School Board Focuses on Financial Stability, Student Safety, and Facility Improvements Amidst Recent Challenges

In a recent meeting, the School Board concentrated on maintaining financial stability for the district, addressing student safety concerns, and improving school facilities. The Board approved the minutes of two prior meetings with minor corrections, and Mr. Domenick Abbate, Jr. proposed forming a liaison committee between the PTAs and Board members to enhance communication. The State Monitor presented a positive outlook on the district’s financial health while Superintendent Joseph A. DeCorso reported on student safety measures and progress on Washington School’s construction.

Mr. Abbate, Jr., as Board President, stressed the importance of unity among the Board members and advocated for a closer relationship with the public through a proposed liaison committee involving PTAs. The intention behind the committee is to foster direct communication and a better understanding of community needs. However, the Board did not reach an explicit agreement on the implementation of this initiative during the meeting.

The financial health of the school district was a point of discussion, highlighted by the State Monitor’s report. The report included approval of the June 30th, 2023 annual audit and a corrective action plan designed to ensure the district maintains a positive financial balance. A financial projection for the upcoming June 30th, 2024 end-of-year audit was also presented and recommended for approval by the State Monitor. The emphasis was on the importance of managing expenditures to avoid future deficits. The Board engaged in discussions surrounding these financial resolutions and projections, contemplating strategies to uphold the district’s fiscal responsibilities.

Superintendent DeCorso provided an update on student safety, sharing statistics on Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying (HIV) investigations and disciplinary issues across various school buildings. He spoke about the training programs and educational initiatives in place to address these concerns. Additionally, the superintendent announced the school calendar for the 2024-2025 academic year and updated the Board on the construction at Washington School.

The student representative, Niceta Anesco, voiced concerns from the student body regarding the aesthetic appeal of the school environment, particularly the hallways’ appearance following a repainting job and the need for locker room updates. The Board considered these recommendations during budget planning, acknowledging the significance of a visually stimulating environment for student morale.

In response to a fire incident, Superintendent DeCorso updated the Board on the repairs’ progress, stressing the urgency of restoring safety and cleanliness in the affected area. The Board deliberated joining a purchasing co-op led by the Belleville superintendent, aimed at securing the best prices for goods and services without financial commitment from the district.

During the meeting, the Board adopted the Finance agenda with an abstention from one member due to the agenda’s late provision. The Education and Curriculum agenda, along with the Policies and Rules and Regulation agenda, were moved for adoption, also noting one abstention. Furthermore, resolutions recommended by the committee on Personnel were advanced, with one abstention.

A public hearing on non-agenda items allowed community members to express concerns, one of which related to school insurance. The suggestion to enhance the promotion of student achievements through district-level communication was received positively by Superintendent DeCorso, who showed a willingness to consider the idea.

Finally, the Board approved a resolution for the long-term suspension of a student. The meeting concluded with the decision to return to executive session.

Did we get something wrong? Let us know.
Superintendent:
Joseph A. DeCorso
School Board Officials:
Mr. Paul Passamano, Mr. Daniel Perrotta, Mr. Domenick Abbate, Jr., Mr. Chris Andrinopoulos, Mrs. Anna Passamano, Mr. Peter Petronzio, Dr. Anthony Scardino, Mrs. Elaine Stella, Mr. Michael Valvano

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