Thursday, April 29, 2010

Wyomissing Assistant Superintendent Blasts Board Over Failure To Renew Her Contract

NOTE: I thought I would share this article since it pertains to our former assistant superintendent Dr. Pamela Pulkowski

The Wyomissing School District assistant superintendent has taken school board members to task for not renewing her three-year contract.

Dr. Pamela R. Pulkowski, who came to the district in 2007 from western Pennsylvania, told board members this week that she believed she was being let go for personal reasons, not because of poor performance.

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Anonymous John Ewing said...

What purpose does this article serve other than to run down Dr. Pulkowski’s reputation in Mt. Lebanon?

Did PTA Council members in Wyomissing spread nasty rumors there like they did in Mt. Lebanon?

April 30, 2010 12:24 AM  
Anonymous Karen Wolowski said...

There you go again....spreading your own rumors. PTA Council NEVER said anything against Dr. Pulkowski EVER. In fact several PTA members were pleased with how she dealt with the refugee students and their families at the time. It always surprises me how someone who has never been a PTA member or attended any PTA meetings or events thinks they are an expert on the workings of the PTA. Like so many of your statements, you need to get your facts straight before you speak or write.

April 30, 2010 8:02 PM  
Anonymous John Ewing said...

I didn’t need to attend a PTA meeting to read your email to board members suggesting censoring James Fraasch because he disagreed with you on the high school project. You were even underhanded enough to send it to the private email addresses of school board members. Here it is, let the public judge your actions for themselves:

From: Karen Wolowski 
Date: Mon, Jan 25, 2010 at 10:14 AM
Subject: Questions on HS Renovation
To: Jo Posti , Mary Birks , Elaine Cappucci , Sue Rose , dale ostergaard , James Fraasch , Ed Kubit , Daniel Remely , Faith Stipanovich 

First and foremost, I am writing to you as a private citizen and my comments in no way reflect the opinions of the PTA in Mt. Lebanon and should not be viewed as such. Second I am using your personal emails because there are rumors out there that people have been requesting all communications from PTA members to Board members and District staff. If true, this issue raises many areas of concern for me, but I am not addressing that in this email at this time.

The most common questions I have been asked lately are: "Where does Mr. Fraasch get his information and why is it so different from other numbers presented at meetings?" "Why is Mr. Fraasch speaking out publicly on TV and radio about this issue and other Board members are silent?" 

His report has caused alot of anxiety among the residents of the community and I feel it is now a trust issue with many uninformed residents now very confused about what to believe.

I am mentioning this to you because I feel Mr. Fraasch has done so much damage to this project by publicly sending out such confusing and misleading facts and figures. He has even been on TV and most recently a radio news program. When he does this, is he speaking for the Board? From what I am hearing, residents are confused and panicking because they think their taxes are going up over 45% next year! That is the hysteria Mr. Fraasch has created. I do not pretend to know his agenda or purpose, because he is very unclear (at least to me) on where the data comes from and what his intent is. It seems to me, however, that the place for debate on School Board issues is NOT the media, but rather a public meeting. By debating this issue in the media, he is monopolizing and directing the debate to his personal point of view and allowing no other viewpoints to be offered. Certainly not a fair and objective way to debate an issue and certainly a biased ploy to get his personal agenda in the forefront.

Please know that I am NOT telling you what to do, but it seems to me that anyone who has done such damage to not only this project but also to the image of our School Board and its credibility should be censored in some way. I realize that not everyone is going to agree on issues and that debate is healthy and educational. Mr. Fraasch has gone over board here and seems to be undermining the votes already taken on many key issues. He seems to be gathering a cult of folks who believe the other board members are deceitful and that they are hiding and manipulating data just to get this project through without a referendum. Just read Blog Lebo and you can get a real sense of what he has created.

In my opinion something needs to be done to make sure that the community gets the correct information and that the trust of the Board is restored. Censoring Mr. Fraasch is just one step. Please know that I am willing to help in any way you see fit to make sure that the public gets the correct and accurate information.

