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Guest Walter Green

I couldn't make it either but from what I hear, Marks & Slago came off real sincere, honest, caring, involved, concerned.

Bill Campbell was a no show, once again........ go figure!

Gloria Robertson, sent a letter to be read.

Jean McKeon, non commital.....worked both sides of the fence, Gee what else is

new. ( It's about power) Oh yea, thanks for Mr. Digesere........

Mike Chichino, knucklehead, doesn't have a clue!!!!!!!

Dumberto Diaz, rambling on and on as usual, once again made a fool of

himself!!!!! Doesn't get it, he's the one that screwed up, not all

the people he's pointing blame at....Anyone else would have

walked away with their tail between their legs, but not this moron.

GOT TO BLAME SOMEONE, NEVER ACCEPT FAILURE!!!!!!!!!

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I couldn't make it to the meeting last night.  Can someone please fill me in on the topics discussed?  How did the candidates sound?

After listening to the candidates last night i will vote as follows:

Jean C. McKeown

Rosemary Marks

Bert Diaz

These 3 answered all the questions with no hesitation.

We all knew Bill Campbell would be a NO -SHOW. He makes everyone else do the work for him.

And that Chiccino guy, he should run for Village Idiot.

P.S K.O.T.W I would really appreciate it if you posted this reply. I'm still waiting for you to post the prior reply i sent in.

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I couldn't make it to the meeting last night.  Can someone please fill me in on the topics discussed?  How did the candidates sound?

KEARNY — Five of the seven candidates seeking three seats on the Board of Education attended the annual “Meet the Candidates” night Tuesday at Schuyler School, an event sponsored by the Kearny Education Association and the Parent-Teacher Association Council of Kearny. Not attending were Gloria Robertson, who sent in a written opening and closing statement, and William Campbell, who was called to work on an emergency, according to his brother, Board of Education Member John Campbell.

The five candidates who did attend — Michael Cicchino, Norberto Diaz, Rosemary Marks, Jean McKeown and Lisa Schalago — offered an opening and a closing statement, and fielded questions that were written on index cards and screened by the event’s moderators.

Each of the candidates shared their vision for what they hope to accomplish if they’re elected — or, in McKeown’s case, if she’s re-elected.

Michael Cicchino

Mike Cicchino, making his second-straight bid for a seat on the board, said educational improvements must begin on the elementary level.

“The improvements have to start on the elementary level,” Cicchino said. “Sometimes, kids are pushed through the younger years, and wind up coming out of elementary school functionally illiterate. To improve this, I believe it’s important for all on the board to take notice, and to begin by offering advanced reading techniques.”

But, Cicchino said he believes in order to succeed on the elementary level — or, for that matter, on any level — the school district must do all that it can to give students what they need.

“We’ve got to find ways to look at the weaknesses of the student, attack their weaknesses,” he said. “Once we’ve accomplished that, and student reading abilities improve, then we must look into other ways of giving kids what they need — like smaller class sizes.”

Norberto Diaz

Norberto “Bert” Diaz is the former Principal of Washington School. A few years ago, he left the Kearny school district after a long career as a music teacher and as an administrator, to take a position as a principal in Newark. But Diaz, one to never hold back how he feels, had quite a bit to say about his run for the board, and about how he feels things are being run presently.

“Some areas in the Kearny schools are good — great in fact,” Diaz said. “Other areas are in dire need of help.” In order to “help,” Diaz made some suggestions about how he’d shift things around, while saving money, and not cutting programs.

“Bottom line is we’ve got to re-engineer what we have,” he said. “This can be done with alternate education. For sure, we don’t need any more school administrators. Restructuring what he have is paramount.”

He also suggested a need for finding substantially more federal grant money to improve after-school programs in the district.

“After school, aside from being with family, there’s no better place for kids to be than in school, taking part in after-school programs, with our teachers,” Diaz said. “The ‘No Child Left Behind Act’ has all but made certain these monies are available — but where are they? I don’t see the money.”

Diaz also charged, as he has previously, that there isn’t enough “fairness” in the central offices of the Board of Education and with some on the current board.

“It’s absolutely atrocious the teacher assistants had their benefits taken away,” Diaz said. “In essence, they got a demotion and they really did nothing wrong. Some of these people had spouses and children with needs. And furthermore, we have an administrator who is retiring who wrote his own buyout. He wrote it himself! This is unfair, and I would call for an independent auditor to investigate this right after I’m sworn in.”

