RP BOE Meeting (June 10, 2008)

On June 10, 2008, in BOE, Video, by RP Citizens

All board members were in attendance with the exception of Alex Balaban.

Public Portion

Glenn Marczewksi

  • Mr. Marczewski offered the Board of Education information on a helmet program can could help with the cost of helmets for minors. He asked why the program is not in place yet. Mr. Spagnoletti stated that he will find out if the schools have distributed and/or noted it.
  • Mr. Marczewski asked when the pre-school will be open. Mr. Spagnoletti stated that due to the soil contamination it will be six (6) to eight (8) weeks before those current issues are addressed. Mr. Marczewski asked if rent is still being paid on the ECDC. Mr. Spagnoletti stated that rent has not been paid since March 2008.
  • Mr. Marczewski asked if there will be a prom next year. He was notified that this year is a transition year and the senior prom will start again next year. Previously the junior class would do the work for the senior prom but from henceforth the senior class will be responsible for senior prom fundraising.

Don Szymanski

  • Mr. Szymanski, owner of Senior Spirit, presented himself before the BOE to discuss the progress of so everything can get back on track. He was notified by Ms. Machado that matters are presently in the hands of attorneys, including Phil Machlin, Mr. Szymanski’s legal counsel. She suggested that since matters are presently in discussions, that communications occur through the attorneys. Mr. Szymanski stated he would be willing to move to two (2) shifts and six to seven days to get the project finished. Ms. Machado had stated that a meeting with Mr. Szymanski had been scheduled. Mr. Szymanski stated he found out about it at 2:30 pm and that is the reason he is present at the meeting. Ms. Machado stated that it would be more appropriate to discuss matters through the attorneys due to legal aspects.

Superintendent’s Report

The superintendent turned the meeting over to Ms. Gilcrest to discuss field trips. Due to more mandates to deal with children with special needs, parents participation during trips, as well as other associated costs, the matter is being reviewed for next school year.

  • Aldene School principal, Mrs. Gilcrest, presented a proposal to see if programs from Liberty Science Center (LSC) or the Newark Museum, for example, could bring programs to Roselle Park schools. Costs for transportation and gas is increasing the cost for school field trips. Even though the PTA gave $10 per student, some trips are costing as much as $25. Additionally, due to medical issues, the State is mandating that students are to have the same conditions on a trip as they have in school. This means that the school nurse must go on the field trips. Educationally, even though there is nothing wrong with a field trip, there is a limited time to get the most out of the trip due to the time it takes to get there, take time for lunch, be in a crowded environment with other class trips. There are also issues with safety. It would be better served to bring the programs available to the schools. LSC has programs they can send to schools. With the programs coming to the schools, all grade levels can take part in the programs. It was her recommendation to try and bring the programs to the schools.
  • Principal James Salvo stated that having the program come to the schools is more beneficial and allows for more extensive opportunity to learn and allow for immediate follow-up in classrooms.
    • Mrs. Panetta stated if the programs are presented class by class or as a school. She was notified that it depends on the program.
  • School Nurse Barbara Goss stated that the standards of health services are necessary for field trips. Nurses have a standing order to provide EpiPens in case of an emergency and that only nurses can do that. In order to provide a standard of care, an automated external defibrillator (AED) is needed to go on trips as well as oxygen, nebulizer, and all other first aid essentials. Students with physical handicaps would require special buses. There would need to be emergency cards for each student. There are more students with needs than there were before.
    • Mrs. Cindea asked if these things were state mandated. Ms. Goss stated that some of them are, and that aside from state mandated issues, the Nursing Practice Act would need to be adhered to.
    • Mr. Leinberger asked what occurs when a nurse goes on a field trip. He was told that a replacement nurse would need to be found.
    • Mr. Iachio asked if there were athletes with asthma or other medical conditions and what about the athletic department. He is against taking away field trips. The costs for transportation for sports is the same as field trips and he feels it is horrendous to take away field trips. The Sherman School PTA raised around $15,000 which would go a long way to cover costs. He stated he would not change his opinion on the matter; as a child, field trips were an essential part in his life experiences.
  • Mr. Faria stated he understands Mr. Iachio’s concerns but the only thing that would be changing is the venue, not the purpose of the trip. Students would only be missing the bus ride and having the programs come to the schools would be more conducive to education. It would also address safety concerns. If the school district looked into doing the in-school programs, it could be an all-day activity which would be rewarding, exciting, and educational.
    • Mrs. Rinaldi asked what was the reaction of the parents. Mr. Faria stated he met with the PTAs and they had some concerns. She asked if the PTA will still contribute to trips. Mr. Faria stated that it would be the same program; simply the venue would change. Mrs. Rinaldi stated that for some children, a field trip will be the only time they will ever go to such places as LSC or the museum. She then asked if there were any particular programs that they had in mind for next year. They stated there was nothing specific at this time.
  • Mrs. Gilcrest made mention of “High Touch High Tech Hands-On” program. Also there are some student teachers who are part of “Project Astro” who goes around to schools to give programs on astronomy. She stated that she would like to try the in-school programs, if possible. There are medical conditions and costs to consider. There may be some families who cannot afford to send their children on a school field trip but they may not tell anyone that it is the reason.
    • Mrs. Laganga stated she is in support of the proposal. She understands Mr. Iachio’s opinion and he has valid points but in 2001 there were no field trips for two (2) years due to safety concerns. During that time many programs were brought to the schools. What caught her attention is the medical burden on the schools as a whole. She stated that people would be surprised at the programs that can come into the schools.
    • Mr. Iachio stated he grew up in Newark and he remembers when he went on a school trip to the museum, the bus trip was itself a life experience as he never would have been exposed to the world outside his neighborhood.
    • Mr. Leinberger stated he can sympathize with Mr. Iachio. He broke his arm on a field trip but it made his school year. As a child he looked forward to field trips.
    • Mrs. Laganga stated that some children and families are afraid to leave or be exposed to certain things and spend the day in trepidation.
    • Mrs. Panetta asked if maybe the schools would target one grade to see how it works. She is against getting rid of field trips totally all at once. She would prefer one grade at a time.
    • BOE President Cindea stated that this proposal could be brought before the Curriculum Committee and be discussed over the summer. Then they could report back to the BOE.
    • Mr. Genovese asked if the principals have looked into other districts. He was told that some have canceled field trips or are thinking about doing away with them. Mr. Genovese than asked the principals what other alternatives are available other than removing the filed trips. He was notified that it costs $200/day for a school nurse substitute. He stated that this is not a dialogue at present, it is simply some issues he is thinking of. He stated the principals are recommending this measure but what other alternatives have they looked into.
    • BOE President Cindea stated that this issue is to be put on the agenda to the BOE’s summer retreat on June 24th.

