Allendale School Board Approves Infrastructure Investments for Brookside and Hillside Schools

In a recent meeting held on June 21, 2023, at the Brookside School Learning Commons, the Allendale Board of Education voted on a series of of infrastructure, personnel, and funding decisions.

Chaired by Mrs. Amy Gundersen, with board members Kimberly Rosner, David Verbel, and Natalie Capano in attendance, the meeting authorized considerable expenditures for infrastructure improvements, predominantly at Brookside School. This includes the purchase of Shaw brand luxury vinyl tile and hexagon tile carpeting for the Brookside Cafeteria ($63,110.48), cafeteria tables ($26,161.99), booth seating tables ($119,666.51), and interior door locks for both Brookside and Hillside schools ($161,345.67). Beyond that, a substantial contract to renovate the Brookside Cafeteria and Cafeteria Annex was approved with Murray Paving and Concrete, costing $862,705.54.

Adding to these commitments, the Board greenlit the purchase of new Lenovo 500E Chromebooks from SHI at a total of $76,471.55.

A matter of public interest arose when Mr. Stephen Jansen sought clarification about the omission of Juneteenth, a federal holiday that commemorates the emancipation of enslaved people in the US, from the school calendar. Despite its stated importance, the board decided not to give this day off to staff, demonstrating a disconnect between the board’s actions and its stated values.

On a more administrative side, Dr. Michael J. Barcadepone, the Superintendent, shared in his report that out of 23 Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying (HIB) cases reported during the school year, only three were actual HIB incidents, marking a positive development for the school district. This was complemented by Gundersen’s appreciative comments on the year-end concerts and the recent graduation.

Another notable disclosure was by Mrs. Capano, mentioning that the Negotiations committee had convened and reached an agreement, the details of which are pending approval. This could have implications for the staff and overall operations of the schools in the upcoming years.

In the realm of personnel decisions, several approvals were given. Denise Greenan’s retirement as a Special Education Aide was recognized, after a commendable 13 years of service to the district, with Mrs. Gundersen acknowledging her significant contributions. The Board also empowered Dr. Barcadepone to hire necessary personnel before obtaining the Board’s formal consent

The board authorized Mrs. Engeleit, the Business Administrator/Board Secretary, to undertake various responsibilities, from handling investments to soliciting bids when deemed necessary. Furthermore, both “The Record” and “Ridgewood News” were designated as official newspapers for the Board’s publications.

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