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Tenure Protest Expected at Brick BOE Meeting

Backlash expected over tenure votes

Supporters of at least two school employees who were not granted tenure are expected to express their displeasure to township Board of Education members at a meeting Thursday.

Last month, the board voted against granting tenure to principal Allison McConnell, as well as math teacher and former head football coach Patrick Dowling.

Board of Education members are prohibited by law from divulging personnel information, such as the reasoning behind denying tenure to an employee, to the press.

Board President Sharon Kight said those employees who were denied tenure would have the opportunity to appeal the decision.

McConnell has nine years of teaching experience, according to public records, and would have earned $121,847 during the 2012-13 school year. She already holds tenure as a vice principal.

Dowling, who has taught and coached in a number of school districts over the past 25 years, would have made $84,578 per year if granted tenure.

Dowling was hired in Brick after the retirement of long time head football coach Warren Wolf, who would later express his displeasure over Dowling's hiring and run for a seat on the Board of Education. Dowling was not recommended to continue as coach following the 2010 football season, though he remained employed as a teacher in the district.

Supporters of the two employees have promised to voice their displeasure over the non-tenure vote at a meeting of the board which will be held Thursday. The vote has spurred separate online petitions in support of the pair, with the Dowling petition having reached about 800 signatures and the McConnell petition having reached about 100.

The agenda for Thursday's board meeting includes a motion to "approve employment for the 2012-2013 school year" pending a board Human Resources Committee meeting that was scheduled for May 14. No details were given on what employees, if any, would be included in that motion.

The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Brick Township High School auditorium.

