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Board President: Kids Are Safe at Walter T. Bergen School

Parent reads statement inquiring about board of education's investigation of school principal.

In response to a parent's questions regarding teachers' , Bloomingdale Board of Education President Lauren Grecco said Monday the board is confident in the safety of the school's children.

"I just want you to know that the kids are safe in this building," she told James Schalago after he read aloud a prepared statement at the board of education meeting.

Without using Verducci's name, Schalago questioned why the was not public about the investigation of which were read aloud by a teacher at the May 7 board of education meeting. At that meeting, Bloomingdale Education Association President Tiffany Chung alleged Verducci created "unsafe conditions for our students and staff, increased health concerns and fear."

The school's teachers voted 20 to 1, with two abstentions, that they had no confidence in Verducci to lead the school, she said. However, the board of education ultimately voted to renew Verducci's contract for next year.

Schalago said Monday he understood the board was not able to discuss personnel matters, but he felt the board should at least explain that the allegations were considered before renewing the contract.

"The board has spent countless hours hearing all sides," Grecco said.

Board Member Cathy Gurbisz also commented in regards to the board's investigation of the issues.

"It wasn't just guessing or feeling or wishing. There were legalities that we had to follow," she said.

Schalago said he is worried that the value of his property will decrease because homebuyers considering moving to the borough may no longer be interested after the way the situation was handled.

"I believe the board had the power to reverse some of the damage that had been done," he said. "You've done more damage by not saying anything."

Schalago said he did not expect board members to admit they were "wrong" in the way they handled the situation, but hoped they could provide insight as to what measures will be taken in the future to fix the issues between the teachers and principal.

"Unfortunately for us parents, we don't have closure," he said. "Something needs to be communicated to us parents and to the community."

While she said the issue would not be appropriate for the board to discuss, Grecco said professional development training will take place in the beginning of the school year. Grecco also assured Schalago that the children will be well taken care of.

"The children are receiving a quality education here and the kids are in a safe environment and no one up here can discuss the issue," she said.

Board Member Sheldon Bross also defended Verducci and said the board was satisfied in their decision to re-hire him.

"He's a person of quality, a leader of quality and he will lead us through a good educational system," he said.

