In a pivotal meeting, the Hasbrouck Heights Board of Education passed numerous key resolutions for the upcoming 2023-2024 school year, appointed a new Interim Superintendent amid contention, and engaged in vigorous discussions about several matters of community concern. This board meeting, held on June 15, 2023, focused on various personnel decisions, educational services, financial matters, and policy changes, marking significant strides towards enriching student experience and ensuring the district’s fiscal responsibility.
In an important move, the board confirmed the appointment of Michael Polizzi as Interim Superintendent of Schools, replacing Dr. Helfant, whose service was lauded. The appointment, however, was not without its dissenters, with members Jill Ferdinand, Lauren Terranova, Chris DeLorenzo, and Kevin Mullins voting against the contract.
The Board also addressed a wide range of education-related services for the 2023-2024 school year. Among them, approval was given for specific students to receive bedside instruction services from Silvergate Prep and the Educational Services Commission of NJ. The contract rate changes for Therapy Associates were approved, and a student was granted continuance for home instruction until July 28, 2023.
Personnel changes featured prominently during the meeting. Significant staff appointments were made for various roles, including Kerri Kest on a tenure track as an elementary teacher for Euclid, and Chris Garcia, who will assume his role as High School Vice Principal on July 1, 2023, with a salary of $122,936 plus benefits. The board also approved staff and administrators to be paid for overnight trips, among other amendments to salary details. However, the board also acknowledged the resignation of Michelle Bravo, the Euclid School Nurse, effective June 30, 2023.
Educational enrichment was a central theme of the meeting. Middle School Principal presented Robotic Awards to the 6th and 7th grade teams and Thomas Edison Awards, emphasizing the district’s commitment to celebrating student achievement. The Education Committee approved the purchase of Math Manipulatives and schoolwide professional development for Middle School staff on ELA curriculum and instruction, signifying a continued commitment to enhancing educational resources and instruction.
Financial deliberations confirmed that no major account of funds had been overexpended, with sufficient funds available to meet district needs. Notably, the board authorized the addition of up to $500,000 to the Maintenance Reserve Account and the withdrawal of $172,500 from the Capital Reserve account to fund work at Depken Field. An increase in admission charges to athletic events was also approved, reflecting the board’s efforts to maintain financial balance.
The Special Education Committee ensured the provision of comprehensive educational support services, approving resolutions concerning extended school year staff, contracts for Audiology Services, and contracts with various special education service providers.
During the public hearing, residents voiced concerns about specific issues, including an incident at the Middle School and the process of amending Board Policy.