River Dell School Board Triumphs with Lower Interest Bond Sale

The River Dell School Board convened recently to discuss a variety of topics, with the successful bond sale taking center stage. The bonds, crucial for funding district improvements, were sold at a lower interest rate than anticipated, coming in at 3.5% compared to the estimated 4%. This financial victory, a result of competitive bidding among six contenders, paves the way for the district’s planned enhancements while minimizing the fiscal impact on the community.

The discussion on the bond sale underscored the community’s support as well as the board’s adept handling of financial matters. This achievement was punctuated by the board’s praise for the public’s backing and the anticipation of the positive changes that the approved referendum will usher in for the district’s schools.

Another topic that stood out was the Seal of Biliteracy program, which celebrated the linguistic accomplishments of 47 students in grades 11 and 12. These students achieved multilingual status in a total of 11 different languages.

The board also grappled with budget-related challenges, most notably the impact of the loss of state aid, which led to a 2.59% increase in the budget. Despite the financial setback, concerted efforts were made to mitigate effects on staffing and educational programs. The budget discussions included the approval of a preliminary school district budget for the 2024-2025 school year, with a tax levy of 35 million.

Facility improvements were a focal point, with attention given to the middle school gym floor replacement. Other facility updates discussed included repairs to the asphalt in the parking lot and the addition of classrooms in the media center.

During the meeting, there was a moment of silence to honor two significant losses to the River Dell community: Mr. Kevin Sabella, a former board trustee and coach, and Mr. William Craig Burton, a middle school teacher. Following this, Robert Graham was sworn in as a new board member.

The student member report highlighted various student activities and achievements at River Dell High School, including a successful Hawk day, a food drive, and sports accomplishments, while the middle school report also boasted a successful Hawk day, student achievements, and events such as a three-on-three hoops tournament fundraiser. The board celebrated the district’s students, recognizing their diverse talents and the value of extracurricular activities.

Reports from various members also included experiences such as participating as a judge at DECA, where students’ problem-solving abilities were commended. Distinguished graduates were slated to be honored in the coming year, and the high school’s participation in the New Jersey Graduate Proficiency Assessment was noted—a federal requirement for grade 11 students and part of the state’s graduation criteria.

The consent agenda sparked discussions, with queries arising about additional costs for the gym floor replacement and the policy committee’s work on the international trip addition. Clarifications were sought on approval processes and the use of fields for summer athletic camps.

The board addressed the adequacy of education funding and the importance of community involvement, with a member suggesting a resolution to convey their stance to the governor. The president of the Bergen County Association of School Administrators criticized the current funding formula, urging the public to communicate their dissatisfaction to authorities.

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.
James J. Albro
School Board Officials:
Albert J. Graef, Stephanie Hartman, Tracey-Ellen Ehalt, Annette Farelli, Alan Feigenson, Barbara Kuchar, Douglas Kupfer, Claudia O’Neill, John Samuel

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