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Upper Township Files Legal Petition Against O.C. School Board

first_imgOcean City High SchoolOcean City and Upper Township school officials are exchanging harsh words over what one district claims is a violation of the sending-receiving agreement for Ocean City High School.In the latest salvo, both sides have released public statements that suggest any resolution of an ongoing legal battle will be difficult.The Ocean City Board of Education said in a Dec. 27 press release that it is “appalled and deeply disappointed” by Upper Township’s efforts to get New Jersey Education Commissioner David Hespe to intervene in the conflict.Upper Township’s Board of Education responded with its own statement Dec. 31 criticizing Ocean City school officials for “disingenuous attempts” to shift blame to Upper Township.Brewing for months, the dispute erupted Dec. 14 when Upper Township filed a petition with Hespe accusing Ocean City’s school board of deliberately excluding Upper’s representatives from its subcommittee meetings.The petition asks Hespe to rule that Ocean City’s board has violated the state law for sending-receiving districts and to stop it from “precluding” Upper’s representatives from the meetings.“Upper Township brings this action to remedy Ocean City’s knowing and purposeful violation of the law and purposeful exclusion of Upper Township representatives on the Ocean City Board from their full participation as members of the Ocean City Board,” Upper said in its statement.Ocean City’s school board denied the allegations. In its press release, it called Upper’s petition “baseless and frivolous.”“We are appalled and deeply disappointed at this action by the Upper Township Board of Education,” said Joseph Clark, president of the Ocean City board. “Members of the Upper Township Board of Education have been given every opportunity to attend and to be a part of all committees for which they are eligible members.”In related action, Ocean City filed a formal response to Upper’s petition with Hespe’s office last week. In it, Ocean City denies Upper’s claim that it conducted secret meetings. It also states that Upper’s representatives to the Ocean City school board are free to attend every meeting, but in many cases they don’t bother to show up.“Attendance is poor. They’ve missed many meetings,” Mike Stanton, solicitor to the Ocean City Board of Education, said of Upper’s representatives.Upper responded that Ocean City’s board has mischaracterized the petition in hopes of deflecting attention away from “Ocean City’s violation of the law.”“Upper Township implores Ocean City to honor the law, its agreement and its mission to work with Upper Township so that Upper Township representatives may fully participate as members of the Ocean City Board for the benefit of all the children of Ocean City High School and the Ocean City and Upper Township school districts,” Upper’s statement said.Despite the strong rhetoric on both sides, Upper Schools Superintendent Vincent Palmieri raised the possibility of a settlement to end the litigation.“I’m hoping we can sit down, come together and air out some of the issues,” Palmieri said on Tuesday.Stanton said Ocean City remains puzzled by Upper’s petition. He believes the dispute could be resolved simply by having Upper’s representatives show up for school meetings.Upper Township sends its high school students to Ocean City because it does not have its own high school. Upper supplies Ocean City High School with 633 of its 1,256 students and will pay a budgeted $10.9 million in tuition this year, according to Ocean City School Business Administrator Tim Kelley.In its petition to Hespe, Upper attached copies of emails from Ocean City school board members that allegedly show that they scheduled their meetings and withheld information to prevent Upper representatives from attending all meetings.For instance, the petition claims that Jacqueline McAlister, chairwoman of the Ocean City school board’s curriculum subcommittee, held a meeting about the district’s School Choice program on Aug. 11, 2015, without Upper’s participation. McAllister sent an email to the Ocean City school board’s business administrator and the director of social services thanking them for attending the meeting.Clark, though, insisted in Ocean City’s press release that Upper representatives were not excluded from meetings. He said they have been granted “an unprecedented amount of participation, more than is actually required by law for the sending-receiving school relationship.”Clark urged Upper to end the dispute with Ocean City and to instead join forces.“We continue to implore the Upper Township Board of Education to stop the negative, hurtful remarks and tumultuous behavior towards the Ocean City Board of Education and work with us to lobby the state for a win-win solution for both the taxpayers and students of the districts that we serve,” Clark said.According to Clark, it appears the petition stems from Upper’s displeasure with Ocean City’s decision to limit the number of students in the School Choice program at Ocean City High School.He said the move, though unpopular, was made “absolutely necessary” by changes in state funding for the School Choice program and the possibility that the funding could be cut back or eliminated altogether.The program gives parents the option of enrolling their children in school districts outside of where they live at no extra cost. It is designed to give students access to better schools.However, in 2013 the New Jersey Department of Education capped enrollment in the program and denied new district applications.In response, Ocean City began limiting its participation to 31 seats for ninth-grade students who meet the district’s academic standards, the press release said.“We have been proactive about this program since 2010, when Ocean City decided to become a School Choice District,” Clark said. “We have learned the program from the inside out, and continue to push the state for clarification regarding the affected Choice students in the Upper Township schools.”Palmieri maintains that School Choice is a completely separate issue and did not influence Upper’s decision to file a petition with the state.“This petition has nothing to do with School Choice,” he said.Palmieri, however, expressed frustration that Ocean City is not admitting Upper students into the School Choice program, even though Upper’s students represent the majority of Ocean City High School’s pupils.In the most recent enrollment cycle, Upper sought to have only three of its graduating eighth graders admitted to the School Choice program at Ocean City High School, but was denied, Palmieri said.“We are dumbfounded why they are not willing to accept our Choice students. Not one,” he said.Clark told the school board at a recent meeting that no Upper Township student had even applied for the program.He said Upper Township’s issue should be with the state’s tier system that gives preference to students currently enrolled in their home district. He asked Upper Township to work together with Ocean City to lobby for change at the state level.See related letter to editor: School Choice Decision Balances Needs of Students, District, Taxpayerslast_img read more

