Allendale Board of Education Approves Ambitious School Budget and Significant Curriculum Revisions

On May 3, 2023, the Allendale Board of Education advanced several major decisions, ranging from adopting a sizable school budget to approving necessary curriculum revisions. The highlight was the unanimous approval of the 2023-2024 school budget totaling $22,882,337, backed by a General Fund tax levy of $17,633,200 and a Debt Service tax levy of $234,411.

The Board revealed key plans for enhancing educational experiences at the district’s schools. These include a comprehensive wellness program, an inclusive English Language Learner (ELL) curriculum, and a more robust involvement of the community in teaching real-world skills.

A notable development was the update on the Fundations K-2 instructional tool, which has shown promising results in improving reading levels. The board has also greenlit new plans for English Language Arts revisions and text selections. An expansion of professional development initiatives is also in the works, with the appointment of Pam Koutrakis to spearhead larger ACE professional development meetings in the 2023-2024 academic year.

On the facilities side, the board discussed a plethora of refurbishments, including updates to the Brookside Cafeteria and Hillside Closet, and new paint and carpeting colors for the Brookside Cafeteria Project. Further, the board approved the purchase of Lenovo 500E Chromebooks and installation of new cabinetry at Hillside School, with an emphasis on enhancing the learning environment.

One contentious point in the meeting was the use of lighting units for the ALEOOOP Summer Theatre, over which there were liability concerns due to a lack of trained personnel.

The board also approved the continuation of the Allendale Education Association contract for the 2023-2024 school year and the employment agreement between Business Administrator Maria Goodwill Engeleit and the Board of Education.

As for staff changes, new hires, leaves, retirements, and vacancies were noted. One such instance was the retirement of Monica Monks, an Academic Support Teacher at Hillside School, whose contributions were applauded by the board.

The meeting also resulted in approving the 2023 Summer Programs, to be held from July 5th through July 27th, 2023 at Hillside School. The programs will span various subjects, including the Allendale Summer Academy, KinderAcademy, Elementary Literacy Academy, Elementary Math Academy, and ESL Academy.

Lastly, on the Special Education front, several resolutions were passed, approving numerous Occupational and Physical Therapy evaluations and services for students. Notably, a Full Day Special Education Preschool Disabilities Program was approved, commencing from the 2023-2024 school year.

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