Category Archives: Superintendent Karen Bilbao

>APP: Middletown schools chief allowed to leave district early

>I found this article from the Asbury Park Press online this morning about last night’s Middletown Board of Education meeting. There’s not that much information in it that is different from what I posted last night before going to bed. The article seems to correspond with what I was told, which was Karen Bilbao is being let out of her contract early.

You can read it below:

MIDDLETOWN — The Board of Education agreed unanimously Wednesday to allow Superintendent Karen Bilbao to leave the district 60 days earlier than her contract allows.

Bilbao, 58, is set to retire on Feb. 1. She gave notice on Dec. 1, requesting that the board override a contractual requirement of 120 days notice.

Bilbao, whose salary is $190,835, has been superintendent since 2008. She served as interim superintendent from 2006 to 2008.

“I enjoyed it immensely, even the board meetings,” said Bilbao, who thanked those who upheld her positions over the years. “A superintendent can only be as effective as the board that supports her recommendations.”

According to her contract, Bilbao can be paid about $795.15 a day for no more than 40 unused vacation days, and can be paid $80 a day, up to $10,000, for unused sick days.

Despite voting for Bilbao’s retirement, board member Joan Minnuies said the superintendent should have remained in her position for 120 days after giving notice.

“We have no one in the district who has put this budget together before,” Minnuies said. “I’m concerned about that.”

Board member Vincent Brand acknowledged he and Bilbao did not work well together, but still praised her work ethic.

“The woman worked very hard,” Brand said. “I wish you the very best.”

7 Comments

Filed under Asbury Park Press, resignation, retirement, Superintendent Karen Bilbao

>Rumor From The School Yard Was Correct: Middletown schools superintendent to retire

>Well,well, well… I guess I wasn’t wrong afterwards when I posted back on November 18th that Middletown School Superintendent Karen Bilboa had handed in her resignation at the previous nights Board of Education meeting.

Afterwards the Asbury Park Press’s Jennifer Bradshaw followed up on that post and ask Bilboa directly if she had indeed resigned and was planning to leave.
Bilboa denied that she was leaving andattributed the rumor on a misunderstanding:
…”It seems to be that Chris Parton at the end of the meeting announced that the board was going into executive session (to discuss) the superintendent’s contract,” she said.

From there, someone may have “jumped to conclusions” that she resigned, Bilbao said“…. it was reported.

So now, just posted a short while ago on the Asbury Park Press website is the following:

Superintendent of Schools Karen Bilbao has given notice that she plans to retire, and hopes to end her time with the district on Jan. 31, 2011.


In an e-mail to the Asbury Park Press, Bilbao said that she submitted the letter on
Dec. 1, which would give 60 days notice of her intent to retire.

The Board of Education personnel committee is scheduled to meet on Dec. 8, and will be discussing the resignation, she said.


It will be an agenda item at the Dec. 15 Board of Education meeting, Bilbao said.

So what will Karen Bilboa be doing after with herself after January 31st? From what I have been hearing lately she will be working for the NJ State Board of Education in some capacity as a curriculum advisor.

7 Comments

Filed under Asbury Park Press, Middletown Board of Education, resignation, Superintendent Karen Bilbao

>If you have kids in the Middletown school system is Vinnie Brand the most dangerous person in Middletown?

>

After posting last week about the possible resignation of Middletown Schools Superintendent Karen Bilbao, I was somewhat surprised by the chatter that it created. The post was easily the most popular posting since the Nov.2nd general election and caused enough buzz that Jennifer Bradshaw of the Asbury Park Press followed up on it by asking Bilbao if the rumor of her leaving was true. Bilbao denied the rumor and stated that she was staying, which I believe is good news for the school district.
When I stated above that I was surprised by some of the chatter that surrounded t Bilbao’s possible resignation, I was referring to not only private emails and comments that I received but also postings in other forums. The blog posting caused a string of comments on the NJ.com Middletown readers forum, which I encourage readers to stop by sometimes and take a look at. The forum, when concentrating on issues that directly effect Middletown, is a great place to gage what people are really thinking and feeling about all things Middletown.

