Those who attended the Woodbridge School District’s Board of Education meeting on the evening of September 21, 2012, know there was a large turnout of people from the community and from the SEIU32BJ, which is the union that represents the district’s cafeteria workers. Also present were an unusually high number of Woodbridge police. Apparently, the BOE was ensuring they had support, should the meeting attendees become too outspoken.
There were many hot topic on the agenda that evening. Perhaps, the most important was the announce by Dr. John Crowe, Superintendent of the Woodbridge School District, that he would not seek renewal of his contract and that he had advised the Board to begin the process of selecting his replacement. Let us hope the Board can do that in a very timely and highly productive manner.
It should be noted that Dr. Crowe’s announcement to leave his current position and return to that of a tenured Principal was, apparently too many, well received. Clearly, Dr. Crowe in making his announcement, demonstrated his strength of character, a commitment to the community in which he was raised, and his love of teaching. Let us hope his calling and passion will serve the educational needs of children in this community for many years to come.
The topic of test cheating and those accused of it also loomed large on the BOE’s agenda. As required by law, the BOE’s attorney read aloud the findings of the State Department of Education’s Office of Fiscal Accountability and Compliance (OFAC) yearlong investigation. The names of two principals and three teachers currently on suspension for the alleged cheating were named. Let us hope those accused of cheating, especially the teachers, are given a fair hearing by the Trier of Fact, and not by administrators and elected officials looking to quickly affix blame. Let us hope those accused will have their teaching record look at in totality, and not just in one or two instances of alleged wrongdoing. Let us hope if they are guilty of wrongdoing, their punishment fits the crime; not the heavy retribution that those with higher political ambitions might seek to extract.
While much of the meeting was dedicated to matters concerning the feeding of young minds, it was made very clear by the union employees of Chartwell, the school district’s contracted cafeteria food service operation, that they, the workers, handle the nutritional needs of the children. Let us hope the Board heard and heeds the impassioned pleas of those workers, who are asking for a fair wage and benefits. Let us hope a Board that can find money for consultants, the lighting of school stadiums, and various extracurricular activities, can find money for those who help to nourish the bodies of the school district’s children.
Let us hope the residents of the school district have learned they must remain ever vigilant as to what is happening in the schools, that they must be active participants in that process, and that they must use their voting power wisely.
So, is all this too much to hope for? Let us hope not, for without such hope what will the morrow bring!