Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Just got done watching the board meeting via the "Stream 'n' Scream". Try it. It provides the opportunity to replay some of the "jargon" and convoluted responses from the Board, Superintendent, and Staff. Excuse the phrase, but more often than not I had to replay comments with "what the hell was THAT!?" going through the back of my mind. Can't these people speak plainly so that we can understand them? Yeah, I know: that's the point.


Someone with Yvonne Lyons email address please ask the following?

1) What was the ACTUAL numerical for/against vote count of the M.A.P. approval?
2) What is the ACTUAL number of dues paying instructional employees that CTA represents?
3) What is the ACTUAL number of instructional employees that work for the district?

I'm tired of the ratio reports. It hides the true involvement of the membership.
ALL votes should have a minimum participation clause that assumes if someone does NOT vote it is a NO VOTE!
Make an effort to get the ballot to me and on time.
Make me understand the importance of an issue because if you don't: it stops there!


Who is this guy James Aleesio? AULISIO ! *
Why is he asking questions that CTA should be asking? Why isn't he in Yvonne Lyons position? Why isn't he a teamster? He's cleaning CTA's leadership's clock!

The CandyLand response to his "administrator raise" comment was LAME! How about some facts Ms. Olsen? Even the cub reporter that bears your surname could come up with a better response. Merely saying "that's incorrect" is a side step to the truth. Step up and CORRECT him on record.

Unless you're just "blowin' smoke".

By the way: You may have overlooked my doorstep on your last campaign. I'll look forward to your next visit. It will be a long one. What do you drink?

I wish April a speedy recovery.

*Thanks possum.

Friday, May 25, 2007


Hope everyone had a smooth close out at school.

It was personally bittersweet to see "quality" teachers I have grown to like on a personal level and respect on a professional level pack up to leave. Knowing why they must and how it happened has given me a quiet resolve to continue. All the press release spin coming out of the Superintendent's office, the continued CTA capitulation, and just knowing what next year will be like fuels me. Hopefully we will find out just how many were forced to teach out-of-field.

Thank God for our blog archives. When I begin to feel weary I WILL LOOK BACK. I will NOT forget.

May 29 - 5PM School Board Meeting

May 30 - 9AM - 3PM CTA Contract Negotiations (Open To Public) 4505 N. Rome Ave.

May 31/June1 Teacher Interview Days @ Jefferson High School

June 8 - 9AM - 3PM CTA Contract Negotiations (Open To Public) 4505 N. Rome Ave.

June 12 - 5PM School Board Meeting

June 26 - CANCELLED! 5PM School Board Meeting

July 17 - 5PM School Board Meeting


By the way: if Elia's bonus was based on "faulty" 3rd grade FCAT data will it be taken back?

What about the kids who got promoted on the faulty data? Their current teachers have got to make MORE than adequate yearly progress to make up for it. Think they'll get Performance, ah, STAR, ah, MAP pay?

Monday, May 21, 2007


Considering everything that we are all involved in these last two weeks, I think its time for a little light -hearted posting and comments.

ScanTrons and S.I.L.K aside, if you attended your school's graduation how about posting your thoughts? It will probably be the last one many of us attend voluntarily - AS IT SHOULD BE.

Friday, May 11, 2007


I copied this from the "comment" section of a previous post. Based on the first 3 comments I elevated it to its own area because I believe it deserves a higher profile. Fellow teachers also need to know what administrators just don't play fair. Its the least we can do.

Fellow professionals: YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.


"It is frustrating to hear about these principals who are intimidating teachers not to attend the Board meetings. They are limiting your free movement around your country.

Why are you afraid to name these principals here on my blog? Your identity is protected - just don't don't post things from school.

It is critical to have first person accounts.

Don't worry about any principal figuring out who "outed" them. They only pretend to be able to do that. Use "Anonymous" or "Other" - in fact type that principal's name in "other"! Face it, they have a lot more to contend with than YOUR POST!

Are you afraid that CTA won't be able to help you? THAT's revealing!

Suzie Creamcheese allows me extraordinary freedom and I pass it on to you. Everyone knows how this district seeks revenge which is why we have "The WALL".