I thank you for the time and energy you have put into this issue.
Karen Wolowski

April 30, 2010 11:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

John Ewing, has all the documentation needed for people to figure out who are really getting their facts straight before they speak or write.
Elaine Gillen

May 01, 2010 11:53 AM  
Anonymous David Brown said...

I see no connection between Mr. Ewing's allegations of rumor-mongering and the email he quoted. The latter is a direct communication to elected officials. Producing it as an example does not provide the advertised evidence of the former.

That said, I would still be interested in hearing the specifics of Mr. Ewing's allegation, hopefully without anyone repeating any actual falsehoods.

Or better yet, what do people think in general about rumors in Mt. Lebanon? Is it par for the course for a town our size or truly out of control? Or do we think so mainly when we politically sympathize with the victim?

I do know that when the perceived importance of an outcome is great enough, anyone will justify any kind of tactic**. Perhaps they imagine they will correct the damage they have done after they are in power. But it never happens that way. Instead they become addicted to the cheap and easy results and/or they see others now copying their methods and so cannot deescalate. The temptation to trash norms of civil behavior or ransack civic institutions must always be resisted because the long-term damage to society almost always outweighs the short-term "gains".

One hallmark of an extremist is the tendency to see each disagreement or battle as a front in the struggle for his or her particular absolute value system to "win" somehow. By referencing everything back to an absolute value (ie., one without context), any act can be justified, so an extremist's threshold to escalate tactics is far lower than a normal person's. I believe this is why, on the national level, we are seeing a rise both in extremism and in disinformation. They go hand in hand.

** That's why I refuse to watch the TV show 24. Most people would agree it's okay to torture a person who has the password to defuse a nuclear bomb that will go off in the next hour. But what if it's a person who knows a person who might know that guy? Or if they are just getting one component of a bomb? Or if the interrogator has been lied to and there isn't any nuclear bomb at all? The show (intentionally I believe) gets us to accept torture in a very narrow setting so that before long we will be accepting it in wider and wider contexts.

May 01, 2010 3:33 PM  
Anonymous Karen Wolowksi said...

I thought we were talking about Dr. Pulkowski and your allegations of the PTA Council spreading "nasty rumors" about her. When did we switch subjects?!
Thanks for sharing my private email to the School Board. How did you get a copy of it? Who sent it to you? There would be no reason to withhold where you got my email, unless it was obtained by you in an unlawful manner and you don't want to be a party to violations of the law. It just further supports my accusations that one school board member forwarded my email to private citizens without my permission or knowledge and outside of the Right To Know laws. Talk about underhanded and unlawful! I have a right to make comments to my elected officials, just as you do. The elected officials don't have the right to forward your emails or mine without following the law...the Right To Know law. So let me ask you again, John, who sent you my private email? If you're not underhanded, then you'll be honest and tell me who sent my email to you.

May 01, 2010 5:51 PM  
Blogger Dave Franklin said...

I'm staying out of this one, but is it really "against the law" for a SB or Commissioner to forward an email that he/she received - especially if that email was sent to his/her personal email address? Seems odd.

May 01, 2010 10:48 PM  
Anonymous John Ewing said...

Karen, the email was not sent to me by anyone in the email address field, but it did expose your nasty behavior while an officer of PTA Council.

Shame on you, Karen Wolowski !

May 02, 2010 12:02 AM  
Blogger Marjie said...

The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round...except in Mt. Lebanon we are getting no where.

The old use of the same thing as both a sword and shield. Small point but if the email was sent expressly in a private manner (as a private citizen using the bd members' private emails) it was done, as is expressed in the email text, to avoid disclosure via the RTK law. If this is the case then how can one now claim protection under the RTK law?

Bigger, more important (in my mind) picture. When are we going to stop the fighting? I've come to believe for some its more about the fight and less about the ultimate outcome because no one seems to want to move on to discuss how we will overcome increased taxes and budget cuts (be they from the renovation or PSERs or bad economic conditions). Tonight ABC reported districts across the country are faced with letting go thousands of teachers because of economic stressors from the recession. Whether the school is 75mil or higher we face having to resolve big cuts or bigger cuts but cuts increases or bigger tax increases but tax increases nonetheless.

