BOE Members Seitler, Fink, Silver, And Zlatkin: Reforms Will Be Implemented

boe meeting first with new members 4-26-10The following statement was given to TLS from Board Of Ed Members Chesky Seitler, Carl Fink, Jonathan Silver and Isaac Zlatkin, following the recent State Audit of the Lakewood District: “The State has confirmed what the Lakewood voters have suspected for a long time. In 2009, Yoni Silver, running on a fiscal responsibility platform, drew the most votes from a pool of 5 candidates. In 2010, Fink, Seitler, and Zlatkin, running on the same platform, were voted in a landslide election. It is clear that the voters were suspicious that money was being wasted, misappropriated, and mismanaged. The State audit confirms this suspicion beyond a doubt. The new team of members are going to make sure that the proper corrective action is taken. The Administration has formulated a response to the audit, and the new team will make sure that those pledged reforms, as well as additional reforms, are implemented. The State audit and recommendations has given the new members the tools and resources needed to make the long awaited changes to the Lakewood BOE”.

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  1. Specifically what measures will be made to provide a transparent view of how BOE monies are spent. While I appreciate the platform and the comments, I have heard this too many times in the past. I for one find it unconscionable the BOE attorney received in excess of $500,000 between the BOE and as a consultant for Special Education, not to mention the conflict of interest. We need transparency and a system where both public and non-public school education money is used to provide the best possible education for all of our children. So again, specifically, what will the new board members so differently to provide this transparency?

  2. Starting from the very top? Elimination of the neon-bright conflict of interest in the attorney holding dual district positions and double-billing?
    If so, kudos. If not, just more rhetoric!

  3. In May, the last time the attorney was forced to (temporarily) give up his nonpublic consultant’s position, he made sure no mechanchim were permitted to go to the Torah Umesorah convention as in previous years on Title 1 expense. He made it clear that this was because he cannot approve this expenditure, since he is not in the nonPublic Consultant position. In short, retaliation.

    Be careful of further retaliation , but yes it’s definitely the right thing to do.

    We appreciate the strong leadership of the new slate, and wish you much hatzlacha. About time someone spoke-up for all children in Lakewood, and brought together all communities and all taxpayers, to stop this recurring waste and abuse,

  4. Explain to me why we should care if Mechanchim go to the Torah Umesorah convention on Tile expense. I for one had no idea that they did and would certainly not support my tax money being used for this.

  5. i think the above comments spell out the first step to be taken get rid of your conflict of interest attorney right off the bat youll save a bundle right their
    this is money that can be used for the childrens benefit both in public as well as private schools!
    it behooves us to take away money from our children to pay scandalous salaries not even taking into acct the conflict of interest!

  6. to # 4 ultimatley your child sitting in the class room benefits from a teacher or rebbe coming back rejuvinated,uplifted(bringing back new ideas he can implement in the class room,motivational ideas that worked in other schools) from a weekend of chizuk herad from our gedolim
    i think this is money well spent wouldnt compare this to a weekend at the raleigh

  7. #6 Rejuvenation and Uplifting is what vacation is for. Not tax dollars.

    Training in modern educational techniques is what Tax Dollars are for.

  8. I agree with Torah Truth… We need transparency and a system where both public and non-public school education money is used to provide the best possible education for all of our children. Well said. Let’s work together to assure this will get done.

  9. 1. They get valuable professional training;
    2. Many yeshivos/Bais Yaakovs throughout the country encourage attendance for that reason, and it is therefore proper use of Title 1 funds. In fact a percentage of Title 1 funds is specifically earmarked for professional development;
    3. Respectfully, the point was the need to avert retaliation. Let’s not lose focus.

  10. In the board meetin on April 26th anaddendumwas read that allowed for the Orthodox rabbis to go on their weekend vacation. The motion passed (5 orthodox members) Mr.Waters said he will check into what exactly goes on at these weekend getaways. No retaliation. Everyone was approved. Anyone not on that list could not get approved simply because there were no more meetings before the event.

