No Confidence in the Superintendent of the Franklin Lakes School District sign now

Dear Franklin Lakes Board of Education:Franklin Lakes has traditionally been a school district to be proud of, one where decisions were made on a collaborative basis with the best interest of our students in mind. We have always been a district that experienced great vision from our leaders, teachers were given the respect and support to achieve goals, and school families were considered an integral part of the educational community. We are saddened to report an erosion of confidence in these traditions and we the residents of Franklin Lakes have concerns regarding the leadership of Dr. Frank Romano, Superintendent of Schools. An administrator, compensated at over $200k should be a role model of core character traits and his/her inter-personal skills should reflect an ability to communicate openly and effectively.A vote of no confidence means that the community members do not believe that Dr. Frank Romano has the ability or willingness to make the changes necessary to become an effective leader. If honesty and open communication are foundations of professional relationships, and if we believe we should respect, support and value each member of our educational community, Dr. Frank Romano is not making the grade.The district’s teacher morale is uncharacteristically low while our costs are escalating at an unsustainable pace. Dr. Romano has added six new positions to the Franklin Lakes Schools headcount, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. Only two of the six positions were teachers, the remaining positions are additions to Dr. Romano’s administration. His newly appointed Curriculum Director earns over $152k to implement “shrink wrapped” curriculum. Her staff development plan resulted in over a dozen minimum days for the students in the 2011-2012 school year. These minimum days were planned to provide Staff Development, however not one survey of teachers was taken. How successful the staff development was, we do not know.We do know that the district is slated for another 13minimum days for 2012-2013; will our teachers endure more training in the “shrink wrapped” curriculum? While our Superintendent should be an advocate for staff development, he should insist on an extensive program to build new expertise in teachers and to keep the learning curve ever high. While there is no empirical data that indicates that the staff development is working or providing value in Franklin Lakes, there is data that evidences that our teachers have already spent approximately 15-18 days out of the classroom. Our children’s classes are doubled up and covered by lunch aides or substitutes, and this is unacceptable.In less than three years, Dr. Romano’s agenda has revealed that he is not in sync with the goals of the school district or the community. Each of our four principals are new and we have lost many quality teachers. Dr. Frank Romano is formulating a culture of intimidation and a fear of retribution reign in Franklin Lakes. The legal fees associated with Dr. Romano’s management of personnel are astronomical.Character Education identifies the 6 pillars to include Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring and Citizenship. Through these, the students are taught to be honest, to have courage to do the right thing, to build a good reputation, to be considerate, to deal peacefully with anger, insults, or disagreements, to be open-minded, to use self-control, to set a good example, to do their share to make their school and community better, and to be kind. It is unfortunate that our leader does not exemplify the above traits; instead, we have a culture where community members regularly feel deceived, disrespected, unfairly treated, intimidated and manipulated by Dr. Frank Romano.In addition to failing to exemplify the core character traits, Dr. Romano has failed to exemplify basic leadership qualities. He has not developed a clear direction or a shared purpose that guides and unifies the administration, teachers, students or the community. Over the course of a solid year, Dr. Romano disrupted the district and the community with a failed Efficiency Study. Although there was no empirical data to support his recommendation to a Modified Princeton Model, he was pressuring this major change to our school district. The town was nearly torn apart by the Efficiency Study which he orchestrated and then abruptly ended.Dr. Romano does not possess the written and verbal skills required to articulate his point of view in a clear, concise manner and he does not treat every adult and student with respect, dignity or understanding. Good governance does not mean that we all agree with one another all of the time. But good governance does suggest that open lines of communication exist across key constituencies. This vote of no confidence points out that communication has failed and Dr. Romano and his administrative staff are simply the high cost of doing nothing.We thank you for your time and your serious consideration of this matter.Respectfully submitted,The residents of Franklin Lakes

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Merle WeberBy:
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Residents of Franklin Lakes


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