Charge: Principal Makes Staff Dog-Walkers
The principal of a new Rockaway high school has been bringing her pet dog to school on a regular basis and expects school staff to care for it when she is busy, a United Federation of Teachers (UFT) Chapter Chairperson has charged in a formal grievance.
David Pecoraro, the UFT leader for Beach Channel High School has charged that Principal Jennifer Connolly, who leads the new Rockaway Park High School for Environmental Sustainability (RPHSES), which now shares the Beach 101 Street campus with BCHS and the Channel View School for Research (CVSR), first brought her dog to the building on September 7 and has continued to do so until the present time, sometimes requiring staff members to hold the dog outside the building and take it for walks. Pecoraro filed the formal grievance on September 22 and a formal Step 1 hearing was to be held in the building earlier this week, although there is no word on the result of the hearing. It is widely believed that the grievance will be heard at higher levels before a resolution.
Pecoraro told The Wave this week that both Connelly and her secretary refused to sign a receipt for the formal grievance, but that she has to respond to it within a specified time. In addition, he says, the dean of the new school came to Pecoraro and “harassed” him to drop the grievance, which he refused to do.
Pecoraro and Connelly have been feuding since the end of the last school year. The Rockaway Park High School for Environmental Sustainability was set by the Department of Education to replace Beach Channel High School when it was phased out and closed under Mayor Bloomberg’s “small schools” movement.
A court, however, put a hold on closing the 12 schools involved in the plan, stating that the mayor and his chancellor, Joel Klein, have not followed the rules for closing schools. Klein and Bloomberg, however, made a deal with the UFT allowing some of the new schools to open, including the new Rockaway high school. Late last school year, Pecoraro argued that Connolly was arbitrarily taking over rooms and equipment belonging to BCHS and was recruiting students from the older school’s registration. This is the latest shot in the war that began last year, insiders say.
A spokesperson for the Department of Education told The Wave on Thursday morning that the charge of impropriety has been turned over to department investigators and that no further comment would be forthcoming until the investigation has been completed.