Successful Start to Academic Year and Upcoming Bond Referendum Emphasized at Closter Board Meeting

The Closter Board of Education meeting, held on September 13, 2023, at Tenakill Middle School, primarily centered on the successful commencement of the 2023-2024 academic year, as outlined by Superintendent Vincent McHale, and the upcoming bond referendum set for September 26, 2023. McHale praised the educational community for preparing a positive environment for 1,188 students and acknowledged the Closter PTO’s efforts. There were also significant discussions on the bond referendum, staff courses, and updates from the various committees.

Superintendent McHale described the enthusiastic start to the academic year, lauding the educators, administrators, and support staff. Their commitment has ensured a thriving school community. He was appreciative of the Closter PTO, especially for organizing a staff breakfast on September 1. In addition, 168 students who attended summer programs were commended for their participation.

An important part of the meeting was McHale’s discussion on the Bond Referendum Information Session, held on September 7, which aimed to inform Closter residents. This was followed by a Zoom session for PTO members on September 12 to clarify any questions surrounding the bond. With the referendum vote approaching, McHale expressed the urgency of participation, using platforms like the Tenakill Back-to-School Night to advocate for voting.

Dr. Puttanniah, as the chairperson of the Curriculum Committee, brought forward positive feedback on the first year of the “Into Reading” program for kindergarten students. Talks are in progress with Demarest Public Schools for a potential collaboration, integrating the “Into Reading” program with phonics teaching. Ms. Salamea-Cross, heading the Personnel Committee, introduced the updated roles for the ESL Department Chair, emphasizing responsibilities like leading department meetings and coordinating annual parent meetings.

Financial matters were not left behind. The Finance and Physical Plant Committee, under Ms. Kwon, discussed and approved various financial motions. These included monthly financials, bill payments, staff remunerations, amendments to the 2023-2024 Budget, and more. The committee also confirmed a $5,000,000 investment into a three-month certificate of deposit with Capital One Bank.

Ms. Salamea-Cross, representing the Personnel and Management Committee, shed light on multiple approved motions, which included salary adjustments, staff resignations, new appointments, and more. The board showed gratitude towards Ralph Chappell for his services and announced Joseph Scaglione as his successor as Supervisor of Buildings and Grounds.

Under the guidance of Ms. Fanelli from the Policy Committee, a new policy and an updated regulation underwent a second reading and approval. For newer developments, Mr. Villanueva briefed the board on the NJ School Boards Conference and updated them on a grant application. Superintendent McHale recommended postponing discussions on District and Board goals due to some members being absent.

The meeting, which started at 7:31 PM, concluded at 8:13 PM without requiring a closed session.

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