Patrick Healy will teach World and American History at Scarsdale H.S.

September 2, 2011
by Christine Yeres

At yesterday morning’s Board of Education meeting board members officially accepted resignations of seven teachers [Correction [4:00 p.m. 9/6/11]: These were seven “instructional staff” positions.  As noted in Comments, below, of the seven, four were teaching assistants, three were teachers].  Among the group was Patrick Healy, a well-loved Greeley social studies teacher whose full-time position was reduced to a .6 position for the 2011-2012 school year. Healy has been hired by Scarsdale High School to teach 10th grade World History and 11th grade US History.

During last year’s budget process, many students and parents protested Healy’s reduction from full time to part time, the result of a decrease in student population at the high school.  Under New York State law, layoffs are made according to seniority.  Healy had the least seniority in his department.

We encourage civil, civic discourse. All comments are reviewed before publication to assure that this standard is met.

Sorry to lose Mr. Healy.  Who were the other teachers who turned in their resignations?

Editor’s Note: From website

Ms. Iana Hardeman-Malcolm, Teaching Assistant, Horace Greeley High School, effective August 15, 2011.

Ms. Theresa DeIngeniis, Teaching Assistant, Roaring Brook Elementary School, effective August 19, 2011.

Ms. Christine Lecce, Teaching Assistant, Seven Bridges Middle School, effective August 22, 2011.

Ms. Keiha Kim, (.4) Teacher of Music, Robert E. Bell Middle School and Seven Bridges Middle School, effective August 23, 2011.

Ms. Melissa Szymanski, Teacher of Elementary Education, Roaring Brook Elementary School, effective August 30, 2011.

Ms. Kathryn Camia, Teaching Assistant, Westorchard Elementary School, effective August 31, 2011.

By Chappaqua Matters on 09/02/2011 at 6:58 am

Such a loss for Greeley. He is a wonderful teacher!

By Anat Napp on 09/02/2011 at 9:17 am

It’s sad to see him have to leave Greeley, but I wish him lots of luck at Scarsdale. I wish the BoE had taken the protests further into account—Greeley is losing an awesome teacher.

By Former Student of Mr. Healy on 09/02/2011 at 12:14 pm

Congratulations to the Scarsdale School Board!  They must be quite happy to snatch away a great teacher from Chappaqua, and probably can’t wait for a similar opportunity to arise in the future.

How lucky are the Scarsdale students will be, when they walk into Mr. Healy’s classroom for the first time, not realizing the sadness of the Chappaqua students, who expected to walk into their classroom on September 6th, and be greeted by their own Mr. Healy.

Years from now, we may be able to look back and say that the loss of Mr. Healy to Scarsdale, was the initial incident that triggered the eventual decline of a once great school system.

By What a Loss. on 09/02/2011 at 3:42 pm

What a disgrace!  How could the BOE let Mr Healy go?  They obviously do not know how to maintain the quality of this school system.

Perhaps, it is time to question our BOE on what they know about education.



By What is the problem with the BOE? on 09/02/2011 at 10:14 pm

To Former Student and What a Loss,

We were not able to keep Mr. Healy because of the teachers union.  Period, end of story.  Our Boe was unable to keep him because decisions have to be made solely on seniority, with no consideration for his strong merit and great performance.  We have to let our young teachers go to pay for double-digit raises in overall teacher compensation/benefits. The teachers union will bring this district down, not the Boe or other administrators.  To “What a Loss”, it is amazing that you blame the board of Ed for bringing the district down, when it is truly residents like you who lack the conviction to be honest about the real problem and take on the union once and for all.  It is time to be honest with each other.

By Let’s Be Honest on 09/03/2011 at 12:19 am

To: Let’s Be Honest:

Of course the basic responsibility for the loss of Mr. Healy is the greed and self interest of a Union contract that fosters mediocrity.  But, can’t a Board show some backbone, and stand up for what is right?  Be willing to be taken to Court, willing to be water-boarded, or whatever else can happen when you defy your puppet-masters?

By What a Loss on 09/03/2011 at 10:16 am

To What is the Problem with the BOE?

The problem isn’t the BOE, it is residents like you who are misguided and misdirected with your anger.  Why are you mad at the BOE?  Why are you not mad at the teachers union?  We lost Mr. Healy because of the tenure system, that does not allow the district to distinguish Mr. Healy for his strong performance.  Without the teachers union, we could have doubled his pay and offered him a long, happy career path. Instead, the system allows the union to eat their young and protect the weakest performers, not reward the best! 

Mr. Healy was let go because over the past three years, our teachers have received 30% raises in compensation (salaries and benefits)in a horrible economic environment.  The choices are simple, continue to raise taxes and bankrupt the town and take from our students OR reduce teacher headcount due to these raises.  Without change, this is certain…

I don’t understand residents like you.  You have the anger and conviction to take from the students by cutting their computers, athletics, textbooks and curriculum, but you don’t have the conviction to take on the real problem – The union and the politicians they buy off each election to prevent the system from changing.  Education is our most important contract with our kids and the future – this union will do whatever it has to do prevent any changes to educational system until residents like you properly direct your anger and attention. It is not the BOE that is the problem, it is residents like you!!