The Revivalists Heat Things Up For A Sold Out Performance In Sacramento [Review]

first_imgThe Revivalists have gained notoriety playing every corner of the festival circuit the past decade, but – like most acts – the details of their instrumentation really shine at a club or indoor venue.That was the case Wednesday night, February 15th, with the New Orleans collective closing the California leg of their “Still Feeling Good From Yesterday” Tour with a sold out show at Harlow’s Nightclub in Sacramento.It was an intimate scene, the type that energizes musicians and spoils fans. The Revivalists opened with “Keep Going” and, to the band’s surprise, they were met with a crowd of true fans that wanted to see them, specifically, as opposed to simply catching some live music on a weeknight.It was a powerful performance that leaned on Men Amongst Mountains, and effortlessly navigated the emotions of that project. Whether it was the somber brass highways of “Fade Away” or the skyrocketing hills of “Stand Up,” The Revivalists steadily loosened up the dance floor with every song.The set was all-encapsulating and left little to be desired. From “Soul’s Too Loud” to the pedal steel guitar grooves of “Upright,” every member of the six-piece ensemble got to shine at some point, although saxophonist Rob Ingraham’s soul-shaking additions were the easiest to get lost in.“Sunny Days” was the most impressive progression of the night, turning a soft, reggae bounce into The Revivalists’ trademarked blend of pounding alternative and bellowing vocals from frontman David Shaw. The jam picked up steam, intensified the tempo and was driven home by a hair-raising solo from guitarist Zack Feinberg, which was met by a lion’s roar of approval from the crowd.In a lot of ways, The Revivalists are a natural fit for the Central Valley music scene. Alternative rock thrives in Sacramento, and adding a little Cajun spice to the mix is a welcome move in the heartland of Northern California. Togetherness through personal independence is a message that comes through the band’s music, and it’s true to the area’s culture.The Revivalists were welcomed back for an encore, which featured their most popular song, “Wish I Knew You.” As phones scattered the space above the crowd, so did the man with the two bubble guns, who got a shout out from Ingraham at the end of the show as he emptied his clip to the tune of a yearning sing-a-long.So, thank you linebacker-sized bubble man, for reminding us of the simpler things in stranger times.[Photo via Christopher Baldwin in San Francisco]last_img read more

Pearl Jam Dedicates “Can’t Deny Me” To Victims Of MSD Shooting, Tributes Chris Cornell For Tour Opener

first_imgPearl Jam opened up their highly anticipated tour last night at Movistar Arena in Santiago, Chile, marking their first proper performance together since August 2016. Earlier this week, the Seattle rockers officially released a new single, entitled “Can’t Deny Me”, that will be featured on their forthcoming album, marking Pearl Jam’s first original release since 2013’s Lightning Bolt LP.Pearl Jam used Tuesday night’s stage to deliver the politically-charged rock anthem for its first official live performance, dedicating it to the victims of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglass High School in Parkland, Florida.The band also paid tribute to Chris Cornell, Vedder’s Temple Of The Dog bandmate and Soundgarden frontman who passed away last year, with an emotional version of “Come Back” during the encore.The career-spanning setlist also featured covers of Van Halen‘s “Eruption”, Victoria Williams‘ “Crazy Mary”, Pink Floyd‘s “Comfortably Numb”, Wayne Cochran‘s “Last Kiss”, and The Who‘s “Baba O’Riley”. You can watch fan-shot videos of Pearl Jam’s first show on tour below.Pearl Jam – “Can’t Deny Me” – 3/13/18[Video: Osvaldo Saez]Pearl Jam – “Come Back” – 3/13/18[Video: Romina Souza]Pearl Jam – “Better Man” – 3/13/18[Video: felipe arratia]Pearl Jam – “Comfortably Numb” – 3/13/18[Video: Osvaldo Faúndez]Pearl Jam – “Baba O’Riley” – 3/13/18[Video: frgonzal]Following their South American tour, the band is slated to perform in Europe this summer, before they head back to North American for a series of stadium shows, dubbed the “Home Shows” in Seattle and the “Away Shows” at Boston’s Fenway Park, Chicago’s Wrigley Field and Missoula, Montana’s Washington-Grizzly Stadium. Head to the band’s website for more information on upcoming dates.Setlist: Pearl Jam | Movistar Arena | Santiago, Chile | 3/13/18Release, Of The Girl, Low Light, Animal, Mind Your Manners, Hail Hail, Love Boat Captain, Corduroy, Dissident, Even Flow, Present Tense, Given to Fly, Garden, The Fixer, Eruption (Van Halen), Lightning Bolt, Can’t Deny Me, PorchE: Around The Bend, Footsteps, Come Back, Crazy Mary (Victoria Williams), Do The Evolution, Better Man, Black, Comfortably Numb (Pink Floyd), AliveE2: Last Kiss (Wayne Cochran), Baba O’Riley (The Who), Indifferencelast_img read more

