During the recent Palisades Park Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Dr. Joseph Cirillo outlined the major infrastructural improvements executed over the summer. The Early Childhood Center (ECC) now has fully air-conditioned classrooms, and new boilers have been set up at Lindbergh School. Asbestos remediation in the library was completed at Palisades Park High School (PPHS), along with the start of essential HVAC project piping. The PPHS cafeteria bathrooms were also renovated, utilizing existing budgets without additional taxpayer burden. Lindbergh School is set to undertake a significant reconstruction following a fire incident, which rendered all books unsalvageable. Anticipated insurance reimbursement stands at around $1 million. Moreover, Dr. Cirillo expressed an intention to include a student representative in future board meetings, starting from September.
The financial matters handled during the meeting included approval of invoices, financial reports, and payroll details. William Kim, representing the finance committee, elaborated on these approvals, which encompassed costs ranging from $33.40 to $34,504.99. He confirmed that no budgetary line item violations occurred in June and July, based on the Board Secretary’s review. The board consented to act as the Local Education Agency for Notre Dame Academy for 2023-2024, overseeing funds dedicated to nursing, security, and technology aids. Additionally, a contract was established with Bergen County Department of Health Services to render health services to non-public schools in the district, allocating $43,200 state aid for the project.
The meeting acknowledged several staffing changes, including resignations, retirements, and family leaves. Three staff members retiring, two of whom had served since September 2006, were recognized. Family leave was granted to Lindbergh School’s Katya Vo from October 4, 2023, to March 4, 2024. Looking forward, Constantine Eliopoulos was appointed as the district’s Anti-Bullying Coordinator (HIB) for the upcoming academic year.
Several educational contracts were endorsed for the 2023-2024 term, involving students attending out-of-district schools such as BCSS and Ridgefield Public School, and detailing tuition fees along with additional service charges. New services were commissioned including staffing services from Homecare Therapies/Horizon Healthcare Resources and mental health subscriptions for students. The Preschool Expansion Aid (PEA) program secured additional funding of $222,195.
Training and professional development also took center stage, with the board consenting to varying hourly rates for guidance counselors and the Tiger Team at PPHS. Approvals were granted for staff members to attend workshops and courses, including an online HIB Anti-Bullying course and NJASBO courses in Robbinsville, NJ. Teja Karukonda was appointed as the school physician for the next academic year, setting a fee cap at $18,000.
Co-curricular appointments for 2023-2024 were sanctioned with stipends ranging from $2,987 to $4,869 for roles including newspaper advisor and coaching positions. The board introduced the “Suspension Alternative Program” and mentioned an “Emergency Virtual Plan” for the same academic year. Board member Soo J. Chung was absent, with the remaining members passing all agenda items through majority “Yes” votes.