One poster who seems to have his finger on the pulse of what goes on at Middletown Board of Education meetings goes by the screen ID of 7vens. This person wasn’t surprised to hear about Bilbao’s possible resignation considering what Bilbao has had to deal with since May, when new members of the BOE arrived on the scene.

7vens’s posts on the forum are extremely critical of new BOE member Vinnie Brand and his colleagues Aveta and Mascone, calling Brand “the most dangerous man in Middletown” for his displays of ignorance and power plays on board issues.
7vens accuses Brand of violating the codes of ethics that all BOE members must adhere to when he bases his votes on Governor Christie’s recommendations as opposed to what is in the best interests of students amongst other things.
I wonder how many………

by 7vens, 11/19/10 4:51 PM
Re: Karen Bilbao Resigns!? by 7vens, 11/19/10 4:51 PM
of the mothers that were spreading the RUMOR were at the BOE meeting?

Oh, I know, none. She did not resign at the BOE meeting. She has a contract. The BOE would have to let her out of it with a vote. She would not be able to leave at the end of the month as Middletown Mike said. My guess would be a minimum of 60 days.

If she is a smart as she appears to be, she will leave. When the power shifts to the new guys the administrators are going to leave in droves. They, Vinnie and friends, just don’t understand that people are not going to work in Middletown when they can go elsewhere and work for a BOE that is not anti administration for more money.

We already lost a great BA. Vinnie made a motion to reduce his pay and he took a job a few days later for $9000 more in Toms River. He saw the handwriting on the wall and he is just the first of many.

There were only 3 qualified applicants for his replacement after posting the job twice. They found someone, negotiated a salary and Vinnie wanted to offer her $8,000 less. She already said that she would not take the job for less than she negotiated for. If Vinnie had his way, they would have had to post the job again. Take a less qualified person and pay for the interim until the next BOE meeting when they could approve the new hire.

When the board was looking for the replacement for the assistant BA, who is leaving, Vinnie suggested that we don’t need an assistant BA, in a district with a $140 million budget. Then he asked what the BA did. I am not making this up. If you have kids in this school system Vinnie Brand is the most dangerous man in Middletown. Ignorance and power is a tough combination to beat.


This is the beginning of the end for education in Middletown. If you can afford it, send your kids to RBC ASAP.

25669.4.3.1.
/\ The real problem /\
by 7vens, 11/20/10 10:24 AM
Re: Karen Bilbao Resigns!? by 7vens, 11/20/10 10:24 AM
Are the idiots like the triumvirate of ignorant posters above…

… who slander the administrators by calling them corrupt without an iota of evidence. They are using the same logic that they use to group all Mexicans, Muslims and Blacks together.

The problem Is that these ignorant morons vote and their votes carry as much weight as an informed person’s vote. The BOE is about to be taken over by people that represent ignorant voters.

Vinnie Brand met three times with members of the township committee before running for the BOE. He never met with BOE members or administrators before running. In fact, by his own admission, he NEVER ATTENDED A BOE MEETING BEFORE HE WAS ELECTED. Vinnie is a politician, not an educator.

He suggested that the school district should leave all of the handling of the $140 million budget in the hands of one person. He suggested that the BA does not need an assistant. Then he asked what the BA did. He has no idea what administrators do, but he wants to eliminate them.

Middletown has been warned by the County superintendent of schools that if they eliminate any more administrators that they could be placing the safety of our students at risk. Vinnie Brand chooses to ignore this information in the interest of saving literally a few dollars per household. The county superintendent also warned that any further reduction of administrators could make it impossible to provide an adequate education for the students. Vinnie Brand thinks he knows more than educators about educating.

Viinie Brand stated that his reason for voting down proposals was that the BOE should be doing what Governor Christie suggested. This is a clear violation of the code of ethics that all board members are sworn to uphold. Board members are obligated to leave their political affiliations behind make decisions based on what is best for the students, not what is best for their political futures. He constantly hinders the board’s ability to run an effective meeting with his political grandstanding. There are over 600 school districts in New Jersey. Middletown is in competition with these districts for administrators. All things being equal, qualified superintendents and Business Administrators with experience in a large K-12 district are difficult to find. These people do not need Middletown, Middletown needs them. Vinnie has already started fostering an adversarial relationship with Middletown’s administrators. Once the balance of power is turned over to Vinnie and his pals the good administrators will leave for greener pastures. It’s already started to happen and it will only get worse.

