OPINION: Little Egg Superintendent McCooley Should Practice Humility

TO THE EDITOR: I attended the LEH school board meeting on Monday, August 21, 2017. There seemed to be a large turnout, due in part to some disagreements among residents concerning the superintendent’s salary increase.

The board provided evidence that her salary was in line with other districts of the same size. She does fall within the state’s guidelines, so I would only object if her salary was increased again through bonuses. There was an issue raised at the meeting with the Sandpaper reporter about a previous article concerning staff cuts. This I believe is a question of semantics, whether they were terminated, laid off, retired, or resigned, or how it is classified. If their positions were not filled, they were eliminated. Another issue that caught my attention was the matter of the school’s Facebook page. I don’t think notices regarding the school should be posted on Facebook because not everyone is on Facebook. Also, there was a problem with people posting what the superintendent deemed as libel or slanderous remarks. Facebook is a social media platform, unless there were comments threatening physical harm of some sort, I don’t believe you can limit what people post, and there is no requirement that you have to allow a public comment section.

I was dismayed to hear the school superintendent state that people’s IP addresses were going to be traced and she was filing a lawsuit against them. I hope our tax dollars are not going for this lawsuit, in a recent Supreme Court case, the court ruled, “A School Superintendent is considered a public official and allegedly defamatory statements about that official are judged by a different standard”. The rest of the meeting was pretty much filled with the superintendent’s accomplishments/job description, and praise from various sources.

Melissa McCooley (Photo: Little Egg Harbor Schools)

Also the fact that she has an “open door” policy was widely extolled, although I wondered why, thinking that was part of the job. I did contact Melissa on 2 separate occasions. One was regarding the report card change, when that was implemented a large number of parents contacted Melissa through various means, so much so she called a special meeting. The take away from that meeting was that she would look into a “hybrid” report card, combining the new more detailed report card with a standard grade. That was a year ago, we haven’t heard anything since. My second encounter was a private meeting regarding school bus safety, and the fact that 1/2 the school’s population is driving their children. This meeting took me 4 attempts with physically visiting her office to get an appointment. At that meeting I was told, it was grandparents driving children from their homes (probably true in some cases but not all), or children who had doctor appointments, (probably again true in some cases) but I was speaking of children being driven every day not for an occasional appointment. Then I was told there was no money in the budget for the bus chaperones I was suggesting, so that was the end of that meeting. I joined the ranks of parents driving because of numerous bus incidents, All in all the meeting went smoothly, although I did notice a police officer there and wondered if that was standard for school board meetings.

I think it would greatly benefit Melissa and her relations with the general public if she practiced a certain degree of humility in the future.

Sincerely,

Kate Goode

Little Egg Harbor

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14 Responses

  1. Don the Con says:

    What about the recent Lacey BOE Meeting?

  2. laceylady says:

    How does this woman not realize that she is considered a “public figure” and is subject to whatever scrutiny comes her way? She should really research the law before making idle threats of lawsuits directed at comments made on Facebook. I remember the former school superintendent in Lacey, Dr. Brower/Anthony, also had total disdain for people’s comments on The Lacey Patch, so she refused to speak to them. Guess these overpaid public figures don’t like people having a forum with which to criticize them. If you are getting paid with OUR tax dollars, sorry but it comes with the territory. Don’t like it, leave!

    • outtahere says:

      Better yet, make the position of Superintendent a county wide position and save the districts hundreds of thousand of dollars. One position for elementary and one for middle/high schools. Then no more worries about nepotism, facebook comments, etc. It’s done in cities that have thousands enrolled in schools, not hundreds. They make it work every day.

    • Bob Staget says:

      We wish she would leave! She doesn’t even realize that instead of focusing on doing her job, she’s choosing to threaten public opinion, attracting more and more negative attention. She’s creating the news! 😂

  3. Mac says:

    Yo to the current head lackey of the Pinelands Fool District. From your public actions, personnel appointments and personal appearances of record, I’d say you are highly qualified to be a Pinelands Brewery bar maid, especially now that the Pinelands taxpayers are underwriting the Pinelands Brewery financial operations to the tune of around a half a million bucks annually.

    Two questions of public concern: Will the Pinelands students be offered happy hour discounts after lunch, or will they have to wait until after ‘official’ school hours? And, will the public be able to order a hot dog and beer at the same window during sporting events, or will we have to stand in two separate lines?

    And please, feel free to sue me. I’ve been there and done that more than once before, so I know for a fact that there’s nothing in Ocean County that has enough substance to stand up in any court of law. But then again, that’s a renowned 300-year-old well-established Friends N Family trademark that’s provided me with numerous full-blown belly laughs.

    • Mac says:

      Sorry about the school district originally being misaddressed by me, but in all sincerity, I have never seen a difference in how the LEH and Pinelands systems are operated. The both serve their communities’ dysfunctions admirably, exactly like they were appointed to do.

    • LovesMac says:

      I would absolutely love to meet you and buy you a beer!! (Not at Pinelands brewery)
      This comment had me cheering from my living room.
      You Sir are so correct. I’ve read your comments before and I’ve disagreed very little if at all!
      Please, keep the comments coming!

  4. Steven Frato says:

    More tax for more unnecessary legal bills. These corrupt politicians need to be punished..

  5. Ashamed in NJ says:

    Wait….. Melissa is worried about Facebook comments?? How old is this woman? This isn’t high school- GROW UP!
    Didn’t all that education she got teach her that the public has a right to question their government and their public officials?
    WE pay YOU, YOU answer to US!

    She’s trying to use intimidation and scare tactics to shut the public up. MCCOOLEY YOU ARE A BULLY! You’ve scared and fired enough people already! Staff members of LEHSD are scared to death to talk, their aftaid to lose their jobs.

    You’ve finally met your match with Mr Rozzi, he is not afraid, he will not be bullied and he will not go away because of your idle threats.

    I hope you read this MELISSA. Any lawsuit you TRY to put on the public will be spread all over social media and every newspaper across NJ. Go ahead lady make a name for yourself! I’ve had enough
    I call Gavin, Mr. Rozzi, because he’s earned respect and has class unlike you Melissa. You’re a big bully with a Neapolitan complex !!!!!!!!

  6. Ashamed in NJ says:

    BTW Thank you Kate Goode!!

  7. Concerned Karen says:

    Why was superintendent Mcooley doing a pub crawl in Philadelphia with board member Daleo? Heard she got her best friend, Gina Frasca her new job at Pinelands. Look into John Acampora & his past history.
    Why is there an employee of LEHSD on a paid leave for the last year??

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