Cops: Armed East Meadow Man Shot by Police

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York An altercation between two East Meadow neighbors Friday night ended with police shooting a suspect who they say threatened officers with two guns, Nassau County police said.Jason Wissel, 49, was charged with menacing and three counts of criminal possession of a weapon.Police said Wissel was involved in an argument over parking with a neighbor, whom he allegedly threatened with a gun, police said.Officers from nearby precincts as well as the Emergency Service Unit, K-9, and Bureau of Special Operations responded after police were called.After attempting to make contact with Wissel, police said he emerged from the house allegedly armed with a sawed off shotgun and a long rifle.“The suspect pointed these weapons at approaching officers placing them in fear for their lives,” police said in a news release.Officers fired at Wissel, causing minor injuries, police said.After receiving treatment at Nassau University Medical Center, Wissel was arrested, police said. It’s unclear how many shots were fired.Investigators also discovered several weapons and a cache of ammunition inside the house, police said.Wissel was scheduled to be arraigned Saturday at First District Court in Hempstead.last_img read more

EU reaches deal on post-pandemic recovery after marathon summit

first_imgThe European Central Bank has pumped unparalleled money into economies to keep them going, while capitals hammer out their recovery fund.Diplomats said the leaders appeared to put aside the rancor that stood in the way of a compromise over hours of haggling through the weekend.”Stingy and egotistical”Emotions had ran high at a dinner on Sunday as a group of fiscally frugal northern nations led by the Netherlands stood their ground on the level of free grants within a proposed special recovery fund of 750 billion euros overall.French President Emmanuel Macron lost patience in the early hours of Monday, banging his fist on the table in frustration at “sterile blockages” by the “frugals”, two diplomats said.Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki also railed against the “frugals”, branding them “a group of stingy, egotistic states” that looked at things through the prism of their own interests.Poland would be a top beneficiary of the recovery package, receiving tens of billions of euros in grants and cheap loans, along with high-debt Mediterranean-rim countries that have taken the brunt of the pandemic in Europe.But the rhetorical skirmishing faded on Monday, and the leaders homed in on an agreement on the stimulus package and, linked to it, the EU’s 2021-2027 common budget of around 1.1 trillion euros.Hopes for a deal to help address Europe’s deepest recession since World War Two sent Italy’s borrowing costs to their lowest since early March and pushed the euro to a 19-week high.Michel proposed that within the 750 billion euro recovery fund, 390 billion should be non-repayable grants, down from 500 billion originally proposed, and the rest in repayable loans.The Netherlands had pushed for a veto on aid for countries that backslide on economic reform, but diplomats said it was now willing to back a “stop-the-clock” mechanism by which member states could put a brake on disbursements for three months and have them reviewed.Disbursements will also be linked to governments observing the rule of law. Hungary, backed by euroskeptic ally Poland, had threatened to veto the package if funds were made conditional on upholding democracy, but diplomats said a way forward on that was found. Topics : Officials said the deal, which came after Michel presented compromises on a 750 billion euro recovery fund, is critical to dispel doubts about the bloc’s very future.The EU was slow to coordinate its initial response to the COVID-19 pandemic and, already weakened by Britain’s departure from the bloc, a united front on economic aid would demonstrate that it can step up to a crisis and stay united.”It has been a long summit and a challenging summit but the prize is worth negotiating for,” Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin said as the Brussels summit approached the record length set at a 2000 meeting in the French city of Nice of almost five full days.European nations have done a better job of containing the coronavirus than the United States after a devastating early few months that hit Italy and Spain particularly hard, collaborating on medical, travel and economic fronts. European Union leaders reached a deal on a massive stimulus plan for their coronavirus-blighted economies at a pre-dawn meeting on Tuesday after a fractious summit that went through the night and into its fifth day.Summit chairman Charles Michel tweeted “Deal” shortly after the 27 leaders reached agreement at a 5.15 a.m. (0315 GMT) plenary session.While another official present at the summit said: “Conclusions adopted!”.last_img read more