Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Transfers Perturb School Staff, Results in Limbo

Over an hour and a half Tuesday, school board members heard many an impassioned plea not to approve staff transfers, but voting on personnel matters became so complicated that the outcome won't be known until Board Secretary Craig Smith reviews the tape.

Speakers told of stress over short notice of the transfers. Supporters of a principal slated to be moved submitted petitions with 600 signatures. A master teacher who said she is the only Spanish speaker in Early Childhood Services deplored her transfer out of the program to become a teacher in an elementary school.

Anita Gaur, a library media specialist at Plainfield High School since 2005, pleaded with the board not to send her to another school. The 9 p.m. phone call she received Friday night informing her of the transfer caused her blood sugar to spike, she said. Gaur described how she transformed the library to a place where "everybody is engaged in learning" and called it "my home, my soul."

"Please let me stay with my students - this is my house," she said to applause from about 100 staff members and parents who attended the meeting.

The hour allotted to public comment was extended another half hour as speakers, some requiring a translator, poured out their concerns. Eric Jones, president of the Plainfield Education Association, told the board, "We are professionals, not chess pieces. Please help stop these last-minute reassignments."

Thirty-three staff members were listed for reassignment, including teachers, principals, vice principals and others. There were many other resolutions in the Human Resources segment, as employment decisions for school districts must be made by June 30. But when voting began on the 44-page Human Resources portion of the 166-page agenda, board members made so many exceptions that Smith and attorney Lisa Fittipaldi could not keep track and decided to review the tape.

For example, John Campbell voted "yes," except said "no" to six items and Carmencita Pile excluded the transfers and several other items from her "yes" vote. Board President Emily Morgan said the results will be posted on the district web site, which leaves those affected in limbo for a few more days.

Morgan and board members Carmencita Pile, Carletta Jeffers, John Campbell, Richard Wyatt and Lynn Anderson adjourned the public portion after voting on the rest of the agenda and went back into closed session at 11:10 p.m. David Rutherford, Dorien Hurtt and Terrance Bellamy were absent. The board was expected to return to public session later, but this writer went home.



  1. This is what happens when you appoint a person that think they know everything to President. The reality is the board president has absolutely no experience or knowledge. I hope the new board members, Anderson, Hurtt and Pile can turn this around quickly and start fulfilling some of their campaign promises. It’s not looking good.

  2. Aren't the transfers coming from the superintendent of the schools. If this is so, why was this done last minute. I don't think the BOE President makes these assignments. I would think we need our superintendent of schools to be more forward thinking and do her job properly. If someone is doing a good job, don't move them without very good reason and state that reason publicly and especially to the BOE. Didn't this also happen several times under Wilma Campbell, not that anyone misses her.

    1. The agenda (including these propose transfers) was created and approved by/with the Superintendent and BOE President. I was at the meeting last night and there was absolutely no control or leadership.

  3. There is a very interesting article in today’s C-News online about NJ school funding- Christie wants 'fairness' in school funding. If Christie’s plans gain any legs,then wings Plainfield will be in a disastrous state. Our children will certainly be under educated and our property taxes will be off the chart. What a chilling thought.

  4. Who is responsible for instituting the transfers? The Superintendent? The Board? Sounds like some form of retribution.
    If it ain't broke don't fix it.

  5. The Board does not institute transfers. This is a day to day activity. The Superintendent makes the recommendation and the BOE affirms or denies it. The BOE can institute a policy that states employees are to be notified X amount of days prior to the transfer.

  6. The LEADERSHIP of that Board setting has failed once again. There needs to be a change in the -Board Secretary, Board Attorney, Board President and Superintendent.

  7. An experienced superintendent is desperately needed. Clean house now!

  8. The shuffle of personnel happened at the nth hour. Is it no wonder staff feels so disrespected. Many transfers were made for spite, no educational rationale. It was the Supts.' responsibility for personnel transfers after 175+ school days why wait until the Friday night before the Tues. Meeting to let everyone know.. shoddy. The Bd. is new and inexperienced but I'm glad they are not rubber stamping issues. Who is responsible from Central evaluate Administrators? I hope the board can overcome the confusion and alliances and do what they have been elected to do, and it is not easy and often times thankless.