I WANT TO KNOW

I want to know if the State Department of Education says our schools are top-heavy in administration, why were all their contracts renewed at the last school board meeting?

Whey are 18 teachers being cut and the union and principals to date have not been involved in who gets cut; but a list will be given to the union next week and if they don’t agree another 8 will be cut. Among them I understand may include the 3 reading specialists; many of the kids going to our school don’t have a book at home, so we are cutting those jobs. drama, chorus? No  secretarial staff will be cut?

I want to know why when the state sent in a qualified person to be acting superintendent and going into executive session had 5 votes to be hired, yet wasn’t because of a phone call from a State Senator not in this district, and the board didn’t even investigate.

Does the board still want to run the show; I thought we broke that BS up?

I understand communications between administration, board to the teachers/union is as bad or worse now than it was after McCoy left.

I want to know why at next Wednesday;s meeting the board will change the residence requirements for the superintendent that they DO NOT have to reside in the district. I thought that was changed when the last superintendent  was hired. Why the change; does a board member have a favorite who lives out of the district.

If I’m paying their salary, I want the superintendent to live in the district and become involved, not leave school at 3:30 and go home out of the district. 

I’d like to know. 

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88 thoughts on “I WANT TO KNOW

  1. Oh geez….where to begin? After a glass of wine,( and not even a large one) the answer seems simple Frank. We need to remove the educrats from these positions and do the same thing we probably should do in DelDot— let a successful, effective business person come in and work with the educrats (or engineers in the case of Deldot) and make the process more streamlined and efficient and eliminate the layers upon layers of administrators who are so far away from where the rubber meets the road as to be superfluous. God knows they have no idea how difficult it is in the trenches where underpaid, over worked teachers deal with over and under involved parents, hyper political boards and the wildly swinging pendulums of the next-new-best snake oil methods of teaching.
    Seriously, how much worse could it be? Right now, the test scores never seem to be good enough regardless of how much bureaucratic overhead we throw at the problem. Could it be that all this oversight over burdens the folks in the classroom who are so busy meeting ever changing standards and methods that they can’t spend the appropriate time with their students?
    I am smart enough to know that I don’t know all the answers, but am also smart enough to know ( forgive my grammar Mrs. Massey) that this ain’t workin’.

    • Agreed; once had a friend tell me it wasn’t necessary to have an educator run the schools as superintendent; a businessman would do much better because they understand the real world. Surround them with smart educators, and crack the whip.
      I agree testing is a waste of time and a drain on the teachers. Kids are graduating not knowing the basics and then we thrown them into society and they are lost.
      We throw more money at education than anything else in the budget and we are still falling behind other countries who spend a lot less.

  2. I agree with every one of your points. I don’t like. to see politics interfere with what’s best for our students.The districts are top heavy. Maybe some could be convinced to retire early.

  3. and so when the current acting super. leaves, will that create another administrative salary if she slips back into her previous position in food service?

  4. Wow Frank! Another great and, to the point article. Think anybody will listen. It is getting kind of scary that I am agreeing with you more here lately!!!

  5. If your information is accurate, once again, Laurel School District is the victim of personal agendas, an irresponsible school board, and ill-equiped leadership. So, let me consider the implications of what you have shared Mr. Calio- If they cut 18 teachers, that equates to about 3-4 teachers per school, which means in Dunbar and North Laurel, which has about 25 students per class already, that equals about 75-100 students that will no longer have a teacher and will have to be added to already full classrooms. So will our elementary children be in classrooms of 30-35 children? This is an atrocity. Does the board understand this? Now, if they cut areas like drama, chorus, or other such classes, which at the play and the concert it seems they have a large number of students in these program, these students, too, will be shoved into overflowing classrooms. Is it the board’s intent to destroy the education of Laurel’s students? It certainly appears that way. And if there was someone sent by the Department of Education to assist and offer a plan, why did the board opt not to keep this person, at least until they hired a superintendent? No, instead they chose to do nothing. For two years, this board has done nothing, except remove a superintendent and leave us, our teachers, and our children with no leadership, direction, or hope. I shamefully admit that I voted for every member on this current board and have been awefully disappointed. What does the future hold for Laurel School District and our children?

    • Your new classroom numbers calculates to the numbers I have received from some teachers who claim their classroom numbers are high now. I know we went to school with larger nummber classes, but our classes were manageable; our kids were not hiper and disciplined. As I asked in my article, I too would like to know the answers to the questions you put forth.
      I don’t think most parents know what’s coming down the line and I imagine the crap will hit the fan when it hits, perhaps too late for any action.

