she did poorly in the newspaper’s endorsement as the last of seven possible choices.

    Posted by: Don’t involve the police | May 15, 2009 at 01:07 AM

  30. Hello again, Ignorance!

    Don’t you have a class to teach in the morning?
    So now I know your issue. You are disappointed you don’t have “access” to the board. Why don’t you try writing a letter? They always respond. Or, you could come to a board meeting during the public sessions.
    Write to Josh Nathan, the president, who the teachers’ union jumped all over the other night. He’s a quiet, respectful public television attorney. He works for PBS – P B S – instead of raking it in at a White Shoe firm, and the teachers’ union says he doesn’t value education. When I was a kid they called 13 “Educational Television”, remember that? You make it sound like he works for Reuters or Bloomberg or something.
    So try it. Unless of course that’s not the kind of “access” you had in mind. But I can’t help you there.
    Ignorance,I’m gonna be your friend here for a minute. you need to maybe concede gracefully now. I know you and your crew must be really disappointed that none of you thought to check and see if your flag waver Susan Hendler ever bothered to vote before you put her out there as Miss Education 2009. She said she didn’t know much about the budget…now we know its because she was more concerned with the renovations on her new house! Golly, that concerns me more than my children’s education funding!
    And she needs to stop saying the police sat out side her house when the police say they didn’t. She’ll do anything for attention we know, but the police keep a log book. Never happened, ask them. She didn’t come in till the next day. Of course now we know how important that house is to her, more important than the school board elections, the school board she’s now going off on in front of the television cameras. She had a chance to chose who represents us on the board but she was maybe looking at paint chips for 14 hours every election day, or window treatments or something real important like that.
    She couldn’t find time to vote on money to pay teacher’s salaries, isn’t that terrible, Ignorance? Why don’t you just cut her loose?
    Laura Slack loves teachers and loves to give them raises, she’ll take you back, she’s a bleeding heart sort. I can’t say for sure how Ray Schmitt will treat you when he’s elected, he seems like kind of a tough guy. But Slack, piece of cake. Once Jamie Zung takes a nice long sabbatical and you put away your NYSUT talking points, we’ll all be friends again.
    Anyway, lets meet at the Roadhouse when this is over. I promise no more misogynistic remarks and you promise you won’t get a little tipsy and hit on Doubting Thomas. I can see you have a little thing for him. Kind of like Hepburn and Tracy.
    By the way, Truth Be Told is a guy,and he’s single.
    See you at the Roadhouse when the polls close?

  31. Oh PS to Mrs. H. I am truly sorry that your children were harassed for being Latino. You know who would listen to you about that? Laura Slack. I’m telling you she’s a bleeding heart liberal and if you called her tomorrow she’d be there for you.
    Try her, she’s listed. And that is why all those people got up to defend her. She’s carried, at one time or another, half this community. While Susan Hendler was picking out upholstery fabric.
    Or yelling at the nice ladies at the Rye Free Reading Room.

  32. FLMFAO!!!! Please don’t tell my wife I’m single!!! So I hear that Van Dolsen lady sold her house! What’s Up With That??? She’s not even a citizen here anymore and she has the nerve to talk out her …!
    After this election is over all of us need to wear SSN shirts to let the RTA know who their friends are!!!

  33. Nice. Classy. Just the set of comments needed on this board. I appreciate the emotion behind them, but this is ridiculous. LOL!!!, AnotherNoDoubt, Don’tDoubtThisEither – Grow up folks. This is unnecessary. Your rhetoric is painful and abusive.

    And Don’tDoubtThis, thanks for re-stating my earlier assessment of Susan Hendler’s platform. Your right in that it does make 0 cents/sense.

