Kenilworth School Board Addresses Substitute Teacher Shortage, Considers Bonus System

In a recent Kenilworth School Board meeting, discussions centered on the issue of a substitute teacher shortage, a predicament facing the district and its impact on instructional quality. The board reviewed data and strategies implemented since September 2023 to address the shortage, including a proposed bonus system to incentivize more substitute teachers to work in Kenilworth schools. The survey conducted among substitute teachers revealed that 73% would consider working more days if offered a significant bonus.

The conversation also touched upon the qualifications for substitute teachers, weighing the implications of reducing requirements against the need for quality substitutes. Financial concerns were raised about the cost of using regular teachers to fill in for absences as opposed to hiring substitutes, an issue that ties into the broader context of school funding.

A presentation on school funding, specifically the School Reform Act of 2007, provided insight into the fluctuating state aid, which has decreased this year, resulting in a $1.48 million loss for the district. The decrease has caused a budget shift from being above adequacy to below adequacy by nearly $2.3 million in one year. Comparisons with other Union County districts highlighted the disparate impact of the funding formula, sparking a debate on the district’s financial strategy moving forward.

The board’s discussions extended to the capital projects budget, emphasizing the successful investment of bond proceeds, earning over 5% interest and thus reducing the tax burden on the community. Upcoming budget cuts were slated for review to meet the statutory deadline for submission to the executive County Superintendent.


Updates on capital improvement projects included HVAC upgrades at Harding and BRLE schools, field upgrades, and the progress of the Middle School Edition. Maintenance and longevity of the district’s vehicle inventory, such as the potential extension of a 2008 Ford truck’s lifespan, were also covered.

The finance and facilities committee reported on budgets, special education, athletics, curriculum, and assessments, including the review of the expired Windfield tuition contract and the intention to renegotiate its terms. The committee also discussed a 60-page Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on education and law enforcement and the expansion of the Horus Hyman Memorial Scholarship.

Policies concerning vandalism, graffiti, opening exercises, and the code of ethics for professional educators were adopted. The Personnel Management committee addressed staffing needs and recommended upholding a student’s long-term suspension, while the board approved numerous personnel-related resolutions.


The CurriculInstruction committee discussed class sizes, student attendance policies, and professional development updates, including the piloting of new math programs. The Steering Committee presented policy revisions on comprehensive equity plans and juvenile offender case notifications.

The Residency committee deliberated on residency verification processes, considering new methods and assessing past efforts’ effectiveness. They planned to reconvene to recommend two strategies to the full board.

During the public comment period, a community member advocated for the Kenilworth travel basketball program, requesting fee waivers and expanded program hours. The board acknowledged the program’s benefits and discussed addressing the financial concerns in collaboration with the recreation department. Additionally, the significance of Commodore John Barry Day was questioned, and advocacy efforts to address a potential $1.4 million cut in state aid were mentioned.


Another public comment raised issues about the number of half days and irregular school closures. The board responded with data on professional development days and explained the logistics behind delayed openings for state testing.

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.

Kyle Arlington
School Board Officials:
Dr. Michelle Panichi, Gregg F. David, Robert Beiner, Paulette Drogon, John Ferreira, Ryan Haberthur, Anthony Laudati, Alison Tears, Nancy Zimmerman, Vincent A. Gonnella (Business Administrator/Board Secretary)

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
Bay County
Bradford County
Brevard County
Broward County
Clay 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
Barnstable County
Berkshire County
Bristol County
Essex County
Franklin County
Hampden County
Hampshire County
Middlesex County
Norfolk County
Plymouth County
Suffolk County
Worcester County
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