Lil'DragonMom May 16, 2012 at 07:12 PM
While I know you are referring to Dowling in this post...it should be said Ms McConnell was hired into the district by Mrs. Ceres, not Mr. Hyrecnko. While both tenure votes have sparked the community...these are 2 completely seperate issues and should be treated as such.
RealityCheck May 16, 2012 at 08:52 PM
Ashamed, facts are facts and everything I stated is a matter of public record. I find it interesting that you make all these accusations and create all these paranoid scenarios against ME when it is YOU who "knows" all about these inside stories, continually defends the lame duck super, and appears to have access to district personnel files. If you feel the need to resort to personal attacks to deflect from the facts, then I guess we will have to agree to disagree. Oh, but I will answer your questions: (1) his not receiving tenure in any other public school is easily verified through public records, (2) access to records is easily obtained via the internet, (3) I have not personally ever watched him teach, have you? Since board members are not permitted to observe teachers, I would assume they have not, either, (4) I have not seen his personnel file so I have no idea in what subject area his masters degree is in (like you do); did the taxpayers of Brick pay for any of it through tuition reimbursement?, (5) judging from the past recommendations for hires by the super and assistant super, NO, their recommendation means nothing to me, (6) are you sure there were any parents of STUDENTS he TAUGHT on that petition? (7) the public does not have access to employees personnel files, so I don't know what their decision was based on, (8) public teachers salaries are public record, (9) personal attacks are nasty, ignorant, and don't change the facts.
JSmom May 16, 2012 at 09:26 PM
@realitycheck- what does not change is that the people who have seen him teach want him rehired and the people who have NOT seen him teach do not want him rehired. Seems like there is something wrong with that system. Fine if you don't want him to be the football coach there but now denying him a job just shows the vindictiveness and pettiness of the people on the board.
RealityCheck May 16, 2012 at 09:38 PM
Who, exactly, saw him teach, JSmom? This district has a record of approximately 97% favorable evaluations; you can't tell me that 97% of the staff of ANY organization are all doing a great job. I am sure all of us can think of several teachers and administrators who never should have been hired, let alone granted tenure, and now we are STUCK with them. All I am saying is that the public does not have all the information. THANK YOU for finally being someone who acknowledges that a football coaching job and a teaching job are two different jobs, by the way! I agree with you that there are MANY things wrong with the system.
David Fischer May 16, 2012 at 09:38 PM
Just to modify my comment: If you already have tenure in another position in the same district, you simply have to go back to the former position (not fired from the district). In the case of Mr Dowling, he had no other tenured position in the district so, in affect, he was fired.
David Fischer May 16, 2012 at 09:44 PM
The school board is being very unfair to Mr Dowling. They knew all along that they were not going to grant him tenure. They could have told him when he lost the coaching position which would have given him time to find another position. Mr Dowling is a great teacher, a good man and a great father and did not deserve this back-stabbing by our BOE.
David Fischer May 16, 2012 at 09:47 PM
What 'Reality' are you talking about? Teachers have worked hard to get through school, get their teaching license and then they work hard to teach our children. They work many more hours than are listed on payroll forms. They give of themselves every day and deserve respect an honor, not this teacher-bashing that I see every day!
David Fischer May 16, 2012 at 09:50 PM
I don't think the BOE members who voted against tenure have even spoken to the people who's lives they have changed forever. I don't think they even took the time to review their records. I would like to hear from a BOE member who can give me real reasons for this travesty they are perpetuating.
Ashamed May 16, 2012 at 09:53 PM
Reality - Sorry, would love to continue this debate with you, but you just lost any level of credibility with me when you started talking about Dowlings wife. Shame on you!!! What's next start to talk about his kids? Have you no shame? No, sorry ... you are just a HATER trying to do the BOE's dirty work. In the end, this is what this has ever been about.... hating, name calling, character assassination. What did this man do to you or the BOE that deserves such anger? This man has endured character assassination at the nth degree and now is losing a job which feeds his family...no Reality as far as I am concerned you are not worthy of a civilized conversation and have no credibility ... just keep the hatred going and keep trying to support those vindicative / angry BOE members. Brick will come to regret these decisions and actions some day, watch and see.
David Fischer May 16, 2012 at 09:53 PM
Sorry, but just because you were a student you do not know what goes on with a teachers work day. You saw each teacher for a limited time and do not know what went into that teachers lesson, day, week or anything else about their lives with regards to teaching. A teacher that looks like they are just taking a free ride may be so good that they make the job look easy and then you think that their is nothing to it. Try it for a week (just try to substitute for a week) and then tell me teachers are buying time.
JSmom May 16, 2012 at 09:55 PM
The system as it exists right now is that a teacher's supervisor observes a teacher several times a year. Whether that system is right or wrong is immaterial at the moment. Mr. Dowling did nothing wrong in the system that he is working within but is still getting punished? If the professionals with masters degrees and years of experience in education say he should be rehired, how is it fair or right that a group of people (some of which were elected or appointed with the promise of "getting him") that have never taught or planned a lesson or followed an IEP, or graded anything, should decide that he should not be rehired?
David Fischer May 16, 2012 at 09:59 PM
Jsmom: You hit it right on the head... This is all about 'getting him', getting rid of the coach that Mr Wolf didn't want.
RealityCheck May 16, 2012 at 10:43 PM
Ashamed, sorry that the irony in referencing his wife's job in the district where he is on the BOE went over your head. You are continually putting nothing but a political spin on things, and I was trying to point out that the politics go both ways. Live by the sword, die by the sword. I have absolutely nothing against him or the others being discussed--I DO have an issue with how teachers are hired, how money is being spent, and with the ultimate outcome on the students. My concern is not with anything but the quality of education in our town. It is interesting that you feel the recommendations of a super who has NEVER been a teacher in a public school, nor EVER a principal or vice principal ANYWHERE carry such weight. I just hope the ultimate outcome is what is best for the STUDENTS.
JSmom May 17, 2012 at 01:59 AM
