In a recent gathering marked by both triumphs and challenges, the River Vale School Board celebrated the conclusion of several key projects while fielding concerns about issues at the Roberge Elementary School.
The board kicked off the meeting lauding the successful renovations of a school room, which, according to the Board President, cultivated a wellness atmosphere with an innovative grass wall.
During the business and personnel resolutions section, the Board debated the rejection of fireproofing bids for the Roberge School. Citing cost overruns that led to bids coming in at double the budget, one member highlighted the need to reassess the situation, saying, “we’re going to regroup and come up with another scenario and look at it from a different approach.”
However, it was the public comments section that ignited the fiercest discussions. Local parent Angela Giganti voiced her concerns regarding the lack of parental involvement opportunities at Roberge compared to Woodside Elementary School. “I’ve been invited to school three times for a non-PTA related school event…while Woodside has opened their doors to the parents multiple times,” Giganti stated, adding that Roberge’s absence of school concerts stood in stark contrast to Woodside’s offerings.
Giganti also flagged her concerns about the half-day pre-K program at Roberge, particularly for children with Individualized Education Programs (IEP), including her daughter. She suggested a full-day pre-K program to foster enhanced developmental progress.
In response, the Board urged Giganti to address her grievances directly with Roberge’s Principal and the Director of the Child Study Team, expressing openness to feedback and promising to consider her suggestions.
Away from Roberge’s controversies, the meeting celebrated the achievements of the past school year, notably the implementation of a linkage data management system and the Big Ideas Math Series. The Superintendent outlined these advancements while highlighting a steadfast commitment to mental health and wellness, as well as the successful execution of multi-year referendum projects.
But the Board did more than simply reflect on the past year. With an eye on the future, the Board Secretary reminded attendees of the upcoming 8th grade Awards and Graduation dates, and encouraged nominations for the three board vacancies. Additionally, the General Resolutions segment saw the board extend its well-wishes to the middle school robotics team competing in Massachusetts.
The Board’s work was not entirely bereft of controversy outside of Roberge. Notable was the renewal of a contract with a transportation contractor at a Consumer Price Index (CPI) of 5.86%, sparking discussion but ultimately being seen as a win that eliminated the need for a new bidding process.