  34. Doubting Thomas- You accuse me of slandering Laura Slack. Where is the slander? I read an email written by Dr. Shine and sent to Dr. Rooney. These are the exact words of that email (without the teachers’ names) as written by Dr. Shine to Dr. Rooney: “Here are the current issues from Laura Slack. 1. — —is not producing–too many tutors. 2. — — she can’t teach. Doug Tuttle says he can make her a good teacher but she’s not there yet.” Dr. Shine attributed these statements to Mrs. Slack, not I. I simply read the email and before I read it I stated that it was an email from Dr. Shine to Dr. Rooney and I reiterated that at least twice during the Board meeting while I was being accused by them of slander. A week later Dr. Shine stated that the words and intentions in the email were his. Why didn’t he say that while I was being accused of slander and Mrs. Slack was denying that she had said such things? Perhaps because they were the words of Mrs. Slack. Doug Tuttle had never spoken to Dr. Shine about these issues until last month when his teachers were denied tenure. He had however, spoken to Mrs. Slack almost two years ago when she had expressed her concern to him about the teacher mentioned. The reference to Doug Tuttle and the teacher in this email comes from Mrs. Slack.
    Mrs. Slack has every right to express her concerns to Dr. Shine, and he should pass them on when he deems it necessary. So why don’t they all just own up to what they say?
    If you knew me you would know that I am a man of integrity both inside and outside of the classroom. I am available to my students 24/7 (yes, that’s true) and am dedicated to helping them be the best that they can be. It was not my intention to embarrass anyone at the Board meeting; it was my intent to demonstrate that some of the tenure decisions at the high school had been influenced, as Mr. Tuttle stated, by a Board member. When you reread the letter written by Jim Rooney
    you will see that nowhere does he deny being influenced by a Board member. He simply states that he never discussed tenure with one. You must admit that a message coming from the Superintendent with statements attributed to a Board member has to carry more weight than the average email. Let me say again that everyone involved in this situation has the right to say what they may but teachers shouldn’t be taken by surprise when after two and a half years of satisfactory evaluations they are suddenly told that they are not going to be granted tenure this year. As Dr. Rooney states in his letter, problems are usually identified early on. It’s very strange that not one, but three teachers had their paths suddenly changed after the receipt of an email.

  35. Jamie –

    Now you can understand the feeling of many in the financial services community when they’re told that, despite their sterling records of achievement, despite their glowing appraisals and performance reviews, they will not get a bonus this year, they will not get a raise this year, their benefits will be taken away and their salaries will be reduced to zero. We live in a new economic environment, and we can no longer pretend that it only happens to other people in other regions.
    And please, spare us the lecture that everyone in the financial services industry was complicit in the meltdown. If you have any clue about what is involved in the industry, you’d know that the sales and structuring efforts are a small percentage of the business. They are supported by IT staff, lawyers, operations, accountants and other professionals. The industry directly or indirectly supports a number of other business activities such as dining, printing/publishing, technology, communications, advertising, etc. The dark side of working in the corporate world is that a few rotten apples can destroy an entire firm of honest hardworking and noble workers.
    The point is, no one is immune from these economic changes, and, as another blogger pointed out, everyone must make sacrifices. Perhaps the board realized that granting tenure to two teachers sent a wrong signal to the community – it is, in effect, guaranteeing lifetime employment and benefits and locking in a higher cost structure for the taxpayer. Is it fair that they came up for tenure at a particularly bad time in the economy? No, but life is not fair – never has been, never will be.
    See you at the polls, if your union thugs let me vote.

  36. Scooter,

    If you can’t afford to live in Westchester, maybe it’s time to move. Actually, individuals exercising their right to live anywhere they please would solve a lot of Rye’s problems.

  37. Axis of Evil,

    Having people move because they are unhappy with their situations would mean Rye residents would actually have to take responsibility for their own lives. What’s the odds of that happening? Rye residents like complaining more than actually solving their own problems.

  38. Axis –

    There’s a big difference between being able to afford to live in Westchester and being content with the level of taxation I’m subjected to. I can afford to live here, but that doesn’t mean I have to willingly accept tax increases every year.
    Your thought that Rye’s problems could be solved if only a subset were to leave or disappear is very similar to that of petty tyrants everywhere, and is quite simply disgusting.
    I have every right to choose to live here, and I also have every right to complain about unnecessary taxation. It’s called freedom of speech, and by vocalizing and highlighting a problem, I can change the actions and opinions of others so that they vote against increases in the school tax.
    Do you have any clue about what is in the Bill of Rights? What exactly do you have against freedom of speech, or freedom of association? Do you really think the world would be better if we all just shut up and followed the directives of a Dear Leader/Big Brother?

