Traffic Woes and District Transparency Dominate Ridgefield Park School Board Meeting

In a recent gathering of the Ridgefield Park School Board, members and community participants grappled with persistent issues of traffic congestion around the school, alongside procedural transparency concerns and preparations for the upcoming academic year.

For local residents, especially those living in proximity to the high school, traffic has become a perennial concern. As described by resident Ms. Malu, parents queuing up for drop-offs have made it nearly impossible for residents to access their driveways. “Parents lining up every morning for drop-off means we don’t get out of our driveways,” she remarked. Further exacerbating local traffic concerns, another resident highlighted the speeding vehicles near Overpeck and Grand streets. Only one side of this route has a sidewalk, potentially endangering pedestrian students. The resident nostalgically mentioned prior restrictions on student parking on side streets, hinting at a potential remedy to the current situation.

The board’s operational transparency and decision-making drew scrutiny. Notably, there were concerns over using outdated organizational charts, and questions arose about the propriety of using district funds for field house improvements—a property not owned by the district. Changes in executive session timings without proper public notification further stoked concerns. An attendee, seeking clarity on legal costs, questioned, “I’d like to know the cost of that attorney to the taxpayer… and the results of the investigation.”

On a positive note, the board highlighted preparations for the upcoming Literacy Night on November 2nd at Roosevelt School. Intended for parents of students in grades K-6, Dr. Joseph P. Vespignani, the Superintendent, alongside trustees Carolina Velez and Berlinda Rodriguez, have planned sessions tailored to different grade levels. Dr. Vespignani emphasized the objective of the night, “This is going to be called a night of literacy.” The board also reviewed logistical matters, like catering and potential bus transportation for attendees.

A review of the district’s financial health was on the agenda, with an eye on an audit that would determine the district’s financial standing. “What we’re waiting for now…is to expedite our audit from last year because based upon those numbers that will document how much money we have going forward,” a board member remarked. The intended use of potential surplus funds includes the expansion of the Early Childhood program to eradicate the lottery system and the initiation of several maintenance projects.

In the technological front, the district is expecting a batch of new technology equipment for students, having placed the requisite orders. Also of note, Mr. Jonathan Pepsi is set to join the Ridgefield Park School District as the Confidential HR Assistant, with his appointment awaiting final checks.

Community members took the opportunity to seek clarity on various items, such as the RP Aftercare program’s nature and potential tuition costs for parents. Questions also surrounded Therapy Source’s role in providing a social worker for Junior and Senior High students, with attendees interested in the service’s frequency and modality.

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