The post about an old assistant super and an email already discussed just made me think of wheels spinning...over and over again.

May 02, 2010 12:08 AM  
Anonymous Karen Wolowski said...


You still have not answered my simple direct question....From whom did you receive my private email that I had sent to the School Board members? If you have nothing to hide and neither you nor the person that sent it to you did anything wrong, then why won't you answer this question?

Be that as it may, Marjie is right..some people thrive on bringing up the past over and over again. Other than to be mean, what was the point in bringing up a private email that I sent to the School Board members when the topic was on Dr. Pulkowski? When the topic was on Dr. Polkowski, you made allegations about the PTA Council but provided no facts or specifics. When I directly responded to your accusation and denied that PTA Council ever spread any rumors, you then brought up a completely different subject to attack me personally.

I moved on from this subject months ago and have not posted about it until the attacks by you. Too bad some people can't live in the present and stay focused and on task. I also have not stooped as low as you by resorting to name calling...seems a bit juvenile. I realize that you will never tell me who sent you the email, because you know it was done in an underhanded manner. I am done with this topic and won't post again, even when you call me names or spread lies about the organizations I belong to.

May 02, 2010 5:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are absolutely right. The more energy that goes into the $113 M proponents trying to convince the public why that level of spending is appropriate while the others (including myself) spend energy requesting a $75 M project, the less the spotlight is on those who must start dealing with the economic realities our school district will have to face. I read newspaper articles on a regular basis about necessary school districts’ cost reduction measures from communities in Pittsburgh and otherwise. Perhaps everyone should be asking the school board directors just how they plan to juggle our trend toward reduced earned income revenue with an already proposed whopping almost 11% real estate tax hike, pending property reassessments, PSERs, and increases in municipal, state and federal taxes. The question is how do we initiate responsible collaborative problem solving on the part of the school board and community? The $75 M folks are reacting to known current financial challenges while I honestly do not understand the thinking behind the $113 M folks’ desired spending given our economic climate. Since all of this centers on the school district’s leadership, when will the elected leaders start working among themselves and with the community to find solutions, or will this all be decided in a figurative boxing ring among community groups where the leadership in problem solving has been non-existent?
Finally, to Karen, while Mr. Fraasch’s view may not have represented yours, I appreciated his effort to inform the community from his perspective as a sitting elected official. Other board directors communicate their perspectives through blogs and e-mails too. It truly bothers me that you took such a punitive position against Mr. Fraasch and are now attempting to shoot your messenger.
--Charlotte Stephenson

May 02, 2010 10:40 PM  
Blogger Dave Franklin said...

"Perhaps everyone should be asking the school board directors just how they plan to juggle our trend toward reduced earned income revenue with an already proposed whopping 11% real estate tax hike, pending property reassessments, PSERs, and increases in municipal, state and federal taxes."

I've been asking these questions for months. Frankly, I got tired of spinning my tires in the School Project's Alabama mud, so I switched to these issues long ago. I thought they were issues that we could all agree were realistic, regardless of your thoughts on the school project. Unfortunately, answers are few and typically I'm just accused of trying to scare people. And for the record, my open questions along these lines remain open to those groups who have promised me truth, happiness and wisdom.

May 03, 2010 7:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave, there is a very small group that is accusing you of trying to scare people. This very small group is accusing me and many others of the same thing. I wouldn’t worry about it. One of their members has a B.A. in fiction writing. He can’t help himself. Charlotte and Marjie, the school board has already shown us how they plan to overcome increased taxes and budget cuts. They are suing the municipality.
Elaine Gillen

May 03, 2010 8:45 AM  
Anonymous Kathy Clark said...

I have absolutely no dog in this fight, but under the new Right to Know Act, and especially pursuant to the way it is being enforced by the Office of Open Records, any e-mail you send to ANY public official, i.e., school board member, Commissioner, etc., regardless of whether you send it to a "private" e-mail address or a public one, becomes a public document the moment you push the send button. So if you don't want it to be public, don't send the e-mail.

May 03, 2010 1:39 PM  

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