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BOE Meeting Summary

BOE Mtg. June 8, 2016 BMS

Dr. Camhi - Once a year we have pleasure of granting tenure - means for the last three years the employees have gone above and beyond to learn what it means to be a part of Baldwin. It is a trial period but it is only like the first mile of a long race. (Called the names/recognized tenure recipients - didn't catch the names, sorry) Presentation honoring the retiring teachers.

Superintendent's Comments:

Steele School 100 year celebration Wind Ensemble Concert at Adelphi on June 13 - performing 10 years of commissioned reports. Student created murals will be hanging up in a hospital.

What the Community is Talking About:

(Today an attorney is present to advise the BOE on which questions can and cannot be answered)

Person 1 - Speaking on behalf of the opposition to the hire of the principal for BHS. "My opposition is that this person has only been principal of a failed vocational school.." (attorney intervened) "Is there something that washes out the data, that we (the 509 people who signed the petition)do not know about the new principal hire?"

(Time was up and her question was not answered)

Person 2 - A comment about administration's ineptitude, placing 25-28 students per class in elementary while many HS classes are under enrolled. Doing it wrong - elementary should have smaller classes and HS should have larger classes

Person 3 - Started reading quote from NY Post about Lafergola...

Attorney - We will not use this forum to badger employees or future employees

"How do you have the gall to have a special meeting the day after the election? You may not do things illegally but you do them wrong. Susan Knors just said the HS is the flagship of the community and you just hired the captain of the Titanic."

Person 4 - I was supportive of this principal hire until she said 10 (audience called out "14") racial incidences..."

Attorney - this is not the forum to talk about it.

-When can we talk about it?

Ms. Doresca - I take offense for you to make false comments about racism. There was nothing said that was racist in that library. As someone who has dealt with racism, I take offense to that. There was a thorough process that was used. This (angry community reaction) is why the BOE chooses not to speak.

Person 5 - I signed the petition and read statements from teachers and it seems like the (Automotive HS) community did not believe in her. Wondered why we should believe in her. Why were the comments removed from the Baldwin district Facebook page? I just posted links. A conversation needs to be had about this before we decide whether or not to vote the BOE members back in or not.

Person 6 - I have a question for attorney - isn't discussion a two way street? When they come in to mention the principal, they are stopped. We came here for answers. Give us reason to believe.

Attorney - Make a private appointment with Camhi and ask all your questions. This is not the forum for this.

- I have been told to trust the Board. I have been married for many years and sometimes my wife does not trust me.

Person 7 - A Grandmother of student in Baldwin Schools - very disappointed tonight from the perspective of years in the NYC school system. Where was the openness of the process? Camhi said she knew that the current principal was retiring since December. Why was there not a more open interview process. Why did we not hear details of the candidates' action plans. I know "educrap" - which is the language when you talk like an educator without saying anything substantial. What is the process to assess her over the first year? The reputation you bring with you sticks with you and affects the place you come to. Be ready for the fall-out. I can only hope and pray it does not taint our students.

Person 8 - lives in Farmingdale but his wife was a graduate of BHS and he is an employee of Automotive HS. (attorney tried to stop him from speaking.) Commented that she was the best principal he has ever worked for. (Was stopped by Mrs. Reid - "if we can't say the negative, we can't say the positive," but he went on to say) "The NY Post quoted teachers who were not doing their job. Baldwin is lucky to have Ms. Lafengola."

Person 9 - We are really invested in this community and we are not just passing through. It is mystifying that the capable APs were not considered. Also Mrs Lafergola claimed the racist charges were unfounded but were they unfounded by the super who was her cousin or an independent arbitrator?

Person 10 - I am really vested in this community as well as the school district. I do trust the BOE to make good decision, but there needs to be clarity on why that decision was made. What is the term of the contract?

Attorney - Four years probationary period to earn tenure.

- Can we find out what goals she has to meet to succeed? What is she been measured by year by year? What goals would any principal have to meet?

Camhi - APPR - determined by the state - I believe next year we will be using the Marshall Rubric. You can google "Marshall Rubric for administrators." There is also a state formula that includes graduation rates and other things. All the administrators and myself care deeply for our kids. If you doubt that, ask our kids. I believe the direction of Baldwin is the direction every district needs to go - combo of K-12 education and the world of work. We would never hire a weak link because we all have to reach the same standard. It is the kids we work for.

- I think you (Camhi) are very vested in the community. To the people who are against this I will say, "No one principal can ruin a school." To the Board I think if you keep the communication open with the public, you will not get this (angry meeting).

- Camhi - There are limits to how open we can be by law. A job interview is a confidential process. At no point in the private sector are the shareholders of Citibank doing the interviews. I really did not want to start the school year without a principal. There are many openings on LI and we all compete for the same pool of candidates. I feel like we had a fair process and got the best candidate. I can't speak to the individual commentaries because it is not fair or legal. I spoke for 46 minutes to a NY School Teacher and what came out was she is frustrated with the City system. We are not the City. We have to vet the person and not the place she is coming from. I "get" the trepidation from the people of the community. The NYPost should not be your source of info. This quality review in NYC is not a good system. I do not believe their data is valid or reliable. If I did, we would have a different hire.

In the second comment session Ms Reid stated that no one who spoke in the first comment session could speak again. (My opinion/memory -I don't believe this has been done before. I have been at meetings that have run long and they have asked new speakers to come up first in the second session, but I do not recall a complete prohibition on repeat speakers before the second session begins.)

Person 11 - (resident and teacher) Dr Camhi has done so much in the two years she has been here and I can't imagine she would risk that on anyone she hires. I believe that people who did not work hard do not like people who make them do it. I have faith in my Board who I researched and voted for.

Person 12 - I trust Dr Camhi's judgement on this one. The number of people here and at the library lets you know something was wrong with the process of how this hiring was done. Going forward any decision that involves the HS or MS (all told the community) should go out to all the PTAs so more people can be involved and there is less surprise. Also praised Ms. Rebore at her last Board Mtg. Gives her credit for increasing openness and transparency on the board. Asks - Who remaining on the Board will pick up her mantle of openness and transparency and watching out for our money?

Mrs. Reid - We have had respectful honest conversations with many people over these weeks. I have welcomed that. We do not expect people to just trust us. We do not like being treated disrespectfully. I am open to considering that our process needs tweaking. We did our homework and did our due diligence with this hire. Only time will tell. I take issue when people go after the people on the Board because we all do this because we care about the children of Baldwin. We do not take this lightly.

Mark your calendar: Next BOE meeting is July 13.

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