  6. Great job Frank! I don’t know how you do it… but you always find the truth. I work in the Laurel School District. I have to be honest – you have done a great job here. The team of advisors that have come down from the state have made several recommendations. We are top heavy in salaries and in staff. Back in January – when the school board knew we were broke – they voted in every administrator with a 2 year contract. They created a job for one principle that the state had relieved of duty. So they actually added $90,000(+) to our administrative costs. The teachers’ union and community members have barked at the board about this – and the board claims ignorance. But this is a LIE… the meetings in November and December were clear – we were broke and facing a huge deficit for next fiscal year.
    The current discussion regarding cuts is NOT based on the state’s recommendations – these are choices from the principals. But what is needed is an entire overview of the district. Not just principals “hand picking” who they don’t want anymore. With no real superintendent this is all they can come up with – Dr. Nave is unable to make good decisions. Now what does the board claim??? Mr. Vanderslice says that the advisors really didn’t help them or give them any suggestions. Another LIE! It was reported by many of the people at district office that everyone (except for the personnel director) avoided the state expert. Vanderslice had told people after being in executive session with one expert that “it was the first time he had seen a district wide plan before”. So clearly he has a selective memory. As I understand it, the state team has given many suggestions to Dr. Nave – but you know you can only lead a horse to water. If the board is at a loss for how to fix the problem – call the advisors back for more help!!! IT IS TRUE – the board is planning to cut band and theater from the high school. IT IS TRUE that they are cutting all reading specialists from the lower grades. Supposedly the meeting this week was to make the board aware of the principals’ recommendations, and to give them a week to consider their options. However, as of now not one board member has met with a principal to discuss other options or reasons for their cuts. No board member has asked to meet with the union to discuss their ideas or to even verify the cuts are within the scope of the contract. In fact, it has been reported that the cut lists were taken away from each board member in hopes of keeping them secret. So instead of following up, asking questions, and doing their due diligence the list is being hidden over at district office so that the community doesn’t find out until after the vote is done.
    Lastly I want the public to know that no one is watching out for the kids of Laurel – the bedlam at the top has hidden amazing corruption, ineffectiveness, nepotism, and incompetence. And there are a few people on the inside who are working to keep it that way. The board and administration will rally the wagons to protect their own. Rest assured that no family member and no friends of the board members are on the cut list (no matter how new they are to the district). Now there is little hope. They have chosen to do nothing, to blame others, and now the kids will pay for it. Nearly 35 teachers in the district are applying out – teachers who graduated from Laurel and who have worked here their entire professional lives. They have given up. Many see no hope. Even more are trying to figure out how to “choice” their own kids to Delmar or Seaford. This may be the end.

    • People know I seek the truth and fortunately they have come to me in confidence over the years. I have had several school employees seek me and give me information that has sickened me. I agree with your comment about family members of board members and administrators being protected by being lain off. What is going to happen is we will lose the good teachers who truly want to teach, and teachers, current staff included, who are not qualified and can’t find a job will end up in Laurel, because the field of good teachers will not apply here.
      Brian Cass has done a tremendous job with our band, which for years prior to his coming on board ‘sucked’ as has the other arts in our schools.
      I am upset about the position that could have been eliminated and the lack of balls by the principals to properly evaulate poorly productive teachers. Hey you people, you are cheating our kids by allowing incompetance, or are you afraid your may be challenged for your lack of doing your job properly?

  7. Back in January I saw the minutes from the Delmar School Board where students from other Districts applied to go there. The number of Laurel Students out numbered all other, especially those applying for High School. The applications to the Arts and Science school are also high from Laurel. When teachers from Laurel school choice their children to other schools should be the first indication that something is up.

    I do not understand why there is a Principal for the Intermediate School and Middle School, two offices, this is only four grades why twice the staff. Why not get rid one of these offices and save a couple of teachers jobs. I know the answer: NEPOTISM, which has a whole new meaning in Laurel, and not just in the school.

    • The community is getting another slap in the face from our local school board. Not only on this level, but all government levels the top is left along and the grunt work force gets cut.
      I feel for the frustrations the teachers incur when non-educators tell them what is best for them. I think the board is content to run the school district without a superintendent the same as the Town of Laurel is content to operate without a Town Manager. Both stupid decisions.
      True, but sad parents who have the opportunity are moving their kids out of this district. Sussex Tech capped the number coming out of Laurel’s 9th grade to 20%. Had they not, those 9th grade clalssed would be very small.

  8. Remember this; this board and administration is responsible for 121 million of OUR dollars for the new schools!! Think about that !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • And what is the saviour on the white stallion saying to the public. By that I mean the president of the school board. I thought that there was supposed to be big changes and transparency if he was elected.

      • Echo that one! The jury is still out on this Bob; he says the opposite of what I’m hearing, but my sources are too good, as good as when I followed the McCoy story. The public is not sure who’s steering the ship; teachers say same old BS but worse other unnamed sources say the same.

