Dr. Larry Murray

A former 60's hippie with a strong belief in capitalism, Dr. Murray obtained his Ph.D. in American History in 1970 and went on to, in his own words, ‘publish and perish,’ teaching at colleges and universities while publishing in professional journals. Now Dr. Murray is a tireless community activist, focusing primarily on the administration of the public schools in Monroe County. Hands down, Larry has made more public records requests to the school district than anyone else – ever - something he describes as “the equivalent of pulling teeth” or, as some have put it, "herding cats". Pushing for the best schools possible, he pokes and prods, urging the School District, as often as not, to simply follow its own rules and regulations, not do something unique and different. More Articles by Larry Murray . More Articles by Larry Murray prior to November, 2014.

Mar 032017
 
Open Letter To The School Board

by Dr. Larry Murray……. I have repeatedly raised the issue of MCSD having appropriate policies for the processing of Public Records Requests. After several conversations, it occurs to me that I may have been using the wrong term and thus confusing matters. Yes, MCSD does have very general policies regarding Public Records. What it does not have are WRITTEN PROCEDURES for processing Public Records Requests. There is nothing that identifies to whom a request should be sent and who is responsible for both the processing [continue reading…]

Feb 102017
 
Public Records Law: What About Those School District Text Messages?

Superintendent Porter and School Board: I have expressed to you before my concerns about texting in the conduct of School District business. To my knowledge, only Superintendent Porter has a smart phone provided by the District. Board members provide and maintain their own private phones. Similarly, virtually all District employees have their own phones, not one provided by the District. As a result, there is no District maintained mechanism for storing text messages that might be involved with District operations. Consequently, Public Records Requests for [continue reading…]

 February 10, 2017  Posted by at 1:16 am ~ Opinion ~, Editorial, Issue #205 3 Responses »
Jan 272017
 
Charter Schools, Busing and Ethnicity

by Dr. Larry Murray……. Several weeks ago, the Key West Collegiate High School announced that it was expanding for the 2017-2018 school year by adding a middle school. That announcement touched off an intense, sometimes heated debate, on the School Board and elsewhere regarding the role of charter schools in our county.

 January 27, 2017  Posted by at 12:56 am Dr. Larry Murray, Issue #203 No Responses »
Dec 022016
 
Open Letter: White Flight?

by Larry Murray……. Andy: In today’s Keynoter, you are quoted with regard to the proposed Collegiate Middle School: “How can we be sure that this will not result in one more white-flight school?” Very interesting comment that is likely to have the community talking and then some. When you say “ONE MORE white-flight school” (emphasis added), I assume you are referencing Poinciana School, Montessori Charter School and Sigsbee Charter School as existing “white-flight” schools. Correct? Or, are you referencing other schools? You cannot be identifying [continue reading…]

 December 2, 2016  Posted by at 12:46 am Dr. Larry Murray, Issue #195, Letter to the Editor No Responses »
Nov 252016
 
Profitability of Advanced Placement Courses

by Larry Murray……. We are all familiar with the profitability of Advanced Placement courses for students. That is their main purpose. First of all, students receive a higher level of instruction in AP classes than is ordinarily the case. Because of the additional training given to TEACHERS, the quality of instruction is much higher. Equally important is the fact that students who score a 3 or higher on a 5 point scale are usually given college credit for the class. The net is that they [continue reading…]

 November 25, 2016  Posted by at 1:04 am Dr. Larry Murray, Issue #194, Letter to the Editor 4 Responses »
Oct 142016
 
Trauma Star vs. LifeNet Fees

by Larry Murray……. Editor: Recent reports suggest that the Sheriff’s Department Trauma Star medical evacuation program should break even this year and be in the black in 2017. That indeed is good news. Given those reports, I contacted the Sheriff’s Department regarding Trauma Star costs. Finance Director Mike Rice provided me with the following data. A medical evacuation from Lower Keys Medical Center to Ryder Trauma Center in Miami costs $24,471. Costs from Fishermen’s Hospital and Mariners Hospital to Ryder Trauma Center are $21,353 and [continue reading…]

 October 14, 2016  Posted by at 12:50 am Dr. Larry Murray, Issue #188, Letter to the Editor No Responses »
Sep 232016
 
An Open Letter To The School Board

Gentlemen: At your recent Board meeting, you received a report from your Human Resources Department. The undated report was entitled “2015-2016 New Employee End of the Year Survey Results” and included ” Employee 2015-2016 Survey Results Comparison”. (The District continues to have problems properly titling and/or dating documents, particularly reports.) When I first saw this report, I was pleased and complimented HR Director Dr. Ramon Dawkins. It appears that my compliment was premature. That is what I learned when I read the “2015-2016 New Employee [continue reading…]

 September 23, 2016  Posted by at 1:04 am Issue #185, Letter to the Editor No Responses »
Jul 082016
 
An Open Letter to the School Board: Computer Literacy in Monroe County Schools

Chairman Griffiths: I listened with great interest to your comments last week on “Morning Magazine” regarding “Monroe Compute$”. I share your enthusiasm and praise for John Padget and Jacob Dekker for creating the program which enables students to earn industry certificates in computing and computer science programs such as Microsoft Office and Adobe. Of course, the success of this program is directly related to the financial incentives provided by Padget and Dekker, more than $75,000 for the 256 students who have successfully completed their course [continue reading…]

May 132016
 
Open Letter to the School Board: Cash Settlements and School Discipline

Gentlemen: According to news reports, MCSD is considering a lump sum $550,000 payout to the family of a profoundly autistic elementary school student. Purportedly, the child was molested by a substitute teacher who is now in federal prison. Again, according to news reports, the suit in federal court was brought not entirely because of the molestation, but because of the allegations that the child’s mother reported the incident(s) to officials at Sugarloaf School and was ignored. One expects that there is a foundation, a truthfulness, [continue reading…]

May 062016
 
Open Letter: Contretemps Over Drug Testing of Student Athletes

Gentlemen: I think we all know that there has been a major brouhaha over the proposed return of random drug testing for high school athletes. The proposal was brought to you at your recent workshop/meeting with very little, if any, explanation as to why the program was being revised. There was some mumbling to the effect that the principals and athletic directors wanted the random testing. This morning in his interview with Bill Becker on “Morning Magazine”, Superintendent Porter repeated that he and his staff [continue reading…]

 May 6, 2016  Posted by at 12:58 am Dr. Larry Murray, Issue #165 No Responses »
Feb 192016
 
An Open Letter To The School Board

Gentlemen: I gather from recent newspaper reports that you are once again turning your attention to affordable housing for teachers. Those reports also include some scary data about the overwhelming number of first year teachers who say that they are leaving because they cannot afford housing. It would be interesting to examine the veracity of those statements, but for now, let us take them at face value. As you attack the situation, it will be interesting to see what options you believe are viable by [continue reading…]

 February 19, 2016  Posted by at 1:00 am Dr. Larry Murray, Issue #154 2 Responses »