RP BOE Meeting (October 2, 2007)

On October 2, 2007, in BOE, Video, by RP Citizens

All board members were in attendance with the exception of Barney Leinberger and Alex Balaban. The meeting was opened up to public discussion.

Jacob Magiera asked about agenda item 6 (Degree Change). Mr. Spagnoletti stated that, per the bargaining agreement with teachers, there are credits that are assigned to a salary guide. ‘B’ is for a Bachelor’s degree and ‘M’ represents a Master’s degree. The numbers after the letter represent the number of credits. ‘MT’ stands for a master’s degree with more than 30 credits. All salaries have already been negotiated in the contract and all have been put in this years’ budget.

Mr. Magiera inquired about #39, #40, and #41 on agenda item 12. Mr. Spagnoletti responded that #39 dealt with a Special Needs student who needs a personal aid for duties ranging from riding the bus with the student to tioleting. The aid is required by law through the student’s IEP (Individualized Education Program). Sub-items #40 and #41 deal with translation services for parents of a Special Needs child during the child’s IEP meeting. The IEP Assessment meeting includes the Child Study Team, teachers, the child’s parents, and a translator if needed for the parents at no cost to them.

Mr. Magiera requested to have Item 19 explained. Mr. Spagnoletti stated that every year the borough offers a scholarship, through the Rec Department, to a family who would want to send their child to the Summer camp but cannot afford it. The scholarship is based on need and is not a matching grant.

When Mr. Magiera asked about item 20, Mr. Spagnoletti stated that, per the contract reached with teachers, Reading Recovery Teachers (RRT) must be provided with training workshops to keep their credentials up to date.

Apart from the agenda, Mr. Magiera inquired about the Adase property. He recounted the events of the Planning Board meeting with regard to the Adase property. Mr. Spagnoletti states that the Board of Education has been in contact with Mr. Adase every day. There have been over 200 test performed on the playground area, particularly the swing sets. With regard to the Planning Board meeting, Mr. Spagnoletti stated that Mr. Adase wanted to inform the borough that soil samples had been taken. Since the Planning Board meeting, the borough has received the results of the testing and out of the 100 to 200 elements tested, there was only a high trace of zinc recorded. The rubber matting on the playground area should be enough of a barrier since zinc is not harmful. Diane Pupa from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) contacted Mr. Adase and is issuing a Release that construction can continue on the Adase property. All pertinent parties are awaiting the letter, which should be sent by the DEP within the next two (2) weeks. The board of Education is still looking to open the new school by November 1, 2007. The company that performed the testing was Harbor Consultants from Cranford. Mr. Magiera commented that there appears to be a lack of communication between the Planning Board and the school district. Mr. Spagnoletti stated that if the Planning Board or Mayor and Council have any questions regarding the Adase property, or anything that relates to the Board of Education which they feel is not being addressed, they could contact the school district. Mr. Magiera asked if the Board of Education was privy to the Planning Board minutes. He was told they were not. Mr. Spagnoletti stated that the Project Permit file for the Adase property was lost for three (3) months. It was not clear if it was lost by the Planning Board or the borough. If the Board of Education received the minutes, the Board would have responded to any concerns. In defense of the Planning Board, Mr. Spagnoletti states that the school district might not be privy to the minutes since they are simply tenants and not the property owner. Mr. Magiera commented that six (6) of the Board of Education members are Roselle Park tax payers. Mr. Spagnoletti stated that, as private citizens, those members do have the right to request meeting minutes.

Mr. Magiera asked if anyone at the new pre-school is getting paid $21/hour. Mr. Spagnoletti stated that no one at the new pre-school on the Adase property is getting paid $21/hour. There are eight (8) school district employees who do get paid $21/hour but none of them work at the new pre-school.

Mr. Iachio asked how often item 6 (Degree Changes) occur during the year. He was notified by Mr. Spagnoletti that twice a year teachers who qualify through their credits get a salary advance. This occurs in October and February.

Mr. Spagnoletti conducted a hearing on the Violence Report. Mr. Jacob Magiera approached and asked what constituted ‘violence’. He was notified that violence was defined as fights, pushing, shoving, drug use, alcohol use, and smoking.

Mr. Magiera asked what a group of children or young adults hanging around together would be called. Mr. Spagnoletti answered that a group of young adults doing nothing other than hanging out would be simply called a group of children. If they have a common theme, clothing, motto, etc. they would be considered a gang.

Mr. Magiera then asked if any Roselle Park school representative has visited the Roselle school district. Mr. Spagnoletti replied that he has visited. Mr. Magiera commented that it appeared that the children did not have uniforms, per se, but a strict dress code (yellow tops / blue bottoms, etc.) and that it took about six to seven years to have the policy adopted. Mr. Spagnoletti stated that two (2) years ago, Ms. Laganga was researching a similar dress code for Roselle Park and after tow or three public hearings, the consensus from the borough residents was that they were not in favor of a regimented dress code/school uniform policy.

With regard to Section C [Police Notified (no complaint)], Mr. Spagnoletti stated that any time there is a fight between school children, they are sent to the Police Department. Complaints might not be filed due to the children’s ages, severity of the incident, etc.

When asked by Mr. Magiera as to what were the weapons that were confiscated, Mr. Spagnoletti notified him that all three (3) were pocket knives.

The $1,072 in Section B of the report deals with not only the money used to address an issue (vandalism/graffiti) but the man hours. Any monies used are collected back from the student’s families; either by agreement or court order. Presently there are tow to three payments being made every month of about $50/month from families of students caught vandalizing school property.

Mr. Magiera asked if proof of residency is still part of the enrollment process? Mr. Spagnoletti stated that the question was not part of the hearing but that the answer was yes. There have been 50 investigations by the Residency Investigator so far this school year.

Mr. Magiera asked what the 38 students signified in Section D. Mr. Spagnoletti stated that out of the 53 offenders last school year, 38 of them were mainstream, or Regular Education, students. The 53 students are being tracked this school year.

Mr. Magiera asked how many undocumented students were in the Roselle Park school system. Mr. Spagnoletti stated he could not answer that question at this time because it is not part of the Violence Report Hearing. He stated that Mr. Magiera could ask that question either after the meeting or at the public portion of the next Board of Education meeting. Mr. Magiera apologized for asking the question and stated he would like the exchange on the record.

Mr. Spagnoletti moved the meeting forward and presented the Emergency Crisis and Management Plan. The plan is available for parents to view at the Board of Education offices. The plan contains, among other things, detailed maps, an evacuation plan, and other security information.

President Panetta moved to have the entire agenda (items 1 through 22) voted on as a whole. There were no objections. The items were voted on and carried.

There were no Committee Assignments/Liaisons to report.

There was no continuing business to report.

President Panetta asked if there was any New Business. Mr. Iachio stated he would like a moment of silence for all Mets fans.

With nothing else to report, the meeting was adjourned at 8:04 p.m.