Dumont School Board Approves $1.25 Million Budget and Abolishes Public Relations Policy

The Dumont Board of Education convened on July 20, 2023, for a work session and regular meeting led by President Theresa Riva. The board made significant decisions, including allocating $1.25 million for the 2023-24 school year and unanimously abolishing the “Public Relations” policy. The board also approved major personnel changes, instructional tools, and grants for special education and school lunch programs.

Kevin Cartotto, responsible for the financial agenda, announced that the unaudited fund balance as of June 30, 2023, was apportioned across multiple areas, most notably setting aside $1,250,000 for the 2023-24 school district budget. An impressive Capital Reserve of $7,072,209 was also reported. All financial agenda items were approved without objection.

In a policy shift, the board, under Superintendent Dr. Maria Poidomani’s guidance, decided to abolish the “Public Relations” policy and the regulations for the “Citizens Advisory Committee.” Other policies reviewed by the board included those related to “School Threat Assessment Teams,” “Use of Corporal Punishment,” and “School District Security.” The board also approved a Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying (HIB) report dated June 22, 2023.

The board approved a slew of recommendations from Dr. Poidomani, including a grant totaling $653,527 under the Individuals with Disabilities Act, Part B (IDEA-B). Additionally, the board authorized the setting of lunch and à la carte lunch item prices for the upcoming academic year. An expenditure of $37,563.44 for new audio-visual equipment, under the Educational Services Commission of New Jersey Cooperative Pricing System, was also given the green light. Moreover, the board approved the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Consolidated Formula Grant for the 2023-2024 school year, amounting to $344,734.

In the area of instructional resources, state-approved evaluation tools such as the McRel Teacher Evaluation System and the Stronge Leader Effectiveness Performance Evaluation System were adopted. These tools are intended for evaluating district teachers and administrators. Other plans, including a District Mentoring Plan and a District Emergency Virtual or Remote Instruction Plan for the 2023-2024 academic year, were also sanctioned.

On the personnel front, the board acknowledged several changes. Stefania Siciliano resigned from her role as a Part-Time Special Education Instructional Aide. John Tuma transitioned from a Part-Time Custodian to a Full-Time Custodian, and Brianne Adams was hired as Vice Principal. Teachers were hired across various academic disciplines, with Cole Cronk appointed for Middle School Science and Kaitlin Kaupas for Elementary Grade 2, among others. Advisors for extracurricular activities for the 2023-2024 academic year were also approved, along with staff for summer curriculum projects, funded at an hourly rate of $48.

The board also granted an unpaid leave of absence to Dana Rivers, a teacher at Lincoln, from January 1, 2024, to June 30, 2024. In a similar vein, Lauren Engel transitioned from a Part-Time Special Education Instructional Aide to a Part-Time Basic Skills Teacher. Jennifer Aguilar moved from being a Part-Time Bus Aide to a Part-Time Bus Driver, both changes effective September 1, 2023.

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