RP BOE Meeting (September 1, 2009)

On September 1, 2009, in BOE, Video, by RP Citizens

The superintendent and board members were in attendance with the exception of Katherine Panetta, Barney Leinberger, and Alex Balaban.

Public Portion

Jacob Magiera

  • Mr. Magiera asked regarding the second reading of the District Policies. Mr. Spagnoletti stated that the policies are required to be updated every year along with code changes. Mr. Spagnoletti gave a brief overview of the policies listed:
    • 1100 (Communicating with the Public) gave a point of contact from the BOE with the media and others as who are designated as official spokes people. The policy listed these people to be the superintendent, the president, or anyone appointed by them.
    • 3220/3230 (State Funds/Federal Funds) talked about travel restrictions.
    • 3326 (Payment for Goods and Services) redefines the procedure for purchase orders. Previously open purchase orders were acceptable but from now on, the BOE will not pay in advance for goods or services. Purchase orders will be paid for after work is completed or material is delivered.
    • 4112.8 (Nepotism) prohibits the hiring of family members of the board for full-time positions. This does not include substitutes since they are considered part-time positions.
    • 5131 (Conduct/Discipline) addresses the due process for any students accused of any criminal activity.
    • 6173 (Home Instruction) changes the number of days a student would receive home instruction if absent from 10 days to five (5) days.
    • 9270 (Conflict of Interest) states that vendors who have board members with a vested interest are no longer permitted to do business with the BOE.
  • Mr. Magiera asked the purchase status of the new bleachers at the high school. He was notified that they were purchased through a lease/purchase arrangement which divides payments over time.
  • Mr. Magiera asked regarding the Early Childhood Development Center (ECDC). He wanted to know if the tuition goes to a separate account. He was notified that the tuition goes into the general revenue fund. Mr. Magiera asked how will the BOE know if it is profitable. Mr. Guercio stated that the pre-school is mainly for the state mandate of instructing special needs students at no charge and the profitability would not be measured since those program would already be in place for special needs students. Teachers will be paid but the staff has not been increased. The ECDC has separate accounting procedures for expenses and revenue like all other borough schools.
  • Mr. Magiera asked regarding the Youth Center and if that is in a separate account. He was notified that those funds go into the general revenue fund but they have a separate accounting procedure and budget just like all other borough schools.
  • Mr. Magiera asked how out-of-district instruction (people from other towns being instructed in Roselle Park) is paid. He was notified that it is done through a tuition contract which is paid about every three (3) months.
  • Mr. Magiera wanted to confirm that there will be no crossing guards at any schools during lunch. He was notified that the Roselle Park police department made an inquiry to the BOE last spring about the number of children going home for lunch. The BOE stated that there were less than 30 children from schools who went home for lunch. The police department made a request to not have crossing guards during lunch. The principals reviewed the request and stated there was no problem with it. Parents and students were notified that there would be no crossing guards during lunch and that any child leaving the school for lunch would have to have an adult sign them out and back in. Mr. Magiera asked if this does not cause a liability for the school district since there has been a previous practice of this in the past and now it is being removed. He was notified by the BOE attorney that this does not create a liability; only if the municipality and the police department state that the area is hazardous.
  • Mr. Spagnoletti added that the school district would be liable if the policy or request was initiated by the Board of Education. The BOE is not culpable because the request to do away with the noon time crossing guards was not initiated by the school district. The crossing guards are a municipal issue, not a BOE issue.
  • Mr. Magiera asked what was the response from the schools system with regard to the request from the police department. The BOE attorney stated that the policy is to dismiss any student leaving school grounds to a responsible adult or agency. No child is walking home alone.
  • Mr. Magiera asked if this issue was discussed with the PTAs. He was told that it was discussed with them.
  • Mr. Magiera asked if a letter could be sent home with all the students regarding the illegal use of basements as living spaces. Mr. Magiera referred to a newspaper article where the code enforcement officer had a homeowner fined for illegal allowing people to live in his basement. Part of the fine ($5,900) went to the Board Of Education. He asked what the board was doing regarding the illegal use of basements as living quarters.  The board attorney stated that there are two (2) issues with regard to this. The first issue regarding residency and occupying a basement is a municipal issue. The second issue is in regard to the registration of children into the schools. The BOE does not explicitly notify people of the prohibition of living in basements but the BOE advises every family registering into the school system the impact of the law for lying on an application.
  • Mr. Spagnoletti stated that if the municipality provides a draft letter then the Board Of Education would distribute it. The BOE is not authorized to deal with municipal issues so it cannot take it upon itself to draft a letter.
  • Mr. Magiera asked how children were in the school system. He was notified between 2,100 and 2,200. Mr. Magiera stated that the letter could notify that number of families. The BOE attorney stated that it would be less since there are families with more than one child in the school system. Mr. Magiera stated that it was an issue of safety for the residents.
  • Mr. Genovese stated that such a letter being proposed would reach all residents if it was sent in their tax bill. Mr. Magiera agreed but stated that a letter sent to the newspaper recently was a wake-up call to see what everyone can do to help the community. Mr. Spagnoletti stated he wrote the letter. Mr. Magiera asked who paid the fine to the schools. Mr. Spagnoletti stated that no one has paid yet.
  • Mr. Iachio stated that it would be better to send the letter to parents directly, not through the children.

Saul Qersdyn

  • Mr. Qersdyn stated that although he does not, as a rule, speak for others, he was asked by a resident who could not attend to address the issue of crossing guards. The issue with regard to crossing guards at noon was to have a buffer for young children, especially kindergarten children, going home during the lunch hour. Mr. Spagnoletti stated that no child walks home alone. Mr. Qersdyn stated that he understood that but the concern was that young children walking home with parents or grandparents might run into the street. The crossing guard would act as a buffer between the sidewalk and the street. Mr. Spagnoletti stated that schools have stressed to adults picking up children to be mindful of the children in their care since there will be no crossing guards at noon.

Mr. Iachio asked how the children are checked in to be sure they are returning to school with an accompanying adult. He was notified that people picking up and dropping off the children are to sign in both times.

The public portion was closed with no one else coming to the podium.

Agenda Items

Policy

  • Agenda item #1 was moved, seconded, voted on, and passed

Personnel

  • Agenda items #2 and #3 were moved and seconded with Mr. Iachio and Mr. Genovese abstaining on #2 and Mr. Iachio abstaining on #3. The BOE attorney stated that there needed to be a vote of five (5) to pass an agenda item. This meant that people would abstain on individuals in an item but vote on the item as a whole.  The voted was taken and Mr. Iachio abstained on Anthony & Patricia Iachio and Mr. Genovese abstained on Michael Genovese. Agenda items #2 & #3 were voted on and passed.
  • Agenda items 4 & 5 were moved, seconded, voted on, and carried.

Education

  • Agenda items #6 through 8 were moved, seconded, voted on, and carried.

Business

  • Agenda items 9 through 15 were moved, seconded, voted on, and carried.

Committee/Liaison Reports

  • None

Continuing Business

  • None

New Business

  • None

Public Portion

Jacob Magiera

  • Mr. Magiera wanted to state that he was speaking during the first public portion as a private citizen, not as a member of the Concerned Citizens Of Roselle Park.

Saul Qersdyn

  • Mr. Qersdyn requested a copy of the District substitution list mentioned in agenda item #2. He was notified that it would be provided to him if he contacted the BOE offices.

With no one else from the public coming to the podium to speak, the public portion was closed.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:35 pm

[print_link]