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Live from Cottage Place : Ridgewood Board of Education WrestleMania

by the staff of The Ridgewood Blog

Ridgewood NJ, literally the best thing we can say about this past Monday’s Board of Education (BOE) meeting is wow, what a fabulously entertaining sh$t show.

Thankfully; everyone in the room, including the shocked in-person spectators, was wearing a mask throughout the wrestling match, but that, and the availability of remote commenting, was about where the decorum and sanity both ended.

A long time Ridgewood taxpayer said of the event that in her 40 years of attending/watching BOE meetings, she had never witnessed a School Business Administrator (Mr. Scott Bisig) become so arrogant when speaking to a member of the Board (Mr. Saurabh Dani) as she had witnessed during Monday’s meeting.  The heated exchange between Mr. Bisig and Mr. Dani left many taxpayers wondering if any of the employees at Cottage Place realize that our elected officials are actually in charge of everything.

And if the employee vs. elected official match wasn’t enough to keep you watching, Board Member Christopher Kaufman provided additional entertainment for spectators when he launched into a tirade about BOE members who ask for additional information before casting votes.  Mr. Kaufman’s lopsided view of the world seems to be that BOE members’ requests for additional information reflect negatively on BOE employees.  Oh boy.  What next?

If you have 3 hours and 16 minutes to spare, watch the show and let The Ridgewood Blog know what you think.  Thank you.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_Dt5PzU0_w

39 thoughts on “Live from Cottage Place : Ridgewood Board of Education WrestleMania

  1. What are most entertaining highlights of this YouTube video? Can you please tell us points (hour, minute) and save us time?

    Thanks!

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  2. Time for Mr. Bisig to pack his bags.

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  3. Bisig is horrible. Mr. Dani kept his cool throughout the unprecedented attack. Dani is a class act.

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  4. Amazing how the Supt and Board members selectively answer questions during public comments but avoid answering the more difficult and more controversial questions by claiming they are not permitted to answer.

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  5. Clearly, neither Mr. Bisig nor Ms. Poelstra have any use for anyone other than the Caucasian members of the Board. This may in part explain why the RHS athletic director summoned the police to question an Indian man who was walking through the Graydon South parking lot a few weeks ago. Maybe they thought it was Mr. Dani!

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  6. Does Mr. Scott Bisig understand the role of the Business Administrator and the role of the board?
    This was the second time he claimed that the board of education MUST approve / rubber stamp a 270,000 dollar construction contract as per his desire and he can start the work before a board vote.
    The board is ultimate decision maker on such large contracts and if time is an issue, he needs to submit those contracts for a board vote in time and not create an artificial time crunch to get votes in favor of his selected vendors.

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  7. When Cristopher kaufman was running for the board, he claimed that “I am not going to be a rubber stamp, I am going to ask questions on everything”, and now he is advocating for being a rubber stamp board and questioning the board members who ask questions before they vote?

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  8. The buck stops with the Board. They are the final say so and have absolute authority over everything. Got that Mr. Bisig?

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  9. Year after year the Ridgewood schools and reputation continue to the crater in all rankings. When will people realize Ridgewood is not a town it once was and it’s going down the toilet.. this meeting was a prime example… Maybe our town should take a lesson from Wyckoff and Franklin Lakes as example!

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  10. Kaufmann does not read any materials in advance of the meetings. He is so pitifully unprepared week after week. He offers an occasional inaccurate and idiotic comment while all FOUR of the other trustees have clearly done the homework and ask key questions.

    But then he spends an inordinate amount of time reviewing old meetings and citing what minute and what second certain comments were made, reading verbatim comments, and trying to do a “gotcha” about the track repairs. He is so petty and ridiculous. He is worse than a petulant middle schooler.

    Definitely NOT voting for this incompetent jerk.

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  11. So, I watched the meeting and wonder what the right balance is. The professionals make recommendations to the board for their approval. I would assume that the board is given an understanding of all the options available. The board has every right to question the professionals – some do that to ask genuine questions, some do that to showboat, others to obfuscate – nonetheless – the boards role is oversight. The professionals – just like at Village Hall, understand the nuances of these contracts and programs – the BOE represents the taxpayers in making the ultimate decision. I’d rather have a professional who stands their ground than one who rolls over for political gain.

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  12. Kaufman rubber stamps except when it comes to the wrestling coach. Then he turns into a headhunter. No idea why that is.

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  13. Wyckoff? Huh? Aren’t they facing lawsuits up the ying-yang for multiple blunders in recent years?

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  14. The whole meeting was a disgrace. There is an absolute lack of trust between the board members and between the board and the Administrators. The lack of respect in both directions was palpable. The seemingly coolest heads in the room were Gorman who said nothing and Lembo who let it go too long. They need to both step up and demand that everyone change the tone of the discussion.

    Everyone in that room is passionate and is trying to do the right thing. They all need to take a step back to recognize their shared goals and to find a way to work constructively together.

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  15. And don’t forget Kaufman and Mamood are running as a “bracket”, which means they share the paltform of a “rubber stamp” board.

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  16. Any mention of the 3 fields flooding for what must be the 15th time in the last dozen years or so…?

