Conspiracy theories have been the rage for years, though we dismiss most True Believers as being a few bats short of a belfry. JFK was eliminated by (choose one or more) the CIA, KGB, Mafia, J. Edgar Hoover, LBJ, Richard Nixon, Fidel Castro, George H. W. Bush, and Cuban exile groups. Global Warming is a fraud, perpetrated by scientists, government leaders and environmentalists for political purposes. Princess Di was killed by the Royal Family because she was pregnant with Dodi Fayed's child, and intended to marry him and convert to Islam.
Not credible? Remember the words of that renowned philosopher, Tommy Lee Jones, as Agent K in Men in Black: "Fifteen hundred years ago, everyone knew that the Earth was the center of the universe. Five hundred years ago, everyone knew that the Earth was flat. Fifteen minutes ago, you knew that humans were alone on this planet. Imagine what you'll 'know' tomorrow".
Tomorrow is today here in QCSD. Haycock Township, to be precise. True Believers say that certain school directors discriminate against Haycock Elementary School because (choose one or more) it's the smallest school; it's the highest performing; the kids come from the wealthiest of QCSD's six municipalities; Haycock's representative on the board, Paul Stepanoff, was the first of what are now four "reform" directors to blow the whistle on the long-time reckless hiring and spending practices of the clubby old-guard board majority.
Just another magic-bullet, credulity-straining tale that takes one fact from here, and another from way over there? Or, True Believers, maybe - just maybe - Haycock has been treated as the district's stepchild. Flash back to 2006. The board's own action plan establishes renovations to HES and Richland Elementary as QCSD's two "priority projects to be implemented immediately". But, to save money, Former Superintendent Jim Scanlon proposes to close HES. Parents are outraged, and the plan is quickly dropped. But some Haycock families, upset by the district's skyrocketing taxes, and its seemingly callous attitude toward their kids, broach the idea of joining better-performing Palisades, which has 22 percent lower taxes. They point out that their sparsely-populated rural community is far more similar to Palisades than QCSD.
But state red tape ends the discussion. We all move on. All, that is, except those old-guard board members, who, True Believers say, apparently decide to set an example for anyone who might again consider challenging their authority. In January, 2007, director Linda Martin (from Milford) proposes that the board cancel the scheduled renovations to HES. After some discussion, HES is finally included, but the point is made, loud and clear. Haycock Township supervisor Kathleen Babb is furious: "Your expenses on Haycock have been minimal at best. You as a school board do not have the right to do anything other than educate our children in the best environment. You don't not do (the renovations) because someone questions you. Shame on you".
Those renovations, to HES and Richland, were scheduled to begin this summer. Superintendent Dr Lisa Andrejko rightfully proposed to move the HES second, third, and fourth grade classes intact to Quakertown Elementary, even tho it would have been slightly less costly to disburse them throughout the system. Her decision was overwhelmingly endorsed by HES parents and teachers. And opposed by Martin, and fellow majority members Kathy Mosley and Nancy Tirjan (both representing Richland). After years of irresponsible budgets that got the district into its current financial crisis, and constantly criticizing Stepanoff's efforts to reduce spending, the majority has suddenly decided that their mission is now to save taxpayer money!
Would that be to lower taxes for cash-strapped residents? Nope. Skip the unnecessary $420,000 full-production kitchen that placated Richland Elementary parents? Of course not. Delay the administration's new multi-million dollar offices? Ha! Those things are apparently vital to our educational system. True Believers weren't surprised when the majority made good on their threats: they not only rejected Andrejko's plan, they dropped the HES renovations entirely!
As a result of board delays, construction costs have greatly increased. Logically, we should be dividing the available money to allow the most necessary work to proceed on both HES and Richland. But they simply approved every cent - more than $12 million - for Mosley's and Tirjan's Richland project, including that wasteful kitchen. In fact, they even added another $100,000. Then, in a five-minute discussion, they cut out Haycock totally, even tho their own architect's report stated on page one "The needs of Haycock Elementary School, some systems of which are badly in need of repair, are similarly critical (to Richland)".
When Martin, Mosley, and Tirjan campaigned for school board last year, they stressed serving "the best interests of the community and the children". So, True Believers might want an explanation of how playing one town against another, using every available dollar in Richland, and nothing on HES, is serving "the community and the children". Oops, sorry, TB's - Martin, Mosley, and Tirjan are fanatical supporters of regional representation, and aren't answerable to Haycock voters at all!
And this is where things get really interesting. The crossroads of Conspiracy Theory and Reality. Some Haycock parents claim that Martin, Mosley, and Tirjan, told them that they were going to vote against Andrejko's proposal as a way of getting back at Stepanoff for the revelations he has made about the board's poor financial and program management.
Jim Levinski, an involved Haycock parent, reveals "I was told by three different individuals, two friends of Mosley, and one member of the administration very close to the dynamics of this vote, that Mosley was 'furious' at Paul. I've spoken to literally dozens of parents, in all three districts, and every single one knew about Mosley's hatred for him, and how she was going to vote on issues that involved him. The term 'Mosley Vote' now refers to any vote cast by Kathy Mosley, or other board members like Nancy Tirjan, motivated entirely by personal animosity, and void of any true issue-specific context. A simple vote of retribution, that does a disservice to the QCSD board, and every single parent and child".