Jackson School Board Backs Bill for State to Cover Monitor Costs

In a recent meeting, the Jackson School Board addressed several issues, with the most pressing being the financial challenges faced by the district due to state funding cuts. The board expressed strong support for Bill A 3589, sponsored by Assemblyman Alex Siwicki, which would require the state to cover the expenses related to the appointment of a state monitor. This support was predicated on the recognition that the costs associated with state-appointed oversight should not fall on the local district. In addition to financial matters, the meeting covered topics ranging from student achievements to security concerns, including substance abuse and harassment, intimidation, and bullying (HIB) incidents in schools.

The board’s discussion around Finance number 10 highlighted the potential approval of a resolution to publicly support the bill seeking to mitigate the district’s financial burden stemming from state-mandated monitoring. This move is seen as an essential step in addressing the impact of the state’s funding cuts on the district’s budget.

In addition to advocating for state responsibility in covering monitor costs, the board also debated the advocacy for a Senate bill that would allow districts to raise the 2% tax levy cap. Some members expressed concerns about this proposal, emphasizing that it places the fiscal responsibility onto local taxpayers and fails to address the root of funding issues at the state level. The board stressed the importance of seeking funding changes at the state level rather than shifting the fiscal burden to local communities.

The board also acknowledged a generous donation of desks and chairs from Next Level Real Estate School. This act of giving was noted under Finance number 13.

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The meeting delved into the semiannual violence, vandalism, substance abuse, weapon offenses, and HIB report presented by the director of security. Detailed statistics on incidents and the district’s response, including education, heightened supervision, and information sharing among staff, were shared. The director of security outlined factors contributing to the rise in substance abuse incidents, such as the legalization of marijuana and the availability of vape products.

The HIB report was a focal point as well, with a detailed breakdown of investigations and founded complaints at various schools. The actions taken in response to HIB incidents included suspensions, detentions, counseling, and restorative practice lessons.

The superintendent updated the board on the 2023-2024 budget, mentioning an increase in state aid and plans to use stabilization aid to lower the district’s debt. The board anticipates a significant cut in state aid for the following year and is monitoring cash flow to anticipate potential shortfalls. Additionally, the superintendent announced the official approval of a school calendar change, setting the last day of school for June 18th.

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Regarding student well-being and community engagement, the board highlighted upcoming events, including a mental health and wellness resources fair on March 13th and a trade and job fair on March 21st. The latter aims to provide community members and students with insights into various career pathways that do not require a four-year college degree.

The meeting included reports from various committees, such as the Buildings and Grounds Committee, which discussed completed projects like HVAC work at schools and the replacement of a hot water heater. The Budget and Finance Committee explored ways to increase revenue, while the Transportation Committee provided updates on the transition to new transportation software and the leasing of school buses.

During the public forum, residents raised concerns, including the appointment of a state monitor and the impact of funding cuts on district programs and services. The board addressed these concerns, discussing the need for state support and the challenges faced due to budget cuts. Questions about redistricting and the speeding of buses were also addressed, with the board encouraging reporting to the police for follow-up.

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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:
Nicole Pormilli
School Board Officials:
Giuseppe Palmeri, Tina Kas, Allison Barocas, Megan Gardella, Brian McCarron, Erica Osmond, Tara Rivera

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