    And It’s all someone else’s fault-
    Today, the people who live in Rye will take responsibility for their own lives and solve their own problems by voting to keep Nathan and Slack on the Board, and choosing Schmitt to join them. Ten bucks says that you’ll be the one whining tomorrow.

  39. Axis of Evil,
    Your comment;”if you can’t afford to live in Westchester(RYE),maybe it’s time to move”. To say the least is highly insulting!!! I have been living here my entire life and my family history in Rye spans 5 Generations. My Great Grandfather built one of our Homes. Our other home is one of 3 original structures left standing from a large estate. We, like most Middle Class & other life long residents of Rye don’t want to move and love it here. But the reality is the bar is being set too high for most. We were once a proud diversified community. Rye has become the land of the rich,and sadly they will be the only ones left standing. Frankly, it was about time some one like the BOE took a stand and start to put a stop to the madness.
    This is our RYE and we plan on letting it be known.
    VOTING SSN!!!!

  40. Jaime Zung – While you read someone else’s words, you went out of your way to set up an event to humiliate either a board member or the superintendent of schools. Having teachers distribute fliers encouraging people to attend a board meeting to “find out what the board is up to” while legit, certainly underscores your efforts to set up someone. So while technically not slander, you did attempt character assassination. Fortunately, it appears to have backfired on you and, unfortunately, your union.

    While I have stated elsewhere on this blog that I understand you to be an excellent teacher – I have no direct experience to be able to gainsay or support that assertion – your recent behavior in the community – first to encourage people to run who favor the RTA / a contract to the RTA’s liking; second to misuse and attempt to humiliate individuals in public; and third to attempt to mislead and manipulate the public about the RTA’s real interests is inexcusable and sets an awful example for our children. I thought that there was a consensus in the community that bullying was bad.

    I remember some of your early comments to the school board asking why the board had not followed through on its commitment to share with you its public announcements in advance of their release to the public. Also, your comments about the board’s not treating the RTA with respect by showing up late for meetings also rings true as reasonable criticism. Those are the kinds of points I would expect from a man of integrity. But your public rhetoric and attempt to manipulate the election and humiliate individuals do not.

  41. Mr. Zung,

    I saw that meeting on television. You obviously did your grandstanding in front of the cameras to embarrass the Superintendent. I’m proud of him for not taking your bait.
    You can say 24/7 that you are a man of iintegrity, but that doesn’t make it so.
    Even your own troups are uncomfortable by the over the top theatrics of their leader.
    Stop smearing people for mammon.
    Being greedy and nasty in a time of economic pain is repugnant to most. Read the editorial in the Journal News this Sunday by Lori Nikolski where she says everyone in the region understands this, except tone deaf megalomaniacs like you (my words – not hers).

  42. That’s a great answer that Jim Amico gave ‘Axis of Evil’ directly above.

    I second you Jim and suggest that even the rich will not be left standing if we don’t collectively manage our affairs properly starting right here and right now.

  43. To all the incredibly articulate and fair-minded voices on this blog, its a shame to see your 15 minutes of fame about to end.

    Maybe you can move on to banning books?

  44. If I might add a note to Hester’s – it’s been incredibly enlightening to read these posts over the past few weeks.

    I can’t help but think of the great Winston Churchill quote that sums it all up…

    “I may be drunk, Miss, but in the morning I’ll be sober and you’ll still be ugly.”

    I’ll put my name on this in the morning so all that care will know who TruthBeTold is!!!
    Excuse me..I’ll BRB…GOTTA GO VOTE SSN!!!!!!!!!!!!

  46. Dear Nowaynohow,

    For the last time, I am not a teacher! I also never posted support for Susan Hendler.
    I also would never want access to a school board member for my personal agenda. I respect the system and have always had great interaction with the principals when I have specific concerns. I am a purist with respect to school board function.

    I may be an idealist, but I expect good governance, and legal and ethical use of power.

    Am I the only citizen that respects the educators and administrators?

    I think you know I am not the type to concede gracefully. If the people of the community vote for the incumbents, I think it will be out of concern for their personal finance at the expense of good, legal and ethical governance and respect for the educators and administrators employed in the RCSD.


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