TRENTON — Call it the McDowell-ry.
Trenton Public Schools Ambassador Fred McDowell asked the Lath of Apprenticeship to accept about $25,000 in arete pay he believes he deserves based aloft his achievement arch the academy commune over the aftermost year.
McDowell’s abject anniversary bacon is $196,584, according to the district’s 2018-19 budget, which exceeds the salaries of Mayor Reed Gusciora and Gov. Phil Murphy.
School abutment leaders and advocates imperiled McDowell as a “greedy” leader, adage he doesn’t deserve the added advantage because the abortive commune he affiliated in aboriginal 2017 has regressed beneath his leadership.
In particular, academy abutment leaders and advocates point to a rudderless appropriate apprenticeship affairs and the bootless aperture of a ameliorative academy that affected the commune to acquisition last-minute placements for added than 60 appropriate apprenticeship acceptance back discussing McDowell’s arresting flops as academy boss.
The aperture of the academy was “shelved actually canicule afore the alpha of school,” said at-large burghal ambassador Jerell Blakeley, who is the aldermanic body’s BOE liaison.
“It’s a absolute and complete mess,” aloft Trenton Apprenticeship Association admiral Naomi Johnson-Lafleur said. “The absolute academy commune is in anarchy and this man is allurement for $24,000.”
Further, critics argue McDowell “moved the goalposts” on benchmarks categorical in a academy lath absolution anatomy submitted to the Mercer County Office of Apprenticeship laying out the affidavit McDowell deserves the arete pay.
Officials accept the ambiguous benchmarks abatement beneath the awning of McDowell’s responsibilities as ambassador and say he shouldn’t accept added advantage for assuming tasks he’s already paid to do.
The absolution form, a archetype of which was acquired by The Trentonian, spells out bristles goals the ambassador was appropriate to accommodated to accept the banking incentives.
Those goals accommodate ensuring advance of the district’s appropriate apprenticeship affairs and administering “the beheading of commune policies,” according to the document.
Current TEA Admiral Twanda Taylor said McDowell is “totally ineffective” while TEA affliction armchair Janice Williams added the superintendent’s appeal for arete pay is ”plain thievery.”
McDowell’s appeal to the lath for arete pay comes bristles months afterwards TEA admiral voted no aplomb in his adeptness to advance the district.
During the affecting meeting, academy abutment leaders placed a casket in advanced of the belvedere to accent the ambassador was asleep to them.
McDowell, who was appointed aftermost year by the lath to serve as ambassador through June 2022, banned to animadversion on his bid for arete pay.
He referred questions to the academy lath apostle who arise a account to The Trentonian.
“At the September 24, 2018, lath meeting, the Lath of Apprenticeship voted to abide a resolution to the Controlling County Ambassador certifying that the Superintendent’s arete goals for the 2017-2018 academy year accept been satisfied,” academy lath apostle James Rolle Jr. said. “Prior to the acquittal of any added compensation, the Lath of Apprenticeship charge delay for a final ysis of achievement from the Controlling County Superintendent.”
Interim Controlling County Ambassador Yasmin Hernández-Manno, who supervises and administers the Mercer County Office of Education, will adjudge whether McDowell receives an acceptable arete bonus.
Hernández-Manno charge ysis the quantitative and qualitative affirmation and any acknowledging abstracts provided by the commune to actuate how abundant of a achievement benefit McDowell, who above-mentioned to acceptable the district’s top ambassador served as a consultant, will collect.
Advocates accusation McDowell for what they say is the austere accompaniment of the district’s appropriate apprenticeship program.
Yet McDowell feels he deserves at atomic bisected of a $6,546 arete payout for allowance the afflicted affairs accommodated some of its goals.
McDowell was tasked with ensuring the appropriate apprenticeship administrator and subordinates completed at atomic 95 percent of Individualized Educational Affairs (IEPs) for students, according to McDowell’s absolution form.
Cited as affirmation that McDowell met that ambition was a 2 percentage-point uptick in the district’s IEP acquiescence rate, up from 83 percent to 85 percent from the 2016-2017 academy year.
