'Questioning the ethics of the board majority is very disturbing'

27 Oct 2019 | 11:22

    A rebuttal to last week’s letter entitled “This Board wants to hamstring a future Board by changing the voting date?" by Melva A. Cummings.

    QSAC is the department of education’s monitoring and district self-evaluation system for public school districts. This system has shifted its focus from compliance to assistance.

    In spite of Sparta failing in it’s documentation in one category of the five components monitored by QSAC, Sparta outperforms all Sussex County schools and compares favorably with districts like Chatham, Madison, Millburn and Randolph. Regarding the QSAC issue, the county superintendent in a letter to Dr. Rossi assured him that “we know that your district provides a thorough and efficient education to your students, this is simply a matter of delineating in each curriculum document the various required specifics for each subject area.”

    Colleges don’t use QSAC results in any admission decisions and to suggest that one’s property values are impacted by the QSAC result seems reckless at best. Any insistence to the contrary, in my opinion, may be perceived to be personal in nature and has no basis in fact. It is my hope that it was not the goal of the letter writer to use fear mongering to promote a political agenda?

    Although the author of last week’s letter was not in attendance at the January meeting when the ‘logo’ was discussed, she took an out of context quote from an online newspaper, “A new logo his #1 priority.” The superintendent stated, getting Sparta’s name and brand out there was a #1 priority, which he felt it should be. Dr. Rossi has said that the "Sparta brand" was what attracted numerous bidders to the turf field project resulting in a state of the art complex, coming in $400,000 under budget.

    After a little research, let me mention some positives about our district’s numerous accomplishments over the last three years – Chrome books, safety and security, dozens of teaching positions restored, the addition of 13 dual credit courses and the settlement of all union contracts, to name just a few. These accomplishments did not happen by accident. Sparta has continuously been in the news for achieving greatness during those same three years. For example, Robotics.

    Contrary to what was stated in last week’s letter, the superintendent did not get a $20,000 raise. The superintendent’s contract identifies eligible pay for merit goals approved by the board. Since he satisfactorily achieved those goals he was entitled to that pay. Had the payment for the merit goals been voted down by more than the three named in last week’s letter, the board of education could have been subject to a lawsuit. Questioning the ethics of the board majority is very disturbing and seems very personal. Our community is better than that.

    Larry Palmer

    Sparta