Sparta Township Board of Education Honors Monks

Dr. Kathleen Monks acknowledges the appreciation of her colleagues. Credits: By Jane Primerano
Superintendent of Schools Dennis Tobin presents Dr. Kathleen Monks with flowers. Credits: By Jane Primerano

SPARTA TOWNSHIP, NJ - The Sparta Board of Education honored retiring curriculum coordinator Dr. Kathleen Monks at the Monday, Nov. 26, meeting.

Member Kevin Pollison noted his daughter, Corinne, is a college freshman, and said “there is always trepidation, are your children going to do well.”

He said his daughter is doing well especially in English and Russian, and he credits the teachers and Monks for preparing her.

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His sentiments were echoed by board member Maureen Myre, and board president Kevin Smith, who also have children who just started college.

During the public portion of the meeting former and just-elected board member Karen Scott pointed out, “Things were not always great for Dr. Monks, I applaud her for working through those times.”

Another member of the audience, Katherine Roy, also thanked Monks. She said her seventh grader is, “thriving under her leadership.”

She also said her high school senior is taking advantage of Advanced Placement and accelerated programs started under her leadership.

“When I first came here, there was a part-time curriculum teacher who was also a principal,” Roy said.

On a less happy note at the meeting, the board discussed the press box at the high school football field, which was destroyed in Superstorm Sandy. The board voted to retain Gianforcaro Engineers and Architects to assess the damage.The cost will be $8,500, which will be covered by insurance, except for the $2,000 deductable.

Board vice president Dorothy LaBeau said the advantage of hiring the Gianforcaro firm, is that they can do both engineering and architectural work, and it will cost the board less than hiring two separate firms.

Adding to the problem, is the fact the board has received a waiver from ADA requirements for the bleachers from the insurance company for many years, Pollison said. However, since the press box was attached to the bleachers, the school district will have to bring them up to code. Pollison said there are no risers behind the bleacher seats. The board has no estimate of the cost of fixing or replacing the bleachers, but that will not be covered by insurance.

The board also voted to work with professionals to extend a Letter of Interpretation with the State Department of Environmental Protection.The letter allows the school district an exemption of the required 300-foot buffer between development and the Wallkill River. The high school addition and fields are within 300 feet, but farther than150 feet from the river, Pollison said. He said without the LI, the school would not have been able to expand. The high school is hemmed in by wetlands. The LI needs to be extended every few years.

Superintendent of Schools Dennis Tobin announced the new school calendar. The school year will be extended to June 28, and students will attend school on Martin Luther King Day and on the second day of Presidents' Day Weekend, Feb. 19. This will make up for the days lost to Superstorm Sandy, and allow the district to keep its four snow days. Should the snow days not be used, Tobin said, school will end on June 21, but high school graduation will still be June 28, and the middle school promotion ceremony will be June 27.

The board also rescheduled two meeting.

The Dec. 17 meeting is moved up to Dec. 10, to accommodate the school’s auditors,who will make a presentation that night. The Jan. 7 board meeting will be moved up to Jan. 3, because the state requires school districts with November elections to reorganize within the first week of January, Tobin said.


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