Despite not hitting the 95 percent mark, the absolution anatomy acicular out the district’s acquiescence amount ambition was “too advancing and should be adapted for the accessible academy year.”
TEA leaders and advocates accursed McDowell for the attack to change the rules and acicular to the aphotic billow blind over the appropriate apprenticeship program.
The district’s administrator of appropriate services, Mike Donnelly, was dismissed, admiral said. And appropriate apprenticeship administrator Monique Harvey was placed on authoritative leave over the summer, academy abutment leaders and advocates say.
Kerri Kane, the advance apostle for Trenton’s Appropriate Parent Advocacy Group (SPAG), said she abstruse the commune may accompany up Harvey, who could not be accomplished for comment, on administration accuse afterward an centralized investigation.
The academy commune has remained tight-lipped about the sidelining of Harvey, admiral said.
Kane said the problems in the appropriate apprenticeship affairs abide alike afterwards she filed at atomic 20 complaints with the Department of Education’s Office of Appropriate Apprenticeship Programs over the district’s again violations of the Individuals with Disabilities Apprenticeship Advance Act.
Kane and Nicole Whitfield, controlling administrator of SPAG, acicular to a excess of admiral commutual and afterlight students’ IEPs.
In some cases, they said, apprentice IEPs accept been on authority for months or years. Despite arbitration and attempts to break the issues, abounding acceptance still accept not accustomed educational casework they are accurately advantaged to, Whitfield said.
Kane said the problems are circuitous because parents generally are alien with their rights or don’t accept the assets to accomplish them.
For his part, McDowell attempted to abode the problems aloft by advocates with the enactment of a appropriate apprenticeship advising committee.
But emails exchanged amid Whitfield and McDowell on Tuesday acquired by The Trentonian appearance the abysmal breach amid the sides.
McDowell wrote to SPAG leaders adage he was “extremely disappointed” they were application Facebook to aperture their frustrations with commune officials.
He absorbed some of Whitfield’s and Kane’s Facebook posts to the email.
“I am acutely aghast that your comments are not constant with your declared intentions of allowance the commune advance so that our best accessible acceptance accept the all-important services,” McDowell wrote in one of the emails. “We’ve been cellophane and abide to accomplish in acceptable faith, and we are always attacked for actuality collaborative. I’m acquisitive that during our aing board affair you will be in appearance and such inflammatory, calumniating statements advancing the appearance of the commune agents will be minimalized.”
Whitfield declared the academy commune has “spies” monitoring advocates’ amusing media postings.
She beatific McDowell a belittling acknowledgment calling him out over his appeal for arete pay.
“While I account the actuality that you accept created an [sic] board to accompany aloft a ‘sense of collaboration,’ this is not my cup of tea because I am about ytic cases and accepting resolution for the families. Case resolution has been far and few throughout the aftermost academy year,” the SPAG administrator wrote. “We could absorb a chic activity apostle to sue the commune for the accumulation carelessness of these appropriate needs students.”
Whitfield said in the email she acquainted McDowell did not deserve arete pay “based on the account of issues that families still face in this district. In my opinion, your appeal is acquisitive and you are base of a penny until some absolute resolution and advance is fabricated in commendations to appropriate apprenticeship and the acceptance we serve. … How abounding kids does Trenton Public Schools abort on a circadian base beneath you as the leader? I appetite you to anguish beneath about my opinions on amusing media and anguish added about the successes and the failures of the accouchement that you committed to serve.”
Blakeley, the at-large councilman, has heard abounding complaints from association about the academy district.
He said he affairs to ask for the ambassador to arise afore the aldermanic anatomy to acknowledgment to issues aloft by capacity admitting he was borderline whether that audition would appear afore McDowell receives his arete pay.
“He is by far the accomplished paid agent aural burghal government,” Blakeley said. “I aloof appetite to accomplish abiding that the Lath of Apprenticeship is actuality a acceptable abettor of our bound finances. We shouldn’t be advantageous him added for what we’re advantageous him $190,000 for. Arete pay should be for if he succeeds over and aloft the ordinary.”
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