  9. frank, can u explain to me about the person/persons sent by the state to offer help and being sent back? i didn’t know the district was given that as a choice. i thought the state could clearly see what is happening and would help bring it to an end. as a teacher i never had the opportunity to say no to the state demands, whether they were any good or not. i look at how much money has gone into ‘plans’ that teachers clearly knew would not help. until the day i die i will swear that SMALL CLASS SIZES and good teachers would have gone a long way in this district. way, way, way too much politics and way, way, way too little concern for the kids and the classroom, which is really what it’s all suppose to be about. what a huge gap between the goals and hopes of the good teachers and those of the board and administration.

  10. Carol I can’t offer you the specifics why Mr. Tim Capone, who was sent in by the state to serve as acting superintendent because of confidentiality, but he had the unamious vote of the board I understand, but a phone call from a State Senator, not in our district put the skids to the vote. Again I can’t go into specifics.
    I have been told my a source that the renewal of the administrator contracts are not valid according to the State’s Financial Recovery Team, and that vote is under investigation by the committee.
    All financial moves have to be approved by the state; the board is saying the state did approve the contracts. We’ll see.
    It will be interesting to see if 18 or 24 teachers are axed, and what effect this will have on the class sizes.

  11. This issue of transperency and honesty is huge. At the last mini-meeting on the 2nd the board lied to a community member – I have verified this with several people who were there, and I am eagerly waiting for the audio files to be posted. A community member asked why there was no Superintendent. The board blamed it one every one or thing – not enough money, the state, University of Delaware and the list goes on. The man complained we only have 3 months – the truth is – the contract has to be signed by June 1st. WE HAVE LESS THAN 30 DAYS. The board did not tell him that. The truth is the state put pressure on them to find a real leader – the board is moving forward with the search only because of the state. The board chose to waste $90,000 to create a new position back in January – that money could have gone to the superintendent search. So they LIED! What is even scarier – they plan to continue with our current administration if no one is found by June 1st!

    • Here we go again; the previous board wold not answer allegations to comments from the community and on this blog; the new board member promised open commuications. Thus far all I have heard from a member of the board is I have been misinformed. If the board wants the truth out they should answer the community; if they are truthfujl they will be researched and if truth creditability will be restored to the board; should they chose to mislead or not answer what they call ‘rumors’ then again the community will lack confidence in their school board.

      • Well look, they did approve every administraror contract- even the Givens woman. That is indisputable. They knew we were broke- we all knew. In a week we will see who is telling the truth. If 18-20 teachers are cut and no administrators we will know who is being honest. I don’t believe for one second that’s the state’s recommendation! So the proof will be in the pudding.

  12. Mr. Calio, the board president has been heard saying that any teacher that might be considering leaving laurel school district was never loyal in the first place. Well. I think that is an unfair statement to make. Teachers began their year with no money for teaching supplies, have worked for one year with no superintendent, and no sign of one anytime soon, their classsizes are large and appears the with the cuts you mention, their classes will get significantly larger. It appears to me as a parent that things are spinning out of control and i cant imagine how it must feel for the teachers who give their all everyday, inspite of all of this. Who could blame them for leaving? Maybe its time for parents to consider doing the same. Does the fact that Mr. Vanderslice lefft his previous firm to pursue a better opportunity make him unloyal?

    • In my day teachers stayed untill they retiried; back then many female teachers were not allowed to marry, but today is a different world and people follow the money. And nothing wrong with that. I do believe some are leaving in frustration because there apears to be no leadership; this is what I’m hearing from many. There appears to be no light at the end of the tunnel so to speak.
      Parents are leaving the school with their kids, why not teachers?

    • i was at a meeting at the fire hall when patrick vanderslice was making promises to his supporters. i asked about transparency at the time. we were led to believe that transparency would not be a problem. if it is true that he made such a statement about the loyalty of our local teachers, he should man up and say that face to face to the staff at an LEA meeting.

    • @ Lee, for the record. Mr. Vanderslice did not *leave* his previous firm to pursue a better opportunity. Was a different scenario but they just do not want anyone to know. . Even saying that, I voted for the man and have been totally unimpressed. There has been no leadership to steer the district into better waters…… and I feel like we unfortunately have a Titantic situation going on. I have a child in North and there are things so badly going on in there that I cannot even mention but it is just shameful! They all need to go and quickly. We do not need another relative hired, or the keeping of a high dollar position just because “we know someone”. That is xerox paper money, 2 teachers salaries or a whole lot of school supplies for the kids. By the time we get the new schools, we would have lost all our excellent teachers. Parents will have moved their children to other schools. What in the world was it all for then? Just to say we are better then Delmar because the building is prettier? God bless our children and god bless the rest of us to know the difference of what is really going on.

