Monday, April 30, 2012

Man Is But a Reed

Pascal suggested that man is a "thinking reed," but I don't put much faith in the brainpower of our new representative in Congress. Moving from Hinchey to Reed is going to cause serious whiplash throughout much of Ithaca. It's interesting that the Congressman plans to avoid Ithaca entirely as he opens his campaign. Good thinking!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Friday, April 20, 2012


Another soundtrack of my youth gone. Rest in peace, Levon.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Required Reading

Thanks to Simon for the facts about U.S. taxes.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Merger Talk

Local districts talking about merging are: South Seneca and Romulus (seriously); Candor and Spencer-Van Etten (slightly less seriously). Either one could be a potential blow to TST-BOCES; the first might move to Wayne-Finger Lakes BOCES, and the latter would be likely to head south to GST. Stay tuned.

Beyond Complacency

Really? No contest in any school district? Some of the districts have yet to file, but it looks like a walk for all incumbents locally. That's especially amazing in Newfield, where teachers wear black armbands to board meetings, and a petition circulated calling for the recall of the superintendent. I think there's a story here, but I don't even know what it is.

On the good side, it looks as though Paul will finally get seated in Dryden.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Reading List

I was never a fan of either one, but this delicate elegy is beautiful.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Off to CA

Olivia, Bridget, and I are off to Cardiff-by-the-Sea tomorrow, out of Scranton-Wilkes Barre to save some $, arriving at nearly 11 PM PST. Over a few days we plan to visit the beach, the zoo, Old Town, UCSD, La Jolla, and San Juan de Capistrano in time for the swallows. Photos to come!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Required Reading

Joe Conason waxes righteously indignant about our radical Supremes.

Why I Hate Politics

Conversation at the Annual BOCES Dinner Wednesday:

PAUL: How’s it going in Ithaca?

ITHACA SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER: Fine! We just got another $150K from Lifton. Didn’t ask for it, don’t need it, but hey! We’ll find a way to spend it.

PAUL: Really? When my wife asked for $30K for Dryden Pre-K a while ago, she was told there were no earmarks available. She had to go begging Seward, who finally came through with the money.

ISBM: What can I tell you? We didn’t even have to ask. $150K! I guess for you guys in Newfield, that would be—three teaching positions! (Laughs.)

PAUL: Yeah.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

TST Lives

Any time a District Superintendent retires, State Ed does a review to determine whether or not that BOCES should remain open. It's an opportunity to look closely at how things are working and to call for consolidation if it seems useful, warranted, and cost effective.

There are 37 BOCES in New York State. All but 9 of the state's 721 districts belong to one. Our little TST-BOCES is among the smallest, serving 9 districts in all—Candor, Dryden, George Junior Republic, Groton, Ithaca, Lansing, Newfield, South Seneca,and Trumansburg. Most of those districts cross-contract services with OCM BOCES or GST BOCES, because those larger BOCES provide services that TST cannot, much as a larger school district provides courses and opportunities that a small district cannot.

TST serves over 900 students and 500 adult students and employs around 400 staff. It has been around since 1949, when its services comprised a shared dental hygienist and a teacher of driver's ed. It would certainly be a hardship if the Smith School (exceptional ed) or Career & Tech were to close, but any merger would be likely to maintain the Ithaca campus, because sending students to a different BOCES would mean bus rides of an hour or more. GST, which serves 21 school districts, has campuses in Painted Post and Elmira. OCM has satellites in Cortland and Liverpool in addition to the main campus in Syracuse.

There have been mergers of BOCES in the past (Onondaga + Cortland-Madison = OCM, serving 24 districts; Saratoga-Warren + Washington-Warren-Hamilton-Essex = WSWHE, serving 31 districts), but as far as I can tell, no more than four in the last 20 years, with GST being the most recent. The process seems to be that the state asks the local superintendents how they feel about a merger. I don't think anyone came to the districts from Albany to check things out. Nobody contacted the board (although I think they would have received a fairly unanimous "don't close us" response). In fact, State Ed has been so decimated in past years that I doubt there was anyone available to do a serious study.

Whatever the process turned out to be, and it is a mystery, the word came down this week: TST is to remain intact. That means that the search for a new District Superintendent can go forward—in itself a challenge, since the state's salary cap on DSs places them at lower salaries than many school superintendents who might apply. Plus OCM is looking for a DS at the same time. More to come, I'm sure....

Monday, April 2, 2012


He stepped in when Perkins resigned under fire and remained as pres up to and through my college career. Apparently the pressures of that difficult time didn't get to him, because he lived to be 97 (and is survived by his wife of 73 years!)