Rosemary Marks

Rosemary Marks, who is currently the Curriculum Director for the Hackensack Public School district, like Cicchino, is running for the second-consecutive year. Last year, Marks missed getting a seat on the board by a miniscule and controversial one-vote margin. She said the tough loss she endured last year was partly the impetus for running again this year.

“They say every vote counts,” Marks said. “I am a great example of that. The truth is, though, that our greatest assets in life are our children — and my two children, Sarah and Timothy, who are both here — motivate me to know and to understand the day in, day out needs of our town’s children.”

Like Diaz, Marks, too, believes searching for and properly using federal money is essential if the district is to move forward and see an overall improvement.

“Having worked in the curriculum area now, there’s no question there are some great reading programs for first- through third-graders … some great literacy programs,” she said. “But I’d also like to see programs improve, for instance, for fourth- through sixth-graders.”

Marks also said she believes the board must work diligently to get a greater parental involvement in school life. “I was pleasantly surprised to read “New Jersey Monthly’s” article that ranked Kearny 68th in the 100 best places to live in New Jersey,” she said. “That speaks a lot about the school system since they used schools as criteria for their ranking. But in a lot of the other school districts, there is heavy parental involvement — and without that involvement, it will always lead us back to the drawing board.”

Jean McKeown

Jean McKeown is the only incumbent seeking re-election to the board. Having spent several years on the board already, McKeown said she loss of outgoing board members Mary Torres and Michael Martello will leave a mark on the board — regardless of its composition — when the “new” board begins its work. Because of that, she said, she wants to remain on the board to lend her expertise to less-experienced and newly elected board members.

“And there are some exciting and valuable programs on the table right now that I’d like to see through fruition,” McKeown said. “Their departure will leave a huge experience gap. With major construction coming up, wit the loss of some key administrators on the horizon and with us all striving to get to a level we, as a district need to achieve, I firmly believe there is unfinished business to be taken care of.”

McKeown pointed to the current board’s plan to begin a full-fledged alternative education program in September at Kearny High School as one of her proudest accomplishments of her last term in office.

“In the past, we were forced to remove these students from regular classrooms, and pay for tuition and transportation, to send them elsewhere,” McKeown said. “Now, with the students ultimately going into a restricted and safe environment at the high school, we’ve made a valiant effort to improve the educational process for these students, while clearly saving money at the same time.”

There have been drawbacks to being on the board too, McKeown admits.

“We’re nowhere near where we should be with world languages,” she said. “In the coming year, I hope to address this so we can be in compliance with state regulations.”

Lisa Schalago

Lisa Schalago has been involved in the educational process for years, mostly as a member of the PTA at Franklin School. The long-time Kearny resident whose children are all products of the Kearny school system, made her motives for running for the board clear from the get-go.

“I didn’t prepare an opening statement in advance,” she said. “But I can say, without hesitating, that there are 5,000 reasons for running for the board — and that’s the 5,000 kids who are expected to be registered for a school in Kearny in September. I want them to know — and I want their parents to know — that I am here for all of them and that I am willing to do whatever is best for all.”

Schalago says fiscal responsibility is an essential trait of a board member — and it’s something she’s not convinced is happening currently.

“There is a definitely a need to find ways to save taxpayer money without cutting programs,” she said. “The best way to do this is to get input from administrators and faculty members. They’re the ones who truly know what is and isn’t working in the schools. Their viewpoints are invaluable.”

Schalago says she thinks the social studies area is in need of improvement — and she’ll work, if elected, to improve that area.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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Guest Long time Resident

I won't presume to tell anyone how to vote, but please vote for new people, get rid of Jean McKeown, the only incumbent running. Look at your tax bill and then go vote for new people.

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Guest outraged
I won't presume to tell anyone how to vote, but please vote for new people, get rid of Jean McKeown, the only incumbent running.  Look at your tax bill and then go vote for new people.

