Leonia School Board Discusses Calendar Changes and Communication Shifts

In the recent Leonia School Board meeting, the most notable issues that emerged were the proposed changes to the school calendar and the shift in the board’s communication methods. The board discussed the potential impact of holidays, snow days, and professional development days on the academic calendar, as well as the feasibility of adjusting the school year to meet legal obligations and cater to external schedules like summer camps. Furthermore, the board announced its plan to transition from Facebook and listserv to Parent Square for its communications.

The most notable issue at the meeting revolved around the school calendar for the 2024-2025 academic year. Superintendent Edward Bertolini and board member Daniel Lee outlined a draft calendar, noting key dates such as the first day of school for teachers and students, holidays, and professional development days. The potential for snow days to extend the academic year into late June prompted a discussion about the need for flexibility in setting the last day of school. This flexibility would accommodate summer camp start dates and could potentially impact the scheduling of another holiday, sparking a debate among board members.

The board also wrestled with the possibility of adding Professional Development (PD) days to the school calendar, an addition that could potentially extend the school year. While some members argued for adjustments to fit the school year within legal requirements and external schedules, others expressed concern about the implications for summer camps and job opportunities for older students. Superintendent Bertolini suggested that board members consider the potential impact on families, confirmed by the board attorney who noted the feasibility of adjusting the school year within the contractual framework.

In terms of communication, the Leonia School Board has decided to move away from using Facebook and listserv for its announcements, opting to rely instead on Parent Square. This change sparked public queries about how to receive emails about school updates and concerns about discontinuing social media announcements.

Furthermore, the board addressed inquiries about the allocation of district resources for non-district groups. Destiny Samson, a local community member, reported that concerns raised by a private citizen about this issue had been appropriately addressed. The board emphasized the importance of fair resource allocation, explaining that the process primarily involved the director of buildings and grounds and his assistant.

The meeting also touched on a range of other issues, including capital projects, safety and security updates, the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (PBT) program, and the retirement of the track and field coach. These subjects, while important, did not incite the same level of debate as the school calendar and communication changes.

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.

Edward Bertolini
School Board Officials:
Daniel Lee, Kimberly Melman, Damee Choi, Noreen Courtney-Wilds, Ana De Jesus, Isaac Park, Cristina Rackow, Joe Rzepka, Sid Sehgal, Mariya Thompson

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