Saddle Brook School Board Plans for Enhanced Education and Mental Health Support

In a recent meeting, the Saddle Brook School Board addressed a range of topics with focus on the district’s financial planning, particularly the tentative school budget, which includes a tax increase proposal and the addition of key educational and support staff positions. The Board also approved the submission of a teacher climate and culture Innovation grant aimed at reducing administrative burdens for teachers, and discussed the implementation of a new AP pre-calculus course.

The Saddle Brook School Board’s discussion on the tentative school budget for the upcoming year took center stage as it seeks to enhance educational services and mental health support for students. The superintendent recommended a budget that includes new positions such as special education teachers, a speech teacher, and a tier 2 mental health counselor. This move comes alongside an increase in state aid by $589,000.

The budget discussions delved into the specifics of fund allocation, with salaries and benefits being a primary focus. The board expressed the necessity of a full-time special education teacher at Long School and highlighted the expansion of the construction project at Washington School. The importance of including a speech pathologist in the staff was underscored due to the critical role they play in student development. Furthermore, the introduction of a tier 2 mental health counselor was emphasized as a vital addition to address the mental health needs within the schools.

To balance the budget, the committee proposed using a third area bank cap, which would result in a tax increase for the average assessed house. The budget details, including cap adjustments and proposed funds for travel and special education Medicaid initiative, were thoroughly presented. The board plans to hold a public hearing and adopt the budget on May 1st.

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The superintendent’s report on the school budget included a discussion on the cost of cooperative school services and the implementation of corrective actions for audit comments. The audit itself was described favorably. Additionally, the Board of Education approved the submission of a teacher climate and culture Innovation grant. This grant is a strategic measure to reduce administrative tasks for teachers, thereby improving the overall culture and climate within the schools. The grant proposals include providing necessary supplies, offering bonuses for completing training, increasing summer hours for certain staff, and creating a district field trip coordinator position.

The Board also discussed academic enhancements, including the addition of an AP pre-calculus course to the curriculum. This course aims to provide advanced placement students with a more rigorous mathematical foundation before entering college-level studies. Furthermore, the Board addressed a special education placement for a senior student from the Felician School for Exceptional Children.

In the realm of professional development, the Board considered sessions for Google educator certification and counselor events at colleges. These opportunities reflect the district’s dedication to continuous learning and professional growth for its educators and support staff.

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Facility use and appointments were also part of the meeting’s agenda, with the introduction of a new position for an ESY coordinator. Questions were raised regarding the status of rescinded positions and the rationale behind designating certain roles as volunteer rather than paid positions. This is indicative of the Board’s ongoing efforts to optimize staffing and resources.

Policy, negotiation, and appointments were discussed, highlighting the need for substitute bus drivers and paraprofessionals. A specific query was made about a volunteer coach and the considerations for transitioning them to a paid position.

Personnel matters were addressed, including the resignation of a lunch aide and the consideration of hiring a new lunch aide to fill the vacancy. To conclude the open session, the Board moved into a closed session to discuss sensitive matters not suitable for public meetings, such as a HIP case and further personnel issues.

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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:
Toni Violetti
School Board Officials:
Sylvia Zottarelli, Mariana Ianneillo, Michael Accomando, Regina Barrale, Vincent Laurentino, Michele Roloff, Michael Errichiello, Victoria Torbic, Hayley Traverso

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