Exactly!!!! And vote the budget down. Why on earth should we vote for a $63 million dollar school budget and have our taxes go through the roof even more when the current board is giving half of a port authority grant to a retiring administrator? Is that legal? Why is the this board is putting money in places where it shouldn't go? Taxes are rising, this town is in a financial black hole, yet they're giving a retiring administrator $12,000 extra for doing his job???? Who is investigating this one? Jim Mangin please explain to us how this is remotely kosher.

Read about it in the Observer

http://www.theobserver.com/currentissue/castelli.shtml

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I won't presume to tell anyone how to vote, but please vote for new people, get rid of Jean McKeown, the only incumbent running.  Look at your tax bill and then go vote for new people.

You are using your tax bill as an excuse to not vote for Jean C. McKeown, you have to come up with something better than that. For the sake of the district, we better pray that she gets re-elected. Seems like you didn't attend the meeting at Schuyler School the other night.

Your post doesn't make much sense, because besides JCM being re-elected we all know that the other candidates will be new people.

JCM

RM

BD

I know some idiot out there will reply by asking me what JCM,RM,BD stands for.

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Guest Guest
After listening to the candidates last night i will vote as follows:

Jean C. McKeown

Rosemary Marks

Bert Diaz

These 3 answered all the questions with no hesitation.

We all knew Bill Campbell would be a NO -SHOW. He makes everyone else do the work for him.

And that Chiccino guy, he should run for Village Idiot.

P.S  K.O.T.W  I would really appreciate it if you posted this reply. I'm still waiting for you to post the prior reply i sent in.

Hey dummy what is your great accomplishment in life, You are most likely one of the regular dopes on this site who ridicule others while sitting on your A** watching the world go by. Do the rest of us a favor ********* pull you fat mouth over your head and bite your own A** . If you can't do that then bite me stupid

KOTW Note: The above post was edited for content.

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You are using your tax bill as an excuse to not vote for Jean C. McKeown, you have to come up with something better than that. For the sake of the district, we better pray that she gets re-elected. Seems like you didn't attend the meeting at Schuyler School the other night.

Your post doesn't make much sense, because besides JCM being re-elected we all know that the other candidates will be new people.

JCM

RM

BD

I know some idiot out there will reply by asking me what JCM,RM,BD stands for.

As if the bill wasn't enough, it's the only reason I cited. She was part of a board that approved contracts with outrageous benefits for administrators, (Digesere negotiated on that one) and there are other reasons. Because she can present herself well at a candidates meeting does not impress me. The point of my statement was that it was time for ALL new people, nothing personal.

Don't ask me what LTR stands for.

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Guest Guest
Exactly!!!! And vote the budget down. Why on earth should we vote for a $63 million dollar school budget and have our taxes go through the roof even more when the current board is giving half of a port authority grant to a retiring administrator? Is that legal? Why is the this board is putting money in places where it shouldn't go? Taxes are rising, this town is in a financial black hole, yet they're giving a retiring administrator $12,000 extra for doing his job???? Who is investigating this one? Jim Mangin please explain to us how this is remotely kosher.

Read about it in the Observer

http://www.theobserver.com/currentissue/castelli.shtml

The payment for sick days is more outrageous and that was the sweetheart deal

Digesere negotiated for the administrators. Also, the board is getting an additional 2 million (thanks to Sen. Sacco) so why should the budget go up. You know if it fails, it goes to the Mayor & Council (Santos & his yes people) led on by torres and the money will be quietly restored. They're all connected. Time for all new people.

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I agree that this amount for Mr. Gaulton is a bit much, but I need to correct you on one thing. Your taxes will go up if the budget is past or not. The budget has not past in 9 years but taxes still rose. There are 2 current board members who are bad mouthing the budget, if I didn't know any better, I would think that they intentionally had the article put in the paper to upset the voters and put it into their heads that they shouldn't pass the budget. Why would these 2 people do this? I don't know, but I was at the budget hearing when I heard 1 of them disapprove and state that this town will never pass a budget. Seems to me that he doesn't think to highly of the people of Kearny. Him and his sidekick are the same. If you vote his brother in you will have all 3 stooges!!!!

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Hey dummy what is your great accomplishment in life, You are most likely  one of the regular dopes on this site who ridicule others while sitting on your A** watching the world go by. Do the rest of us a favor ********* pull you fat mouth over your head and bite your own A** . If you can't do that then bite me stupid

KOTW Note: The above post was edited for content.

