OSWEGO, NY â€“ At its meeting this week, the Oswego Board of Education voted not to approve the agreement with Tequipment Incorporated for Smart Table professional development.
The board had recently approved accepting grant funds for the project, but not the actual equipment purchase. Three Smart Tables sat along the wall of the board room Tuesday night.
Smart Tables will allow creative learning experiences for primary age youngsters. They are multi-touch, multi-user interactive learning centers that allows groups of early education students to work simultaneously on one surface.
â€œIâ€™m not going to approve this thing. Iâ€™m not going to pay,â€ said board president Dave White. â€œIf we said no them that is what it means. No doesnâ€™t mean yes.â€
â€œThe board already approved the grant funding,â€ board member Jim Tschudy pointed out.
â€œJim, I donâ€™t care. The fact that we approved the grant, we should have some say in how that grant gets spent,â€ White said. â€œWe didnâ€™t even know about the Smart Tables; until I walked through the Fitzhugh (Elementary School) office and the secretaries told me what they were. We did not authorize the payment of the thing.â€
â€œI realize a wrongâ€™s been done but we canâ€™t end up with egg on our face this evening. Two wrongs donâ€™t make a right,â€ board member Tom DeCastro said as he abstained on the vote.
â€œWe end up with egg on our face every time we allow this. Thatâ€™s when we wind up with egg on our face, which seems to be a constant thing here,â€ White said. â€œThey spent $45,000 without our permission. We said last meeting that we didnâ€™t want anything done until they got the cost and then come back to us. I think one way to get our point across is not to pay them.â€
Tschudy contended that when the board approved the grant that they also approved the implementation of the grant and follow up.
Superintendent Bill Crist said he takes responsibility for not bringing the invoice back to the board in a timely manner. The purchase of the tables came by way of Contract For Excellence, he added.
He said he wanted to have things in place by the start of school on Wednesday.
â€œWe got Smart Tables over here,â€ White said gesturing toward the equipment. â€œAnd, I suppose Iâ€™m sitting at the damn dumb table. We are responsible for things around here â€¦ I want to know whatâ€™s happening. I donâ€™t want to know that we spent $45,000 and the only reason that I knew that was because I walked through that office.â€
â€œThis is where it comes to. This is where the decision is made. We are gonna be part of that decision,â€ White continued. â€œFor us to be sitting here, to have spent $45,000 and we didnâ€™t even know it and now we donâ€™t want anything done with this $2,400 (agreement) and itâ€™s done anyway? Where is it written on me? I mean, I got to have fool written on me because thatâ€™s the damn way Iâ€™m being treated around here and Iâ€™m getting sick and tired of it! This is our responsibility as a board.â€
Voting in favor of the resolution were Kathleen Allen, Tschudy and Fran Hoefer, who said he was voting yes because he liked Smart Tables (even though he was reminded by White that that wasnâ€™t what the vote actually was for)
Voting against the resolution were John Dunsmoor, White and Sam Tripp.