Asbury Park City Council Appoints Dr. Shade Maud to Board of Education Amid Discussions on District’s Financial and Educational Challenges

In a recent Asbury Park City Council meeting, the most notable outcome was the appointment of Dr. Shade Maud to the Asbury Park Board of Education, following a motion that was met with overwhelming support from council members. The decision, marked with applause, saw Dr. Maud sworn in during the meeting. This appointment comes at a critical time as the district faces significant challenges, including financial strain and the imperative to improve student achievement.

The meeting began with a resolution recognizing January 2024 as School Board Recognition Month, which was passed unanimously. This recognition underscores the vital role of school board members in advancing children’s education. Following the resolution, the council discussed the pressing financial condition of the school district. The Finance Committee presented a report detailing the need for additional state aid and measures to curtail expenses. One key strategy highlighted was the verification of student residency to prevent the misappropriation of district funds. The committee also shared preliminary results from the financial audit, which were reported as satisfactory.

Building on the financial theme, the Buildings and Grounds Committee discussed the potential sale of a property on Second Avenue and the expiration of the lease for the building on 910 4th Avenue. A proposal to relocate the administrative offices to the Obama building was put forward, presenting an opportunity for revenue generation. Additionally, the committee considered the proposal from an architect to expedite the design and construction of tennis courts at MLK.

The Athletics Committee brought a fresh perspective to the meeting with discussions about introducing a rowing program at the high school. They shared news of a donation of rowing machines from Monmouth University and the potential for students to obtain full college scholarships through rowing.

During the vacancy interviews for the Board of Education, candidates had the opportunity to present their qualifications and visions for the district. Mrs. Kendall highlighted her extensive experience and identified academic preparedness and standardized test performance as key challenges. Dr. Shad Maxud focused on advocating for immigrant families, leveraging his personal experience and dedication to the role. Mr. Zinski brought attention to the importance of critical thinking and active listening, while Natalie Pini emphasized her expertise in marketing and communications, pinpointing academic success and financial concerns as the district’s primary hurdles.

The council’s discussions were not without debate. There was contention regarding the process used for the Board of Education interviews, with some members expressing concerns about fairness and transparency. A motion to amend the agenda to address the vacancy interviews sparked a debate about the adequacy of notice given to candidates and the interview process. Despite these disagreements, the interviews proceeded with candidates answering questions about their qualifications and plans for the district.

The public comment portion of the meeting saw community member Felicia Simmons express concerns regarding the stability and direction of the district, particularly in relation to the Bradly Elementary School. Simmons called for consistency and stability to benefit the children’s education.

The meeting also included an executive session to discuss personnel matters, litigation, contracts, and to receive attorney-client advice. Following the executive session, the council reconvened to address the candidacy of Dr. Maud, leading to his subsequent appointment.

In addition to recognizing the efforts of school board members, the council deliberated on matters concerning the district’s future. The Policy Committee did not provide an update, and the Curriculand Instruction Committee was also silent during this session.

With the agenda items addressed, the meeting concluded with the acceptance of minutes and the approval of the Consent Agenda items, noting exceptions and abstentions for specific items. The meeting was adjourned with a unanimous motion to close.

Did we get something wrong? Let us know.
John Moor
City Council Officials:
Amy Quinn, Angela Ahbez-Anderson, Eileen Chapman, Yvonne Clayton

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