Nice reply from the student that played with clay while in school 40 years ago instead of learning a second language, Hey Dummy does that sound fimiliar. LMAO

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I agree that this amount for Mr. Gaulton is a bit much, but I need to correct you on one thing.  Your taxes will go up if the budget is past or not.  The budget has not past in 9 years but taxes still rose.  There are 2 current board members who are bad mouthing the budget, if I didn't know any better, I would think that they intentionally had the article put in the paper to upset the voters and put it into their heads that they shouldn't pass the budget.  Why would these 2 people do this?  I don't know, but I was at the budget hearing when I heard 1 of them disapprove and state that this town will never pass a budget.  Seems to me that he doesn't think to highly of the people of Kearny.  Him and his sidekick are the same.  If you vote his brother in you will have all 3 stooges!!!!

Glad to see there are other people out there thinking the same way as myself.

Vote "YES" to pass the budget.

J.C.M.

R.M

B.D

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As if the bill wasn't enough, it's the only reason I cited. She was part of a board that approved contracts with outrageous benefits for administrators, (Digesere negotiated on that one) and there are other reasons. Because she can present herself well at a candidates meeting does not impress me.  The point of my statement was that it was time for ALL new people, nothing personal.

Don't ask me what LTR stands for.

Is it " Let Them Rip " only kidding Long Time Resident. Have a Happy Easter...

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Exactly!!!! And vote the budget down. Why on earth should we vote for a $63 million dollar school budget and have our taxes go through the roof even more when the current board is giving half of a port authority grant to a retiring administrator? Is that legal? Why is the this board is putting money in places where it shouldn't go? Taxes are rising, this town is in a financial black hole, yet they're giving a retiring administrator $12,000 extra for doing his job???? Who is investigating this one? Jim Mangin please explain to us how this is remotely kosher.

Read about it in the Observer

http://www.theobserver.com/currentissue/castelli.shtml

I’ll explain it – but believe me, IT AIN’T KOSHER! I’ll try to explain it, but only to show how Mary Torres is way, way off base when she says that this whole deal for Les Gaulton is not “out of the ordinary.” It is completely ridiculous and unfair. This total waste of taxpayer dollars would be so much better used in classrooms than in the pocket of an administrator making $150K per year.

First, there are several components to this deal. The first, according to the Observer article:

“As part of his pension, he will get a percentage of his salary, though Castelli and Torres did not know the exact percentage as of press time.”

Les Gaulton is vested in the state pension system and entitled to a percentage of his salary as a pension. No problems here.

Next: (Here’s where I start having problems)

“On top of this pay, Gaulton will get an additional $150,000 over a five-year period from the 200 sick days he has banked. Torres says this is normal and part of the board’s procedure — nothing all that out of the ordinary.”

The School Business Administrator is entitled to all the same benefits afforded other administrators (Principals, Directors, etc) in the district. That’s been Kearny’s past practice and so, that binds them.

But, to be eligible for the Sick-Leave Buy-Out an administrator (or teacher, or anyone else) must be in the district 20 years. Les Gaulton hasn’t been in Kearny for 20 years – so he’s NOT eligible for the year’s salary.

Except that the Board of Ed “voted” him eligible several years ago. THAT’S WHAT MAKES THIS DEAL SO OUTRAGEOUS! And Mary Torres says this is nothing “out of the ordinary”??? Every other employee in the district has to be here 20 years. But not Les Gaulton – the BOE will just vote him in and it’ll be ok. Well, it’s not OK and I’m glad people are starting to see this.

Next:

“However, Gaulton accumulated 238 sick days and asked for additional pay to compensate for the other 38 sick — 38 more than the board traditionally compensates retirees for —at $574 a day, totaling $20,786, according to Castelli. The board voted 6-2 to give him this extra pay, with Castelli and Campbell voting against the measure.”

The Sick Leave Buy-Out (which Les Gaulton is NOT eligible for) pays a full year’s salary for the first 200 unused sick days. In 1997 when this clause first appeared (I vehemently voted against it) it also paid $5,000 for each additional 50 sick days. I don’t know if this amount was ever increased in subsequent contracts. I hope not – it never should’ve been adopted in the first place. I haven’t seen any recent contracts for the Kearny School Administrators, but I don’t believe the contract calls for any pay for unused sick days less than 50. To me, this was just a very expensive gift to Les Gaulton by the Board of Ed majority courtesy of the Kearny taxpayers. And this Kearny taxpayer is pretty p.o.’d about it.