I am still disappointed in the silence of Plant, Robinson, Blake, Durant, Jefferson, Middleton, Riverview, Newsome, and Wharton. Now, granted, I may have missed something so please call me on it and straighten me out.

Let us know you care enough about what's going on. I can accept anything but apathy from my fellow teachers.

I will be able to rationalize to myself if someone is truly fearful of their principal, but consider this:

Can you really be happy at a place that has so little regard for, yet such fear of your thoughts and beliefs?

Can you face your fellow teachers knowing you caved without a fight?

Can you really look at your children as they sit across from you at the dinner table and tell them to "stand up to that bully, you'll feel better."

Can you really look in the mirror next year as you fight the fatigue of the 6 of 7 schedule for a smaller paycheck?

Can you?

Please write."

Thursday, May 10, 2007


Just in case:

I am preparing a "Letter to Parents" that teachers can copy or modify for use during "Open House" and "Conference Days".

It would be nice to quote our Superintendent, Board members, and C.T.A. as supporting documentation.

If you know the exact quote, please post it here with the date. Mrs. Faliero's "prioritize" comment comes to mind.

The Board meetings are a "comment rich" resource. With everybody contributing and refining I hope to have an impressive product for us.

I will collect and incorporate the quotes and then post my final letter for you to use freely.

Fell free to make suggestions. We have 3 MONTHS to refine it.

Come back often.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007


May 8th Board Meeting

In no particular order:

Live with the superintendent's plan for this year and we will find some way to fix it next year.
Oh, really?

We were given NO other option to address this problem. This was the only plan presented.
Oh, really?

The teachers will bear the full financial sacrifice of funding this program. There is no option for EVERYONE ( like in every employee) to take a cut in order to make this work.
Oh, really?

Some student clubs, programs, and activities will not be available next year.
Oh, really?

It's all the voters fault for making the state do this. We have no other option.
Oh, really?

The superintendent LEFT while her employees spoke - probably to check in with absentee Candy.
Oh, really?

April Griffin was the only board member with enough courage to state her opinion AND position.
Oh, really?

We don't have to try and get things (like stadium lighting) cheaper because we have bid process in place. See these spartan charts?

I haven't heard a peep from board member Kurdell about the superintendent's plan.
Oh, really.

No board member would actually accept (touch?) a notebook of data presented by a teacher (leper). Oh, really?

Students addressed the board in a heartfelt manner as mature young adults and effectively left the superintendent with egg on her face.
Oh, really?

October 2007: ground zero for teacher burnout.
Oh, really?

We need a lawyer with chutzpah and the desire to be elected a judge to file a class action suit followed by a court injunction stopping this train in its tracks.

We need teachers to quit CTA and embrace the Teamsters.

We need to vote "NO" on the contract, send this to arbitration, show up for school and teach 5 classes - creatively mind you.

We need to be ready when the FCAT scores tank because we will be blamed.

We need to include the time of our conference period on all parental correspondence so they know that's the time we are able to return phone calls. Oh, don't forget Mrs. Falerio's suggestion and prioritize all your tasks during that time.

We need to pay close attention to the shenanigan's during the meeting/workshop at the end of June. My intuition is not good on that one.

We will stay focused - oh, really, really focused.

Monday, May 7, 2007


It is time.

I'm still thinking that we need another organization to really represent us.

An organization not afraid to look at the Board and say "NO way".

An organization that will go to the edge for us.

An organization that is not afraid to go to jail for what is right.

An organization that is willing to say "This is NOT the best the county can offer and we recommend that you vote NO and send us to arbitration. We have a good case."

Some healthy competition is good. I 'm weary of "accepting" the status quo.

I'm looking for leadership. Are you?

I'm looking for guts. Are you?

I'm looking around. Are you?

Remember when unions would take out full page ads in order to win over public sentiment?

I never liked the idea of unions per se. I always seemed to do more than the teacher in the next room and yet still got paid the same. I always figured that my money could buy a lawyer if I needed one.

I still do.

BUT this is affecting my friends and colleagues like nothing else. I would join an organization that WANTED to represent me.

We are ripe for the picking.

If you are tired of the same old song, the same old tired responses from the same old tired representatives then click on the "blue" word and make your statement!

Maybe, just maybe, you too wanna be a teamster.

Thursday, May 3, 2007


Twilight Zone?

