School Board Greenlights Mental Health Services and Salary Increases

In a major boost to mental health support for students, the Dumont School Board, during a recent work session and regular meeting held on June 22, 2023, approved a significant contract with West Bergen Mental Health Care (WBMHC). Additionally, the meeting saw important salary decisions, alongside other agenda items such as raised lunch prices and insurance consultant broker appointments.

The contract with WBMHC, priced at $137,500, will provide a full-time therapist for 35 hours per week and a part-time therapist for 20 hours per week. These dedicated professionals are expected to deliver specialized therapeutic mental health services to selected District students for the 2023-24 academic year. The move signifies the board’s commitment to student mental health in the wake of nationwide discussions on this essential subject.

Salary decisions formed another significant component of the meeting, with the board agreeing to increase hourly rates for Instructional, Bus, Media, and Lunch Aides, part-time (P/T) Custodians, and Substitute Nurses from July 1, 2023, according to Schedule C. Employment and salary decisions for various central office administrators and other personnel were also taken for the period of July 1, 2023, to June 30, 2024.

The board approved the resignations of April Hagen, a kindergarten teacher at Selzer; Danielle Callegari, a Speech & Language Specialist at Lincoln and Honiss; and Christian Santos from Drumline. However, it also greenlighted numerous hires, including Edmond Drishti and Jeffrey DeVito as Assistant Soccer Coach and Assistant Football Coach respectively for the 2023-2024 school year, pending the completion of background checks and district paperwork.

In terms of expenditures, the board raised lunch prices for the 2023-2024 school year. Dumont High School lunches and Elementary/Middle School lunches will now be priced at $4.00, showing a modest increase from $3.80 and $3.75 respectively from the previous year.

In the Policy and Public Relations segment of the meeting, a detailed report on school bus evacuation drills was presented, while Dr. Poidomani discussed various agenda items including reported cases, violations of the HIB policy, and related disciplinary measures and services.

The meeting also approved various donations from the Grant School PTO, including a fifth-grade class trip fund of $5,180 and $220 for tree planting in memory of Joe DiLascio and Gail Ferrer.

The School Board’s dedication to educational improvements and community involvement was also evident in the approval of Dumont High School’s enrollment in the New Jersey Interscholastic Athletic Association for the 2023-2024 school year, and updates to the ARP ESSER III Safe Return Plan.

While the board did not discuss any old or new business at this meeting, and no public were present, an Executive Session for Personnel discussion and Legal Matters was approved and held.

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