eva July 18, 2012 at 02:24 AM
"Professional development"??? We have to spend money to send an unprofessional principal for sensitivity training? I agree with Schlago that more damage has been done by not saying or doing anything. And of course Bross supports his rehire, wasn't it his tee time with Verducci's father that got him the job in the first place??? "A leader of quality"???? so 20 of our teachers' opinions don't matter? the concerns of parents don't matter? I think what the legalities that Gurbisz is referring to is that they are afraid of being sued by the so-called "Leader of Quality"... when what they should really be afraid of is the mountains of legal issues by his lack of professionalism and educational abilities.
Jim July 18, 2012 at 04:17 PM
To elaborate, Schalago was concerned because the value of his property ALREADY has decreased in value and would continue to decrease in value until the Board commented on the situation and attempt some damage control. The truth is that all of our properties have decreased in value in Bloomingdale because of the lack of a swift, clear response to a very embarassing image of our town and its school system. When my realtor calls me to ask what is going on in the Bloomingdale schools because her clients mentioned they would prefer to look at houses in Butler instead of Bloomingdale because of all of the things they heard about the middle school principal and WTB, our values have already decreased!
Sheldon Bross July 20, 2012 at 02:23 AM
Apparently Eva read the silly gossip previously written by an uninformed person with respect to my playing golf with Frank Verducci's father. I have never played golf even once in my life. My grandchildren beat me at miniature golf. I first met Frank Verducci's father for less than 10 seconds at a May meeting of the Board of Education and haven't seen him since. Hey Eva, do the other seven members of the Board who voted to rehire Mr. Verducci also play golf with his father? Eva and the writer of the original gossip are like generals who safely come to the battlefield after the battle is over to count the dead. They never soil their hands in the controversy or take any responsibility to spend the enormous amount of time necessary to operate a school system. They sit at home in an air conditioned room and spread silly gossip about those who are working to better our system. That's real easy, isn't it? Why don't you volunteer and perhaps you can do something constructive rather than spending your time being destructive? I repeat what I said at the Board meeting. "Frank Verducci is a leader of quality" Sheldon Bross
eva July 20, 2012 at 11:53 AM
Hello Sheldon, funny you mentioned your grandchildren, because it was your granddaughter who was telling other children about your so-called relationship. Sitting at home in an air-conditioned room? That sound quite judgmental with even less credential than your granddaughter's remarks. I also believe it was you who suggested at the BOE meeting to air our grievances out in the parking lot, so which way do you want it? I don't know what comment you are referring to as some coward who did not like what it said had it deleted. Perhaps it was from the mother whom you called a name at BOE meeting? (hmmm, professional!) Until you have to sign a DNR on your child, and to quote a phrase, walk a mile in her shoes, I would suggest you leave your comments of sitting in an air conditioned room, spreading silly gossip or counting the dead... "Bettering our system", sir, as you imply, includes ALL the children, not just the ones you deem applicable!!! And by the way, I would gladly offer to volunteer if there wasn't a conflict of interest as I have already had to TWICE go to mediation with the lack of professionalism and interest of ALL the children!
wendy July 20, 2012 at 03:53 PM
The board of Bloomingdale has been given a very effective proof of the questioned at the Oct 20 12, meeting, violent and crazed does not seem safe neither does second guesses and I would love if people would see violent behavior and the violations are unheard of , they continue with lies
wendy July 20, 2012 at 03:58 PM
our last year in Bloomingdale schools has been destructive to family and friends and this is not hearsay there has always been proof ,unquestionable proof . This needs to be investigated appropriately not in house
Elizabeth Campoli July 20, 2012 at 04:33 PM
Well said Eva, Sheldon, My daughter also heard this from your grandaughter. Again as I told you in the parking lot, you should be very ashamed of your self for calling a parent a NASTY BITCH! Just because this parent is following the guidlines that are put into place for safety of all children. Parents I urge you to find out the truth! Parents and teachers cant all be wrong. These issues that have been brought to the table are founded, and our children and teachers are in danger. This could blow up in the BOE's faces and cost thousands and thousands of tax dollars.
wendy July 20, 2012 at 05:23 PM
the conflict with myself would be guide lines would need to be followed along with state and federal law and for some reason excuses would not be accepted, so yes I would be unavailable for volunteer and yes I am very well versed I have had many years to catch up with many types of law although the the unwritten rules are way to damaging for great amounts of the public including this parent
Janet July 23, 2012 at 07:04 PM
I am glad my kids are done with Bloomingdale Schools and have gone on to Butler High.
wendy August 01, 2012 at 09:54 PM
no more excuses ,
Adam Pitch August 05, 2012 at 12:47 AM
The people who stir the pot should look themselves in the mirror. It seems to me there are many miserable parents and teachers who wake up everyday wanting to make everyone else miserable. If it wasn't for a union, many teachers would be fired long ago for insubordination. Take heed, tenure laws are a changing and these same teachers will retire rather than reform their ineffective teaching techniques. As for the union head, I wonder what would happen if the tables were turned and the principal named an ineffective teacher. Please stop the double standard and work together for the children's sake. That's why everybody is in this, right? Adam
wendy August 09, 2012 at 02:22 PM
no that is not right ,but all children have the right to be treated equal and to be evacuated any building
go Giants! September 06, 2012 at 06:17 PM
Adam, you obfuscate and make unsupportable, unsubstantiated charges about "many teachers" with "ineffective teaching techniques" to somehow support FV and his cronies. Your attack on tenure laws is laughable as you state how, without them, teachers would be fired for exercising their first amendment rights to Freedom of Speech/Expression for insubordination. You are so right, they would be, and that is all the more reason to support tenure protections. When teachers speak out against ineffective, untalented, worthless adminsitrators such as FV they should do so without worry for their jobs. To NOT speak up when there is administrative malpractice when childrens' educations are at risk would be institutionalized neglect of those same kids. How do I know so much about FV and his incompetence? I worked with the man in Newark and I'm glad he's gone. Our school, our staff, and our kids are much better off without him.

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