  13. 2012-2013 Laurel Outlook
    The Financial Recovery Team (FRT) estimates that the Laurel School District will be short $650,000 local dollars for the 2012-2013 school year. This amount takes into consideration 2012-2013 salary step increases, savings from re-negotiated or cancelled service contracts (copier, pest control, cell phones, Fleet vehicles, making final payment on a 15-year boiler loan, etc.), freezing tuition reimbursement for all employees for the 2012-2013SY, and continuing to pay for IT positions through custodial units.
    If the district has to pay $100,000 in tuition reimbursement, the $650,000 shortfall will increase to $750,000 (approximately an additional eight teaching positions would subsequently be RIFd) and if the district has to fund three IT positions locally instead of using custodial units, our shortage would be increased by $220,925.12 (covers salaries, benefits, and other employment costs (OEC’s)) (approximately an additional 17 teaching positions would subsequently be RIFd) for a total shortfall of $970,925.12.
    To identify programs reductions, each building administrator was given a copy of the Unit Count Spring Snapshot for the 2012-2013SY and asked to “staff their building” at 98% of the unit count numbers (the state guarantees 98% of the state portion of the spring snapshot unit count). This had to include all building employees except administration, secretaries, custodians, nurses, and cafeteria employees as those positions generate separate units and/or funding.
    As of May 2, 2012, the administration identified approximately $428,750.13 in local cost reductions (this was based on actual local salaries paid out in 4/20 paycheck. The actual savings for next SY will be less because of salary step increases and/or educational increases).
    The district still needs to identify approximately $221,249.87 in cost reductions.
    

    • Thank you for the view fsrom the other side; greatly appreciated to hear some hard facts. The efforts of the administration are appreciated in their debt reduction cuts. But I don’t see anything about cuts from the top; tell me why we need a principal for each school, and as many secretaries and staff. Administration can’t pool these people to share; there is that much work that everyone is at their desk pounding away the entire day? Why should the teachers have to double up, do with less? Show some leadership here and share in the pain.
      I don’t believe the bulk of the debt should be on the backs of our teachers. Surely more neogations can be held with the union and administration?

      • Amen. Why should our children and their education pay the price. The teachers that directly impact our children should be the last to go, not the first. Tell us parents how a secretary or even a few of those people at district office directly impact the education of our children. Again…is the board going to allow this to happen? There are other ways to find the money. Are they bothering to demand to see other ways?

    • Wait a minute! I thought the purpose of Laurel School District was to teach the kids…. not supplying jobs for people make $100,000 or more. Cut the teachers out and you are harming the kids… no one else. You all rather keep your high end administrators and harm the future of these kids. To me the MWS comment just shows how screwed up their way of thinking is. You can’t have a chicken house with out chickens and you can’t have a school without teachers.

  14. According to the post by MWS, IT is being funded through custodial units.

    Why can’t there be some cuts to administrative staff (both at the school level – isn’t there a Principal AND Assistant Principal at LMS, as well as a Principal at LIS -three administrators for a total of 4 grade levels? – as well as at the Administrative Office – what is Jennifer Givens new 90,000.00 title?), and have some of our teacher positions funded through “administration units”?

  15. I want to clarify that I (Monet Whaley Smith) did not post the comments that were left by “MWS On May 6, 2012 at 9:28 am.” I was sitting in Laurel Nazarene Church with my family at that time this morning while some other person unprofessionally and unethically used my initials. The “comments” they left were copied word for word from a document that I created and e-mailed to Brad Spicer, Kim Parker, Sue Darnell, Patrick Vanderslice, and Dr. Nave on Thursday, May 3rd after having Jan Steele review the document to make sure the numbers were updated and accurate. The document was created at the request of the association and with Patrick’s directive during a confidential meeting to review and discuss proposed personnel cuts we had on Wednesday, May 2nd. The association requestd a summary of “talking points” regarding our financial situation, what process the administration used, and outlining what the effect on staff and consequences would be if the association does not vote for an MOU on Monday to freeze tution payments for the 2012-2013 school year and also allow the district to fund technical personnel with custodial units as authorized under DE Code. As a professinoal, I try very hard to keep my comments about work off the internet. If I am bold and convicted enouch to make a comment about something, I am also confident enough to actually sign my (real) name to it. I don’t read this blog often (well, since the twins I don’t have time to read much of anything), but I felt compelled to comment after being notified by several text messages and phone calls from community members this morning regarding the comment referenced above. I’ve read through the other comments/replies and it’s obvious that folks are very quick to judge and make accusations based on assumptions, partial, limited, or no facts at all. It is very disappointing and very cancerous to our school district and community. Our district is in a VERY dire circumstance right now. Pointing fingers, throwing blame, and making unfounded accusations is juvenile and detrimental. The district, employees, students, and school board members need support, encouragement, good ideas, positive recommendations, and prayers. No one wants to be in this situation, it has certainly taken its toll on all of us, and we need to rise above this. I will not be posting any additional comments about this matter.

