Sunday, March 30, 2008


People Get Ready:

Transfer period is near. This is a warm up for the next post.

I could work for this principal.

Do you know/work for someone like this in Hillsborough?

Who are the good ones?

Monday, March 24, 2008


Having had some time to reflect on the recent Good Friday "debacle" I'd like to make a few points. You may recognize some bits and pieces of postings and responses from our local blog community.

Good Friday is for ADULTS.

It is our day and time to "observe". If the kids join us: all the better but the true meaning of Good Friday only sinks in as we age. What we were taught we begin to understand. I'm pretty sure this is not unique to Christians.

As adults we saved our personal days, we had sub plans ready, and we let our principals know in advance, like we always do. It didn't matter if we drove buses, served food, cleaned up, or did clerical or custodial tasks. We may even have stated that our purpose was religious in nature, not political or vengeful. Most principals were adult and "understood", even though it may have put them in an awkward position. Our Board should follow their example:

Candy Olson said maybe the district should negotiate with employees' unions to require a doctor's note on certain days or double the time taken off on those days."Tampa Trib

Sounds discriminatory to me but, all things considered, this is how the district reacts. Google "Doug Erwin". Candy's got a mean streak and if she's hoping to parlay her school board position into something more she'd be well to remember that these statements don't go away. You can bet any opponent hopes she doesn't realize this. (Keep the change, sister)

Don't praise "family", "diversity" and "multiculturalism" and then devalue the majority beliefs.

Considering how many students stayed home it appeared that the public at large recognized our religious conviction or at the least figured it was safer not to insist the kids go to school. One can't discount the influence of the district letter sent home. This letter alerted parents to the impending transportation problem.

I don't doubt that some used the day to begin a journey to be with family and may not return to school until Tuesday.

Religion is a very personal matter and to expect someone to practice it according to your expectations is unconstitutional.

Maybe the community at large decided that they were going to make a statement about how the district has marginalized the community's Christian beliefs.

Maybe the employees (also part of the community) individually decided that they too feel their beliefs have been marginalized and their convictions under valued. They were / are / will continue exercising their freedoms.

The district can not have it both ways: they count on their employee's beliefs to go the "extra mile" when its convenient for their purpose but bring out the hammer when it isn't.

We have a leadership crisis.

Anyone who has lived in Florida for more than a year realizes how dysfunctional Tallahassee is. From unfunded mandates, the latest PC trend, the insurance "fix", the property tax amendment, etc. to the cursive nod to education at election time followed by the piecemeal funding of schools.

Did you know that recent reports indicate that FCAT results won't be in this year until after school is out? This throws the schools into scheduling chaos. Thank you Tallahassee.

The school board is not much better. Ever since former board members got elected to the Tallahassee trough and a former CTA president made it to Governor, no board member wants to rock the boat. They should be up there screaming like banshees for funding. Of course, when you make basic math mistakes in projecting student enrollment your credibility is shot in the political arena.

Your credibility with the community also gets tarnished when your calendar committee drops Fair Day and the Board puts it back after a "plea" from the State Fair representative. You refused to acknowledge religious day off requests. Then in an obvious vindictive response, removed all religious holidays from the calendar and stuck a day off on May 2nd.

You say the kids won't be unduly penalized for missing school on a religious holiday but threaten your employees if they use a personal day. Then blame those same employees when a letter sent home by the administration outlining the transportation problem results in parents keeping their kids home.

Will somebody please step up to the plate and at least take a few practice swings?

Where are our religious leaders? They are uncharacteristically quiet. We need them to come forward.

Let's stick one of each major religion in a room in ROSSAC and let them negotiate the religious days off? Give their document to the calendar committee.

Is there anyone out there that believes we can't get the educating job done in 180 student days instead of 184? Is there hard data that supports this? If not then there are four student days to play with.

The district has a couple of years to find a Good Friday solution. Lets see if they care enough to fix it early.

Since 5 board members, the Superintendent, her assistant superintendents have never responded to an honest sit down discussion with their employees at the school sites, the bus depots, or support offices they have no idea what is going through their employees minds. The Good Friday scramble underscores this conclusion. "deepcover" has pointed out a very real hole in the dike.

"We now know that they CAN make a statement and that shutting down the system is a very real thing. If the teachers, bus drivers, food service workers, and custodians ever decide they have had enough they only need to take 3 continuous days off together. A sudden Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday "flu" would catch everyone so far off-guard."

A prescient analysis that deserves the "good thinking" award.