  11. no title one money for aguda convention and gives us our tax money back . also there was another convention this year paid by the taxpayers. BOE can we have evry penny spent by u guys from now on posted on a website. it is after all OUR MONEY that will make sure NO waste and you’ll think twice before spending our money

  12. why then did the attorney point blank tell these folks they could not attend because HE was not able to approve their attendance since he was NOT in that position any longer? Making it very clear they lose out when he loses out? Please stay on point.

    This brings-up a very scary fact. Anytime the attorney’s continued employment in the District is brought into question, the knee-jerk reaction by some BOE members is, we cannot afford to let him go, he will kill us with his lawsuits, as happened in 2002.

    Is this really why he is employed, overpaid, and given free reign in all matters?

  13. If the new board members don’t have the guts to eliminate waste for fear of “retaliation”, let’s bring in new board members who will. It’s worth the short term pain for long term gain. How much longer must this go on for?

  14. Actually that is not what title one funding is for… I did a Google search and found the following:

    What is the Purpose of Title 1 Funding?
    According to the U.S. Department of Education the purpose of Title 1 funding, “is to ensure that all children have a fair, equal, and significant opportunity to obtain a high quality education and reach, at minimum, proficiency on challenging state academic achievement standards and state academic assessments.”

    The basic principles of Title 1 state that schools with large concentrations of low-income students will receive supplemental funds to assist in meeting student’s educational goals. Low-income students are determined by the number of students enrolled in the free and reduced lunch program. For an entire school to qualify for Title 1 funds, at least 40% of students must enroll in the free and reduced lunch program.

    How are Title 1 Funds Used?
    How to use Title 1 funds rests with each school. Title 1 funds can be used to improve curriculum, instructional activities, counseling, parental involvement, increase staff and program improvement. The funding should assist schools in meeting the educational goals of low-income students. According to the U.S. Department of Education, Title 1 funds typically support supplemental instruction in reading and math. Annually, this program reaches over six million students, primarily in the elementary grades.

    Types of students that might be served by Title 1 funds include migrant students, students with limited English proficiency, homeless students, students with disabilities, neglected students, delinquent students, at-risk students or any student in need. Students can be classified as at-risk for numerous reasons. A few reasons they might be classified as at-risk students include: high number of absences, single-parent home, low academic performance or low-income family.

    Now while it is true that funding can be used to improve educational skills and the like I don;t think a weekend at a Torah Umesorah convention is the best use of that money. Getting Chizuk from Gedolim and a restful Shabbos may be a good use of a Rebbi’s time and valuable for them and our kids, but it is not the best educational training available. I would much rather our tax dollars being spent on “trainibg” our Rabbeim as well as our secular teachers. Perhaps if we invest these dollars in improving their teaching skills we would not need to spend so much money in “special education” and this save us money in the long run. Just so I’m clear, I am sure a weekend at a Torah Umesorah convention is valuable, I just don’t think it should be paid for with my tax dollars. BTW, I wonder how everyone here would react if the public school teachers were spending BOE money (I know Title one is not BOE money) for a weekend of lectures in a hotel someplace… I can just see the comments.

  15. It seems the comments here show lack of knowledge of the Title 1 program. Title 1 is not only tutoring. One of the other parts is called professional development which is covered under Title 1. The principals, rebbies, and teachers need the Torah Mesorah convention and the Lakewood Cheder weekend getaway to mentor among themselves within their own group.
    This is perfectly legal with Title 1 rules. Also this is Federal monies, not your property tax money.

    The issue at hand is why a Board Attorney has say over who can go or not to a Title 1 program function. This is clearly showing everyone what is going on and who is in control.

    We are constantly being held hostage to these tactics. If not for certain people who are making a noise about what is going on, all monies would never be given over to the Yeshivas.

  16. Just look at the facts.

    The current District business administrator went along with the attorney’s glaring conflict of interest positions. Went along with putting him him on a vendor’s payroll in return for his giving that vendor a monopoly on all nonpublic special education contracts. Approved $4.4 million in “extra compensation” in 2009. Approved a whopping $295,000 payment to superintendent Ed Luick for unused sick, vacation and personal time when he retired in June 2008. Did not report misuse of payroll accounts to law enforcement as required. And the list goes on and on and on, as shown in today’s APP lead editorial,

    In fact, a close review of the scathing State Audit Report shows most of the problems happening, or continuing, under the current Business Administrator.