    • i am sure there have been many, many prayers from many people concerning this. however it doesn’t seem that any good ideas or recommendations are wanted. this board appears to want to do this alone. there are many who would give support and encouragement if they were included long ago. we either stand together or we stand apart. standing together is impossible when people are excluded.

    • Curious… Why would Brad Spicer get a copy of a document like this? I asked a few people yesterday and they tell me He is neither a Union leader nor an administrator. He is either a guidance counselor or a teacher- so why would he have this information when others have not?

    • On a personal note.., I would like to thank whoever did post that internal information, may it be Monet Smith herself or otherwise. As previously mentioned by Carol., transparency would help greatly right now instead of huddling and hiding out in a back room. I will take THAT version of transparency or any other version of it any way I can get it. We deserve it. .

    • How dare you descend from on high to reprimand and lecture us! You all created this situation, so reap what you sow. If memory serves Monet, you have eagerly dished out judgement and blame to others. Just consider your graduation address. Funny you don’t seem to enjoy it when it’s served to you.

      Well let’s be clear. I live in Laurel. I pay taxes. Therefore I pay your salary and I elect Board Members. So it is my right, dare I say my duty as a citizen to hold you accountable. And, you all are doing a poor job. You, Dr. Nave, and each Board Member are responsible for our current lack of good ideas and decisions. No amount of encouragement or prayer can replace resolute action to save our schools. Stop whining and get busy!

      • You have no right to strike down Monet; she is a very intelligent lady who ALSO pays her taxes, and works hard.. All this mess going on in the LSD is not her fault; many times, she has to be the messenger, such as in the case ot the teacher, etc cuts. It is happening everywhere folks; the ones to blame are your President of this once thriving country and his administration, NOT the LSD adminsitration. As I said , it is everywhere, I am in the medical profession and recently had to take a 6% pay cut, thanks to Obamacare, not my superiors. Yes, I still have a job, and am blessed, and my prayers are with anyone who loses their job.; I hate to see anyone lose their job, but lets not be ugly and point fingers at Monet.I am normally not a blog person, but I had heard that my niece was being cruelly criticized on this blog,, and I just felt like I need to respond.

      • Marty I was with you until you blamed the president for the schools problems. Really, mismanaging $650,000 is Obama’s fault. Geeze wonder if I should blame him for my checkbook balance. Seems to me the economy is looking better now than it did with the previous leader. I don’t recall the school district being flush back then either.

      • Frank, I guess I am not the one to say who is at fault for the school sysem’s financial problems; I just know that “Obamacare” has almost ruined my health profession. Soon, there will be no one to take care of the ill. I just was upset about my neice being attacked; she is a very intelligent lady who always has facts to back her opinions . She WILL rise above these harsh comments and remain professional. For that, I am proud.

    • Your actions, attitude, and how you carry yourself remind me of Louis Heartstein . . . . . don’t like her all that much either. You both look down at the community, as though you are better than everyone.

  16. Wow, Frank, I do believe you have stirred up a hornets’ nest with this one. Hope a common understanding of the facts can be reached.

  17. This whole thing is another chapter in the saga of people using the school system as a daycare/babysitting service. By this I mean that just because there are issues/problems with a school the first thing that people want to do is take there kids out and send them somewhere else instead of digging in and helping to work with people and kids to find solutions. IT IS A COP OUT PEOPLE!!! All you want is for someone to take of your kids for you. My son is a Jr. AT LAUREL (proud of that) and my wife and I go to the school all of the time to talk with administrators and teachers to try to help solve things instead of just copping out and putting him in another school!!!!!!

    • There simply comes a time when enough is enough. Four of my kids have gone through Laurel. My youngest, who will be entering sixth grade next year, will be going to the charter school next year.

      This is the decision that we made based on what is best for our daughter. This year, LIS has had a child bring a gun to school – a situation that I and many other parents first found out about via a facebook post by WBOC. While I understand that the school has no control over this – it is UNACCEPTABLE that I heard about it through the news media. The automated phone system does a helluva job keping me informed about late arrival days. Surely it would have been an avenue to insure me that my child was okay before reading THE NEXT AFTERNOON about it on Facebook. My daughter had a boy in her class say that he wanted to rape a girl in the same class. Again – this is 5th grade.
      There’s no money for supplies. Classrooms are overcrowded. Our administration is top heavy and the people in control don’t seem to have any intention of changing that.

      Can you honestly tell me that if you had a daughter, and she was the same age as mine, you wouldn’t seek a situation that would not only optimize the quality of her education – by virtue of decent class sizes, money for supplies, and committed parents (I’ve done PTA at both North Laurel and LHS for several years. Few if any parents EVER showed up for meetings. If you’re as committed as you say you are, I’m sure you’re aware of the low turn out for so many school events.), but would put her in a SAFER environment?????

      I stuck in my heels and hung in there as long as I was willing. We have teachers in the district who choice their kids to other districts or who homeschool them.

