Alpine School Board Approves Emergency Plan Amid Staffing and Facility Upgrades

In a meeting replete with significant resolutions but missing its President and Vice President, the Alpine Board of Education met on July 24 to approve a flurry of initiatives. The meeting was chaired by Maria DiBiase in the absence of the top brass and attended by members Christine Lewis, Shai Barbi, and Maureen Cheesman. Board member Philip Simotas was notably absent. The headline decision was the approval of an Emergency Virtual or Remote Instruction Plan for the upcoming 2023-2024 academic year.

Although no public comments were made, the board covered an array of issues. Superintendent Maureen McCann discussed an Emergency Remote Plan, updates on the LEAP program, and the ongoing hiring processes for a new Art Teacher, 3rd Grade Teacher, and a Math Leave Replacement. The board also approved a Professional Development (PD) plan.

Adding to this, the board took strides in facility upgrades. School Business Administrator Olga Sico reported on Emergency Generator and HVAC projects. A payment of $48,152.30 was approved for Manor II Electric Inc. for the new Emergency Generator. A change order for this generator project increased the contract by $4,903.58. Moreover, the board approved an adjustment for Wireless Access Points, an essential component in digital education, in the amount of $2,686.64.

The board approved payroll and employer FICA for July 15 totaling $55,826.43. Alongside this, purchases of $452,064.70 were sanctioned. Preliminary reports from the Board Secretary and Treasurer for June 2023 confirmed that no major account had been over-expended and sufficient funds were available for the remainder of the fiscal year.

Another newsworthy segment involved the approval of the Alpine Indoor Air Quality Program and Mold Management Plan. A variety of agreements for student transportation were approved, along with a contract for School Nursing Services with Bayada Home Health, Inc., at a rate of $65 per hour. The board also accepted grants and State School Extraordinary Aid, bolstering the district’s financial health.

Beyond finances and facilities, the board made strides in policy and planning. A Joint Transportation Agreement was made with the Bergenfield and Demarest Boards of Education, creating a shared resource for student transportation. Policy #2419 regarding School Threat Assessment Teams received its second reading, and the board approved the Alpine School District Staff Manual for the upcoming academic year. A comprehensive list of policies and regulations, including those related to school safety and student journalism, was also introduced for a first reading.

Personnel decisions rounded out the agenda. Kateryna Kokhanovska was approved as a part-time custodian pending a criminal background check, and Lyneah Lucious was approved as a full-time aide.

The meeting then pivoted to public inquiries. Liza Shabataev expressed gratitude for the LEAP program and inquired about 3rd-grade teaching. Michael Perelman sought clarification on the bidding process, answered by Olga Sico.

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