School Board Ratifies Four-Year Labor Deal, Adjusts Policy for Online Instruction and HIB Cases

In a multifaceted session on July 17, 2023, the Hillsdale Board of Education ratified a significant Collective Negotiations Agreement (CNA) with the Hillsdale Education Association (HEA) while also approving new salary adjustments and revisions to online education and harassment policies.

The four-year labor agreement with the HEA covers secretaries and custodians and will be in effect from July 1, 2023, to June 30, 2027. While the financial terms were not disclosed, this agreement marks a milestone in labor relations for the Hillsdale district and solidifies work conditions for the next four years. The board’s vote was unanimous.

Beyond labor matters, policy changes were also on the table. The Education Committee, chaired by Sal Sileo and including member Christina Jennings, passed a series of resolutions related to the district’s Harassment, Intimidation, or Bullying (HIB) policies. These resolutions affirm Superintendent Dr. Robert V. Lombardy Jr.’s earlier decisions regarding three separate incidents based on executive sessions held in June. The Committee also approved the Superintendent’s Student Safety Data System (SSDS) submission for the first half of 2023.

In a nod to the continuing importance of online education, the board approved revisions to the Chapter 27 Emergency Virtual Instruction Program Plan for the 2023-2024 academic year.

Another area of attention was personnel decisions. The Personnel Committee appointed Sacha Pouliot as the Business Administrator/Board Secretary for the 2023-2024 academic year. Salary adjustments were also approved for specific personnel, with Karen D’Ambrosio and Bonnie Giamanco each receiving a Service Credit Increase of $1,000, effective July 1, 2023. Ebony Piggery and Lisa Tataranni were approved as Hall Monitor/Lunch Duty Aides for Meadowbrook School at a rate of $24.50 per hour for the coming academic year.

The Board also voted on issues of student services and educational support. BAYADA Home Health Care was employed for nurse services when regular substitutes are unavailable. Several instructional aides were appointed for George White School at a pay rate of $19.50/hour, conditional on background checks. Additionally, the board approved tuition contracts with the New Milford Board of Education and Vision Therapy Services by St. Joseph’s School for the Blind for specific students.

The Finance Committee, led by Justin Saxon and including member Nicole Klas, approved May 2023 budget transfers and financial reports, certifying that no major account was over-expended and sufficient funds were available for the rest of the fiscal year. The board also took the step of rescheduling their next meeting from September 11th to September 18th, though the reason for this change was not disclosed.

Cybersecurity in the district also saw enhancements, with a unanimous vote passing a district cyber incident response plan for 2023-2024.

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