Hawthorne School Board Proposes $15 Million for Electric School Buses

In a recent Hawthorne School Board meeting, members discussed a wide range of topics with the most significant being the proposal for a $15 million supplemental appropriation to fund the first year of an electric school bus program. This initiative aligns with new legislation signed by Governor Murphy and is part of a broader focus on sustainability and environmental responsibility within the district.

The electric school bus program is a notable step towards modernizing the district’s transportation infrastructure while also addressing environmental concerns. The discussion included details on the appropriation of the funds and the logistics of phasing in the electric buses into the existing fleet.

Another topic at the meeting was the establishment of a School Safety and Security task force. The task force is charged with studying and developing recommendations to enhance safety and security across district schools.

Student nutrition programs were also on the agenda, with the board addressing the temporary expansion of the free school lunch program and the permanent expansion of the free school breakfast program. These programs aim to ensure that all students have access to nutritious meals, which are essential for their health and academic performance.

The board debated the implementation of a new requirement for students to complete financial aid applications as a part of high school graduation requirements. This discussion brought forth concerns about student privacy and the necessity of the mandate for families not seeking financial aid. The issue highlighted the challenge of balancing policy goals with individual student needs and circumstances.

In relation to supporting veteran educators, the Vet Teach pilot program was discussed. This program seeks to address the educator shortage by facilitating the certification process for veterans aspiring to become teachers. By leveraging the skills and experiences of veterans, the program aims to bring a diverse range of perspectives into the classroom.

Administrative matters were also a point of discussion, with the Finance and Administration Committee providing an audit update. Concerns were expressed regarding the lack of interest in a vacant payroll position. The use of digital platforms for recruitment was suggested as a potential solution to attract candidates.

The committee brought attention to a grant from the SDA NJDOE Merging Grant intended for infrastructure improvements, specifically mentioning the need to address sidewalk conditions. This grant is part of ongoing efforts to enhance the safety and accessibility of school facilities.

The Curriculand Instruction Committee recommended resolutions related to services contracts and positions that will have a direct impact on student support services. This includes the approval of a BCBA services contract and the employment of one-to-one assistants, which are critical for meeting the individual needs of students.

Athletic achievements were celebrated, with particular recognition given to a wrestler winning the district championship and the success of cheer and bowling teams. These accomplishments underscore the importance of extracurricular activities in promoting school spirit and student development.

Updates on high school athletic achievements were not the only student-focused news; elementary school students’ participation in the Passaic County calendar contest and mentorship programs like Sidekicks were highlighted.

The board also touched upon community engagement, with discussions on promoting events like the CPAC Color Run and the possibility of board members collaborating with the Bear Cave for t-shirt production. Such initiatives aim to strengthen the connection between the schools and the broader community.

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.
Richard A. Spirito
School Board Officials:
Abigail Goff, Alex Clavijo, Joseph Carr, Michael Doyle, Jen Ehrentraut, Erica Mulkey-Koltzan, Anthony Puluse, Jay Shortway, Marco Totaro

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