I read in this morning's St. Petersburg Times that you want to cut school board members' salaries so that they are not higher than a beginning teacher's. Hurrah. I have beat this drum for a long time.
Board members in Hillsborough County do nothing but loll on the board in a ceremonial pose and rubberstamp anything Superintendent Elia puts under their noses that she and her administrative coterie have devised out of the sunshine in her office. Then Ms. Elialoads her orders onto the Consent Agenda for the board to approve sight unseen. The board always does.
If board members make any comments, these are about tremendous trifles accompanied by entre nous snickers. The board members don't do the background reading to make them knowledgeable enough to comment on board- agenda items and hence have serious input into these. I was a college professor for 28 years before retiring. A teacher knows when class members have not read the assignment: the board of Hillsborough County does not ever read its assignment as a duty to the voters. The lot needs replacing or disbanding.
Besides the ceremonial duty of board-meeting posing, the board lounges around town going to government-funded pig-out chow downs. The result is that most are so corpulent that they won't have a childhood obesity program because they are such negative examples for the students. They also go on unregulated joy trips around the country billed as unquestioned board travel. Board member Susan Valdes spent $50,000 in one year on vacation joy rides around the country despite poor children's not being able to participate in class work because their parents could not afford the supplies.
Recently there was a no-honor-among-thieves board fight about who spent the most money on travel that was not pretty to see. Valdes spent the most, but they none deprived themselves in the travel perquisite exercise. They each spent thousands of dollars on joy rides at taxpayer expense. One reason these board members hired the under- qualified Ms. Elia, reducing the entrance academic requirement of Ph.D. to her master's and crediting on-site experience that featured overbuilding classrooms and not noticing a real- estate scam under her nose that a St. Pete Times reporter walked in off the street and spotted is that there was some kind of pre-hiring understanding amongst the board members and Elia that Elia would not interfere with board perquisites. The board even had the nerve to put a "nation-wide" ad out at $35,000, billed to the taxpayers, to cover their well-padded bottoms in the requirement to mime equal opportunity.
The last time the board got a raise, I challenged board members Jack Lamb and Candy Olson at a political gathering, saying they should not make more than beginning teachers. Dr. Lamb--and I want do a forensics on his thesis to decide whether he wrote it or a ghost wrote it--jumped on me in threatening manner while Ms. Olson stood by and nodded her head in agreement with his performance. Lamb was offended that a citizen brought up board over-compensation that exceeded teachers' salaries.
If you want a rundown on the woman Jennifer Falliero who says in the Times that she will fight your move to reduce board salaries, go to my education blog at leedrurydecesarescasting-roomcouch@blogspot. com. I detail Ms. Fallieres's four-year history on the board that includes adultery on school grounds during the tenure of two superintendents with a male administrator that ended in his firing. Falliero got off without rebuke and the other board members nominated the adulteress as board chair despite the fact that one must infer that most parents would not want an adulterous woman as school board chair who contributed to a man's divorce and caused her own, leaving four children damaged for her erotic adventures as board member on school property and serving as board chair presiding over children's lives both academic and moral during the school day.
Many communities' boards serve as a civic duty without pay. I wish the legislature would pass that kind of financial arrangement in Florida. I believe it would attract a better class of board members than sit on the board in Hillsborough County now, especially in the case of Ms. Falliero.
When you have reduced or eliminated board salaries, review superintendent and administrative salaries. There is a nation-wide racket going in this area. Superintendent Elia makes $300,000 with her stealing $47,000 of that from teachers' work to raise student scores. She hires sycophants and buddies without advertising the jobs or following the equal-opportunity laws and federal contractor equal-opportunity guidelines. As a result the administration is full of C and D students who have meager credentials for their $150,000 blowout pay. There is a lone Ph.D., who holds a job previously occupied by a man with no credentials for it who got the job probably because he helped Dr. Lennard, then superintendent, to savage a Mr.Doug Erwin for reporting graft and theft in the administration. After Dr. Lennard and his thugs tried to fire Erwin and deprive him of his pension, he filed a Whistleblower suit, won it, and the taxpayers paid his $165,000 settlement for board and administration crime.
You will run into a Ms. Connie Mileto in the capitol. She was a kindergarten teacher who got the job over more suitable candidates because of the patronage of Dr. James Hamilton, whose wife divorced him during this irregular promotion that shut out qualified people to promote Dr. Hamilton's ill-equipped pet. Ms. Elia has just manufactured this retired Don Juan a job for $65,000 a year as lobbyist without advertising it. This job will throw him into contact with Jezebel Connie in the capitol after his poor wife has remarried this rump-sprung creature. That hire shows how unethical and how dumb Ms. Elia is, yet the citizens of Florida pay her $300,000 a year for such conduct.
Lee Drury De Cesare
15316 Gulf Boulevard 802
Madeira Beach, FL 33708