In a recent meeting held on May 9, 2023, the Oakland School Board grappled with a variety of significant issues impacting local education. Central among these were a new policy regarding the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights, numerous staffing changes across district schools, and financial alterations including the increase of student lunch prices.
Mr. Mazzilli led the session, joined by members Ms. Kilday, Mr. Scerbo, Ms. Shelkin, and Ms. Cooper, with Superintendent Dr. Gina M. Coffaro and Board Secretary/Business Administrator, Ms. Annette Wells, also present. Following an executive session held to discuss sensitive subjects, the board moved on to more public matters.
A new policy related to the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights was highlighted, and will be up for formal approval at the board’s regular meeting. Concurrently, Board Secretary Annette Wells emphasized the necessity of increasing the student lunch price from $3.50 to $3.75, a change slated for approval in June. Wells also announced the district’s plans to manage two summer bus routes internally, moving away from the use of outside contractors.
As the meeting moved into the regular monthly session, attention was given to staffing changes. The board approved multiple adjustments including the resignation of the District Technology Assistant and the shifting of start and end dates for various staff. There were also faculty transfers and appointments, most notably, new appointments for a Health and Physical Education Teacher, a Science Teacher at Valley Middle School, and a full-time Guidance Counselor at Dogwood Hill Elementary School.
In terms of administrative appointments, Judy Favino was named Treasurer of School Monies, while Dr. Melissa A. Chism and Pediatricare Associates were designated as the District’s Medical Inspector. The appointment of Elissa Gacevic as a Special Education Teacher, however, was rescinded.
The finance section of the meeting saw the approval of a sizable gross payroll of $1,882,137.54 and bill payments totaling $2,648,055.23. The board also gave the green light for staff participation in external conferences/workshops, approved petty cash amounts for the next school year, and sanctioned agreements with several entities for shared services, insurance provisions, administrative services, and professional services. The donation from the Dogwood Hill Elementary School PTO was accepted with gratitude.
In the administration portion, the Board affirmed Policies, By-Laws, and Regulations for the 2023-2024 school year, contained in the Governance Manual. They also approved the district’s curriculum and services meeting all Quality Single Accountability Continuum (QSAC) sub-categories for the forthcoming academic year.
Lastly, in the transportation section, approval was given for a list of field trips for the next school year, as well as certain summer bus routes to be managed by district drivers. The hiring of Mark Sheridan for summer work and Lewis Thurston as a driver for the Junior Police Academy was sanctioned. The District’s membership in the Northwest Bergen Council for Special Education was reaffirmed.