Friday, October 29, 2010

Cable Advisory Commission - 10/28/2010

Here is a commission we have not brought you before. The Cable Advisory Commission is responsible for discussing issues or concerns of viewers of cable services. They meet monthly and have members from the 7 towns in the region. This month they met in the East Haven Beach House.

Cable Advisory 10/28/2010 from Edward Foley on Vimeo.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Bd. of Education 10/26/2010 *Updated*

I have uploaded the CAPT Score Presentation Slides that were used at the BOE meeting on Tuesday night. The last of the video from the meeting will be available later today.
*end update*

Last night's BOE meeting was long so there is a lot of video. I thought I would start off with the CAPT presentation since that seems to be of interest to the most people. It appears the CAPT presenter saw my rant on the CMT presentation. A much clearer presentation which did not totally ignore the problem for shooting at the lowest level needed for AYP. The CAPT scores were atrocious and the high school failed to make AYP. I will have more to say about this later but for now, enjoy the presentation.


BOE 10/26/2010 CAPT Presentation from Edward Foley on Vimeo.

Part 1:

BOE 10/26/2010 Part 1 from Edward Foley on Vimeo.

Part 2:

BOE 10/26/2010 Part2 from Edward Foley on Vimeo.

Part 3:

BOE 10/26/2010 Part 3 from Edward Foley on Vimeo.

Part 4:

BOE 10/26/2010 Part 4 from Edward Foley on Vimeo.

Personnel Subcommittee Meeting:

BOE 10/26/2010 Pers Subcomm from Edward Foley on Vimeo.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Board of Finance 10/20/2010

The Board of Finance met last night. The hot topic on the agenda was the solar panel work recently done to 4 of the town's schools. Doc Schlagel had raised questions about the quality of the work done in installing the panels. The School Building Committee and the contractor were there to defend the work done. In the end, it was agreed that the solar panels were put up facing the proper direction. The SBC members had issues with Doc bringing up his complaints after the work was done. If he had suggestions to make the School Building Committee wondered why he did not raise them before the work was done.

Part 1:

Board of Finance 10/20/2010 Part 1 from Edward Foley on Vimeo.

Part 2:

Board of Finance 10/20/2010 Part 2 from Edward Foley on Vimeo.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

EH News 10/14/2010

Here is the October 14th edition of EH News. Marilyn and I taped last week with several guests. Since the interviews for 2 of the guests, Mike Lawlor and Linda Monaco, have been posted already I did not put them in this video too.

EH News 10/14/2010 from Edward Foley on Vimeo.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Linda Monaco Interview - 10/14/2010

Here is the interview I did with Linda Monaco, the Republican candidate for the 99th District.

Monaco Interview 10/14/2010 from Edward Foley on Vimeo.

Mike Lawlor Interview - 10/14/2010

Marilyn Vitale interviewed Mike Lawlor, State Representative for the 99th District. This will be seen on ETV as part of our EH News show but you can see it here now. My interview with Linda Monaco will be available later today.

Lawlor Interview 10/14/2010 from Edward Foley on Vimeo.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Just a bunch of miscellaneous East Haven stuff

I've got a series of little items to write about today. They are mostly too small to have their own posts so I'm grouping them together and putting them here.

I would like to welcome Sharon Bass and the East Haven Patch to the local scene. If you get a chance go check out her site. There is lots of good stories about our community.

Marilyn Vitale and I are taping the next edition of the EH News tonight at ETV studios. We have the Connecticut House candidates for the 99th District coming in for our last interviews with them before the election. That show should be online this weekend sometime.

Hugh Keefe is going to be defending the BOE members in the lawsuit filed by Maisano and Depalma. I'll keep an eye on the bills as this thing escalates out of control.

The Trolley Museum is running a the haunted trolley during the Halloween season. Check their website for details.

The East Haven Arts Council will be having a movie on the Town Green next Saturday, October 23rd with festivities starting at 4PM. Check their website for details.

Some of you have asked for shorter clips of the more important parts of the meetings to be posted online. Kind of like meeting highlights for those without the time or desire to hear our town leaders drone on for hours and hours. So here is the first highlight clip from the other night's BOE meeting. The one thing that seemed to be the most interest to everyone was the selection of attorneys for the Maisano-Depalma lawsuit. Here is the clip of that:

BOE Attorney Discussion 10/12/2010 from Edward Foley on Vimeo.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

BOE Meeting 10/12/2010

The BOE had their 1st meeting of the month last night. The big topic of conversation was the attorney who would be representing the defendants in the lawsuit filed by Board members Christine Maisano and Patricia Depalma. Most of the discussion took place behind closed doors in executive session. Before going into executive session there was a lively discussion about who should be present. In the end most of the Board were present in the executive session with the exception of Nick Palladino. The Superintendent also excused himself from attending. Both Palladino and Serio, upon the advice of counsel, thought there would be a conflict if they attended.

For right now, here is the video of the meeting in 2 parts. The first part is everything leading up to the executive session, including the discussion of the conflict question. The second part is everything that happens after the executive session. On a technical note, I've been trying to tweak the quality of the video lately. The first part of the meeting is in high def. Possibly the best HD video I've created using some new software. The downside is the video file is larger than normal so it may be slow to load. Compare that to part 2 which is in standard definition and you can see the difference easily.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Coming Up This Week

There are a couple of meetings coming up this week. One is the Civil Service Commission meeting on Tuesday at 7:00PM in the basement of Town Hall. Lots of Police Department hiring.

