In a Hillsdale Board of Education work session and regular meeting led by President Nicole Klas and overseen by Superintendent Dr. Robert V. Lombardy Jr., the board addressed a range of educational and financial resolutions for the 2023-2024 school year. Key takeaways included the adoption of new and revised curriculum, an extended contract with the Hillsdale Education Association, and enhanced strategies for student learning based on data analysis. Additionally, the board discussed personnel appointments, student school day hours, new and amended policies, budgetary adjustments, and plans concerning the rehab of George White School.
During the session, the education committee, chaired by Sal Sileo, coordinated with Christina Jennings to approve several instructional foundations such as the Stronge Evaluation System for staff evaluations and the implementation of multi-tiered support systems to improve student learning. Notable additions included the incorporation of Dr. Michael Lienhard into the approved consultants’ list for psychiatric evaluations and risk assessments.
On personnel matters, the committee supervised by Christina Jennings and member Kevin Donatello approved several recommendations including long-term teaching appointments and salary adjustments effective from September 1, 2023. It acknowledged the vital appointment of Paige Egan and Susan Osso in roles significantly impacting the students at Meadowbrook School and George White respectively. Moreover, the policies adopted were responsive to recent legislative inputs, featuring newly devised guidelines for school threat assessment teams and sick leave regulations.
A detailed financial blueprint for June 2023 was ratified by the finance committee overseen by Justin Saxon and Nicole Klas. It highlighted judicious financial reallocations to maintain a balanced budget for different school and district requisites, enhancing fiscal prudence in the operation. Key contracts involving specialized services for deaf and hard-of-hearing students were approved, alongside a revision to the Delta Dental agreement to be effective from July 1, 2023. A green initiative was evidenced through a collaboration with UPCYCLE USA for recycling and discarding outdated technology equipment, fostering environmental sustainability.
In further discussions, board members, with input from Mr. Olohan, engaged in an evaluative conversation about the rehabilitation of the George White School, exploring the potential relocation of the fifth grade and the logistical implications thereof. Justin Saxon signposted the intention of an upcoming public discourse to garner community insights into the proposed developments. An update on the consultation with Di Cara | Rubino revealed ongoing discussions on the project specifics and anticipated wider public engagement soon.
Attention was also drawn towards Maschio’s Food Services, Inc.’s comprehensive guidelines designed to safeguard students with life-threatening food allergies. The firm encouraged home-packed meals as the safest choice while availing parents the option of a “safe menu,” developed post the receipt of detailed medical statements and approved food labels to accommodate individual dietary restrictions. Notwithstanding their efforts, Maschio’s expressed an inability to guarantee complete allergen-free foods due to possible cross-contamination and urged families to initiate the process early owing to the time-intense implementation.
Closing the extensive session, the transportation committee, consisting of Christina Jennings and Justin Saxon, emphasized cost-efficiency by fostering a cooperative transit agreement with the Maywood Board of Education for the 2023-2024 school year, avoiding vendor contracts.
Anchoring the discussion, Dr. Lombardy delineated the forthcoming forum setup akin to previous arrangements, focused on transparency and engagement with the community through detailed information sharing post the onset of the new school year. He reiterated a dedication towards inclusive dialogues with all stakeholders as the board navigated a pivotal year of decision-making and policy approvals.