Hate to break it to you realitycheck--Mr. Dowling's wife was an employee of Howell (and tenured) BEFORE Mr. Dowling was elected to the BOE. So much for that theory.
RealityCheck May 17, 2012 at 02:47 AM
JSmom, that is what I said--that she is an employee where he is on the BOE; that is not a theory, that is a fact. I never commented on which came first.
knarfie May 17, 2012 at 12:47 PM
Look for someones relative, friend, etc, to be hired by the board. It,s the way it works in Brick.
Bone Doc May 17, 2012 at 01:03 PM
The two people in questions were appointed by The current Superintendant. The real problem is that the BOE is not satisfied by getting rid of Hyrcenko they want to get rid of all of his appointments. The BOE should be called the BOH (head) becausing they are blowing it for the school system and its students. Vindictive people!!,
Bone Doc May 17, 2012 at 01:13 PM
Is Wolf on life support yet because the BOE is and they should all get DNR's. I have never witnessed so many people who are brain desd. I guess they shall all follow Wolfs path.
Ashamed May 17, 2012 at 01:16 PM
How is Talty permitted to vote on teachers when he has two relatives in Brick that are teachers? Aren't there some rules against this? Check out the tenured teachers list, two relatives. Believe one of them is the guy who took the special ed math spot at BM the administration wanted to transfer Dowling to which this BOE denied last year? Besides the obvious vindictive payback from Mr Talty, might there be ethics violations in play as well? I don't want to start using our tax funds to pay for lawyers for Talty and Kight again like we have in the past.
jack smith May 17, 2012 at 01:21 PM
I am not sure I ever completely understood the Wolf " hire a brick boy campaign". Using his logic for not hiring an outsider for the Brick HS football coach position, shouldn't the same train of thought been used for the hiring of the Lakewood HS football coach job. Why not hire a Lakewood boy? seems kind of hypocritical? No?
Ashamed May 17, 2012 at 01:37 PM
Jack: Very hypocritical, and when the media asked Mr Wolf that very quesiton he answered " I don't know, I just applied for the position and was hired". Which is the exact same thing Dowling did....Yes, this whole thing has been such an embarrassment for Brick. The BOE can still change their mind though, let's hope they do....Wolf, Kight and Talty all ran on "listening to the people"...."letting the people be heard ".....Well the people are speaking rather loud on this, maybe they will stop the hypocrisy and do the right thing for these people.
concerned citizen May 17, 2012 at 03:00 PM
I wish this many parents came together to vote for the budget, so our schools that are falling apart could be patched up at the very least... I think its great everyone can rally, but why not rally for every child and teenager in the school district.
chris kant May 17, 2012 at 03:44 PM
You've made a very valid point Concerned Citizen. I've been sitting back and reading these posts and wish all these people made this much noise when we needed our budget passed! Our schools are falling apart and need this kind of support instead of all being focused on one person's job. A few years ago when my child was in Drum Point a wonderful principal was transferred for no reason. Sometimes these things happen and we don't know the reasons behind them but its a disgrace when parents are using and posting such language towards board members. That's not the way to go about saving someone's job. It makes it look like you are the bullies. Think before you react.
Rose Marie Readel May 17, 2012 at 07:59 PM
I am deeply saddened to hear that the Brick BOE has chosen not to select our new Superintendent from candidates within our district. We have some very well qualified, well educated and experienced administrators in Brick. At least one is a HS principal who has a doctorate. The negative message that is sent by the BOE in not choosing to promote someone in the district is devastating to staff in many ways and does nothing to help the district pride, morale and ultimately its effectiveness.
DennyD May 17, 2012 at 08:35 PM
The average term of a Superintendent is three years. In 2015 they'll be searching again.
David Fischer May 18, 2012 at 12:22 AM
The BOE does not just select, the job has to be posted and the candidates have to apply. The application is open to anyone who wants to try for the job.
silvana barbera May 18, 2012 at 03:46 PM
im so proud of everyone...we stood our ground last night at the BOE meeting....Ms McConnell deserves this tenure she has done so much for our children and for the school...we will there for her in this fight to get tenure....they are doing a great misjustice if they do not give her tenure..she has given our children stability and consistency which they need to grow up...without her they have nothing .
silvana barbera May 18, 2012 at 03:54 PM
Thats means u do not trust our school system and the teachers,,we have plenty of teachers that perform...young teachers right out college will not do the job of teachers that have been there for years and know what they are doing...i trust and love the teachers at our school they doing an amazing job with our children...our children tests scores have risen tremendously because of these teachers...so again im proud of our teachers.
rn May 19, 2012 at 03:22 PM
Clearly, you don't understand the political environment in a public school. In a typical public school, there are at least three special interest groups- 1. the school board 2. the superintendent and administrators 3. the parents. The school board routinely makes arbitrary decisions- nepotism, favoritism and corruption are rampant. Often, school-board members' relatives occupy teacher positions and are easily re-hired,at the expense of other better-qualified teachers. School board decisions are often made in secrecy. Administrators are pressurized by school-board members, and they in turn pressurize teachers. The administrators often hire teachers and fire them before tenure because this is much cheaper and the law gives them a lot of leeway to do this. In other words, this is a form of modern-day exploitation. Parents are another special interest group. They apply pressure on the teachers thru' administrators and even the Board to give their children better grades. It appears that these days every parent thinks his/her child is college material, even if the student does no work. The kids look at this situation, and see no reason to put in any work, since they will get good grades anyway. So you see, the teacher is in a very tight bind. The only way to protect the teachers' interest is to have the tenure law in place. Unfortunately, the ultimate long-term losers in this are the children who are the Nation's future.
Liz June 06, 2012 at 03:40 PM
I agree these public school teachers feel that once they get tenure they are safe. I feel this is a big part why our children are graduating with poor education skills. When these students go to OCC most of them need to take remedial classes. We need teachers who take their job serious and are not so worried about saving themselves. Teaching should be like any occupation you don't perform you get fired! We should be ashamed of our education system and what it has become! Teachers are making a great amount of money for a 9 month time plus they have lots of vacation days off. WoW what a nice job!

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