Vinnie and his cohorts know absolutely nothing about educating children. They are shameless politicians who make decisions about our children’s futures based on politics. If you have children in Middletown’s schools, Vinnie Brand is the most dangerous person in Middletown.


Wrong.
by 7vens, 11/20/10 1:06 PM
Re: Karen Bilbao Resigns!? by 7vens, 11/20/10 1:06 PM
Members of the BOE are elected. Once elected the code of ethics dictates that they are to vote based on what is best for the education of the children specifically without regard to political affiliation. You are factually dead wrong on this and you need to read the code of ethics:

“I will refuse to surrender my independent judgment to special interest or partisan political groups……”

“I will make decisions in terms of the educational welfare of children”

For Vinnie Brand to publicly state at a BOE meeting that he is casting his vote based on the recommendations of the Governor to cut costs is not voting based on what is best for the children. What will he do if the next Governor is a Democrat? We he cast his vote on that Governor’s recommendations? No. He is a politician in a position that is by definition apolitical.

If you think that it is going to be easy to replace our superintendent you are sadly mistaken. Who in their right mind is going to want to work for a school board that is openly hostile towards administrators? She may not be leaving at this moment but how can she stay? Why would she stay? Once the balance of power shifts to the inexperienced politicians they will vote to reduce her salary. These guys, BAM, ran on a platform of reducing administrative costs, even though they have no clue what administrators do. They are ignoring the warnings of the county superintendent regarding the SAFETY of our children. Middletown has one of, if not the highest, administrator to student ratios in the state.

They are putting politics before the SAFETY of our children. It’s an abomination I just hope that we are never here talking about a tragedy that occurred because of a lack of administrative oversight. It is a very real possibility and they are ignoring the advice of experts in education.


Other posters on the forum have had similar concerns, so I encourage readers to check them out to form their own conclusions.
I myself haven’t been to a BOE meeting this year so I cannot personally substantiate whether or not 7vens comments are gross exaggerations or are closer to the truth. What I can say about the Brand allegations is that I have heard similar rumblings from others over the past few months and up until this point haven’t mentioned these rumbling because I don’t generally comment on the BOE.
I’ve stated before that those that run and oversee the school system have a hard job and I feel that they act in the best interests of the students, even though I may not always agree with some of their policies, the points that were brought up by 7vens over at NJ.com however are different. If board members are showing themselves to be more concerned over politics than the well being of the students in the district (which my kids happen to be) than it is important to speak out it, especially if those politically motivated board members like Vinnie Brand would cause the resignation of a very qualified and highly thought of school superintendent as Karen Bilbao.
If Vinnie Brand or any other member of the Middletown Board of Education wishes to address this situation, I would be glad to hear from them and post their response, board members and administrator need to be partners in the education process not adversaries.
And to answer the headlines question, I don’t think so.

5 Comments

Filed under Asbury Park Press, Middletown Board of Education, NJ.com, resignation, Superintendent Karen Bilbao, Vinnie Brand

>APP: Middletown superintendent says she’s not leaving

>According to the article below that has been recently posted on the Asbury Park Press website, it seems that Karen Bilbao is denying that she has resigned as Middletown School Superintendent.

Bilbao blames the shoolyard rumors on an announcement made by board attorney Christopher Parton who at the end of the public portion of Wednesday nights school board meeting announced that board was entering into executive session to discuss the Superintendent’s contract. She thinks that those in attendance may have gotten the wrong impression from this announcement and jumped to the conclusion that she was leaving.

This very well could be so, I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt. However when I reached out to third party contacts they reported back that one board member confirmed the resignation, while a second board member would neither confirm nor deny it.

Being that this all happened during executive session, the board members were very upset that this news leaked out.

