In the wake of recent incidents involving hate speech and graffiti on school property, the Ho-Ho-Kus Board of Education, at its recent work session, emphatically condemned these acts, pledging to maintain a school culture of “respect and inclusion.” The meeting also saw approval of the 2023-2024 school budget and key staff appointments.
The board explicitly voiced its support for Dr. Diane Mardy, Mrs. Martha Walsh, and their administration’s efforts to cultivate a tolerant, respectful, and inclusive school environment. Expressing disappointment in the reported hate-filled drawings and graffiti, the board stated unequivocally that “hate has no home in our school community.”
During the meeting, a public hearing and presentation on the 2023-2024 school budget were led by Cheryl Jiosi. The new budget, approved unanimously by the board, has a total allocation of $18,710,996, with $15,497,797 raised through the local tax levy for the General Fund. The board also approved $652,479 to be raised through a local tax levy for payment of previously voter-approved Debt Service.
The board meeting also saw a series of significant staff appointments for the 2023-2024 academic year. Mrs. Ali Auteri was approved as the Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Mr. Daniel Patino as Director of Special Services, and Martin Ryan as Supervisor of Building and Grounds. Notably, Mrs. Martha Walsh was reappointed as Principal, while Mike Padilla was given the nod as the Assistant Principal.
Furthermore, other crucial appointments included Jason McDonald as Technology Coordinator, Gary Allmers as School Security Officer, and Cheryl Jiosi as Business Administrator. The board also accepted the resignations of Brandice Hartmann, a special education teacher, and Marissa Hyde, a library media specialist, effective June 30, 2023.
A notable moment during the meeting was the board’s approval of the recommendation to appoint Lisa Tracy as a Behaviorist, in response to requirements outlined in IEP documents, demonstrating a commitment to meeting the diverse needs of the school’s student population.
The meeting wrapped up with the discussion of “final finishes” and plans for the Duffield Hall renovation project, indicating that further developments are on the horizon for the Ho-Ho-Kus school district.