Thursday, July 25, 2013

Things that make you go...hmmmmmm

Listed on the Wynantskill Website - 07/25/13
You may be thinking "oh this is just another Board of Education meeting", and you would be wrong. Please note the location: Questar Boces Conference Room and the time: 2:00pm. They are gathering off site, during the day, and are not stating why.
The agenda for today, June 25, states the reason: 1.3 Grievance Hearing-Peter Mesh // Grievance Hearing-Karin Carmody.
The agenda for June 29, states the reason: 2.1 Appoint Independent Consultant for Human Resources and Special Education.
  • Why the secrecy? We as a community have made it very clear that being as transparent as possible is essential right now.
  • Is it possible this has something to do with the part-time communications service provided by BOCES, which officially started Monday July 22? If that is the case why is that not listed as the item topic?
  • Could it be possible that our voices are finally being heard?
  • Is it possible that Dr. Lisa Henkel will be put on paid leave? (Say it ain't so!) That is what many could be lead to believe because it does not identify the topic for the executive session.
  • When will we, as the concerned citizens, teachers and parents, finally know the results and/or topic of the meeting?
Thoughts? Comments? Remember these posts are anonymous. Let’s converse. Let’s share our thoughts and ideas with each other. Eye on the prize, this is for our children! 


  1. Yeah - how did the Communications person begin on Monday when there was no meeting to approve it? Is this a meeting to retro-actively approve that position? Interesting also that the BOE had no trouble hiring this communications person at the drop of a hat, for who knows how much money, yet there was no possibility of hiring an aide or teaching assistant all year long for a classroom full of children who could have benefited from the extra help. It's unfortunate that a BOE will hire out all kinds of people (budget person, PR person) to do the jobs that one competent school leader could and should be doing.

    1. Good point. Now it’s time to get the infamous 3rd grade, now 4th grade class, the support it needs for the upcoming school year, a co-teacher or the splitting of the class. Many of those kids left 3rd grade reading "below” grade level, how true that really is a mystery since the reading teacher was scoring them and numerous parents don't buy them as being their “actual” reading level. The damage done to those kids must be restored.
      Unless that is "too" much money?

  2. When was this posted on the website? When was the media informed as required? Why was the meeting held outside of the district? What was the topic of the executive session?

    1. According to the PDF document properties it was created today at 11:19am.

  3. There is a boe retreat scheduled for the end of July.Its was on the last boe minutes.This could be that meeting.


  4. 4.1 Board Summer Retreat. The summer retreat for the Board of Education has been set for Friday, July 26 from 8:00 am-4:00 pm at BOCES Questar III Conference Room.

    1. The retreat has NEVER been listed before as an agenda in previous years. The time of retreat is listed as 8am - 4pm. The time of this Executive Session is listed for 2pm, not 8am - 4pm. If this agenda is to reflect that this is for the retreat specifically, why is THAT not listed as the reason for the executive meeting?

  5. And this is the type of scrutiny the Board will continue to be under if Lisa Henkel is allowed to stay.

  6. It's working! The Board of Education is taking note AND the proper steps to investigate the claims made against Dr. Henkel. With the hiring of consultants, they are showing good faith in working towards doing what is necessary for our district. Let's keep our fingers crossed! I don't believe we'll have an instant fix, but that it's going to take awhile. I'm sooooo hoping it'll be worth the wait! She needs to go...far, far, away. With our continued efforts, we may just be able to hand her a one-way ticket out!

  7. They by law have to state the reason for the Executive mtg. They can't just say they are having one. There are specific guidelines why one can be called..... It is not listed in their announcement why... This is a PROBLEM!

  8. It's going to be so important that we continue to speak up and be present at the upcoming BOE meetings. It's doubtful anything will happen in the next six months, and this school year is probably going to be tough. The parents and the community need to be visible and active with our support.

    I know I'll be asking the BOE for the dollar amounts this circus has cost; Dr Henkels legal representation, PR, investigators, etc.

  9. It appears the announcement does not comply with the requirement that the posting occur no less than 72 hours (3 days) prior to the meeting. Even if it is a "retreat" it must be announced and open to the public. I always wonder retreat from what? Truly, what would they need to discuss in someplace distant without the public observing? The simple announcement for executive session also does not comply with law. They know this because they had to receive training from the School Boards Association regarding the Open Meetings Law when they started their terms.

