Parent Questions Ed Board Candidate's 'Revisionist History'

By Greg Schulte

Dear Editor:

Recently the North Mianus PTA sponsored a forum for the Board of Education candidates. As a North Mianus parent and RTM member, I posed the following question to all six of the candidates: Would they advocate a random $1 million BOE budget cut at the Annual RTM Budget Meeting, after it was rejected by the BOE and BET Educational Committee, as the only incumbent, Ms. Marianna Ponns Cohen, had done unilaterally last May?

Ms. Ponns Cohen’s ambivalence in her response was shocking as she questioned whether she spoke at the May meeting, denied advocating such a cut and then claimed the intent of the cut was to reallocate the funds within the BOE budget (The RTM cannot transfer appropriations within the Annual Budget). Ms. Ponns Cohen then proceeded to repeat the arguments she made in May to support the budget cut (which failed).

To be certain my recollection was correct, I checked the online archives at Greenwich Community TV Website at gctv.greenwich.org. True enough, at the 2:20 mark of the May RTM meeting, Marianna Ponns Cohen’s comments and positions contradicted her statements at North Mianus School less than five short months later.

I respect anyone’s right to their opinion and position, or even to change their mind. What was appalling to me and other observers of the PTA forum was that this is yet another example of Marianna Ponns Cohen’s revisionist history to suit the image she is trying to project at the moment. This undermines the faith we put in the candor of our local candidates.

We trust our BOE members with the welfare of our children and the financial health of our educational system. Marianna Ponns Cohen is not worthy of that trust.