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  17. Bisig is a nasty man. Kaufman is clueless and put his son in another school because of the wrestling program. That makes him really clueless as well as using his platform to disparage the Ridgewood coach.
    Poelstra is the mean girl. Brogan has been on the Board too many years. She now acts as an administrator. The fields will probably flood again tomorrow and for that I blame Dr. Fishbein. Mike is a nice guy and HJ and Dani are the serious ones who ask the questions and take the heat while remaining respectful. We can’t vote on the jillion dollar budget but we can still vote for Board members. I am only voting for one and that is Ms. Kwak.

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  18. I too am bullet voting for Ms. Kwak. Voting any other way makes no sense.

  19. I told you people the Board of Education is A mess. It’s amazing that so many smart people in Ridgewood voted the way they did. Not to control the Board of Education budget how stupid can you be. Don’t cry about your taxes because 75% of your money goes towards the Board of Education.

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  20. Any discussion on the RHS softball program and the email chain that circulated end of last season?

  21. Thank the far left knuckleheads in this town who cry foul at every time someone raises voter id but were ok with blocking residents voting rights.

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  22. While the Administration was legitimately questioned on curriculum and projects, I have to say that Mr. Gani’s was too confrontational and that may have elicited, and in some way justified, the defensiveness.
    Ms. Kwak may be an example how to be firm in an oversight role and yet have a civil discourse.

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  23. This is from Laurie Bender on Facebook; Yet another low for the disgraceful blog. Last night was far from the first time such things happened. Making light of it is just as shameful as the antics of individuals, paid and elected, last night as well as bigoted remarks from a resident. Likening that to entertainment is beyond disgusting.

    It cracks me up that those who complain about The Blog actually read every word of it.

    LONG LIVE THE BLOG!!!

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  24. Ms Bender is a constant critic of The RIdgewood Blog. Claims this is nothing more than “clickbait.” For something she hates so much, why does she still read it? Well Laurie?

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  25. Ms. Polestar talks down to Mr. Dani regardless of anything he asks or says. She speaks entirely different, with respect, to other members (not a minority). Completely unacceptable and unprofessional. Who disciplines such toxic behavior?

  26. Who gives a shit about what Laurie Bender is proclaiming. She has zero credibility. Always rushing to defend whatever Susan Knudsen does or says. Like a little school girl with a crush. She has zero sense of humor. Stop reading the blog if you can’t stomach a good joke or two every now and then. Lighten up.

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  27. Rather than preparing for and reading materials for Board meetings, Kaufman combed through the last three months of meeting footage to devise a witch-hunt against Dani and Kwak. Sad, his insecurities and ego continue to lead him into self destruction. Even worse, and clearly evident, Kaufman is now colluding behind the scene with BOE employees.

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  28. Dani seems to want only super over achievers in our schools. Polestar seems to be saying that’s not realistic. This is a frequent battle between those two.

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  29. Kaufman reminds me of Wile E. Coyote. He’s forever trying to catch the Road Runner (Dani and Kwak), which comically backfires in slapstick fashion.

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  30. last night’s discussion was NOT about “super over achievers”. Last night’s discussion was about 15% of elementary school students who are failing the grade. Dani’s argument was that the district is failing those students. If this 15% of students are not helped now, then they can never bridge the gap. Ms. Polstra only showed stats on what was done to 58 students out of 400, to help. These students qualified for the federal grant for the summer program. The remaining students (350+), who are failing, are not getting the needed help that they deserve.

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  31. Lembo and Gorman are in over their heads. They are ill equipped to run a basic board mtg

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  32. Overrated school system

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  33. Polstra doesn’t seem have a clear understanding of the metrics she’s quoting. She couldn’t explain how the measurements and calculations are done and she couldn’t be bothered to understand a 17 page documentation that explains some of it. She was iffy on the details of a NJDOE metric methodology. She put up some numbers, then criticized the metrics and her punch line was that kids are not widgets. She offered no meaningful ways to try to improve (except buying some technology tools). Not at all inspiring. Her presentation was at best a C.
    Meanwhile, Kaufman broadly claims that ALL teachers look to improve year after year. How does he know to make such a broad brush claim? What benefit is there by saying something that cannot be verified and what is clearly fluff.

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  34. And we give these clowns $110 million every year to spend? I wouldn’t trust any of them with the TV remote.

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  35. Polstra doesn’t seem have a clear understanding of the metrics she’s quoting.

    This is why she has issue with Dani who is bright and wants data driven goals with measurable progress reports….makes Polstra head spin

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  36. the BOE has a long and bigoted history , the 2 non white BOE members need to know their place

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  37. A couple of observations-

    1. Kwak is respectful, yet firm. She is what is needed for true taxpayer oversight.
    2. Dani can be a bit of a bully. Whether he means to or not, this is how it comes across to me. At least he is informed and seemingly on top of the details.
    3. Kaufman does seem to be a bit of a scatterbrain.
    4. Will someone please shut Laurie Weber up! We know her well and she is a terrible and spiteful person. A nasty piece of work.
    5. Lembo is out of his league- completely.
    6. The trustees have to learn that meddling into every detail has consequences. By the way, meddling is fine and part of their role, but don’t blame the administration when things run late or over budget.
    7. Did I mention that someone needs to shut Laurie Weber up?

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  38. As confused as the B of E appears, the new bad guys on the block run the village government. Now there’s a missing tree guy and the race for Bernie’s seat is between, “Paul V. ambitious to a fault and loves concrete and Melanie H. who is for Ridgewood but not so sweet.”

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