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Hearing on Drum Point Road Principal's Tenure Tonight

Hearing will be conducted in public

A hearing that could determine the fate of principal Allison McConnell's position in the school district will be held in public Tuesday night.

Traditionally such hearings, known as Donaldson hearings, are held in closed executive sessions. But Board of Education President Sharon Kight confirmed Tuesday morning that McConnell has requested her hearing be held in public.

The hearing will provide the public with a rare glimpse into how such proceedings are conducted.

According to the New Jersey School Boards Association, a Donaldson hearing is an "informal appearance before the board in order to convince the board to offer re-employment," usually after a superintendent of schools decides against offering tenure to an employee. In McConnell's case, however, the board voted to override Superintendent Walter Hrycenko's recommendation that McConnell be granted tenure as a principal. She already holds tenure as an assistant principal.

The hearings are normally conducted in a quasi-judicial setting, with McConnell having the right to be represented by an attorney and present witnesses to speak on her behalf, the NJSBA said. Witnesses do not have to be sworn in, however.

The hearing is named after a 1974 New Jersey Supreme Court case, Donaldson v. North Wildwood Board of Education.

State law says the board must come to a decision on an employee's fate within three days of the hearing.

Less than three weeks ago, at a regular board meeting, supporters of McConnell , waving homemade signs and speaking in favor of keeping McConnell in the principal's position during a public comment session.

Tuesday's meeting is scheduled to take place at 7 p.m. in the Brick Township High School auditorium.

DennyD June 07, 2012 at 01:19 PM
Ratiocination, If you follow my concerns it has more to do with the way some BOE members condescendingl speak to Mr. Hrycenko and towards one another. The hostility can be cut with a knife. I praised Mrs. Kight at the last meeting for extending the meeting for 2 hours so all the public could be heard. Please do not try to say this whole thing is not political. It began 3 years ago. The complaint that Mrs. Suter said she received should have been forwarded to the Principal or the Equity Officer. Why didn't she share the info with the rest of the Board? Waving some papers at a Donaldson hearing as if it were some "expose' " was ridiculous. I guess she will be bringing some more papers on Monday. Four people were denied tenure by the exact same vote. Coincidental? As far as Mrs. McConnell's restoration is concerned, the BOE had no choice! The genie had gotten out of the bottle. Mr. Cuppari's one sentence was all that had to be said. BOE stop the vendettas and negativity. It is counter-productive!
Ratiocination June 07, 2012 at 02:07 PM
Denny, I believe it was Mrs. Kight, not Mrs. Suter, who said she received the letters. Do you attend all the meetings? Have you seen how many times the super has been disrespectful to board members, or it has come up that he gave them incorrect info or no info at all? This has been an ongoing. I know you are close with the equity officer, but how do you know the super was never given the letters? I don't recall that being stated. Maybe you can obtain the letters through an OPRA request (if permissable)? I think your judgment may be clouded from your personal relationships within the district, your past employment here as an in-school suspension teacher, and your pro-tenure union affiliation. Just because you disagree with someone or with the decisions made by the board does not mean you should personally attack them and slander them as being politically motivated. Did you make the same cries when coaches were hired for (created) teaching jobs that were never advertised? Were you upset when new hires were brought in at pay levels far above their step on the guide? If you become a little better informed and investigate the facts and how the laws and policies work, you may gain some objectivity. Decisions need to be made for the best of the STUDENTS. I am sure if the other teachers denied tenure are excellent TEACHERS there will be an outcry from their students and the parents of the students, just as there was for Ms. McConnell.
Ashamed June 07, 2012 at 03:53 PM
Ratiocination, please stop in your attempts to defend this BOE. First few facts, Suter was the one who brought up the bullying letter not Kight. Suter also took a lame shot at Edwards, saying she didn't approve of the wording of the letter, she was the one who voted NO, she should have sent the letter if she wanted it to say something else. Now, politics...if you are trying to say that politics are not a prime motivator in this BOE coming into power and some of their actions, you are either a blind supporter or ignorant. The reason SO MANY people are ANGRY at this BOE is it is crystal clear that their objectives of revenge are playing out here. Wolf PUBLICALLY stated that he was going to run for the BOE, take over the majority of BOE, then fire the superintendent and fire the coach. These are Wolf's public words (forgive him for being so blunt but he is an old man). This BOE continues to act out this threat. Dowling was removed as coach, removed Hyrchenko as Super, they are trying to un-do other Hyrchenko moves, and trying to fire two teachers, Dowling and Sacco, central figures in the Wolf Football Saga. This is 100% political. The one thing this BOE didn't plan on was that people get TIRED OF REVENGE AND POLITICAL VENDETTA, and candidly this has turned on them. Many are angry at this BOE, they took a good step changing tune on McConnell, it would be wise to do same of Dowling and others, maybe then community will believe they have stopped politics and payback.
DennyD June 07, 2012 at 03:53 PM
At least we can agree on your last sentence. As far as getting informed what makes you think I'm not? I'm not taking sides on this debacle. Lots of finger pointing. The problem is when you have BOE members whose first task is making the Super look bad and humiliate him at every turn nothing works well. As far as me being pro-union what else would you think I should be? Actually I would prefer speaking directly to you. My e-mail is dennydandrea@verizon.net I would give you my phone number except Dan Nee discourages putting phone #s up here. This is his rule and him being the Editor it is his call. e-mail me
Ashamed June 07, 2012 at 04:10 PM
Rationcination, one last question from me on this BOE, which you seem to want to defend....How can this group have this high moral imperative when their very own BOE President has been previously suspended by the state for ethics violations??? They want to deny tenure on a Principal for some unsubstanited letter, but it's what , just a misunderstanding when a BOE member is suspended, after LEGAL appeal has taken place? Come on, stop the non sense. This is all poltical, plain and simple. I want to hear what this BOE believes Mr. Dowling has done to not deserve tenure. If they don't have VERY GOOD and FACTUAL PROOF that he does not deserve it there is going to be a large backlash towards this BOE...that is a fact...it will be interesting to see how this plays out.

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