  10. The most recent advisory opinion regarding "retreats" from the NYS Committee on Open Government is below. Still, the BOE needs to identify the purpose of the meeting and an executive session should not be included if it is a retreat to learn about communications or something like that. Here's the opinion:

  11. The past two weeks I have been trying to be supportive of the BOE due the recent actions they have been taking, meeting with teachers, meetings with parents, giving the public updates on the website all moving in the right direction, but when I see this, it takes me back to where I was before all of these actions, irritated, confused and questioning it all over again.
    I have questions.
    1. How much are we paying the PR person?
    2. How much will these consultants cost for the investigation? Which I am pleased to see they are listening to us.
    3. How long do they expect the investigation to last?
    4. How much has Bill Ryan, the school lawyer, been paid since this has all come to a head?
    5. How much has it cost, so far, for the lawyer who is representing the teacher that was served with 3020A papers?
    6. Why is a PR person needed? Is someone from the school not capable of handling the responsibilities they have hired this PR person for?
    7. How did the BOE have no trouble hiring this communications person at the drop of a hat, for who knows how much money, yet there was no possibility of hiring extra support all year long for a classroom full of children who could have benefited from the extra help?
    8. What set of criteria is being used to select the investigators?
    9. Will teachers be questioned?
    10. Will classroom teachers be spoken to about state laws being broken, as stated in the Resolution?
    11. Were exit interviews conducted to find the actual reason why several staff, which have been at the school for many years, decided to leave in the last year and a half, and by who?
    12. Will the questioning, by the investigators, take place off school grounds outside the watchful eye of Lisa Henkel, since it is clear the teachers are fearful of the repercussion of being honest in front of her?
    13. Will parents be questioned?
    14. Will Lisa Henkel be put on leave while this investigation is taking place, since she is the one under investigation? I ask this question because that is what is happening with the current third grade teacher. She was removed WHILE the investigation is taking place.
    15. What is the plan for September if Lisa Henkel is put on leave? They must have some thoughts about this.
    16. What is the plan for September if Lisa Henkel is still there? They must have some thoughts about this also.
    17. Why is it necessary for the Business Office Consultant to attend meetings about students? Does that job description list anything about the day to day student concerns?
    18. What is the estimated cost to the district for all this?
    19. How can 28 out of 29 teachers be wrong about the No Confidence Resolution?

    Please do not perceive these questions as an attack on the Board, as they are just that, questions. Like I said, I have been hopeful the past two weeks after the effort set forth by the Board, but seeing this meeting posted with no topic, brought me back to question, why the lack of information? We need to stay involved and keep asking questions. The attendance of the last BOE meeting in June, with all the parent, teacher and community involvement, needs to be the norm moving forward until this is all resolved.

    1. There is no additional cost for the lawyer defending the suspended teacher. It is a service provided through dues paid by all the members of the union. It is unknown if the cost to the district for the 3020-a action is included in the retainer for the district's lawyer or if it is an additional cost based on hourly rate. Prior to the action the district also utilized an additional law firm to consult. That cost should have been approved by the BOE in public. If it was not then they should be asked why not. Maybe it is in the BOE minutes. Same goes for the PR person and the investigators. No money may be committed until the BOE approves the funds in public session. If it is not in the minutes the BOE should be questioned. No taxpayer money may be transacted in July beyond that committed in the organizational meeting without a public vote at a BOE meeting. So if they commit $20,000 dollars for legal services in the organizational meeting, and go beyond that amount, they must approve the additional expense, or transfer from the general fund, in public.

  12. Check out a few articles on MSNBC Business today! I am sure you will not have a hard time finding the ones I am referring to.

  13. Now that the Board of Education is doing what we all have requested by hiring outside consultants, is it fair to ask, what assurances can be given to the community of parents, teachers and taxpayers, that the consultants can and will remain impartial to the judgments at hand, despite the fact it is the BOE paying them?

  14. A statement from the BOE was given to the WTA today in regards to the 2:00pm meeting.
    -The board allocated the money and approved the investigators. The investigators said they will try to have a recommendation made by September. They will also audit the Special Education programs and RTI.- (I am just paraphrasing, this is not the official statement, nor have I seen it.)

    Now as a community we need to press hard for her to be put out on paid leave in order to conduct a thorough and FAIR investigation. I don't believe that will be the case if she is still present in the building.

  15. Regarding #11.... There definitely were not any exit interviews because the BOE just listened to Henkel telling them her made up reasons why the GOOD EMPLOYEES WITH EXCELLENT work ethics and history's just up and left .........for PERSONAL REASONS. God damn shame! The good employees PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY FORCED OUT should be offered their jobs back because the school needs them to get back on track after being HENKELED!!!!! I hope they will now speak out about the abuse that affected them as well as their families which caused them to leave. we now know why they left, not to abandon the school and the children or for personal reasons but to escape the daily abuse. Who wants to work in fear day after day?.., how awful that must have been for them to the point they would walk away from the careers they worked so hard for. To everyone affected by this horrible woman...SPEAK OUT AND BE PROUD And those who left, let the BOE really know why you left the jobs you loved so much! GOD BLESS YOU ALL AND KEEP FIGHTING FOR WHAT IS RIGHT!

    1. The people that were forced to leave are great people who just couldn't handle the burden of abuse by HenkeL and they are dearly missed! I almost gave up myself towards the end but we finally took a stand as a union and community and began to fight which gave me hope. I agree that when the investigation reveals they were forced out due to harassment and bullying by Henkel that the board should do the right thing and offer them their jobs back. Question is, would they accept? But regardless, the BOE should make a point to show they care and want to do the right thing for those who we're forced to leave, especially if they were good employees who took pride in our school and always did what was best for the school. The board should also let go every person the incompetent Henkel has hired because everyone she has hired was for her own personal gain in her fake, social country club life.