Saturday, January 20, 2018


School System Superintendent Dr. Michael Martirano is not happy. And it takes a lot for him to be unhappy. Twenty-two million dollars, to be precise.

Look at my budget presentation to the BOE. I am chagrined that I have inherited a budget with a structural shortfall of $22 M. This is WRONG! I will be seeking help to address a problem that many of us did NOT create & one which is hurting our students & employees. #NotHappy

When I first read this I thought that perhaps the good doctor had been hacked or that I was looking at a parody account. This doesn’t sound much like the relentlessly positive voice we are used to hearing from the Superintendent. It concerns me.

If you followed the BOE campaign, which saw an overwhelming desire for change in leadership, then you are probably well-acquainted with the lack of transparency, responsiveness, and accountability that motivated voters to show up at the polls. And if you listened to campaign statements you are aware of the concerns of candidates like Christina Delmont-Small about how money was being spent without public oversight.  Surely, if you paid attention to the early board meetings of the newly elected board you will have seen many, many mentions of missing financial information. 

All of this is to say that the missing 22 million, which I believe to be from the perennially “leaky” Health and Dental fund, is not a new story to anyone who has been paying attention over the last several years. It’s one of the reasons that a forensic audit was approved and is going forward. And it shouldn’t be a new story to the Superintendent, either. I’m pretty sure that the board we have in place would have been candid about the challenges of the job when Dr. Martirano was considering the position.

With all of this in mind- -why this tweet? If it is a personal expression of the intense frustration at being unable to move forward due to the mistakes of others, it is certainly understandable. That is, understandable but not a good idea in the long run. If you are the Superintendent of Schools you may type out a statement like this, in a moment of intense feeling, but then you delete it before you post.

On the other hand, this could be a carefully chosen way to reach out to the public to let us know that we need to pay attention to something. It certainly grabbed my attention. But, instead of making me worry about the 22 million, it made me worry about Dr. Martirano. And I don’t think that’s a good thing.

Perhaps I have become over-sensitive to impassioned tweets in this day and age when the President uses Twitter to post emotional rants about perceived adversaries. It’s very likely that colored my response to the Superintendent’s post. Despite all that, it still concerns me. I can’t put my finger on it, but something doesn’t feel quite right.

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