Residents Express Dissatisfaction Toward Princeton Plan at Reaction Meeting

East Rockaway residents remain unsatisfied with plan; Meeting was first of three.


If the East Rockaway Board of Education learned anything from Tuesday’s Elementary School Reorganization Plan Reaction Meeting at Rhame Avenue Elementary, it was that residents aren’t exactly on board with the proposal.

The first of three such meetings acted as another step on the journey towards an ultimate decision on the proposed “Princeton Plan.” Community members had a chance to voice opinions and ask questions of both the board and consultant, Michael J. Dutkowski.

The would organize students in the district’s two elementary schools by grade level, not geographic location.

A heavy majority of residents who spoke at the meeting remained unconvinced that the proposal is a worthwhile one. Many questioned whether the plan is designed to provide a better education to students or to solve an overcrowding problem.

“The sense that I got as I initially got involved with (this project) was that it was not tied to overcrowding,” Dutkowski said.

Transportation was also on the minds of many. Because East Rockaway is a non-bussing district, parents expressed concerned about the logistics and safety of having to move multiple children to different schools in a relatively short amount of time.

Although it will require some bargaining with teachers, a staggered start time schedule will be looked into if the plan is enacted, according to the board.

A sense that a decision has already been made permeated throughout the public comments, one the board repeatedly denied.

“With everything that’s being said (by the board), it’s not in any kind of future tense,” one resident said. “It’s in a present tense. To me, it seems like we’re spinning our wheels here.”

The board claims that gauging community reaction is an important part of the decision process. So far, the reaction of many on record is not favorable to the cause.

“I’ve been against it from the beginning. It has nothing to do with the findings,” resident John Profitlich told Patch. “[The board] hasn’t proved anything from a quality of education standpoint. There’s no benefit to education. That was the number one goal and tonight they didn’t address it and they didn’t prove it in the (study).”   

Although no official time table has been set, the board hopes to make a decision whether or not to go through with the plan by the March board meeting. However, the results of a current traffic study or the decision to acquire more public input may delay that final determination, board President Neil Schloth told Patch following the meeting.     

Another community reaction meeting will be held Wednesday night at Centre Avenue Elementary School and a final one on Feb. 6 at Both are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.  

Mike February 01, 2012 at 04:08 PM
This is a good plan to save the residents money. Let get it going quickly.
the big kahuna February 01, 2012 at 04:11 PM
I hear part of the problem at rhame is the principle. Told that she is noit very good at all.
Drream Big February 02, 2012 at 04:25 PM
First of all There isnt anything wrong with Rhame ave School, and Centre Avenue became a Blue Ribbon School based on the Sophmore class at East Rockaway High School, that is the only reason Centre is a blue ribbon school. Check the test scores Rhame Ave scored a whole lot better than Centre did. By the way I am a Centre Parent..
Dave G February 06, 2012 at 03:36 PM
In case anyone is interested, we have started a petition to try and stop the implementation of the Princeton plan in East Rockaway. http://www.change.org/petitions/east-rockaway-board-of-education-stop-the-princeton-plan We are also discussing the issues here: http://www.facebook.com/GetInformedER
K February 06, 2012 at 07:46 PM
Both schools have below average scores, so the comments from "Frank" are both ignorant and unsubstantiated. "Mike" - The Superintendent specifically said this would not save our district money because the number of staff required would remain the same "Big Kahuna" - Although improvements need to be made, the principal cannot be held solely responsible for test scores...the school staff, as well as parents, need to see how we can work together to make a positive change and help improve the overall education that the children are receiving With that said, I do NOT think this plan is the change that is needed


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