      It’s not a cop out – not that I really care what you or anyone else thin. I’d just like anyone’s honest answer why I should leave my child in a position that cannot guarantee her safety or a quality eduction

    • John it’s more complex than just talking about your child, it’s the lack of preparation the school does to get \your child in gear. The cirriculum is weak.I had a child who wanted to enter ito engineering; she entered college and the professor was ‘reviewing’ subjects and math my child never had in schooll thus my child was behid from the beginning and struggled all though college to obtain the degree wanted.
      Our kids are not prepared for college as are their counterparts.
      Jump on Sussex Tech all you want; today I have a post on this blog about scholarships. I can tell you kids who graduate there and Delmar mop up. I have already received a call from someone in the Laurel school system telling me the scholarship program has always been a joke. Again weak leadership from the top and a reason why choosing a superintendent should have been a top priority when they knew the other supers contract was not going to be renewed.

  18. A COP OUT? Funny, I think the School Board is the one copping out on the children, sacrificing their futures in the event they actually want to reach out to a decent University to compete with the “REAL WORLD” and hopes for a chance in finding employment or a career that will ensure them a decent life. I would of thought that if you are a generational Laurel family…you at the very least would want that for your child. To see they get the best education you can give them and if they decide otherwise, then you know as a parent you did the best. If you are a taxpayer.. they are swindling our educatoinal dollars and we are not getting anything back. They are COPPING OUT on our Teachers. So Mr. Trivits, what have you done in DIGGING in? I have voluntered in the schools for years now. Helped out in the school offices. Tossed in double the school supplies as needed at the start of the school year. Helped our teachers in the winter with Tissues and Handsanitizer when they send home a letter asking for help. I have been on every level of the schools Parent Teacher Organization. Do not talk to me about digging in to help. If they Cannot DIG IN and reduce their over inflated, over rated salaries for sitting behind a table and doing nothing., the least I can do for my children is to find a educational setting that actually supports its teachers and EDUCATION. Don’t blame the Charter Schools, Don’t blame Tech, Don’t blame Delmar, Seaford or Indian River. Blame your friends who rather lay off teachers, stiff our kids but yet voted their contracts back in.

  19. First, Kudos to DeloresB & Lee. Most of the town did know the true circumstances regarding Mr. Vanderslice…but I had hoped that would of let him have more time to really get down and dirty with the school board situation and he could of really made something happen. Secondly, I applaude either the of the Monet Smiths at this point because that posting may finally be a eye opener since now it is out there and in print. I just think the ” real” Monet should be directing her anger issues at the very people who she was taking notes for. The Cancerous situation (as she puts it) is not the public and their opinions..it is the Administration and those who turn a blind eye. All I hear from the school board, the families and the groupies is “home town pride” like a high school cheering section. I agree, where is that HOME TEAM PRIDE? Where is that EDUCATIONAL Pride? If we build it , they will come??????

    They seem to forget who pays them at the end of the day. As Sandy put it above.. Enough is Enough.
    For me, it is the equivalent of watching the schools being on fire and the school board is just sitting on the curb across the street because nobody feels like getting up and grabbing a hose.

  20. Sorry Frank, reread what I wrote but can’t find where I mentioned tech.Delores, was not referring to the ones who do help out and, the school board is a whole other discussion!

  21. I have just got off the phone with Senator Venables. He has offered to arrange a loan for the school that would help with the finances. It would be paid for by not remodeling the old Middle School for the new administration building. It would not increase the taxes at all. The School Board has turned him down. Which is more important, the students or the administrators?

    • Isn’t the money for the new schools/any remodeling a separate budget?

      If so, how would a loan for “finances” – I’m assuming this means salaries & supplies – be paid back?

      This might be why the Board declined the loan.

      • Yes Sandy, referendum money is separate from the day to day operations. The state has loaned schools money for operating expenses in the past. The schools restructured and paid the money back. Not sure if this group knows how to restructure. They would probably lay off all the teachers nd not think about who’s left to teach.

      • I would have to agree with you Frank at this point. They haven’t a clue on even how to maintain the daily necessities of a school district so forget about a restructure. Kicker for me is….here is Sen. Venables trying to finagle some financial support as a life saving method and the school board declines?

        Here that sound? It’s the sound of 20 more teachers loosing their positions over an Administration Building remodel.