    Yet the BOE in its official response to the Audit, tries to assure the State Auditors and Lakewood taxpayers that most of the problems have already been corrected. Baloney.

    We’re not buying it, and we doubt the state auditors will. Will the new team on the BOE be hoodwinked?

  17. All you have to do is follow the first thing that the state recomended , get rid of the BOE attorney. , then everything will be fixable.

    No one trust him anymore and there is nothing to fear besides fear itself, as long as he is there its the same old circus.

  18. People should stop complaininf about the boe attorney. One time I was in trouble (it is a personal matter) and he helped me out.

    This is the same arguement again and again by bob singer. I thought I would use it here as well.

  19. “The Administration has formulated a response to the audit, and the new team will make sure that those pledged reforms, as well as additional reforms, are implemented. ”
    according to the article there has been information forwarded to the prosecutor to look into criminal charges also .
    this is just the tip of the iceberg

  20. To Lakewood Taxpayer: I don’t recall seeing anyone say that using Title 1 money for a Torah U’Mesorah Weekend is illegal. What was said that using Title 1 tax money for a Torah U’Mesorah weekend for Rabbeim and (V’Nishahem) is not the best use of money. I am sure there is valuable lectures that will help them, but for the most part it is a boondoggle in a resort that is a total waste. We are not the healthcare industry that takes doctors to resorts, have a 2 hour lecture and spend the rest of time vacationing! Let’s apply this money to “TRAINING” our teachers with an intense training session. That would be a good use of money and reduce the need for special education and tutoring overall. For the record I am a former teacher. A Gutten Shabbos.

  21. This vital, vibrant discussion is most valuable. TLS is doing an unbelievable public service. Let’s face it. All the positive changes at the BOE, including the election of a new great team, are only because of the admirable work of TLS.

    Keep it up!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. Oh the 3 new guys will finely begin to keep their promise? because so far they have followed in the same old tradition of the others, voting to benefit the private schools while hurting the children they are suppose to represent.
    They recently had the opportunity to get rid of the attorney, instead they gave him back a position from which he had resigned.

  23. #22 the lawyer helped you on a personal matter…good, i hope you paid him. as far as all the nonsense that has taken place in the board of ed. and the past and present adminstration, and appears to be coming in the future, one common piece is always there…this attorney. time for him to leave. he is not grandfathered in. he is a big part of the problem.

  24. Do any of the people commenting above have special needs children? And if so do you want your children attending public school or Tiny Tots and Schi? The board attorney is the one who fights for all these precious neshamos to have an appropriate education. Just another perspective to bare in mind.

  25. To #31 WHAT? I can tell you that the special needs children in the public schools do not get serviced, they barely get educated. The children either get placed in the behavioral class or an Autistic based class, because the attorney got rid of all the services. They have no idea how to educate these children. That’s education? No, it’s a disgrace!!!

  26. We all agree that money is being wasted and that has to be corrected, but first evaluate the situation and see where the money is not well spent- don’t just cut irrationally. This new board is at war with yidishe children. These are our communities vulnerable special needs children. Your job is to advoacte for them and see to it that thier educational and overall developmental needs are being met in a way that is suited for frum children and thier families. It is inexcusable for people from within our community to obtain positions of power and then harm speicla needs children. The whole fiasco with the Stars program was terrible. Cutting the budget of a great program that really benefits children, and is scarcely funded to begin with is not okay. Closing down Tinty Tots and placing children in public school is really not looking out for the best interest of our children. Yes find where money is being wasted and eliminate that problem, but do not cut funding and harm yidishe neshamos. The lakewood community does not endorse that!

  27. The Special Needs Report issued in April was much harsher than the State Audit on general fiscal mismanagement. It contained 15 serious Findings and 5 Recommendations. Wait till THAT Report hits the media.

    If I was the attorney, or his cheerleader, I would NOT hide behind his record of plundering the District special needs budget, denying services to hundreds of neshamos every year, diverting funds from the meager dollars left after misappropriation.

    Read the State ARRA Monitoring report. It is available online, though buried by the District. Someone should publicize it.

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