The first Board Of Education (BOE) meeting of the year had two new board members and one current member sworn into office for three-year terms. New members Kimberly Powers and Joseph Signorello, along with incumbent member Loren Harms, were elected in November from a group of seven candidates.
The meeting started with a few words from outgoing BOE member Alex Balaban who initially submitted to run for re-election but then withdrew his name from consideration in August of last year. Mr. Balaban wished everyone a happy new year and congratulated the new members. He stated, “It was a pleasure serving for 19 years and I will sorely miss the Board Of Education. God bless you.”
He was given a standing ovation by the members of the board and those in attendance.
The next order of business had the three elected board members sworn into office.
Once the roll call of the 2017 BOE was done, the board officers were nominated by the BOE. The two nominees for Board President were Loren Harms and Chris Miller. By a 5-4 vote, Mr. Miller was voted in as Board President for a fifth year and Mr. Harms was elected Vice-President again.
School Superintendent Pedro Garrido gave his report and provided an overview of upcoming events including his next Superintendent’s Chat on January 9th starting at 6 p.m. in the Roselle Park High School library.
The law firm of Sciarrillo Cornell, Merlino, McKeever & Osborne, LLC was unanimously appointed as the Board Attorney for 2017 at an hourly rate of $165. This is 3% increase over the previous rate of $160/hour.
Two district policies were approved by the Board.
The first one dealt with the public participation portion of public BOE meetings. A section was added that required that a listing of the time limits for public comment be included on each agenda. Another section in the approved policy detailed that there would be two (2) public hearings – one during the first half of the school year and the other during the second half – where the superintendent would report to the board and the public instances of violence, vandalism, harassment, intimidation, and bullying.
The second policy amendment explicitly stated that “Volunteers carrying out prescribed functions under the supervision of designated professional staff members shall be covered by the board’s liability insurance policy.”
The meeting also put on the record the retirement of Aldene School teacher Mary Lou Gugger effective July 1, 2017.
At the end of the meeting, BOE member Joseph Signorello – under New Business – recommended to the board that the date a member was elected as well as when their term is up be included under each BOE member’s photograph on the district’s website.
The next BOE meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, January 17th, at the Roselle Park Middle School located at 57 West Grant Avenue.