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Student representative report: school board meeting of April 29, 2021

By on May 2, 2021 0

The Education Council meeting on April 29 mainly discussed the Council’s proposal for full-time kindergarten and redistribution, which was ultimately approved by four votes to two.

To start the meeting, Donna Felezzola, school affairs administrator and council secretary, provided the correspondence report indicating that the district has received a plethora of emails from parents and teachers sharing their views on Kindergarten. full time and redistribution and that the board has received over 20 OPRA applications.

Ms Felezzola’s report was followed by the report of the student representatives who informed the board of the various events taking place at the school. Senior Representative Emily Haines provided updates on the recent performance of sports teams such as the baseball and golf team. Junior Representative Thomas Burke detailed the activities of the clubs, including the discussion “What it means to never forget: being the grandchild of a Holocaust survivor” which took place to celebrate the Month of the Holocaust. genocide awareness.

Board of Education Chairman Doug Reinstein then took the time to make a brief comment reiterating his support for full-time kindergarten and redistribution. Mr Reinstein also expressed disappointment at some of the ways community members have responded to the Council’s actions over the past few weeks.

Dr. Melissa Varley then presented her Superintendent’s Report. She began her report by re-emphasizing her support for full-time kindergarten and expressing her disapproval of personal attacks from community members who branded her a “liar” for some of the ways she handled kindergarten. full time and redistribution.

The following part of his report acknowledges the efforts of several community volunteers who have worked tirelessly to obtain vaccines for community members and district faculty.

In the third and final part of her report, Dr. Varley briefed the Council on the results of the parent and teacher survey where they voted between scenario 4 and scenario 5 for full-time kindergarten and redistribution. The survey conducted by parents showed that 63.9% of the 442 viable votes voted in favor of scenario 4 rather than scenario 5. The survey of staff members showed similar results with 58% voting for the Scenario 4 vs. Scenario 5. Using information from the survey and parental feedback, Dr Varley recommended that the Board implement Scenario 4, but with minor changes. These changes include allowing grade 3 and 4 students to continue attending Hughes if they live on Plainfield Avenue (instead of going to Mountain Park), expanding the bus pass, and achieving additional analyzes via a transport study. The traffic study will be completed by May 31 and will hire an outside traffic and engineering firm to assess traffic and pedestrian activity in Mary Kay McMillin and elementary schools. The study will also work with the Berkeley Heights Police Department and their security guards to examine walking routes, trails, the location of crossing guards and other considerations to keep students safe.

Dr Varley’s report was then followed by liaison reports. Joy Young, a board member, provided the only report indicating that the recent Union County School Board Association meeting held back-to-school discussions in the fall and shared information on the various workshops / symposia they will offer to New Jersey school board members in the future. . In addition, she reported that Governor Murphy recently announced that more than $ 500 million in additional aid is being returned to school districts to cover any budget cuts imposed by the pandemic.

Mr. Reinstein then transferred the meeting to the facilities report presented by Ms. Felezzola. His report said the Governor Livingston High School trail is currently in the process of being approved for a summer camp, cameras are being installed at the GL snack hut, more information provided on the traffic study mentioned in the Superintendent’s report and that contracts for new bathrooms at Mary Kay McMillin and Woodruff will be approved later in the meeting.

Before the citizens’ hearing, council members had the opportunity to ask questions. Board member Christine Reilly asked if the district has started planning for students to return to school in the fall. Dr Varley responded by saying that all principals have met with representatives from the Berkeley Heights Education Association to discuss potential plans for a full day of schooling, including meal plans.

Thereafter, the council moved on to the citizens’ hearing where members of the public had the chance to speak to the council. Among the many questions and issues raised were encouraging council members to voice their disapproval of any comments that undermine the district’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, opposition to the district’s plan. advice for full-time kindergarten and redistribution, and more.

As the meeting drew to a close, council members voted on whether or not to approve plans for full-time kindergarten and redistribution. Ultimately, the question was approved by a 4-2 vote.

Board members Robert Cianciulli and Joy Young voted against the plan, explaining that since information was still being collected, they felt uncomfortable approving a plan that didn’t fit. account of all the information. Board members Angela Penna and Christine Reilly, along with board chair Doug Reinstein and board vice chair Mike D’Aquila all voted for the plan, citing the current school imbalance as an issue that could not be postponed any further and that the plan still received the majority of support from parents and staff.

In the latter part of the meeting, Council members voted unanimously to adopt all proposed matters relating to administration, education and finance.

The next school board meeting will be on May 13 at 7:30 p.m.

Editor’s Note: Editor’s Note: Thomas Burke is a junior at Gov. Livingston High School and is the student representative for the Board of Education. The reports expressed in this document are the sole author and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or of anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of the information provided by the author.