  22. I would like everyone here to know that I am Dot Hickman’s granddaughter first and foremost not that it really should matter. I am now attending the UNIVERSITY OF DELAWARE heading into my junior year. For all of you saying that the LAUREL school district doesn’t prepare you’re children for college is ridiculous. I would like you to know that if it wasn’t for those teachers in the that school district I would not be where I am today and I know a lot of students who feel the same. I would like to send a special thanks to Mrs.Mary and Mr. Brian Cass, the whole science and math departments, my advisors, all the office staff in the high school and Mr Dean Ivory. I know students that have attended different school districts who have either flunked out of college or dropped out of college because that is the adult decisions they chose to exercise. It’s quite idiotic that any school district should be at fault for the students’ academic decisions once graduating with their high school diploma. So don’t try and say that the LAUREL school district is inadequate. Every school district around Delaware has their own flaws. On another note, I would really like to know how certain people are getting information that has only been discussed in private session with the members of the school board; last time I checked that was illegal to divulge. None of the members have control over who gets cut or even how many. The state decides how many individuals are to be let go. May I also remind you that the Union Contract indicates the details of where the district employees stand based upon the amount of years they’ve been employed. So please stop trying to blame all this on the CURRENT members of the school board and the acting SUPERINTENDENT. I personally am surprised that anyone would ever want to applied for the superintendent position of Laurel School District considering the hell the citizens have put the school board, teachers, administrations, other employees, and their own students through the pass two years. Do you honestly think that any of this has been easy on any of parties involved? Do you think they get pleasure in having to let go of individuals who demonstrate admirable qualities? Well if you feel that way here is a news flash; they don’t…I have been out of the community of 2 semesters and all I can see when I look on this blog is how childish some people are acting. I understand you want to know where your money goes, how your children are being educated and so forth but don’t you think there is a better, more adult, way of doing it? I’m not saying this to try and start some sort of fight, I just want the community to think about everything that has happened. My final note is addressed towards all the employees in every district around that are going to lose their job because of budget cuts, I speak for any student that has every been touched by your guidance. You truly are amazing people and I hope that your future endeavors take you to where you will achieve greater accomplishments. Don’t let this hardship get you down and please find a way to keep inspiring young people with your ever shining light. I may not know who you are personally but I know that all of you have been amazing people towards at least one student in your career.

      • What are you identifiying on this blog that was only discussed in executive session? And where did you check that says it is “illegal” to share what happens in executive session? Maybe “frowned upon” or the intent that the information is “confidential”. Certainly not illegal. The Board is not doing their job. Too many administrators not doing their jobs, and too many teachers will suffer for it.

    • Thank you, Amber, for your thoughtful words. Teachers teach because they want to inspire life-long learning. i know that you tell Mr. Cass and I often how much you appreciate the doors that band, theater, and colorguard have opened for you. Thank YOU for letting other teachers know how important your education is to you and what opportunities you have taken advantage of because of it. ❤

    • “On another note, I would really like to know how certain people are getting information that has only been discussed in private session with the members of the school board; last time I checked that was illegal to divulge.”

      This is incorrect. It may be bad practice for a board member to discuss something that was learned in executive session, but not illegal.

      In fact, the Freedom of Information Act states that minutes of executive sessions may be released to the public after the purpose for the executive session has lapsed. For example, if the minutes discuss hiring for a position, and the position has been filled, they may be released. If they discuss a pending lawsuit, and the lawsuit has been settled and closed, they may be released. So there is no overarching confidentiality provision in the law about executive sessions.

      I would also question whether Laurel is holding its executive sessions legally to begin with. The Freedom of Information Act requires that public bodies include in their agendas a notice that they may enter into executive session, along with the specific reasons for doing so (e.g., personnel, litigation, hiring, etc.). That is explicitly stated in Delaware Code and was reaffirmed in a recent Attorney General’s opinion (http://attorneygeneral.delaware.gov/office/opinions/2012/12-IIB4.pdf).

      Laurel’s agendas only include the general statement: “During the course of the meeting, the Board may enter into executive session in order to consider matters authorized under TITLE 29, DE CODE, SUBSECTION 10004(b).” – without including the specific reasons for executive sessions.

      If someone were to file a complaint with the AG’s office over that lack of public notice, the board could potentially find its decisions reached after those illegal private discussions to be invalidated. Such measures are rare, but it could happen.

      • I’m intereested to know how the Healthcare law which supposely doesn’t go into full swing until 2014 has hurt the profession. Doctors are still getting the same Medicare funding they always had; if Medicaid is less that’s because the states have cut back. Kids can be on their parents insurance longer; what am I missing. Insurance companies are rdaissing their premiums because they will be limited on how much they can screw customers. Others have said the same as you, but I don’t unmderstand. I have two in the nursing profession and they haven’t complained about any less.

      • I must inform you that Medicare reimbursements to physcians have been cut tremendously!! To the point that some are not accepting it. This is why I am making 6% less in my paycheck………..no other reason. Just stating the facts. Bellieve me, the health care profession is hurting under this administration . So many government regulations have been put in place to even, HOPEFULLY, get some reimbursement.

      • But Marty is it the healthcare bill itself or government regulations? I recall as chairman of the trustees at Nanticoke during the first Bush administration, the first cuts to Medicare reimbursements came about and has been under attack since; but that was the government ruling not any healthcare bill. We went to DC to meet with Bush’s healthcare people and they asked us for recomendations; go figure!

