School Board Discusses Budget, Staff Changes, and New Initiatives

The Ridgefield Park School Board’s recent meeting focused on budgeting for the upcoming school year, significant staff changes, and the implementation of new initiatives and technology. These included GPS and camera systems for school buses, the Frontline program for streamlining the onboarding of new employees, and a new Wellness Center in the junior senior high school.

Board member Brian Cooney presented the Buildings and Grounds committee report, which highlighted discussions about Rod grants, Lincoln School water remediation, and the acquisition of new snow removal equipment for the high school and Roosevelt School. Issues of technology infrastructure vulnerabilities and the custodial cleaning of district carpets were also discussed.

A significant part of the meeting was dedicated to the retirement of long-term employees, including Dr. Angela Bender who had served the district for almost 20 years. The board also acknowledged the retirement of an administrative assistant, an ESL teacher, and the director of early childhood education.

In the area of personnel matters, the board approved a candidate for a hard-to-fill math teaching position, identified a replacement for a resigned teacher, and approved a revised job description for the supervisor of business arts and music. The board also discussed the implementation of the Frontline program aimed at streamlining the onboarding process for new employees.

One of the more notable technological advancements discussed was the installation of GPS devices and complete camera systems in all of the school district’s buses. Superintendent Dr. Joseph Vespignani mentioned, “We now have a GPS device and complete camera systems installed throughout all of our bus fleet so we can see what’s going on on the bus and we know where the bus locations are at all times.”

In terms of student achievements, the board recognized the girls’ cross-country team for winning the Big North Conference American Division Championship and celebrated Britney Lee, a sophomore at Ridgefield Park Junior Senior High School, for her outstanding achievements in tennis.

The meeting also included a report from student body representatives providing updates on various activities at the Junior Senior High School. These included a winter pep rally, field trips, holiday concerts, fundraising events, and the hosting of an instant decision day.

Public comments raised concerns about departmental restructuring, the need for a Frontline HR system given existing HR personnel, and the timing of major appointments and changes. Additionally, there were inquiries about the aggregation of multiple departments under one supervisor and the rationale behind this decision.

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.

Dr. Joseph Vespignani
School Board Officials:
Dr. Ricardo Martinez, Michelle Orth, Dave Cathcart, Brian Cooney, Jodie Craft, Nick Fytros, Bernard Gomes, Diane MacNeill, Berlinda Rodriguez, Carolina Velez, Carmela Triglia (Assistant Superintendent of Schools), Scott T. Bisig (Interim Business Administrator/Board Secretary)

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