The battle between the Perth Amboy Board of Education and the superintendent of schools has become so unwieldy that board members on opposing sides could become involved in a separate legal dispute over a comment made during a closed-session meeting.
Board member Kurt Rebovich Jr. is considering his legal options in response to alleged threatening remarks made to him during the board’s private meeting on Monday.
Rebovich said that board member Israel Varela said: “I will go after you just the way I went after Joseph Vas, and I will not let you live and breathe.”
Rebovich, who took the comment as a threat, said he is working with his personal attorneys to explore his legal options, such as ethics or criminal charges.
Vas is the former Perth Amboy mayor serving federal prison time on corruption charges.
Rebovich said the comments were made in front of other board members, as well as the board attorney. He questions why the attorney didn’t stop the comments.
“I never directed it to him at all,” Varela said, adding that he was speaking generally about how he would go after anyone caught stealing or doing anything wrong in the district. “If he (Rebovich) felt threatened, there was no reason.”What a mess. But the most interesting part of the article comes later:
Varela said he never hit Vas, but he did go after him verbally to bring to light some of the misdeeds during his administration.
The meeting notice appears to indicate that the board does not accept Tuesday’s ruling by the acting state education commissioner, which allowed Superintendent of Schools Janine Walker Caffrey to return to work on Wednesday after the School Board placed her on paid administrative leave, citing a list of more than 20 allegations.
Caffrey said the board has asked the commissioner to consider a second vote taken on May 7 to put her on paid administrative leave, a vote in which all nine board members participated. Last month, only four of the five board members eligible to vote participated.
Caffrey has until noon Monday to file her response to the board’s request to the commissioner.
“I’m in the process of preparing my response,” she said.Whoa, whoa, wait a minute! You mean Caffrey, the Queen of Gutting Tenure, is appealing to a third party - the ACTING Commissioner - as to whether or not the school board can fire her? She asking for due process in her dismissal?
Due process and appeals to a third party are the essence of tenure! Again: Caffrey and all of her acolytes want what is essentially tenure for her, but not for teachers.
Meanwhile, the union representing teachers and other staff members considered taking a no-confidence vote regarding the superintendent, who was brought into the district before the start of the school year to lead reform in the special-needs district of about 10,000 students. But she has met opposition from some board members and staff.
An emergency meeting of the union leadership was called on Wednesday to consider all options after Caffrey was reinstated as superintendent, said Donna Chiera, president of Perth Amboy Federation/AFT.A quick time out: there was only one practicing teacher on Chris Christie's Educator Effectiveness Task Force, and that teacher was Donna Chiera. It's worth noting that Perth Amboy is one of a handful (along with Newark) of districts in New Jersey that is not affiliated with the NJEA, Christie's primary target for abuse.
So let's be clear: Chiera may be a unionista, but she is hardly against "reform."
Chiera said the first question that was asked was whether the leadership had confidence in the superintendent.
“The majority said they did not have confidence in the superintendent,” Chiera said, adding that although some advocated for a no-confidence vote, the leadership instead decided to develop a statement of what they stand for and what the district’s leader needs to do, and if they can’t do what’s needed. the leader should step aside. The statement is expected to be completed by early next week. Chiera said it was after the leadership had completed its business that Board of Education President Samuel Lebreault and Vice President Kenneth Puccio met with leaders to answer questions. She said attorneys for the board and union authorized Lebreault and Puccio’s 25-minute visit.
“I don’t know if she can lead us. If she can’t lead us and we look at what is best for the district, I don’t know if she should be there. I don’t believe the staff has the faith and confidence to follow her to make the changes in the district that need to be made,” Chiera said. “I think the marriage is over.”Let's break this all down: Janine Caffrey is adamantly against using third-party hearings to protect teachers from political retribution - otherwise known as "tenure."
Her school board doesn't want her. Her teachers don't want her. They are moving to remove her.
But ACTING Commissioner Cerf thinks he needs to step in and protect her from a political prosecution. And she is happy to appeal to him as often as it takes to protect herself. And her supporters in the press and the reformy lobbying world are proud to stand with her, even as they demand tenure be gutted.
I really am struggling to find another example of hypocrisy this blatant.