  23. what a wonderful , and well-deserved commentary on the laurel staff. i know they are all the things you have mentioned. how sad it is that they are now going to lose jobs while the entire overstaffed administration remains intact.

  24. My feeling is lovely comments to those deserving staff members…not all but some. If you did not want us to make note of who your grandmother is…why not just make that blind? With that said…..You do not have children in this school system and you are not a tax payer. Regarding the rest, I think you have some interesting questions for Dot.

    • Unethical, unprofessional, and unrespected…don’t give him that much credit. If he stayed in his office and did his duties of a principal, instead of staying in a certain teachers classroom, not to mention dating them, maybe you could give him the honor of being unethical, unprofession and unrespected.

  25. As a 21 year veteran of LSD, I have chosen to homeschool my two students because of the many flaws in our public education system abroad. Public education is all about passing a test. A test that has many flaws! My wife (LHS Class of 93) is a trained teacher who has 5 years of service in the district. When our son was born we felt that it was important that we put our son first … and we are so glad we did. My son said his first words, walked his first steps, and read his first words in the company of his mother … not some other teacher. In Proverbs it says, “Train up a child in the way that he should go, and we he gets older he will not depart from it.” No matter where I would be living the choice to homeschool would be the number one choice. The name of our school is called MAD … Making A Difference. This school has been approved by DOE. As residents of Laurel we are avid supporters of the Laurel sports teams, band, and the great drama department. We are active members at our local church … Laurel Nazarene. Ironically, my wife and I were just saying that WHEN we put our children in public school it will be in Laurel. Last year we were getting ready to attend a fall football game and my wife insisted that my son wear an orange winter jacket. He was adamant about NOT wearing an orange jacket because he was not going to support Delmar. The funny thing was that the opponent wasn’t even Delmar. Most of the teachers that I know that choice their kids to other schools don’t even live in Laurel. As a matter of fact,I am one of two teachers in the district that homeschools their children. The other teacher lives in Wicomico County. Unfortunately, choice has really benefitted some districts and hurt others as well. Laurel and Seaford have seen the negative effects of this decision. In my opinion, the only choice should be between private or public education.

  26. I choose private, I was able to attend Sessex Tech, and after struggling through 2 and a half years there, I transferred back to Laurel and immediately made honor role…… theres a big difference in the education opportunities, not sure about other districts, but I if needed I will pay for my kids to get a higher education.

  27. I still don’t understand why the district still stands alone. . . Consolidate, consolidate, consolidate.

    And to Ms. Cooper, congratulations on your decision to attend such a fine institution. I noticed that you largely thanked your teachers for your success. Hopefully they’ll be around next year. They don’t really get to choose where the money goes though. They’re the ones getting stiffed.

    • I’ve been a proponent for years for consolidation; all schools retain their own identy, but one superintendent for the entire county, consolidate purchasing, human resources and other management positions. Baltimore county ith 50,000 students has one superintendent as does Wicomico County and many states through out the country. But the supts. have a strong hold on the legislature. Only in Delaware.

  28. Well I am not originally from Laurel, but I know of several Laurel graduates who have been very successful in their careers. I also believe they can spell Sussex correctly as well!:)

  29. I barely graduated from Trinity High School in Washington , PA. I didn’t take the challenging courses either. However, I went to work that summer (of 87) at a corrugated box factory in 84 PA, and I soon found out that I needed a college education. That job caused me to do a “180” in terms of my effort and outlook on life. My appreciation increased toward the men and women who work in our factories and textile mills. I realized that a blue collar job was not for me.
    I was accepted at Alderson-Broaddus College in Philippi, WV. This is a school that was academically challenging, but the student to teacher ratio was perfect for a student like myself who had no study skills. Never once did I blame my high school for not preparing me for college. If I wanted to be prepared then I should have chosen harder subjects in high school. In reality, a smaller school (like Laurel) can be just as beneficial toward a young person’s education.
    In terms of making Honor Roll, it can be done when you choose easier classes. I was recently on the Teacher of the Year Committee and while observing a class at LHS, I noticed a young man who had transferred back from Sussex Tech during his senior year. Why? He didn’t want to do the senior project. He just wants to be a mechanic. Ohhhh the politics of public education abound everywhere!

    • @Edwin…..I let Mrs. Tiger (Who was probably your English teacher) know that you are doing fine and that her attempts at teaching you were not in vain. I agree in what you said. There hasto be a wanting to succeed by the student also to make the whole system work. I graduated from Canon McMillan in 89 and cannot remember this many issues with that school even though they had two times as many students in the graduating class as what the high school has in all grades. There are too many homegrown know-it-alls who have been here for too long doing it the good old boy way. I think its time to start over new and wipe them all clean with new administrators.

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