Franklin Lakes Board Seeks Additional School Police Officers

In a recent Franklin Lakes Board of Education meeting on September 12, discussions on school security, special services, and future strategic initiatives dominated the session as board members and Superintendent Gregorio Maceri put together a roadmap for coming months.

In the wake of rising security needs, the board deliberated on a proposed shared service agreement to enhance school security through additional resource officers. The recommendation, backed by security experts Charlie Wolf and Acting Chief Mark McCombs, awaits approval from the mayor and council in a scheduled meeting on September 19. Superintendent Maceri highlighted the board’s financial commitment toward the agreement, setting a pathway for reinforced safety measures in schools, a move greatly influenced by councilman Catherine Holmes.

In parallel, the special services department under Steve Fidelli discussed its commitment to fostering trust and open communication with families. Highlighting a shift from contentious interactions to collaborative dialogue, Fidelli detailed ongoing efforts including a transparent, public-facing progress monitor hosted on the department’s website. The multi-sensory approach toward reading instruction took the spotlight as a prime example of the department’s reformative strategies, with the official encouraging community engagement through the special education parent advisory group meetings.

Reflecting a commitment to continuous growth, the board outlined a vision for the first meeting of the Special Services Program scheduled for October 5, a forum aimed at nurturing connections and community. A series of subgoals underscored a strategy that encourages clear communication lines and seeks feedback from students, parents, and the wider community through a “culture and climate survey.”

Furthering the spirit of collaboration, an emphasis was placed on fostering ties with neighboring school boards, with leaders advocating for a formal goal to enhance understanding and cooperation among different district boards. This new directive encourages dialogue and seeks to maintain a steady connection with neighboring institutions, a strategy pivoting on shared history and mutual benefits.

Transitioning to fiscal deliberations, the board mapped out a strategy that emphasizes transparency in budgetary processes and explores avenues for leveraging federal and state grants to boost student support and academic outcomes. The proactive approach, underscored by a readiness to foster collaboration, echoed throughout the discussion, with an agreement on the necessity to devise comprehensive plans for potential grant opportunities. Meanwhile, an important aim surfaced, to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement with the Parental Education Association by June 2024.

A nuanced discourse emerged around three core district goals: nurturing a supportive environment through enhanced communication between schools and families, fostering educational leadership, and implementing tiered systems of support for students. In a bid to reconstruct trust pathways, the board is steering toward a more inclusive educational landscape that responds agilely to individual student needs, a strategy pivoting from traditional “buckets” of special education.

As the board set forth with determined steps into the academic year, a new security system saw the distribution of badges to all staff, a move toward enhanced safety. While on infrastructure, updates on summer construction projects and roof construction presented a steady progression, albeit with slight delays.

Engaging with public concerns, the board addressed queries on grant allocations and fund usage, directing parents to official resources for detailed information. A decision to overturn “HIB number 249-17-5” was made following majority voting.

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