Whatever the true story is, I hope that it all works out for the best in the end. If Bilbao is staying as Superintendent, she has a lot of hard work ahead of her putting a budget together that will be in compliance with the new mandated 2% state cap, while trying to oversee contract negotiations with the teacher’s union in the next couple of months that could turn ugly (Which I certainly hope doesn’t turn out to te the case). It wont be easy.

If she is leaving, then I wish her all the best as she either enters into a new job position or into retirement to take advantage of current benefits before the new pension/benefits rules kick in, that have cause so many teacher and administrator to retire before they had planned to. She has performed admirably in her duties since becoming Middletown’s Superintendent, she deserve better than what she has had to put up with over the past year.

MIDDLETOWN — Superintendent of schools Karen Bilbao says she is not leaving her post in the public school district.

Following a Nov. 17 board of education meeting, it was widely rumored that Bilbao resigned her position in executive session that night.

On Friday afternoon, Bilbao said that she had heard the rumors and that they were not true.

Her rumored departure may have stemmed from an announcement by the board attorney at the end of the Nov. 17 public meeting.

“It seems to be that Chris Parton at the end of the meeting announced that the board was going into executive session (to discuss) the superintendent’s contract,” she said.

From there, someone may have “jumped to conclusions” that she resigned, Bilbao said.

Bilbao has been superintendent of schools since 2008 and served as interim superintendent from 2006 to 2008.

1 Comment

Filed under Asbury Park Press, Karen Bilbao, Middletown Board of Education, resignation, retirement, rumors, Superintendent Karen Bilbao

>Breaking News: Rumors From The School Yard; Middletown School Superintendent Karen Bilbao Resigns

>When picking my son up from school today, several mothers in the school yard were talking about Middletown School Superintendent Karen Bilbao. The rumor that spread across the schoolyard like wildfire was that she had resigned her position as Superintendent of the Middletown School system at last nights Board of Education meeting during Executive Session. No mention of her resignation was made during the public portion of the meeting I am told.

One of the mothers that told me of Bilbao’s resignation is an active PTO member and a class mom at my son’s school. She had heard for weeks that Bilbao was planning on retiring but never thought that it would be before the school year ended.The mother told me that she had heard that Bilbao had gotten “Some big state job” having to do with education.

I made a couple of phone calls to try and confirm what I hard heard, and I found out that the rumor seems to be fact. Evidently Bilbao doesn’t want to be the fall person or lighting rod for this years upcoming battles over the school budget or contract negotiations between the Board of Education and the teachers union, so she thinks now is the best time to go.

Another possible reason why she is leaving now I was told, was because the current members that make up the Middletown Board of Education has made it difficult and at times caustic to work with.

The one thing that I wasn’t able to nail down as of yet is the exact date that she will be leaving, but those that I have talked to seem to think that it will be at the end of this month.

Leave a comment

Filed under Middletown Board of Education, Middletown NJ, resignation, retirement, school administrator, Superintendent Karen Bilbao

Comment of the Week

The following comment was posted yesterday by an anonymous person to the post titled “Middletown school board to vote on final spending plan”. I thought that it was good enough to be considered comment of the week thus far and shared here on the main page.

The county superintendent has said that any further administrative cuts will jeopardize the district’s ability to provide an adequate education and may put the safety of the students at risk. Karen has said the same thing. Who has more knowledge about educating our children, the mayor or the educators?

When Vinnie Brand heard the email from the county superintendent read at the meeting the other night he said that he disagreed with the county superintendent and that he didn’t care what other towns are doing that we should do it better.

This guy is a pretty fast study. Wednesday was the second BOE meeting he has attended in his entire life and he already knows more than our superintendent and the county superintendent about acceptable student to administrator ratios. He said that we should cut 3 administrators as the TC suggested, even though the TC numbers had no basis in reality due to their total lack of understanding regarding the way the district operates.

Middletown has gotten what it wished for. We now have 3 new members on the board who apparently are so concerned about doing the bidding of the Township Committee that they are willing to compromise the safety of the students in order to save the taxpayers a few dollars.

