The Cliffside Park School Board’s recent meeting, presided over by Dr. Pantaliano, revealed significant developments for the district. A proposed committee restructuring and the appointment of an interim superintendent were among the highlights.
The meeting began on a high note with Dr. Pantaliano celebrating the district’s successful events, such as a well-attended fashion show and awards night, stating that “thousands and thousands of dollars were given out in awards for our very deserving seniors.” The board also highlighted efforts to secure funding from Assemblyman Calabrese’s office to expand promising mentoring programs.
However, the most crucial announcement came from Dr. Pantaliano herself. She proposed a restructuring of the school board’s committees, aiming to streamline operations and improve consistency. The facilities, finance, and buildings and grounds committees would be merged into a single ‘Operations Committee,’ led by Mr. Capano. The academics, athletics, and policy committees would now form the ‘Education Committee,’ under the proposed chair Mrs. Abreu. Finally, the ‘Safety and Security Committee’ would be chaired by Mr. Russo, working closely with the local police department. “Committees go together so well that they really are interrelated,” Dr. Pantaliano stated, hoping her colleagues would adopt the new approach.
In personnel changes, the retirement of Superintendent Mr. Roman Gino set the stage for the announcement of Mr. Hayes as the interim superintendent, effective from July 1st. The interim appointment carries a 30-day notice, meaning that the position is “working at will,” a board member clarified.
Additionally, the Board lauded their health insurance waiver incentives for employees, a program that reportedly brings substantial savings. A board member noted, “Those family [insurance packages] could run you, you know, $28,000 to $30,000…we’re probably giving someone, what, $2,500 to waive a $28,000 package. So, that’s significant.”
Various construction projects were also discussed, including plans for a High School annex on the second and third floors of a property adjacent to Borough Hall. This project and others were likely to be overseen by the newly proposed Operations Committee.
Dr. Pateliano was recognized for his commendable work on anti-bullying initiatives. The Board also approved school bus evacuation drills, chemical safety plans and inventory, and a right-to-know policy.
In a tender moment, the Business Administrator and board secretary, who has served for 16 years, received heartfelt thanks from his colleagues for his dedicated service. One board member lauded him saying, “I commend you for that, and we appreciate you always putting the taxpayer ahead of everybody and taking care of the finances because you do a great job with it.”