By Your the Problem, Not the BOE on 09/03/2011 at 10:47 am

To “Let’s Be Honest,”

You are right about the union.  However, what has our BOE done about the union?  When questioned at board meetings, for a very long time, when the issue of LIFO and the Triborough Amendment was raised, Jeff Mester threw up his hands and said that there was nothing they could do because the problem is in Albany.  The rest of the board agreed.  It took an outside group, CRE, to lobby and meet with Castelli and Oppenheimer and attend Cuomo’s meeting at Manhattanville College, and report on it.  Judy McGrath and that group lobbied for relief from LIFO and the Triborough Amendment with these state legislators and tried to get the board to address it.  When Jeff Mester was asked at a meeting with the Advisory Committee what the board was doing politically, he responded that they are not political, “That is not what we do.”  Later, when challenged, he said his words were taken out of context.  Only when repeatedly challenged and pressured, did the board start to do something while other boards were already moving forward, organizing and liaising to lobby for reforms in Albany.

Look how the BOE folded in the last teacher’s contract negotiation.  Look at the teacher’s contract and the critical responses to it.  They have been much criticized for that.

At least they have not put the soccer turf in, yet, thanks to two responsible members, Vicki Tipp and Alyson Kiesel.

By Children First (To be continued) on 09/03/2011 at 12:17 pm

Do not confuse good teachers with their union. That LIFO does not serve superb teachers like Mr. Healy is obvious.  It serves the mediocre.  Raises and perks should not be based on how long you have been breathing in the system, but on performance.  The NEA, UFT and AFT are destroying our schools throughout the country.  Among developed nations in the world, we rank at the bottom in education while spending the most because of the teacher’s union and their head, Randi Weingarten.  They unabashedly tell us that the children come last after the interests of their members, the adults.  It is time to put children first.

Pres. Obama is trying to do that for minority kids with his “Race to the Top” program which calls for teacher assessments in spite of stiff union opposition.

If you don’t believe me, start reading.  Here is an excerpt from one definitive book on this issue, Class Warfare by Steven Brill.  Although it addresses inner cities and at-risk kids, we, even in a good suburban school system, are suffering many of the same union ills.  We cannot hire and fire, we are saddled with insupportable pensions (guaranteed 8% return compounded on pensions regardless of pension fund losses).  You would not sleep nights if you realized what that means for future financial obligations for this school system. No matter how poor the performance, it is almost impossible to fire a poorly performing tenured teacher.  You cannot keep and reward the good teachers (Last In First Out).  The union does not work for the gifted teachers, it protects the mediocre. (To be continued)

By Children first (Continued 2) on 09/03/2011 at 12:18 pm

Here is the philosophy of the teacher’s union unabashedly stated:

NEA longtime general counsel Robert Chanin gave a valedictory speech on the eve of his retirement.  His union was effective, he said, “not because we care about children, and it is not because we have a vision of a great public school for every child.  NEA and its affiliates [UFT, AFT, etc] are effective advocates because we have power. And we have power because there are more than 3.2 million people who are willing to pay us hundreds of millions of dollars in dues each year, because they believe that we are the unions, that can most effectively represent them. . . protect their rights and advance their interests. 
When all is said and done,” he continued, “NEA and its affiliates must never lose sight of the fact that they are unions, and what unions do first and foremost is represent their members.”  The crowd stood and cheered.

If this statement doesn’t tell you what we are up against in terms of an imbalance of power and where the true interests of the union lie, nothing will.

Guess where Sheldon Silver celebrated an election victory?  At a UFT headquarters!  Suzi Oppenheimer has changed her tune on unions because of public pressure.  We have to keep that up.  The State Conference of School Boards and individual boards are starting a lobbying movement to fight the union mandates in Albany and get back control of their school districts.

We need to get regular reports from our BOE what they are doing on this pivotal issue, never mind the soccer field.

Any political or social system only works when there is a balance of power between management and labor. An imbalance in either direction can be unjust and/or wholly destructive of that social system. 

All we keep hearing is about adult entitlements, how about the children?

The union runs this district, not our BOE.

By Children First (Continued 3) on 09/03/2011 at 12:20 pm

I guarantee that the visionary superintendent in Scarsdale, their Board of Ed, High School Principal and community members would not let their best and brightest teachers leave for Greeley, regardless of the teachers union.  Dennis Cuddy, former Guidance Counselor at Greeley is also working at Scarsdale High School now.  My wife’s cousins who live in Scarsdale have told us that their entire community is fighting the recent state tax cap law and plan on voting in a 50% tax cap override budget in May.  Could you ever imagine that happening in Chappaqua?  Once upon a time it would have been an automatic.  Not anymore.

So let the posts about the evil teachers union and selfish teachers begin…WE’RE the community that demanded a ridiculously small budget increase that forced the additional teacher layoffs…we’re only hurting ourselves neighbors.

Get use to second place Chappaqua…we’re well on our way. 

By Scarsdale Gets It on 09/03/2011 at 2:10 pm

“Scarsdale Gets It On”, what do you mean by second place? By most published metrics I’ve seen, Chappaqua students are doing quite well. According to Westchester Magazine, Chappaqua SAT scores are the best in Westchester (see Metrics are just metrics, but your argument doesn’t make any sense. We shouldn’t spend money just for the sake of spending money. Certainly Mr Healy will be missed, but Mr Healy is not the only good teacher in our school district. We still have many good teachers in our school district.

By Old Timer on 09/06/2011 at 10:01 am

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