East Brunswick School Board Addresses Mental Health and Budget

In a recent meeting, the East Brunswick School Board centered discussions on the mental health of students, the proposed budget for the upcoming school year, and the recognition of the East Brunswick Education Foundation’s contributions. The board also highlighted the “Girls Who Code” program and the district’s transportation and facilities management plans.

Time was dedicated to addressing the mental health needs of students for the next school year, with proposals to add more clinicians at various schools. The conversation revolved around the use of Effective School Solutions (ESS) for counseling services, substance abuse counseling, professional development, and family engagement initiatives. Questions were raised regarding the allocation of clinicians, particularly at the high school and Churchill School. Additionally, concerns were voiced over budget challenges, including the reduction of state aid, the increase in Charter School Appropriations, and the financial strains of unfunded state mandates, especially in the realm of special education. The limitations of federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) funding were also discussed, as well as the need for a deeper analysis of the state aid formula.

The board’s discussion extended to the proposed budget, with the Facilities and Grounds Department outlining minor increases for snow removal operations, grounds maintenance services, and the necessity for capital repairs, such as replacing a fire hydrant and a high school sports scoreboard. The district’s Chief Information Officer presented a detailed overview of the technology infrastructure, which included laptops, Chromebooks, wireless access points, and managed user accounts. The proposed technology budget encompassed equipment, enterprise systems, instructional software, and support services for students, with an emphasis on security and analytic tools. The dedication of the technology team was commended, particularly for their efficacy in preparing for remote learning during the pandemic.

Student Services’ budget considerations were also a focal point, with a focus on the health and well-being of students, staff, and the community. Emphasis was placed on mental health support resources, including the budget for therapeutic counseling services offering three tiers of assistance to cater to varying student needs.

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The East Brunswick Education Foundation received high praise for its role in the school district, with board members and attendees expressing their thanks for the foundation’s funding of grants and program support. The foundation’s dedication to the enrichment of students’ educational experiences was acknowledged, as well as their impact on the schools and the community. The foundation’s contributions were deemed integral to the success and enrichment of the district’s educational programs.

The “Girls Who Code” program at Churchill Junior High School was presented, emphasizing the importance of increasing female representation and access in technology fields. Students and a teacher spoke about the program’s influence on their confidence and skills, while board members praised the students and supported efforts to inspire more girls to pursue technology-related careers. The collaboration with the Girl Scouts to promote coding among younger students was also a topic of discussion.

Transportation and facilities management were covered, highlighting the transportation department’s plans to transport over 6,700 students and the implementation of glycol-based systems to prevent heating coil ruptures.

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The meeting also featured lighter moments, personal anecdotes, and expressions of gratitude for community volunteers. Further, a representative from the East Brunswick Cricket Club discussed the launch of a spring program for youth, and parents gave positive feedback on the handling of concerns with the Envision Math curriculum. The implementation of a new ad hoc committee called Student Life was announced, with an aim to enhance the daily quality of life for students in all East Brunswick Public Schools.

Lastly, the board acknowledged a vacancy on the Board of Education, with two vacancies expected. The process for accepting applicants was outlined.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.

Superintendent:
Victor Valeski
School Board Officials:
Laurie Lachs, Heather Guas, Vicki Becker, Timothy Cummings, Mark Csizmar, Laurie Herrick, Liwu Hong, Barbara Reiss, Jeffrey Winston

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