Consider our Superintendent's incubation at Plant High School under the tutelage of Beth Shields.

Starting as a Reading Resource Specialist, she has never actually taught in a Hillsborough County classroom. (No grading, no parent phone calls, no scheduled daily classes, no attendence, no homeroom.)

During the next 20 years she was elevated to Reading Supervisor, Magnet School Supervisor, Director of Non-Traditional Programs, General Director of Secondary Education, Chief Facilities Officer, and Superintendent.

Out of breath yet?

Elia Bio

Like a rock skipping over the water, there were surface ripples but nothing that could be considered leadership currents.

It makes me think she's really not the innovator some would have us believe.

Consider the bureaucratic structure of ROSSAC.

Has anyone ever been fired?
(Not even Doug Erwin earned that distinction. His bravery and endurance was recognized by the County Commissioners. It cost the district money. You get the point.)

Thoughts, focus and direction appear to be seeded in positions below the Superintendent.

It is hard to imagine that in less than 2 years in the Superintendent's position anyone could possibly have a grasp on all the ramifications of the 6 out of 7 plan she has brought forth and championed.

They can't get the buses to run on time due to attrition, burnout, and staffing. A consultant was paid handsomely to identify problems and suggest resolutions. How many kids are still waiting for the bus before and after school? Next year's classrooms will be similar.

Its a house of cards and the Superintendent has an itch in her nose.

Somebody has her ear.
Somebody has sold her on this plan.

Whistle Blower Resigns After Reporting $100 Million in losses to the F.B.I.

TAMPA - The Hillsborough County School Board will end its fight with former employee Doug Erwin, who sued the district under the Florida Whistle-Blowers Act and won a jury award of $175,000.
"We based it on our attorney's recommendation," school board Chairwoman Candy Olson said
after a closed board meeting Tuesday to discuss litigation. "I still think we did nothing wrong, but we've got other things we need to pay attention to. We need to move on." Erwin, reached at his home near Atlanta, said, "That's great. ... I really didn't know what to expect at this point in time. I'm happy to see the end of it."
Erwin said he is spending his time working in his garden and "enjoying life as much as possible"
with his wife, Pat.
The district's battle with Erwin will cost taxpayers $215,184 in the school board attorney's fees, school board attorney Tom Gonzalez said, plus Erwin's attorney's fees and costs. Erwin's attorney, Priscilla Ryan, has asked for more than $1.6 million, Gonzalez said, which will be determined in a court hearing.
Erwin's saga started in November 2001, when he went public with allegations of shoddy work,
mismanagement and coverup in school construction and maintenance. A 33-year school district employee, Erwin had been a popular principal before being promoted to general director of operations in 1998. There, he sparked internal investigations into wrongdoing in the maintenance and grounds departments he supervised. Those led to criminal charges against former school district employees
and showed $560,000 apparently misappropriated in the grounds department. Florida's auditor general verified accusations of waste and mismanagement.
Erwin's original request to air his concerns before the school board was denied, followed by
heated debates with the board.
In late January 2002, then-Superintendent Earl Lennard reassigned Erwin, ordering him to find an estimated $100 million in district losses. Erwin announced his retirement the next day and sued the district, saying he was forced to resign after his allegations. A trial in December before U.S. District Judge James D. Whittemore resulted in the $175,000 award, not yet paid because the district appealed.
In late September, Whittemore refused to overturn the award.
"I think the judge is dead wrong, but the truth about an appeal is that the odds are against you,"
Gonzalez said. Ryan, Erwin's attorney, has filed for $43,246 in costs plus $799,180 in fees and has asked that the fees be at least doubled, Gonzalez said.
The money to pay Erwin and all attorneys comes out of the district's general fund used to pay employees and operating expenses, he said. Only four of seven school board members were at Tuesday's meeting. Two of them, Doretha Edgecomb and Susan Valdes, were not on the board when the Erwin case made headlines. "I just think it's a new administration, and we have to move forward," Valdes said.
Edgecomb agreed: "We have done all that we could. I think we have bigger issues to focus on.
We should just accept the judgment and move on from there."
( SOURCE: MARILYN BROWN , The Tampa Tribune
Tampa Bay Online)

I hope the "Ag guy" reads this.

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