Greg Schulte
Member of the RTM (District 12) and the Democratic Town Committee

Marianna Ponns Cohen October 25, 2011 at 02:31 AM
The only person to speak at the 2:20 mark is Mr. Anderson, when he misrepresented the BOE's lack of knowledge of the RTM's proposed cut. Mr. Schulte would be well advised to check the tapes again.
Greg Schulte October 25, 2011 at 03:52 AM
Marianna: I am sorry and stand corrected, your speech starts at the 2:22:45 mark of the video - Greg Schulte
Marianna Ponns Cohen October 25, 2011 at 11:33 AM
And Greg, Mr. Anderson misrepresented to a Town governmental body the BOE's knowledge of the RTM's proposal -- which is the comment that I brought to the RTM's attention that evening.
SUV Sister October 25, 2011 at 04:24 PM
Am I the only Patch reader who wonders how a candidate would obtain the text of an opposing letter, before that letter was ever mailed? More important, am I the only person who wonders if it is appropriate for an elected town official to "reach out" in an email to "every media outlet", to "advise" (warn?) them about printing a "possible letter" from a resident who disagrees with them? Is the press really free here, or are we in Russia and not Greenwich?
Ted Stevenson October 25, 2011 at 08:30 PM
SUV Sister: Probably. Probably. No, but situation not illustrated by this case. Having viewed the tape, I would say Mariana is more right than Greg. She provided some relevant observations and opinions but didn't explicitly "advocate" for the cut. What is more clear is that Anderson was misleading in his claim, which together with the IB application and the North Mianus parking lot, seems to be a pattern with him.
Marianna Ponns Cohen October 26, 2011 at 02:31 AM
Here we go again! Mr. Schulte is misrepresenting my positions seemingly by political design. By his own admission, he relies on his “recollection” of statements I am alleged to have made at an RTM meeting in May 2011 regarding an RTM motion to reduce the BOE budget by $1 million for excess administrators. He claims I “advocated for a cut” at this meeting. He further claims that, at a recent BOE forum, I “denied” making such statement. Not so on both counts. Here are the facts. At the RTM meeting BOE Chairman Steve Anderson alleged that the BOE had first heard of a proposed $1 million cut to its budget that evening. My short comment was to correct the public record: the BOE had been notified by email about this potential RTM $1 million cut a week before. I stated: "The BOE was aware that this proposal was coming down the pike.” Given the prior North Mianus funding problems, I thought it was especially important to correct any possible misrepresentations before the RTM. Since I was aware of the misrepresentation, as a public servant charged with protecting the credibility of the institution, it was my obligation to correct the record.
Chris Davies October 26, 2011 at 10:48 PM
Miss SUV Sister (Escalade?) -- did it ever occur to you that Mr. Schulte may have sent his letter to too many people, who were light-fingered with their computer keyboard and shared it with others? His email was the "gift that gave back" to him. His involvement with negative forces on BOE is common knowledge. And his emails are, too, as are those of Sandy Waters.
Greg Schulte October 27, 2011 at 03:11 AM
MPC: "He [Greg Schulte - Involver with negative forces] further claims that, at a recent BOE forum, I “denied” making such statement. Not so on both counts." Let's go to the videotape!
Historian October 27, 2011 at 03:43 AM
Credibility of the institution?? Are you serious? Ms Ponns Cohen states she supported MISA six months after being in the Greenwich Time declaring she no longer supports the project. She states that expulsion hearings are one of the most important tasks for the Board and then has the poorest attendance record two years running! . She is the only public official to continually criticize others (everyone) on blogs and in the press (name anyone who even comes close to her level of attack against others). Read Greenwich Gossip; that blog summarizes the situation perfectly. Lies, misrepresentations, innuendoes, personal attacks. Yep, that helps the "credibility of the institution". How about simply acting in a respectful, dignified manner that supports the Town? Impossible; she never figured out the difference between being a lawyer looking to tear down her opponent versus being a Board member who is responsible for supporting and improving an education system.
RTM RTM October 27, 2011 at 10:12 PM
Hey Greg, she just revised history again! Marianna, how funny and yet how sad. Your last paragraph so passionately spells out that you were just protecting your beloved town and your beloved school system (that your kids are not in) especially because of the "prior North Mianus funding problems." Thank you for watching out for all of us! one slight problem, dear. The North Mianus issue came into play AFTER the May RTM meeting at which you spoke. Ooops, how inconvenient. NM was our June meeting. While there definitely was a $90k problem with NM, Anderson and Freund stood in front of the RTM at the JUNE meeting and took full responsibility for the mistake. How refreshing. I wish you would admit mistakes or just acknowledge different viewpoints instead of going into your standard attack mode (as the postings on this blog demonstrate so well). Instead, you just revised history AGAIN to fit your need! Marty McFly history: MISA: supports it in November, tells the paper she's against it in Feb. Now out on the campaign trail, apparently claiming she supports it again. Mariana - for MISA or against it? IB: Vehemently anti-IB in Feb. The Swiss will not take over our schools! Three weeks ago at a candidate forum, the paper quotes her as supporting IB at New Lebanon. Mariana: for IB or against it? Mariana and many of her supporters just seem to enjoy playing political games and blaming others. This type of behaviour is not what I want from a school board member.
RTM RTM October 27, 2011 at 10:18 PM
SUV sister, I hear you. I wonder why the Greenwich Post hasn't printed Greg's letter? Is it because Mariana is paying advertising dolars for her campaign to the Post? Gr Time finally printed it today. I'm actually surprised it happened because GT columnist Bob Horton and editor/blogger Linc Milstein are such big Mariana fans. GT - no conflict there with editor Linc, huh? This type of behaviour is not what I want from a school board member deciding the path of my kids (but not her kids) schools. This will not help us attract a good superintendent.
Greg Schulte October 27, 2011 at 11:58 PM
von Braun having a very good night in tonight's forum at CMS.
Greg Schulte October 28, 2011 at 12:03 AM
Marianna is reminding everyone that she represents the other 76% again. Interesting way to try to win a BOE race!
Bernard Schneider October 28, 2011 at 05:21 AM
I do not understand why, in a matter of public interest on a public forum, some people insist on not using their true names. A person who chooses anonymity ( for no good reason that I can discern) has diminished credibility.


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