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School Board Member Defends Incumbent Ticket

Need to express yourself? Send a Letter to the Editor to natalie.davis@patch.com.

“Believe it or not! Is it good for the students? Is it good for Parsippany? Can we afford them?”

Thus began a letter ’penned’ by Mike Strumolo and published in the Oct. 31 addition of Parsippany Life newspaper.

Do you believe it is fair or unbiased for a newspaper to print a letter containing accusatory statements against candidates in an upcoming election without allowing time for rebuttal?

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Mr. Strumolo asked Patch to run the letter to Patch Nov. 4; we opted to publish it Nov. 5, along with Mrs. Orthwein's rebuttal.]

Unlike Mr. Strumolo, I will identify myself as a member of the Parsippany Board of Education and state clearly that the opinions expressed in this letter are my own and not those of the board. And as a citizen I would like an opportunity to present a different viewpoint.

Do you believe it is a good thing to mislead voters into believing that students are losing classroom money to defend a lawsuit when in fact insurance is covering these costs?

Do you believe that opposition to spending $4 million for field improvements had more to do with where the money was coming from than doing the actual improvements? That the $11 million proposal, not plan, was developed by direct request of the board and if any board member, including Mr. Strumolo, did not agree with the scope of the request, they could have amended it at that time? That the final proposal was under $8 million when it was sent to the state for approval and can still be further reduced?

Do you believe that Mr. Strumolo has brought up the issue of relatives working in the district when laws are now in effect that prohibit the hiring of relatives? No laws were broken when any of these individuals were hired by the district. The Parsippany-Troy Hills School District looks to only hire the best and brightest to be teachers in our classrooms in accordance with all laws and the code of
ethics.

Do you believe that it is any business of the board what Dr.Seitz does or where he teaches after his responsibilities as superintendent are met?

Do you believe that Alison Cogan joined with Dr. Calabria and Mr. Neglia to run for the board because they support Dr.Seitz or because she believes they stand for what is right for education and children in Parsippany?

Do you believe that people can go to great lengths to defame others and wonder what their motivation is? Perhaps their own self interests?

Do you know that board members are bound by a code of ethics which clearly states: “I will make decisions in terms of the educational welfare of children and will seek to develop and maintain public schools that meet the needs of all children regardless of their ability, race, creed, sex, or social standing.” That Dr. Calabria and Mr. Neglia have served on the board and faithfully upheld this code? That Alison Cogan has a strong commitment to ensuring that the best possible education is available to every child? I know this to be true. What has Mr. Strumolo done to further education in our schools?

When you are voting this week, ask yourself—are these candidates good for the students? Are they good for Parsippany? Can we afford them?

I believe Calabria, Cogan and Neglia will do what is right for the students and people of Parsippany and we cannot afford to not have them on the Board of Education.


Fran Orthwein
Parsippany

Fran Orthwein, as stated in her letter, is a sitting member of the Parsippany Board of Education.

steve revette November 06, 2012 at 08:58 PM
If the insurance is paying for it then the cost will go up. It's like saying when you get into car accident and it is your fault 99 times out of 100 the cost of your insurance will go up. The taxpayers are still going to foot the bill.

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