Highland Park School Board Addresses Budget and Principal Search

The recent Highland Park School Board meeting addressed issues including the preliminary budget for the next fiscal year and the selection of a new high school principal. The budget focused on maintaining staff levels and class sizes, expanding programs, and facility improvements, while the search for a new principal culminated in the introduction of Dr. Christina Donovan as the recommended candidate.

The preliminary budget presentation took center stage as it outlined the financial plan for the upcoming year, addressing the District’s goals and objectives, legal requirements, and board policies. A central concern of the budget was the pending contract negotiations with the Highland Park Association (HPA), which could affect the final numbers. The budget aimed to maintain fully staffed schools and current class sizes without impacting instruction while aligning with updated curricular and legal mandates.

Increased costs for students with disabilities, maintenance needs, and state and federal mandates were notable budget considerations. Cost-saving strategies included transitioning to a new healthcare plan and exploring joint transportation arrangements. The budget also anticipated a tax levy increase of 2.78%, with an estimated annual tax on an average home rising by $191.25.

Challenges in finding qualified Mandarin teachers led to a significant curriculum change: the inability to offer Mandarin to incoming sixth graders, prompting the district to provide Spanish instead. This curriculum shift was just one part of broader discussions that touched on maintaining and expanding instructional resources across language arts, math, science, and programs for multilanguage learners.

Advertisement

The expansion of the preschool by two additional classrooms and the Middle School GLOW program due to enrollment demands also found a place in the budget. The district’s intention to maintain interventionists to support students in math and English language arts was noted, with Title One funding expected to cover most of the costs.

Facility improvements were a significant expenditure in the budget, including bathroom repairs, flooring replacements, and security measures expansion. The board also expressed interest in applying for a technical support grant for the special education program and deliberated on the importance of reliable assessment data to address challenges such as benchmarking and chronic absenteeism.

A substantial part of the meeting was dedicated to the selection process for the new high school principal. A survey was disseminated to the high school community to ascertain desired qualities in a new leader, with 61 responses received. Out of 29 applicants, Dr. Christina Donovan was introduced as the recommended candidate for the position. Her experience in education and professional development was highlighted as part of her introduction.

Advertisement

Further, the board reviewed various agenda items, including policy updates related to affirmative action, equal employment opportunities, and curricular content equity. Some policies were tabled for further review.

Community engagement emerged as a theme, with a call for volunteer involvement and fundraising efforts from the Highland Park Education Foundation. During the public comment period, a community member voiced frustration over the delay in addressing the school start times issue, stressing its significance to the community and urging the board to act on their promise of conducting a survey.

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:
Kristina Susca
School Board Officials:
Allison Casal-Dunn, Marilyn Pruce, Dr. Dan Battey, Dr. Monique Coleman, Nicole Longoria Stanio, Dr. Sara Pixley, Dr. Ethan Schoolman, Ann Vardeman, Jennifer Voorhees

Receive debriefs about local meetings in your inbox weekly:

Trending meetings
across the country:

Meeting Date
Filter by bodytypes
Agricultural Advisory Committee
Airport Advisory Board
Art and Culture Board
Beach Committee
Bike and Pedestrian Advisory Committee
Board of Elections
Board of Health
Borough Council
Building Committee
Cannabis Control Board
Cemetery Commission
Charter Revision Commission
Child and Family Services Board
City Council
City Identity Committee
Code Enforcement Board
College Board of Trustees
Community Appearance Board
Community Preservation Committee
Community Redevelopment Agency
County Council
Disability Advisory Committee
Economic Development Board
Elderly Affairs Board
Electric Advisory Board
Environmental Commission
Financial Oversight Board
Historic Preservation Commission
Housing Authority
Human Relations Committee
Insurance Fund
Land Use Board
Library Board
Licensing Board
Mental Health Commission
Municipal Alliance
Open Space Commission
Oversight and Review Committee
Parking Authority
Parks and Gardens Commission
Parks Commission
Pension Board
Planning Board
Planning Board,Zoning Board
Police Review Board
Property Assessment Board
Public Safety Committee
Recreation Commission
Redevelopment Agency
Rent Leveling Board
School Board
Sewerage Authority
Shade Tree Commission
Special Magistrate
Taxation & Revenue Advisory Committee
Tourism Board
Trails Committee
Transportation Board
Utility Board
Value Adjustment Board
Veterans Committee
Water Control Board
Women's Advisory Committee
Youth Advisory Committee
Zoning Board
Filter by County
FL
Bay County
Bradford County
Brevard County
Broward County
Clay County
County
Duval County
Escambia County
Gulf County
Highlands County
Hillsborough County
Indian River County
Lake County
Lee County
Leon County
Levy County
Liberty County
Manatee County
Marion County
Martin County
Miami-Dade County
Monroe County
Okaloosa County
Orange County
Osceola County
Palm Beach County
Pasco County
Pinellas County
Polk County
Putnam County
Santa Rosa County
Sarasota County
Seminole County
St. Johns County
Taylor County
Volusia County
Walton County
MA
Barnstable County
Berkshire County
Bristol County
County
Essex County
Franklin County
Hampden County
Hampshire County
Middlesex County
Norfolk County
Plymouth County
Suffolk County
Worcester County
NJ
Atlantic County
Bergen County
Burlington County
Camden County
Cape May County
Cumberland County
Essex County
Gloucester County
Hudson County
Hunterdon County
Mercer County
Middlesex County
Monmouth County
Morris County
Ocean County
Passaic County
Somerset County
Sussex County
Union County
Warren County
Filter by sourcetypes
Minutes
Recording