Little Ferry School Board Plans Upgrades and Expansion

The Little Ferry School Board has laid out a plan for district-wide improvements, including a significant middle school expansion, the introduction of new technology programs, and enhancement of facilities through several capital projects. Notably, the board has approved vendor contracts for these projects, ensuring that necessary upgrades such as roof and HVAC repairs, security enhancements, and kitchen equipment updates are set in motion.

Central to the meeting’s agenda was the discussion of the preliminary budget for the upcoming year, which totals $29,979,796. The budget also earmarks funds for the procurement of equipment, hiring an additional school nurse, mental health providers, and a new secretary, as well as the creation of a preschool disabilities classroom and programs for children with multiple disabilities (MD) and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

In light of the significant increase in state aid and preschool aid, the district is planning to direct these additional resources toward the construction of a new playground and the implementation of new technology initiatives. The technology programs, such as Class Link and Rooms, aim to improve communication between teachers and parents. Moreover, the introduction of a new K-5 math program is anticipated. The board also plans to refresh the fleet of Chromebooks and potentially add a new school bus to its transportation arsenal.

The meeting further addressed the approval of vendor contracts for several capital projects. The scope of work includes a roof survey to determine the replacement needs, upgrading and replacing outdated HVAC units, swapping old carpeting with durable tile, and installing electronic key sets to bolster building security. These upgrades are complemented by the installation of a larger gate to facilitate snow removal. Additionally, the board plans to purchase a new stove and hood for the school’s kitchen, with the superintendent acknowledging a surplus in the Food Service account that necessitates spending in compliance with state regulations.

Updates from committee reports touched on a range of operational areas such as personnel, education, policy, transportation, and food service. The discussions covered contract negotiations, professional development opportunities, and the state-mandated advisory panels for the food service program. The board emphasized the necessity of adhering to state regulations concerning bidding and contracts, especially in light of the upcoming expansion project, to ensure transparency and accountability.

During the public comment period, community members voiced concerns regarding the design of the new school building, the contract awarding process, and the potential for cost overruns. In response, the board clarified the procedure for vetting bidders and outlined the state regulations designed to manage project costs and contingencies effectively.

Apart from the financial and infrastructural topics, the board celebrated educational initiatives such as the Read Across America event, class field trips, and the unveiling of a time capsule at Washington School. A sign of community engagement and support, the recent referendum received gratitude from the board.

The meeting concluded on a positive note, with the superintendent announcing the February student of the month and detailing plans to distribute a dedicated newsletter with suggestions based on recent survey results.

To facilitate transparency and allow for public input, the board announced that the budget hearing is scheduled for May 1, affording the community an opportunity to review and discuss the proposed financial plan for the next academic year.

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.
Matthew A. Perrapato
School Board Officials:
Victoria Bradley, Brian Bonelli, Michelle Brattoli, Nick Fytros, Leslie Gottlieb, Frank Mele, Purna Patel, Lourdes Villasuso, Ray Vorisek, James Dunn (Supervisor of Curriculum & Instruction/Gifted and Talented Coordinator)

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