South Orange-Maplewood District Appoints New Vice Principal for Tuscan School

From left: Malikah Majeed, principal of Tuscan Elementary School, Kevin Mason and Sharon Huetz, PTA president.   Credits: Courtesy SOMA School District

MAPLEWOOD, N.J. – The Board of Education of South Orange and Maplewood appointed Kevin Mason, a district science teacher, as vice principal of Tuscan Elementary School at its meeting Monday night. 

Malikah Majeed, Tuscan’s principal, praised Mason and expressed confidence in his leadership. Mason said that he enjoys working with students and is looking forward to working in Tuscan school.

In other school board news:

  • The school district of South Orange approved a motion amending the school calendar. Due to Hurricane Sandy, many schools in the district were left without snow days. On Feb. 14, all students will have a regular day at school. May 28 is designated as an additional give-back day. The calendar has also been updated to include the N.J. Assessment of Skills and Knowledge testing days in April and May for students in grades 7 and 8.  April 29-30 as well as May 1-2 will be a four-hour day for students in grades 7 and 8 only.
  • The District is postponing the forum on capital plan, scheduled for Nov 27. The plan includes repairing Columbia High School’s 90-year-old pool to be used for an additional one to two years. Thirty-thousand dollars from the budget will be spent on the repairs to the deck only. The forum will be rescheduled for the spring.
  • The auditor’s report for the 2011-2012 fiscal year yielded no further recommendations by the state. The district’s overall fund balance increased $2.48 million from $7 million to $9.4 million. About $30,000 was put in capital reserves, while $800,000 was placed in the unencumbered reserve.
  • Business Administrator Cheryl Schneider reported an overview of the baseline data for development of the 2013-2014 school budget. Schneider highlighted a 1.4 percent of enrollment increase in elementary and middle school students as well as a 0.4 percent increase among special education students since 2011 (about 93 more students). Regarding salaries and benefits, she noted that the Board of Education’s contract with the South Orange Maplewood Education Association will expire on June 30, 2013. A decision on salary increases will depend on the outcome of negotiations with the teachers union.
  • Policy 2363, on pupil use of privately-owned technology, will be up for approval in December. The policy would allow students who have private technology (“hardware or software” bought and kept by students) to use it at school as outlined by a code of conduct. These regulations include prohibiting students from using their technology as a telephone or texting device during class.      
  • South Orange-Maplewood School District gave formal recognition and thanks to all district staff for their efforts after Sandy.
  • The school district will have open office hours Dec. 20 at 7:30 p.m. at the South Orange library.

The reporter is participating in a hyperlocal journalism partnership between The Alternative Press and Seton Hall University's Department of Communication & The Arts.

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