MADISON, NJ – Nino Coviello of the Madison Huddle Club challenged the Board of Education at its meeting Tuesday night regarding a decision to eliminate gate fees for various sporting events.

Coviello said the fees raised by charging $3 admission to the general public helped offset costs of projects such as weight room equipment, turf fields and equipment that are used by a variety of sports, not just football. He said no one on the board had reached out to him regarding a change in policy.

Superintendent of Schools Michael Rossi responded that a letter had been sent to the Huddle Club and that these various projects should be part of a larger, school-wide project.

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Business Administrator Gary Lane said there were concerns about paying union wages if projects were initiated by an organization.

Board member Leslie Lajewski said that consistency was one reason for the change in policy. “Parents are already paying to have their children involved. How fair is it for a parent to pay to see his child in an event?” She said that with every change in policy, “somebody takes a hit. We don’t mean to leave you hanging, but this is the best policy going forward.” She added, however, that there needs to be more collaboration between the Huddle Club and the board.

During the superintendent’s report, Rossi highlighted actions taken during the summer. He said a safety initiative resulted following a visit from a Homeland Security representative. In early fall, each campus location will have a keyed entry system, which will track access and provide a running record of who’s coming and going. 

The technology task force has made long-term decisions regarding wireless technology and use of the Chrome device. That is preferred to Ipads, he said, and will provide a unified approach for all students. “It’s  financially viable, durable and will work for standardized testing at all levels,” he said.

Infrastructure has seen improvements in boilers and roofs. New uniforms have been purchased for the marching band and football team. Two more projects are on the horizon, he said. The high school auditorium, which is the centerpiece for performances, needs “a shot in the arm.” There will be new lighting, rigging, audio visual equipment and staging.

Rossi said he’s most excited about a state of the art television studio, thanks to the “gargantuan gift” of $66,000 from the Madison Education Foundation. He noted how the foundation reflects the support from parents and the community.

Several parents asked about the busing changes relating to North Oak, South Oak and Oak Street. Lane said the school bus will pick up students at the corner of North Oak and the bus will turn around at Convent Station. He said the borough was unwilling to put up a sign that says no parking and that the turning area is very tight on Oak Street.

Board President Lisa Ellis encouraged those with concerns to contact the Madison Police Department and to attend the next Borough Council meeting on Monday, Sept. 8.