The Rutherford School Board is grappling with significant changes and challenges following the recent resignation of a long-standing member and ongoing discussions about recognizing two Islamic holidays in the school calendar.
Shelley Ahmed, a veteran member of the Board of Education, recently tendered her resignation, leaving a significant void within the Board’s ranks. For two decades, Ahmed played key roles in various committees and contributed to major milestones in the Rutherford School District. Her resignation initiates a 65-day countdown for the Board to appoint a successor, which will be done by majority vote.
“I want to acknowledge and highlight Mrs. Ahmed’s two decades of service on the board of education and everything she’s contributed,” said a board member during the meeting. Ahmed’s service will be formally recognized at a later date, the board assured.
The vacant seat will be filled through a process that includes advertising the posting, collecting applications, conducting public interviews, and finally voting in an executive session. The new board member will be sworn in at a meeting in late June and will need to run for a one-year term in the November elections.
Meanwhile, the Board continued its deliberations on recognizing the Islamic holidays of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha as official school holidays. Representatives from the local Muslim community, Zade Hussein from the Council on American Islamic Relations, and Usman Khan passionately argued the case. They asserted the lack of these holidays puts Muslim students at a disadvantage as they are forced to choose between religious observance and academic commitments.
“Recognizing Eid as a day off in the district would align with the district’s vision of creating an inclusive and welcoming environment for all students,” Khan stated. Despite understanding the community’s concern, the Board pointed out logistical challenges due to the contracted number of school and teacher days. The Board has promised further review of this matter.
In other matters, the superintendent reported ongoing state testing, a summer enrichment academy, and other activities stirring excitement. The Board also recognized the superintendent’s achievement of merit, discussed coaching longevity, and curriculum writer approval.
The student representative, Ms. Benson, reported on the athletic achievements of various school teams and noted the conclusion of student council and class officer voting for the next academic year. She also highlighted end-of-year activities such as the ‘Senior Assassin’ game and various upcoming celebrations and graduations.