Pequannock School Board Addresses Music Program Funding and Celebrates Student Achievements

The recent Pequannock School Board meeting was marked by a strong community appeal for additional financial support for the school district’s music program and a celebration of student charitable work following a mission trip to the Dominican Republic. The preliminary 2024-2025 budget, which includes a 2.89% increase in the school tax levy, was also a topic of discussion, alongside the recognition of various student achievements and the announcement of the marching band’s performance at a Yankees game.

At the forefront of the meeting was the plea from parents, community members, and students themselves for increased funding for the music program. Speakers highlighted the program’s positive impact on students’ lives, inclusivity, and the personal growth fostered by participation in the band. The importance of the music program was emphasized through personal stories and the detailing of its contributions to the school’s culture. The Association of Music Parents’ donation toward new uniforms and percussion equipment was acknowledged, yet the overall sentiment was that more support is necessary to ensure the program’s continued success.

Several individuals, including Heather Sisler, Jerry Josi, Lucas Naan, Marlene Brunner, Todd Steinberg, Jeff Broner, and Kendra Meer, articulated the need for financial support. They shared insights into the financial challenges faced by the program, from fundraising to the costs of equipment and repairs. The dedication of music educators and parents, who often provide additional support such as transportation and audio/video engineering services, was also commended. The music parents’ contributions to the program were noted, with some individuals providing specific examples of the equipment needs and the labor involved in building and transporting props for performances.

The board discussed the need to review the budget carefully to determine possible allocations for the music program. The value of the program in fostering a sense of identity and community was recognized, with an acknowledgment of the broader impact on school culture and safety. The board also mentioned the Unified sports program, highlighting its role in providing opportunities for students with special needs.

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In addition to the music program discussions, the meeting was notable for honoring students who participated in a mission trip to the Dominican Republic. The trip, facilitated by Our Lady of Good Council Church, involved service projects such as medical clinics, classroom work, and construction. Students shared their experiences, emphasizing the impact of their work on both the Dominican community and their own personal growth. The board recognized these students with certificates, commending their generosity and efforts.

The meeting also touched on the progress of the profile of a graduate committee, a meeting with a former superintendent, and a presentation about a mural sponsored by the HSA for the school’s 60th anniversary. The mural at Hillview was described as a lasting and impactful addition, with plans for an even larger mural to be completed the following year.

The board discussed the preliminary 2024-2025 budget, which notably includes a 2.89% increase in the school tax levy. Facility improvements such as new carpeting for the auditorium and media center beam replacement were mentioned. Moreover, the upcoming advertisement for the request for proposal for the school district’s attorney was announced.

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Other topics included the approval of meeting minutes, the impact of changing the start time for the pre-K program, and the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. The board scheduled the ninth town meeting for April 30th, 2024, and commended the High School FBLA for their success at the state leadership conference.

The meeting concluded with a moment of gratitude expressed for community support following a personal loss, a discussion on the band program’s tradition, and the possibility of engaging alumni for support. An executive session to address student matters was scheduled to follow the meeting.

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.

Superintendent:
Michael Portas
School Board Officials:
Brian Senyk, Danielle Esposito, Joseph Blumert, Sam Ciresi, Megan Dempsey, Timothy Gitin, Greg MacSweeney, Vincent Pompeo, Cara Shenton

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