Rule by fear has never engendered a spirit of cooperation only seething resentment.

History has shown time and time again that allowed to seethe, resentment becomes revolution.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


Dear Ms. Olson,

We don't ask for much. Just something like:

"This was a decision I made as a member of the school board and I take responsibility for the outcome. I realize that it caused an absence rate of 60% and I will work with the Superintendent and other board members to analyze what happened."

Rather than:

"...maybe the district should negotiate with employees' unions to require a doctor's note on certain days or double the time taken off on those days."

The professional, corporate response was suggested by Fred Burns, candidate for the School Board.

Please read Burns' blog (it's linked on the right) then send this guy some money! Any amount. Let him know THIS is the type of leadership you want to start with.

Friday, March 21, 2008


I put the title in quotes because it is not original. It came from someone else but it fits the current events surrounding HiCcuPS.

Those that stayed home from work, using a personal day, displayed their responsibility for their beliefs.
The stock market was closed. Even some attorney's offices were closed!

Here is my problem: where the hell was the bishop, the monsignor, the pastor, the priest , the reverend? Their silence is deafening and disturbing. Has the church given up?

How come the media didn't see fit to show ONE religious spokesperson interview?

Is Jack Lamb such a stirring lecturer that Saint Lawrence chose to stay on the sidelines rather than be subject to his wrath? Will Christ the King, Bayshore Baptist, ANYBODY step up?

Maybe they should take a lesson from the flock: be responsible for your own beliefs.
THESE convictions we can be proud of.

Happy Easter.

Monday, March 17, 2008


I'm not taking a chance with my religious "inner voice".

Suzie is taking a personal / religious day on Friday. It just seems like the right thing to do.

I petition the district to poll S.E.M.S., and the employees. Do the right thing and OBSERVE A CULTURAL MOMENT.

Shut the schools down.


I have been reading the papers, blogs, and comments.

1) Some people get off bullying Christians. Those of you who take Good Friday off should be able to do so and not need to justify it. Do we quiz our Jewish, Protestant, or Muslim friends when they are "out" for a religiously important day? Atheists: get over it. We share the same rights.

2) Administrators who show up are being punished for doing so. Their day has increased to 12 hours. 6AM-6PM.

3) School Board members who make veiled threats ( Candy's modus operandi) trying to insure compliance are again showing their true colors. Don't forget this.

4) The secular vs religious calendar argument is BULLSHIT! Make the calendar 180 student days and 186 teacher days. Nobody is going to prove that 4 days will make a difference. Then give everyone some religious recognition. We probably need a ratio of sorts.

5) Our school board's arrogance is just more evidence that they do NOT VALUE ANY EMPLOYEE. Edgecomb, Olson, Faliero, Lamb, and Kurdell display this regularly. I'm not talking just teachers here. Our bus drivers, custodians, food service workers, administrators, and support staff know this.

6) Many of those who are taking Good Friday off SAVED the personal day and should not be punished just because they exercise this prerogative and the district cannot cope with the effects. Those that choose to go to school deserve our thanks not our anger. They also deserve the same respect we give those who choose to stay home.

7) It all comes down to leadership:

Could Yvonne have been any more "vanilla" and spineless? I'd have looked in the camera and said "The Board recognized the teachers religious conviction in every contract to date. I'm sure they would never consider something so un-American as to even consider denying them their right to participate in Good Friday".

Our Board couldn't figure out a solution and hid behind a committee. Remember this come election day.

8) Who cares what the kids do. This is an adult day.

9) The post title while not the cleverest has become prophetic.

Happy Easter all.
This goes beyond the bunny.

Sunday, March 16, 2008


Everything you wanted to know about the 2008 Extended School Year Program. "Thar's money in them thar hills"(borough)!

For those of you talented enough to wade through what we spent in February. Bless you for being able to stay awake.

Hey, you folks with Reading Masters check this.
No bid.
Wasn't the Superintendent a former Reading Supervisor? She could probably do this herself, in her sleep.

We need a $10 million grant to tell us smaller schools are better?!
Where do I sign up.
Look, see.

I may not be the hottest french fry in the happy meal but give me 5.5 mil and 2 years and I'll be glad to document the negative effects of the additional teaching period!

I'll promise to sub contract Goader, Sisyphus, Lee, Bart, Eloquentmind, Bruce and a few others, keeping them too busy to blog. It's a no-bid-win-win.
Ms. Falerio can supervise in order to assure the public there won't be any hanky panky.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


While this is just the tip of the iceberg, allow me to make some observations.