The BOE meets on Tuesday at the H.S. at 7PM. There will be a presentation of the CAPT scores for the test that was administered in the spring. Should be an interesting presentation which, I am hoping, has far less spin on the results than the CMT presentation.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

EH News 10/2/2010

Marilyn Vitale and I went into the studio this weekend to tape the latest edition of EH News. Since John Finkle and I discussed most of the town-side business last week, Marilyn and I concentrated on the BOE this week. We discussed the lawsuit against the Superintendent and some Board members, the retirement dinner for Frank Meoli and the CMT scores. On the last point I did most of the talking. After viewing the video you might want to call it ranting on my part about the CMTs. Enjoy the show.

PZC - 10/6/2010

The Planning and Zoning Commission held their October meeting Wednesday night. It was short with only a few, non-controversial, items on the agenda. The one interesting piece on the agenda was the setting of a public hearing date for a series of items related to the quarry in Foxon. The owners are looking to reduce the number of elderly housing units and rezone part of the property to a commercial zone. The result, if all of the proposed changes are accepted, is to authorize quarrying operations on part of the property for the next 10 years. That should make next month's meeting a well attended affair. Until then, here is the video from last night:

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Town Council Meeting - 10/5/2010

Tuesday night the Town Council met for far too long. First there were a pair of public hearings. One of the public hearings I came in the middle of since the Town Council did not see fit to have the agenda published on the town web site before the meeting. Therefore, I did not know there was any public hearings to go video. A couple of the people I communicate with via email asked me if I had the agenda during the day Tuesday. When I said it was not sent to the webmaster they suggested a conspiracy to keep the public in the dark. I thought it was more likely incompetence but when it comes to East Haven politicians you can never totally rule out conspiracy.

The big item during the public hearing part of the meeting was an ordinance to make it more fair for towing companies to get work from the town. Fairness stood no chance in East Haven and the ordinance was tabled so that the politically connected can continue to monopolize the town's towing business.

Enjoy the video....

Public Hearing:

Regular Meeting Part 1:

Regular Meeting Part 2:

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Worse Than New Haven?

I sat through the CMT presentation last week and was disappointed, but not surprised, by it. The focus of the presentation was on meeting the bare minimum required under the Federal No Child Left Behind Act ("NCLB"). The thought of shooting for something higher did not appear to enter the thoughts of the BOE or the Administration. CMT scores range, from low to high:

Below Basic
Proficient (bare minimum under the NCLB)

With the global competition facing our students from countries such as India and China focusing on the minimum seems kind of like educational malpractice. When I started doing some research after the presentation I decided to look at how we are doing at the only level that means anything for our students trying to find jobs in the 21st century: the advanced level. The statistics at the advanced level were even worse than I had imagined.

I looked at the reading, writing and math scores for grades 4, 6 and 8 and compared them to other school districts in our District Reference Group ("DRG"). The state uses several factors to group like school districts together. Within a DRG the districts have similar socioeconomic backgrounds and needs. The DRGs are lettered from "A" (the best) to "I" (the worst). East Haven is in DRG G which is not exactly an academic powerhouse. There are 15 districts in our DRG. Other districts in our DRG include towns such as Bloomfield, Groton, Middletown, and Vernon.

Here is where we stand within our DRG:

Grade 4:
Reading - 14th out of 15
Writing - 14th out of 15
Math - 12th out of 15

Grade 6:
Reading - 13th out of 15
Writing - 13th out of 15
Math - 13th out of 15

Grade 8:
Reading - 11th out of 15
Writing - 15th out of 15
Math - 12th out of 15

You could look at these scores and wonder how the absolute failure of the BOE, the Superintendent and the Administrators could be possibly be worse. I wondered the same thing. The thought crossed my mind that somehow the other members of DRG G were much better than they should be based on the factors that put them into our DRG. So I decided to look at the surrounding districts of New Haven, Branford, North Haven and North Branford to see how we compared to them. Two things surprised me. First, in spite of the reputation North Branford isn't exactly burning down the educational barn, so to speak. They have higher scores at the advanced level than East Haven but not by much. Second, I was amazed at how we stacked up against New Haven. They are in DRG I, along with the other big cities due to the poor demographics. In previous years I had looked at New Haven and they always ranked substantially worse than East Haven. Now, however, I was amazed that their scores were quite close at the advanced level. In the case of 4th grade writing scores New Haven actually scored higher than East Haven. You read that correctly. We have 7.8% at the advanced level in 4th grade writing. New Haven has 8.1%.

At some point those responsible for the pile of drek that is our CMT scores need to be held accountable. The current BOE does not seem have the intestinal fortitude or knowledge to hold anyone accountable. I was watching the BOE members during the presentation last week and their heads were bouncing in agreement with what was being presented. Admittedly, what was being presented sounded good. However, you can make it sound good when you set the bar low enough and then cherry pick the areas where the students performed best.

The BOE spends $43 million of our money. They can get these scores with a whole lot less money. If they aren't going to hold people accountable for this disaster then next year the Town Council should lower our taxes 17% and reduce the amount given to the BOE.

They're Baaaacccckkk!

I just got a look at the PZC agenda for tomorrow night's meeting and was surprised to see a series of items concerning the Quarry in Foxon. It looks like they are planning public hearings on 4 changes to the site plan and to allow continued crushing of stone on the property. The owner is also trying to reduce the number of eldery apartment units and turn it into a CC Zoning District. I will post more as I get more information.