Next:

On top of that, Gaulton also asked for $12,000 in funds that were given to the board in a deal with the Port of Authority of New York and New Jersey, said Castelli. The Port Authority gave the board $30,000 for administrative costs and $12,000 of that was voted on by the board and will be given to Gaulton.

The $30,000 was part of the Port Authority Grant and is earmarked for administrative costs only. By giving $12,000 to Les Gaulton the BOE will be left with only $18,000 of grant money for administrative costs through the rest of the life of the project. Why would we do this? Because Mary Torres says he “deserved it”? Because Mary Torres says he spent a lot of time in Trenton working on this project? Didn’t he receive his regular annual salary while working so hard? Why would Mary Torres and the BOE majority use tax payer dollars (yea, yea, I know – “It’s not taxpayer dollars” – well it will be when the rest of the administrative money runs out) to sanction “double-dipping”? (ps – double-dipping, or get paid twice from public moneys to do a job, is very illegal).

In 1997 I argued fiercely against this Sick Leave Buy-Out. Only Doreen Cali, Matt Schirm and myself voted against it. At the time I called it – “the worst thing to ever happen to Kearny taxpayers.”

Not surprisingly, a budget hasn’t passed since it’s kicked in.

For the record, if I was a member of the Town Council and the budget was defeated this Tuesday – this whole Les Gaulton deal would be the first cut I’d make. Then, if the BOE still felt it was so “deserving” they could then vote to reinstate it, since cuts made by the Town Council are recommendations only. Except this time, with the public now fully aware, I could envision a packed house when the BOE took up this vote to reinstate the deal.

Jim Mangin

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Guest Straight Talker

What an idiot, so now you want to start bashing gays? I thought you were only the town cryer, give it up. Talk about an uneducated ***. Maybe I should bash you for being a fat idiot:) What do you think?

Bring it on Gay Talker , i'm ready for you.

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Guest Guest

Kearny Bd of ed employees are not eligible to receive disability from the State, so they must save some of their sick days in case they need them. I believe you are eligible for NJ State disability in your job @ Shop Rite, right? You keep saying Gaulton wasn't there for 20 years. How long has he been employed?

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Guest Straight Talker

Is that all you can say? By the way, straight does not mean "Gay" Are you confusing the two? Unless you are too dumb to know the difference. Its simple semantics:) Just like fat does not mean skinny, or smart does not mean stupid:)

What an idiot, so now you want to start bashing gays?  I thought you were only the town cryer, give it up.  Talk about an uneducated ***.  Maybe I should bash you for being a fat idiot:)  What do you think?

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Guest Guest
Exactly!!!! And vote the budget down. Why on earth should we vote for a $63 million dollar school budget and have our taxes go through the roof even more when the current board is giving half of a port authority grant to a retiring administrator? Is that legal? Why is the this board is putting money in places where it shouldn't go? Taxes are rising, this town is in a financial black hole, yet they're giving a retiring administrator $12,000 extra for doing his job???? Who is investigating this one? Jim Mangin please explain to us how this is remotely kosher.

Read about it in the Observer

http://www.theobserver.com/currentissue/castelli.shtml

Alan--How could you??

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Guest Guest

Kearny Bd of ed employees are not eligible to receive disability from the State, so they must save some of their sick days in case they need them. I believe you are eligible for NJ State disability in your job @ Shop Rite, right? You keep saying Gaulton wasn't there for 20 years. How long has he been employed?

When did Les becoome disabled?

Hernia-- from spiriting away my money????? :lol::huh:

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Guest Guest
When did Les becoome disabled?

Hernia-- from spiriting away my money????? :lol:  :huh:

How can this guy have 238 sick days? Didn't he **** * ****** ***** **** and stay out of work for over a year? When the board at that time wanted to see the books and have them checked. And didn't he take the books home with him so no one could see them. This whole thing stnks. Yes Miss Torres this pay out stuff is a matter of course thanks to you makeing deals with the union. Gaulton should be investigated. The tax payers are being screwed again. Man don't you people get soar.

KOTW Note: The above post was edited for content.

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