Agenda Items

  • Item #1 was tabled.
  • Items 2 through 12 were moved, voted on, and carried with Mrs. Laganga abstaining on item #6.
  • Items 13 through 28 were moved, voted on, and carried.
    • Mr. Spagnoletti stated that there is a correction for item #19. It should read ‘2007-2008’.
    • Mr. Leinberger asked if these disposal items will be handled the same way as before. Mr. Spagnoletti stated that they will first be offered to teachers, then students.
    • Mr. Spagnoletti stated that item #26 was an increase of $0.25

Committee Reports

  • None

Continuing Business

  • None

New Business

  • Mr. Spagnoletti stated that if any Board of Education members would like to participate in the senior commencement and personally hand out diplomas, they should notifiy him.
  • Mrs. Cindea stated she would like to congratulate a group of student from RPHS would participated in a Public Service Announcement (PSA) contest regarding drunk driving. Nine schools participated and RPHS was the first runner-up, losing by only one (1) point. They won $750. She recomends the BOE writing a letter of commendation to all the RPHS participants.

Public Portion

Saul Qersdyn

  • Mr. Qersdyn asked about Agenda Item #29 which was not mentioned during voting. He was notified that there are matters for closed that need to be discussed before it could be voted on. It will be voted on after closed session.

The Board of Education went into closed session. At 9:44 pm, it came out of closed and voted on agenda items.

  • Agenda Item #29, to approve and submit to the County Office the Roselle Park School District 2008-2011 Mentoring Plan was moved, voted on, and carried with Mrs. Rinaldi abstaining.
  • Agenda Item #29A, to approve termination of lease agreement with 430 Westfield Avenue, LLC, as null and void and/or based on a breach of contract, was moved, voted on, and carried. The monies were refunded.
  • Agenda Item #30, to appoint Bonnie Munson (step 6) as Director of Special Services, effective July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2009 at $110,800, as per Administrator contract, was moved, voted on, and carried, with Mr. Iachio abstaining.
  • Agenda Item #31, where the Board has determined that student #010978 shall remain on home instruction for the remainder of the school year and shall not be permitted to participate in any school-sponsored events, including graduation ceremonies, was moved, voted on, and carried.
  • Agenda Item #32, to approve that student #014537 be permitted to return to the Roselle Park High School  effective the start of the 2008-2009 school year, was moved, voted on, and carried.
  • Agenda Item #33, to approve that students #011355 and #011859 be permitted to return to the Academy Program, the in-district alternative program, effective with the start of the 2008-2009 school year, was moved, voted on, and carried.
  • Agenda Item #34, where the Board determined that student V.R. is not a resident of Roselle Park, and is thereby not entitled to a free public education in the Roselle Park Public Schools, was moved, voted on, and carried.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:53 pm.