The recent Tenafly School Board meeting was marked by noteworthy developments, with key discussions centered around the arrival of the new Superintendent, Dr. Michael Ben-David, potential policy changes, future infrastructure improvements, and financial boosts.
Dr. Michael Ben-David, the new Superintendent, was warmly welcomed at the meeting. Expressing excitement about joining the team, Dr. Ben-David thanked several individuals who assisted him in transitioning into his new role and acknowledged the Korean Parents Association for a $1,000 donation to the K Elementary School.
The facilities committee reported on potential upgrades to the district’s infrastructure. The key points revolved around a potential referendum focusing on renovation or replacement of the field house. Detailed architectural plans will be unveiled in the August meeting, paving the way for a resolution to approve the projects included in the referendum.
In a comprehensive review of district policies, the board discussed possible changes to practices affecting student placement and class sizes. The board will revisit the controversial “sibling privilege” practice, which allows the placement of younger siblings based on the initial placement of older siblings. This practice has raised concerns about potential unfavorable outcomes for students and families, especially if the initially chosen school isn’t their “home school”.
The board also weighed giving the Superintendent the power to adjust Advanced Placement (AP) offerings based on student interest levels, a decision expected to enhance the educational experience by tailoring it to the needs of students. Similarly, the dual enrollment program, which allows high school students to earn college credits, was highlighted for greater promotion. The board will further investigate the value and practicality of these credits, particularly regarding their acceptance at state colleges.
Efficiency and fiscal responsibility were also key themes of the meeting. The board plans to scrutinize professional development requests more carefully and limit the number of staff attending national conferences. This was part of a broader discussion on improving operational efficiency. Furthermore, the meeting saw the approval of a five-year lease for additional laptops for teachers and staff, the allocation of grants ranging from $10,000 to $300,000, and the renewal of various IT services.
Finally, the meeting ended on a high note with the board reporting a financial boost of an additional $500,000 in extraordinary aid, increasing the total to $2 million for the 2022-2023 school year. This, coupled with the generous donation from the Korean Parents Association, signifies a positive step towards bolstering the district’s budget.