The River Edge School Board convened recently, addressing topics including the induction of a new board member, Al Jean Solomon, discussions on a state-earmarked tutoring grant, the introduction of new staff, and deliberations on student relocations. Public comments highlighted traffic concerns, particularly at Roosevelt, with resident Kate Davis describing the situation as “complete gridlock.” The board also introduced a new app aimed at enhancing communication within the school community and discussed potential improvements for school drop-offs and facilities.
Al Jean Solomon was sworn in as the newest board member, committing to perform his duties faithfully. The meeting also welcomed new staff members, including teachers, administrative assistants, paraprofessionals, and a special law enforcement officer, Officer Doug Olindor, assigned to both district schools.
A significant portion of the meeting was dedicated to discussing a tutoring grant, specifically targeting fourth-grade students. The grant necessitates partnering with a state-approved tutoring group, with a service in Ridgewood chosen for collaboration. The board emphasized the importance of vendor consistency, with a member stating, “Ideally, we would want to use the same instructor for our schools,” to ensure continuity in performance. The grant aims to provide additional support during the “win” period, benefiting both teachers and students.
The board also deliberated on the possibility of avoiding having students move schools for one year, focusing on the current second grade at Roosevelt and the fifth grade at Cherry Hill for the 24-25 school year. The administrative team concluded that more exploration was needed, considering facilities and curriculum implications.
Traffic concerns were raised during the public comments, with Kate Davis highlighting issues with gridlock during drop-off times at Roosevelt. The board discussed potential improvements, including creating a visual map of parking for parents and widening an alley between parking lots. A meeting with administration, police department representatives, and a traffic consultant was planned to address various issues.
The introduction of the River Edge schools app was met with appreciation from the board, aiming to provide necessary information and facilitate communication within the community. The app features notifications, a school calendar, announcements, and other functionalities.
Board members reported on various committee meetings and agenda items, including the approval of an Eagle Scout project and the development of a five-year facilities plan. The finance and facilities committee, reported by Eric Langley, praised the work on summer projects and discussed the possibility of creating an emergency dismissal plan during adverse weather conditions.
The meeting concluded with Dr. Alvaro introducing himself as the replacement for Patrick Fletcher at Riverdale and informing the public about an upcoming referendum in December for several building facilities projects. The board then moved into a closed session for a legal matter, marking the end of the public portion of the meeting.