Because the TC did not realize that the tenured administrators will have to be employed somewhere in the district, they grossly overstated the savings to the taxpayers. Instead of the $390,000 that they claimed would be saved by eliminating 3 administrators, the actual savings would be more like $50,000. In other words, for less than $1 per person a year for every person living in Middletown, Vinnie and his friends are willing to ignore the warnings of professional educators and compromise the safety of our students.

We now have inexperienced, uninformed and misguided people deciding the future of the districts educational process. They are ignoring the code of ethics for BOE members which states that they are to make their decisions based on what is best for the children. They appear to be making decisions based on political affiliations and aspirations.

Leave a comment

Filed under budget cuts, Comment of the Week, Middeltown Board of Education, Middeltown Township, Superintendent Karen Bilbao, Vinnie Brand

Middletown school board to vote on final spending plan

Good job by Jennifer Bradshaw of the Asbury Park Press reporting on the Middletown school budget that will be voted on at tonights Board of Education meeting (I included her report at the bottom of this post).

The meeting agenda and resolutions were posted on the BoE website late Monday afternoon , I didn’t see them posted until shortly after noon yesterday, but I was unable to post about it until know.
There are a number of things that I found interesting and that pertain to tomorrow night’s meeting that will be open for discussion:

  1. The Meeting Agenda – Page 5 of the agenda lists the reductions in the budget that the BoE will be moving forward with. As Jennifer Bradshaw reports in the article below the BoE did not follow the township committees suggestion to eliminate two vice principals, an assistant business administrator or a directors position for a savings of $347,000. Instead they found savings (breakage) from teachers that announced their retirements since the budget was first proposed.
  2. Personnel Committee Report – This report lists the names of district employees that have announce their retirements, resignations or leaves of absences and contains the resolution which authorizes the further reduction of the work.
  3. Certified Staff – This is a list of all the certified staff members that are being recommended for rehire with their salaries( I was happy to see some names that I am familiar with and disappointed in not seeing others)
  4. Tenured Transfers Reassignments – A list of tenured teachers, guidance counselors and CST’s that have been transferred to other schools or who have had their positions within the school district reassigned
  5. Superintendent Compensation Freeze – Superintendent Karen Bilbao has forgone her contracted raise for the upcoming year and due to the recent change in state law will be contributing 1.5% of her salary towards health benefits. Currently Bilbao contributes $1,200 towards her benefits, that will now increase by $463 for a total of $1,663 inwhich she will have to pay towards her benefits.

I have to give the Board of Education some kudos here because unlike the Gerry Scharfenberger and the Township Committee, in a true showing of transparency, the BoE released the revised budget with all of the important information that pertains to it before their open public meeting tonight. By doing so, the BoE has allowed those interested in their child’s education to see how the additional cuts to the budget will effect them and then allow those parents a chance to speak informatively at the meeting.

The Board of Education should also be commended at this time for not presenting a “doomsday” budget even though funds are tight and the budget is bare-bones, I didn’t see anything about the need to cut sports programs or extracurricular activities at this time, which is a good thing. But we’ll have to wait it out to be sure.

MIDDLETOWN — The Board of Education will vote on the final school budget numbers at its 7:30 p.m. meeting Wednesday night in the auditorium of High School North, 63 Tindall Road.

As part of a more than $2 million reduction ordered by the Township Council, $150,000 will be through a change in nursing services; $803,000 will be through a change to the district’s health insurance carrier; $58,117 savings came from the elimination of a night watchman position; $136,796 through reductions to individual school budgets; $250,000 was saved through salary breakage related to six retirements; $140,000 through attrition; and $16,204 through the elimination of a PR position.

Administrative position cuts suggested by the council do not appear on the final cuts — the council had suggested the elimination of two vice principal positions at the high schools, for a savings of $130,000 each, the elimination of an assistant business administrator position for a savings of $91,000, and the elimination of a $126,000 director position.

The final numbers will have a 2.2 percent increase on township taxes, according to the agenda….


Leave a comment

Filed under Asbury Park Press, budget cuts, Middletown Board of Education, school budgets, Superintendent Karen Bilbao