•Put more students in non-core classes not covered by the state class-size amendment.

Load up electives even more. Make those teachers and their programs shoulder a disproportionate workload. Will there be more money for supplies, etc?

•Review nursing services, although the district has about 80 fewer nursing and health assistant positions now than it did several years ago.

More students with allergies and medical conditions but less services. More kids coming to school sick in order to exempt exams.

•Review guidance services, including student intervention and career specialist positions, previously paid for with grants.

Once again, the kids are on their own to solve conflicts and plot their future.

•Replace in-school suspension teachers with assistant teachers or use teachers who need more classes to fill in.

Do assistant teachers have the "training" to deal with a room full of disruptive students. Coaching ranks will be decimated. Consistency of teacher, discipline, and expectations will render the program useless and result in a flood of suspensions. The schools will be subject to ROSSAC directives to cut the number of suspensions. Schools will be chaotic.

•Hire assistant teachers, people with two-year degrees or college students to fill technology specialist jobs now held by teachers.

Admittedly I am ignorant of all my Tech does at school but I can't imagine anyone doing the job for minimum wage. Add the fact that it introduces a 19 to 21 year old into a target rich environment (young girls and boys) and I think we are asking for trouble. Do we need to rehash old headlines? Sure its a broad brush UNTIL its your kid!

The district remains low on (bus) drivers, has no substitutes and about 100 drivers are absent every day, Franklin said.

We can't get the kids to school or back home. Isn't the economy supposed to be bad? Can it be the job is hideous and pays poorly. Can we get similar teacher stats?

In another matter, the board was told that it needs to develop a plan to fill top school jobs. Within 10 years, 65 percent of the district's administrators - including principals and assistant principals - will be eligible for retirement.

Within 10 years only 3 of the schools current administrators will be on the job.
This includes ONLY those destined for retirement. Like teachers and other staff, there are some that will just call it quits. Fast-tracking inexperienced administrators is NOT the answer.

So who's coming up with this?

Superintendent MaryEllen Elia $253,000 plus bonuses $37,000 + ?
Deputy Superintendent Ken Otero $140,141.76 ?
Deputy Superintendent / Chief Human Resources Officer Dan Valdez $140,829.92 ?
Assistant Superintendent for Administration Lewis Brinson $129,272.88 ?
Chief Government Relations Officer Connie Milito $127,370.32 ?

Lamb, John R. Salary in 06-07: $40,252.32 + Monthly retirement payment: $6,921.15 ?
Edgecomb, Doretha W. Salary in 06-07: $40,252.32 + Monthly retirement payment: $4,279.63 ?

Are we getting our money's worth?

Monday, March 3, 2008


Please note that the time of Thursday's meeting is 3:30PM.

The time you arrive

You presence does.


Will we play "truth or dare", "follow the leader" or "mad libs"?

In what ways are stakeholders, including system and school staff, given opportunities to provide leadership and to contribute to the decision-making process?*

* From the Sacrosanct S.A.C.S. Standard Assessment Report to be approved this Board Meeting.

Here is the Agenda Summary.

Let's keep an eye out for the results.

Saturday, March 1, 2008


Lee DeCesare has used her influence to help us by arranging this meeting.

I have changed the wording of her announcement to make it "easier" to post to your internal email bulletin board. You might also just copy and paste this to send to select individuals at your site IF you feel the administration may be "less than understanding". Click on the link to her website found on the right ("Lambo's Lee") for the full posting. Goader also blogs about it.

This is the lady who garnered the School Board's ire when she went to bat for Bruce and Bart by name. She is the embodiment of Petty's "I Won't Back Down" and the least we can do is show up.

Yes, it is between 3:30 and 5:00 PM and chances are, posting this on your Internal email may result in a hastily called faculty meeting (please don't Mr. Hutec). If such an occurrence happens, please let us know so that we can include these little "tricks" in the documentation.

The 3:30 PM start time is just that: COME when YOU CAN - a good cross section of teachers will help open up the conversation.


A meeting has been set up with the Tribune publisher, Ms. Palmer, for this Thursday at 3:30 pm at the conference room in the TV building of the Tribune, on Kennedy near the bridge.

The purpose is to allow teachers to let the Tribune publisher know the teachers’ view of their struggle with the board and administration. It will be the teachers’ voices telling the most powerful media presence in our area their views of what is wrong with the school system, the superintendent, and the board.